I was fortunate enough to spend a week recently in Hot Springs, Arkansas. My aunt and uncle rented a house on the lake and were kind enough to invite me along. We had a great family trip and my daughter got to hang out with some of her cousins.
The house we stayed in had a pool, hot tub, kayaks, and a canoe.
Hot Springs National Park is unique because it includes downtown and Bathhouse Row. The old bathhouses all still stand, although most have been transformed into something else. Across from Bathhouse Row are shops and restaurants and such. The green spaces of the park are located directly behind Bathhouse Row.
Buckstaff Baths is the only traditional bathhouse still in operation. My aunt and I went and had the traditional experience, including a soak in the tub that was filled with mineral water straight from the springs. After that we were covered in hot towels, which was a bit intense. Then I sat in a steam closet, had a sitz bath, and a needle shower. It was an interesting experience.
The Fordyce Bathhouse has been turned into a museum about the history of the bathhouses in Hot Springs.
One day, we took the children to the Mid-America Science Museum, which I highly recommend. There was lots of hands-on fun inside and a dinosaur trail and skywalk outside.
Another day we visited Garvan Woodland Gardens, which was fun and pretty, but very hot! There were free strollers available, and my five year old had me pushing her uphill through the gravel! The botanical gardens are part of the University of Arkansas. There was a tree house and lots of other places to hang out and play.
Hot Springs was a nice, laid back little place. It was a fun place for a family visit.