There's never a dull moment in the "Natural State." Within close proximity to the park one can find plenty of recreational and leisurely activities. From boating to hiking, crystal mining to camping, riding an ATV or a horse, relaxing in spa or visiting a museum, there's something for everyone.
Distance from Hot Springs: 12.9 miles, 22 min. drive
This peaceful park is located on Lake Catherine, one of five lakes in the beautiful Ouachita Mountain region. The only full-service marina on the lake is here at the park and open in the summertime for bait, snacks/drinks, and fuel. Boat rentals are available year-round. The park also includes a launch ramp, pavilion, picnic sites, playgrounds, and a well-marked trail that leads to a waterfall. Learn more on their website.
Arkansas’s largest lake, Lake Ouachita offers 40,000 acres of clear, clean water surrounded by the scenic Ouachita National Forest. Swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, kayaking, and fishing are enjoyed here. Bream, crappie, catfish, striped bass, and largemouth bass can be caught in open waters or quiet coves. Choose from a wide variety of day-use areas and overnight accommodations. Learn more on their website.
Near Hot Springs and Little Rock, Arkansas’s resort state park is located on the shores of beautiful DeGray Lake. Here, you’ll find first-class lodging and amenities along with outdoor fun and adventure year-round. DeGray Lake Resort offers a 96-room lodge with conference center just off shore and on an island; 81 Class B campsites, and three Rent-A-Yurts; an 18-hole championship golf course with driving range, practice green, and pro shop; disc golf; swimming; tennis; and hiking trails and guided horseback riding that are available in the park with world-class mountain biking trails nearby. The full-service marina has bait and tackle, fuel, and boat rentals including party barges, kayaks, and pedal boats. Learn more on their website.
Distance from Hot Springs: 59.2 miles, 1 hour 7 minutes
Just west of Arkansas’s capital city of Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain stands as the centerpiece of this geographically diverse state park. This day-use park offers a variety of outdoor adventure on the Big and Little Maumelle Rivers, in the Arkansas Arboretum, and along over 15 miles of trails including 7 miles of challenging mountain bike trails. Hike to the top, explore the rivers, or take in one of the many interpretive programs offered by park staff. Visit the park visitor center, enjoy a picnic, or reserve a pavilion for a larger gathering. Learn more on their website.
Distance from Hot Springs: 58.9 miles, 1 hour 16 minutes
One of the only places in the world where the public can search for real diamonds in their original volcanic source, Crater of Diamonds is a one-of-a-kind experience that brings people from all over the world to Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Visitors to the park search a 37-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of a volcanic crater, for variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones – and any rock or mineral you find is yours to keep. You may bring your own mining equipment to search with (no battery-operated or motor driven mining tools allowed). Learn more on their website.
Distance from Hot Springs: 69.2 miles, 1 hour 24 minutes
Petit Jean State Park is an Arkansas classic, a natural and historic treasure that has welcomed travelers for decades. The natural beauty and ancient geology of the legendary Petit Jean Mountain inspired the creation of Arkansas’s first state park and with it our state park system. The park mirrors the mountain’s rugged beauty with its rustic-style, native log and stone facilities constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) beginning in 1933. The CCC built trails, roads, bridges, cabins, and the focal point of the park, historic Mather Lodge, a 24-room lodge overlooking Cedar Creek Canyon with a restaurant, meeting rooms, and gift shop. The fireplace in the lobby serves as a welcoming gathering place in the winter. Learn more on their website.
Within close proximity to Hot Springs are two national forest locations. Ouchita National Forest is 20 minutes away, while the Ozark National Forest is a little further at 2 hours away. Each of them is strikingly beautiful with plenty of recreational opportunities. Be sure to read on and click the links to learn more about them.
The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. Headquartered in Hot Springs, Arkansas, the forest is managed for multiple uses, including timber and wood production, watershed protection and improvement, habitat for wildlife and fish species (including threatened and endangered ones), wilderness area management, minerals leasing, and outdoor recreation. Enjoy camping, hiking, biking, scenic driving, trail riding, water recreation, fishing, hunting, and more! Learn more about the Ouachita National Forest.
The Ozark National Forest covers 1.2 million acres, mostly in the Ozark mountains of northern Arkansas. You'll find the tallest mountain in the State, Mount Magazine, and an incredible, living underground cave--Blanchard Springs Caverns. The forest is generously endowed with recreational opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, boating, scenic drives, picnics sites, and opportunities for wildlife viewing also abound. Learn more about the Ozark National Forest.