Eureka Springs brings back memories of my childhood walking the streets with my parents and grandparents, eating saltwater taffy and a hotel cat. Over the weekend, I got to walk down those streets again.
The town of Eureka Springs is nestled in the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas. It has been a tourist destination since the before the town was founded in the 1880s. This was mainly due to the natural springs found in and around the town. Spa treatments are still a popular activity now.
Things to do
Shopping – Even I like shopping in Eureka Springs. In the past, there seemed to be more antique stores than there are now, but there are still some great stores. There are several clothing stores that sell a variety of things. On this trip, I picked up some jewelry, a linen dress, a kimono and a tank top. The prices are also a good range. If you love antiques, there are a few of those left. The kids will love the variety of candy stores, including one that makes saltwater taffy, Sweet Fudge’s Kitchen.
Ghost Tours – The Basin Park Hotel is supposedly haunted and you can take a ghost tour in the evenings there. The Crescent Hotel, the large hotel on the top of the hill, also offers ghost tours. These tours are enhanced by the historic nature of the two hotels. The Crescent even has family friendly ghost tours at an earlier hour than the Basin.
Ride the Trolley – While technically this trolley is public transportation for getting around Eureka Springs, it is a great way to see the town without having to climb the hills. Which is really great if you are staying up the hill at the Crescent! There are several routes. My youngest niece begged to go on it, so it is a great activity to take the littlest traveler on.
Tour the Historic Houses and Buildings – At Christmas Time in Eureka Springs, you can go on tours inside the Victorian houses. However, you can still walk around the rest of the year and admire them from the outside. Some of them have great gardens and some are perched in awkward ways above streets. The town has so many historical markers, I couldn’t read them all! You could probably spend a whole day doing just this.
Get a Spa Treatment – There are several spas in town. Some are just massage places, though. My recommendations would be the spas at either the Basin Park Hotel or the Crescent Hotel. The Basin Park Hotel Spa is an Aveda salon and is located on the second floor of the hotel. Walk-ins are welcome. The Crescent Hotel spa is called the New Moon Spa and is located on the garden level.
Look at Art – There is an art scene is this tiny town. There are many galleries to explore that include painting, sculpture, and metalworks. There is some public art as well. Look for the painted staircase. This trip I noticed a collection of gnomes have popped up. I was also told of a new sculpture park out near the train station and if you touch the sculptures, they make sounds!
Where to stay
Crescent Hotel – Built in 1886, the Crescent Hotel has had a curious past and has served as a girls college, a fake cancer hospital and had a cat as Hotel Manager. They have lots of room options including suites and cottages. Many rooms have jacuzzi tubs. Keep in mind that it has been claimed as the most haunted hotel in America!
Basin Park Hotel – This is the hotel my parents love to stay in. However, I would only stay there because it is in the center of town and has a balcony restaurant. The rooms are not updated and they have giant furniture in them, which made them feel small. The bathroom had been updated and was nice.
Rent a cottage or stay in a B&B – There are several Victorian cottages you can rent and several that are Bed and Breakfasts. My parents stayed in one a long time ago and they loved it. Many of these are on the trolley routes, so you don’t have to worry about driving into the center of town and paying for parking.
Most people drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The only thing to note about the drive is that Eureka Springs is located in the Ozark Mountains and the roads are winding. Several members of my family get carsick when we are getting close to Eureka. You can fly to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport on American Airlines, Delta, United and Allegiant Air and then rent a car. It is an hours drive to Eureka.
Have you been to Eureka Springs, Arkansas? Tell us your favorite thing there.