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Escape and Explore: Road Trips from Hot Springs, AR to Nearby Hidden Gems

By Amelia Frankland , Posted on 10 Feb, 2023 at 07:34 am

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Hot Springs, AR, serves as an excellent starting point for unforgettable road trips to explore the surrounding areas. From scenic drives through the majestic Ouachita Mountains to charming small towns steeped in history and natural wonders that will take your breath away, the region offers a wealth of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. Buckle up and get ready for exciting adventures just a short drive away from Hot Springs.


Scenic Drives through the Ouachita Mountains

One of the most scenic road trips from Hot Springs takes you through the Ouachita Mountains, a picturesque range that stretches across Arkansas and Oklahoma. Begin your journey by driving along the Talimena National Scenic Byway, a 54-mile route known for its panoramic vistas, winding roads, and vibrant fall foliage. Marvel at the beauty of the surrounding mountains and forests as you make your way through this breathtaking landscape.

Another stunning drive awaits on Arkansas Highway 7, often referred to as one of the most scenic drives in the state. This highway takes you through the heart of the Ouachita Mountains, passing by quaint towns, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear lakes. Take your time to explore charming communities like Hot Springs Village and stop by attractions like Lake Ouachita State Park, where you can enjoy water activities and soak in the serenity of the natural surroundings.


Charming Small Towns and Historical Sites

As you venture beyond Hot Springs, you'll encounter several charming small towns that are worth exploring. One such town is Arkadelphia, located approximately 30 miles northeast of Hot Springs. Stroll through its historic downtown, visit the captivating campus of Ouachita Baptist University, and explore the Arkadelphia Confederate Monument, a significant historical site that provides insight into the town's past.

Further east, you'll find the town of Malvern, known for its beautifully preserved historic buildings. Take a leisurely walk through downtown and admire the architectural gems that harken back to a bygone era. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Malvern Depot Museum, which offers a glimpse into the town's railroad heritage.


Natural Wonders and Outdoor Adventures

Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of natural wonders that surround Hot Springs. Just a short drive from the city lies Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas's first state park and home to stunning vistas, cascading waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails. Embark on a hike to Cedar Falls, a breathtaking 95-foot waterfall that plunges into a rugged canyon, or enjoy a scenic picnic by Lake Bailey, nestled amidst the park's captivating landscapes.

If you're seeking an outdoor adventure, head south of Hot Springs to the Caddo River. This picturesque river offers opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing, allowing you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surrounding nature. The river's calm waters and scenic beauty create the perfect setting for a day of outdoor fun and relaxation.



Hot Springs, AR, serves as a gateway to a world of hidden gems, charming small towns, and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. Embark on road trips through the Ouachita Mountains, explore historical sites, and immerse yourself in the beauty that awaits just a short drive away. Whether you're seeking scenic drives, historical discoveries, or outdoor adventures, the surrounding areas of Hot Springs offer endless possibilities for unforgettable road trips.

About Author

Amelia Frankland

Amelia has a great eye for photography. She has traveled to over 30 countries and has produced great videography and photos, along with penning them down with her writing skills. She has also worked with many top travel photographers.

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