Hot Springs National Park: The Natural Spa

Spending several hours in a car driving hundreds of miles day after day after day is more strenuous than most people realize.  Even the most comfortable vehicle can elicit a snap, crackle and pop from one’s joints after sitting in the same position for hours at a time.  Hot Springs National Park is perfectly situated if you are making a cross-country journey. 

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Hot Springs, Arkansas is located between Routes 30 and 40 just southwest of Little Rock.  It is a small park that packs a wallop.  It offers beautiful views, quiet surroundings and rejuvenating water that would make Ponce De Leon’s head spin.  Visitors take in the surroundings by picnicking, hiking, camping or taking a bath.  That’s right, I said taking a bath. 

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A friend of mine recommended the Buckstaff Bathhouse for its soothing treatment.  She is a physician so I must say that it was just what the doctor ordered.  The Buckstaff does not take reservations so it is best to walk in on a weekday when they are not quite as busy.  I went with the $71 package which included: 30 minutes or so in a hot mineral bath (the jets loosen you up); 15 minutes in a Sitz bath (an inferno where you are surrounded by hot steam); 15 minutes wrapped in hot towels (targeting tight muscles wherever you have them); and a 20 minute Swedish massage (Steven was excellent).  This prepared me for my drive to Austin TX that day which meant that I would be in the car for about seven hours.  I was extremely relaxed and it helped me complete my trip safely. 

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The Buckstaff is located on Central Avenue (just outside the park) which is also known as Bathhouse Row.  Tours are available or you can just go through the process of having a bath as I did.  There is free parking a block away at the municipal garage. 

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I met some friends when I first arrived at the park.  They did not offer me part of their afternoon snack. 

The deer were less than 100 yards away from the famous Hot Springs National Park Mountain Tower.  Here is some video from the observation deck.

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Hot Springs is a city but still has a small-town persona.  The view from the Mountain Tower reveals the city.  The roads and trails surrounding it provide the intimate small-town atmosphere.  If you’re looking for a quiet getaway with that small-town feel, Hot Springs is your kind of place. 

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Have you visited Hot Springs National Park?  What were your impressions?  Would you recommend this park to other people?

For more information about Hot Springs National Park, click the link below.