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Best Parks near Hot Springs, Arkansas

When you stay at Knotty and Nice, you're near some of the best parks in Arkansas. We're a short distance from Hot Springs National Park, Lake Catherine State Park and others.
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Hot Springs National Park

  • Address: 369 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR
  • Distance from us: 13.7 miles
  • Main attractions: Bathhouse Row, hiking, birdwatching

Hot Springs National Park, located in downtown Hot Springs, is the oldest park managed by the National Park System in the United States. The park land was originally set aside to protect the 47 hot springs located on it. Today, the park has a number of bathhouses where bathing in the hot-springs water is allowed. You can take a guided tour of Bathhouse Row, which has a number of historic bathhouses. The park also features close to 30 miles of hiking trails in the Ouachita Mountains, picnic areas, two scenic drives, and bird watching areas. Bird watching is especially popular since the park has 113 species of birds. You can also visit the park's observation tower at the top of Hot Springs Mountain and enjoy great views of the surrounding areas. Note that poisonous snakes (rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads) are common in Hot Springs National Park, so make sure you keep an eye out for them.

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Lake Catherine State Park

  • Address: 1200 Catherine Park Rd, Hot Springs, AR
  • Distance from us: 15.8 miles
  • Main attractions: Marina, boat rentals

Lake Catherine State Park, originally created in the 1930s, covers over 2,000 acres on the south side of Lake Catherine. The park has a full-service marina, boat rentals, a boat ramp, playgrounds, a pavilion, and a beautiful waterfall. (Note that the marina is only open in summer; however, boat rentals are available year-round.) You can take lake tours, guided hikes, and guided horseback rides along the lake. In addition, various programs and workshops are offered in the summer by park staff. Lake Catherine State Park also has a visitor center that stocks gifts, ice, and groceries. Park visitors have the option of visiting Diamondhead, a private resort just up the road from Lake Catherine State Park. There, you can enjoy the resort's Olympic-size swimming pool and play a round of golf at Diamondhead's 18-hole, par 72, course.

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Lake Ouachita State Park

  • Address: 5451 Mountain Pine Rd, Mountain Pine, AR
  • Distance from us: 26.6 miles
  • Main attractions: Boating, fishing, bird watching

Located on the east end of Lake Ouachita, Lake Ouachita State Park is a 360-acre park that offers a variety of recreational possibilities. Popular activities include boating, fishing, and bird watching. For boating and fishing, a full-service marina and plenty of boat ramps are available. The marina stocks live bait and fishing supplies. If you're interested in hiking at Lake Ouachita State Park, try the Caddo Bend Trail, a four-mile hike through forested areas and along the Lake Ouachita shoreline. Other popular trails include Dogwood Trail Ouachita Geo-Float Trail. As for bird watching, the park provides an excellent habitat for a variety of species, including purple martins, eagles, herons, and egrets. For a minimal price (around $10), you can take a tour of Bird Island, which has Arkansas' largest purple martin roost. As many as 50,000 birds inhabit the island in late summer and early fall.

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Garvan Woodland Gardens

  • Address: 550 Arkridge Rd, Hot Springs, AR
  • Distance from us: 11.9 miles
  • Main attractions: Asian garden, waterfall

Garvan Woodland Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden owned by the University of Arkansas. The gardens cover 210 acres along the Lake Hamilton shoreline. The grounds include numerous attractions, waterfalls, rock gardens, and an Asian garden. One of the most popular activities at the gardens is the Holiday Lights display. Held each winter, the display features over five millions colorful lights and brings thousands of visitors to the gardens. Most trails at Garvan Woodland Gardens are ADA accessible. Pets are typically allowed with a small fee.