Top 8 Hidden Gems of Hot Springs

Did you know that Hot Springs, Arkansas, is nicknamed America's Spa?

Did you also know that you can find a whole lot more nestled hidden within this forest-filled town than just natural hot water springs? Here in this gorgeous city, you can also find serious culture, history, and adventure!

Well, we knew, and now we're filling you in on some of the biggest, best, and most memorable hidden gems of Hot Springs.

  1. Adventureworks Zip Line Park - This well-hidden park deep within the Arkansas woods is an exciting aerial adventure waiting to happen. Catch a bird’s eye view of the beautiful natural Arkansas forest filled skyline as you soar through the open air on steel cables, secured in a safety harness and attached to a strong zip pulley system. This track, in particular, is made up of 12 lines, over a mile of adventure. One of the site favorites, the Big Sky Bridge, takes you across a creek to an 80-foot observation tower built around a giant oak tree.

    Zip Line Pixabay Public Domain

  2. Purple Cow - The Purple Cow is a family-friendly, 1950s themed diner that serves as Arkansas’ spot for "the young of all ages." The dining area provides a family-friendly atmosphere, fantastic staff, and out of this world classic Americana food! Once inside you will see the intricate details of how this restaurant is modeled after a classic 1950s diner, keeping true to the American diner vibe - plus a whole lot of purple! The restaurant is famous for its hand-dipped shakes and gourmet burgers, so be sure to save plenty of room!
  3. Garvan Woodlands - One of our favorite Hot Springs Hidden gems is this 210-acre botanical garden off the shores of Lake Hamilton, nestled within the scenic Ouachita Mountains. Garvan Woodland Gardens features one of the top 10 ranked Japanese gardens, excellent seasonal blooms, and hundreds of thousands of plantings throughout the location. This garden is also home to many architecturally significant structures, such as the wood and glass Anthony Chapel. Garvan_Woodland_Gardens'_Japanese_Garden
  4. Bathhouse Row - While perhaps not quite so hidden in reputation, Hot Springs’ original Bathhouse Row is fairly well hidden in town, and remains a culturally and historically important spot for several reasons. The Bathhouse Row you see today consists of eight bathhouse buildings that were constructed between the years of 1892 and 1923, using the local hot springs. This area was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1987, consisting of a total of eight different regions. (Quapaw is our favorite).
  5. Bird Island - At Lake Ouachita, you will find a fairly unknown location called Bird Island! This Important Bird Area, as designated by the Audubon Society, is home to Lake Ouachita’s famous "tornado of birds." Here you can see 30-50 thousand purple martins in late July and early August, the birds convening here after nesting, before their long and tiring migration to South America. A tour of this island will take a total of about 1.5 hours!
  6. Hot Springs Mountain Tower - Hot Springs Mountain Tower is a 65.8-meter high observation tower built of lattice steel on Hot Springs Mountain. While definitely not hidden in the literal sense, this tower is a Hot Springs classic experience that is often overlooked. Enjoy one of the most breathtaking views in the whole state!
  7. Gangster Museum of America - Get taken back in time at this next hidden gem location,  the Gangster Museum of America. This 10,000 square foot museum takes you to the days of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, days when illegal gambling, bootlegging, and thermal baths made Hot Springs America’s first resort. Before you go be sure to head over to the Felony Theater to watch a high-definition short film on an underground Hot Springs City that has been closed to the public for years.
  8. Ron Coleman Crystal Mine -  The Ron Coleman Crystal Mines are family owned and operated public mines opened in 1963. This mine is the largest producer of natural Arkansas Quartz in the United States, as well as the premier destination for hands-on mining and precious gem gifts. Here you can ride in an army truck down through the mine, view crystal veins and water sources, dig up some treasure on your own, and end up in the mine processing area.