Hot Springs has long been my favorite place to escape. Lately the area seems to be thriving in the food and drink department, making it one of the best quick getaways in the state.
I grew up in Saline County, went to school in Arkadelphia, and now live in Little Rock. I have been going to the Hot Springs area to get away longer than I can remember. I’ve seen the area grow and change through my three and a half decades on this earth. Right now Hot Springs is the best I have ever seen it, and the thriving food scene is a large part of the reason why.
Diversity – Food diversity is always important to me when looking for a place to visit over and over again. I want to be able to change up the experience. Sometimes I want a nice date night out of the city, sometimes I just want to go hang and drink with some friends, other times I want to try something new. Thankfully Hot Springs has become diverse enough to handle it with everything from top notch pizza in Delucas, to unique offerings like Rolando’s and Cafe 1217. Each experience can be a little different.
High End Dining – Hot Springs got away from some of the more high end dining options in the early 2000’s. Thankfully that has come back, and stronger than ever. Offerings like the Avenue and the soon to open Vault are as good as any spot in Arkansas.
Craft Beer – The growth of craft beer around the state has had a huge impact in Hot Springs. The area features several breweries, including Superior Bathhouse Brewery, located in the area. There are also some great places like the Craft Beer Cellar that carry a wide variety of Arkansas produced craft beers.
Things to Do – Even as long as I have been going to Hot Springs, there is still plenty to do. Oaklawn season is starting up, there are a number of state and federal parks in the area like DeGray Lake, Crater of Diamonds, Lake Ouachita, and of course Hot Springs National Park itself. Plus almost all of it has great dining and drink options around it.
Affordability – I love getting away, but it can get expensive when you have to factor in travel costs and hotel rooms. Just a long weekend to NWA usually costs several hundred in lodging and travel. We frequently take a date night to Hot Springs and come back home. It is around an hour to get out there, which is about how long you would usually set on the 630/30 interchange on a typical afternoon. Plus there are a ton of great food offerings that are around at a very reasonable price. You can get in and out of Hot Springs for a date night on less than $100 that includes a good meal and the gas to get there.
We are working with the Diamond Lakes Tourism Association over the next few months to highlight some of the best parts about the Hot Springs area. Check back for some of our favorite picks in each of these areas.