Day 56: Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

January 5, 2012

National Parks, On the Road

We didn’t know what to expect when we decided to go to Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs Arkansas. All I knew was I getting the cancellation stamp in my National Park Passport.

Hot Springs National Park is the smallest national park and was the first federal reserve in the United States. For hundreds of years people have come to Hot Springs seeking health in the warm waters. Over time an industry of bath houses grew up around the hot springs. The heyday of bathing has passed and today most bathhouse are no longer in operation. However you can still tour the Fordyce bathhouse, now the park visitor center, for a peek back into history and take baths at one of two operating bathhouses, the Buckstaff or Quapaw.

You can also do the Jr. Ranger program. Hopefully with more enthusiasm than Thing 1 or 2. Try as I might, I couldn’t convince them that the “Ladies Cooling Room” was a spectacular place to fill out their Jr. Ranger activity books. Although the movie about traditional bathing held their attention with it’s 1980′s aesthetic.  Apparently, it was so cheesy it was funny.

After touring the Fordyce Bathhouse, we ventured out back to put our hands in the last remaining open hot spring and stroll the paths above the bathhouses. Then we drove up through the park to watch the sunset over Hot Springs before returning to our campground, Gulpha Gorge.

Gulpha Gorge may be one of our favorite campgrounds yet. As the name suggests, the sites run through a gorge along a creek. It was lovely in December and I can only imagine its beauty during warmer months. The sites are large with many of them along the creek with full hookups.  I loved hearing the sound of the creek when we stepped outside in the morning. Full hookup sites are $24 or $12 if you have the  National Parks Membership Card, a fantastic deal considering the beauty, spaciousness, and condition of the sites.

Two months ago we had not even heard of Hot Springs National Park and today not only it is a treasured place in our National Park system but a treasured family memory.

Love and Laughter,
Jenn

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About jennincat

I'm Jenn and I'm so happy you stopped by our little corner of the web. My favorite moments are cuddling with my boys, listening to the purrs of my cat, and sipping warm cups of tea. The smell of orange blossoms conjures up delightful memories of childhood even though I grew up in Indiana hundreds of miles from citrus groves. I love animals and when I'm stressed I dream of owning a goat farm. I love art, road trips, books, and food. Vintage clothes make me ridiculously happy. Red lipstick is my friend.

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6 Responses to “Day 56: Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas”

  1. Missy Says:

    Aack! You were jus one state away from me!! I love Hot Springs – and yes, it is gorgeous during the Spring. My Dad lives in the Ozark mountain area of NW Arkansas and the beauty is breathtaking.
    I’m glad you liked it and hope you had a good experience, as the South normally gets a bad rap. Hope you are sonewhere near me when you roll thru MS or even Alabama!

    Reply

  2. Wanda Says:

    We have never been to Hot Springs and now looking at your pictures we would like to go there. Missy is right the Ozark region is beautiful.

    Reply

  3. Jess Says:

    I was hoping you’d get to bathe in the hot springs.

    Reply

  4. Andrea@WellnessNotes Says:

    I love learning about so many new places through your journey! Gorgeous photos!

    Reply

  5. Margie Lundy Says:

    Thanks SO much for this campground recommendation. We just arrived and love it!

    Reply

  6. Alisha Says:

    Well, I can say that you were kinda close to me. I live in Arkansas and I am right on the MO/AR line. So yeah. about 250 miles away or so!

    bahaha!
    Have lots of fun! I will soon be doing the same thing. I am in preparation for similar adventures!

    Reply

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