Some Like It Hot: A spa-riffic stop at Hot Springs National Park (before the snowstorms)
Did you know that there’s a national park that actually has part of a city within its limits? I sure didn’t — so I was so excited to visit Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas and check it out for myself. We decided to tour this location right after I ran my first marathon with no training, figuring it would be a good remedy for my soreness. Sore muscles or not, I can’t think of anything that sounds better than natural thermal waters.
A Unique Experience
In addition to just feeling great, natural hot springs are believed by Native American cultures to provide healing powers. Hot Springs National Park has so many of them that you can access them from eight different bathhouses. Don’t be fooled by their names — they are practically luxury spas, and they are so popular that people have been visiting them for centuries to relieve muscle aches.
There’s Always Time for Tacos
Before the hot springs, we decided to get lunch at Diablos Tacos and Mezcalería. I’ve been eating exclusively plant-based meals for a while now, so I was really curious about trying cactus tacos. Yes, cactus. Of course, we were prepared with plenty of sangría in case that didn’t turn out well. But lo and behold, they were actually pretty good! I love it when being curious and open-minded pays off.
Better Than Any Jacuzzi
After our delicious lunch, we headed to Quapaw Baths & Spa for our hot springs adventures. More than anything, we were so excited to visit such a relaxing place for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started. We were assigned to our own private baths. The jets in the hot tub spray water that’s just over 100 degrees, which felt like heaven. For the cherry on top, after relaxing in the water for a while we got massages. Talk about a wonderful way to spend the day!
Exploring the Rest of the City
After we were relaxed and joyful, we walked around town, where Daniel delighted me with all of his newly-acquired facts about the history of Hot Springs, Arkansas. We also found out that the water in public decorative fountains comes straight from the hot springs, so it’s pretty scalding — you can actually see steam coming from it! You definitely wouldn’t want to put your hands in there.
Other fun places to visit include several hiking trails and Daniel’s personal favorite, Superior Bathhouse Brewery. Fun fact: they are the world’s first brewery to use thermal spring water as their main brewing ingredient. We also stopped at The Ohio Club, the oldest pub in the state of Arkansas.
All in all, the entire trip was such an enjoyable experience that we’re looking forward to returning someday. Watch for yourself so you can see how beautiful Hot Springs, AK is, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, Wanderlocal, so you don’t miss a single episode of this adventure!
Lauren Davenport is the CEO of The Symphony Agency, a healthcare communications firm providing technology and marketing solutions to help healthcare practices grow fast and efficiently. She’s been featured in Forbes and local magazines, showcasing her experiences as a small business owner. Daniel Fernandez is the Chief Experience Officer at the Symphony Agency and host of The Healthcare CEO podcast.