Hot Springs, Arkansas

Best Places to Retire in Arkansas


The historic city of Hot Springs (population 36,000) is located in the Ouachita (Washita) Mountain region, in the southwestern part of the state. The area has five crystal clear lakes, called the “Diamond Lakes.” It features beautiful scenery with vistas from the mountaintops, and there is the rugged wilderness of the Ouachita National Forest. Outdoor activities include crystal hunting, fishing, water sports, hunting, golf, hiking the trails of the Hot Springs National Park, golf, horseback riding, and more. And all of these are year-round activities. Hot Springs is one of Americas long-time resort communities that came to life with the discovery of 47 thermal springs. The city is within Hot Springs National Park and its famous Bathhouse Row is an historic landmark. The historic downtown has classic hotels, including many structures that were built in the 1880s to early 1900s. Some of them once served another purpose, such as a saloon, gambling establishment, or private club. The city is ranked near the top among the Top 100 Small Art Towns in America. Its numerous fine arts galleries and studios in downtown are opened evenings for a “Gallery Walk” on appointed days throughout the year. Hot Springs is also a good place to go antiquing. There are many dining choices (with more than 200 restaurants), including a dinner cruise on the lake, musical stage shows, and live entertainment in clubs or hotel lounges. There is also a very active community theater. Other activities include theme parks, a number of festivals and special events, thoroughbred racing, concerts featuring star performers, and more. For shoppers there are numerous boutiques and specialty shops, as well as large modern malls.

Arts & Culture

buckstaff bathhouse
Buckstaff Bathhouse. Source: Hot Springs Visitors Center

There are numerous fine art galleries and studios, and many active artists live in the area. The Pocket Theatre is the only year round live performing theater in Hot Springs.

Arkansas Arts Council has as its mission the promotion and advancement of the arts throughout the state of Arkansas. Garvin Woodland Gardens is a 210-acre botanical garden. Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Institute – Hot Springs Music Festival – Hot Springs Jazz Society – Summit Arena is the primary venue in Hot Springs for concerts and appearances by nationally known performers, as well as sporting events. The Hot Springs Convention Center is one of the large venues in the city. Built primarily to accommodate the needs of large groups, such as trade shows, it also hosts a world-class permanent art collection. The Convention Center also can host special events with seating of up to 6,000. _planner/convention_center/exhibit_hall.asp Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performs a Masterworks Series and other special concerts at the Robinson Center Music Hall in Little Rock.


Hot Springs National Park, created in 1932, is the oldest park in the National Park System. It was established to protect the hot springs flowing from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain. There are eight historic bathhouses, and “Bathhouse Row” includes 47 hot springs. In addition to its historic attractions, the park offers hiking, camping, horseback riding, and scenic drives. Ouachita National Forest has campgrounds, picnic areas, points of interest, and many recreational opportunities. Nearby Lake Ouachita, the largest lake in the region, covers 40,100 acres and is 40 miles long. It is virtually surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, with 970 miles of pristine shoreline. It offers good sailing, bass fishing, boating, and swimming. There are also 100 uninhabited islands for camping. Lake Ouachita State Park offers 117 campsites, picnic areas, trails, swimming area, marina, and more. Lake Hamilton, just south and west of Hot Springs, is a 7,200-acre lake, much of which is ringed with resorts, motels, condominiums and private homes. This pristine lake offers water skiing, swimming, pleasure boating, and fishing. Lake Catherine, south and west of the city, is 11 miles long, but only consists of 1,920-acres. Popular activities include water skiing, swimming, and fishing. Lake Catherine State Park has 17 fully-equipped cabins, 70 campsites, a marina, launch ramp, swimming area, picnic sites, playgrounds, and hiking trails. Oaklawn Thoroughbred Race Track – There are a number of golf courses in the area, including championship layouts with excellent practice facilities, or state park courses with very reasonable greens fees. Horseback riding is a popular activity in the area and there are more than a half dozen riding stables to choose from.


National Park Community College, located in Mid-America Park, is a two-year institution with an enrollment of 2,000. Henderson State University in Arkadelphia offers Associate and Bachelor degrees in 46 major areas of study.

Senior Programs

National Park Medical Center offers a free senior membership program called Premier Advantage, which provides a variety of discounts. One exclusive benefit is its competitive discount prescription drug program. SeniorNet (at Hot Springs Village – McAuley Senior Center) provides adults 50+ with access to education about computer technology and the Internet to enhance their lives. It is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to teach seniors about computers and the use of the Internet. All instructors and coaches are seniors. default.php?PageID=5108


Hospitals National Park Medical Center is a full-service acute care hospital with 166 private beds, and is a regional referral center for a five county area. St. Joseph’s Mercy Health Center, a not-for-profit Catholic hospital, is licensed for 317 beds. Levi Hospital is a non-profit hospital specializing in treatment for arthritis. HOSPITAL-HOME-HEALTH-HOT-SPRING462.html


Little Rock National Airport is currently served by 10 commercial airlines and handles over 120 flights daily. Memorial Field Airport, Hot Springs, is owned by the city of Hot Springs. The longest paved runway is 6,595 feet.


Hot Springs has an average temperature of 40 degrees in January, with a daily high of 50.7 and low of 29.6 degrees. July, which is the hottest month, has an average daily temperature of 82.2, with a daily high of 94.3 and low of 70.1 degrees. There is an average snowfall of about five inches per year – spread over December, January, February and March.


The Sentinel-Record –

Property Taxes

Garland County Tax Assessor –

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Benton – 30 miles Arkadelphia – 46 miles Little Rock – 50 miles Dallas, TX – 280 miles Tulsa, OK – 244 miles « Back to the City Index « Back to the State Index