One is not likely to think about Arkansas when vacationing in the U.S. but the truth is that the state offers quite the list of travel hot spots to check out. More specifically, you should definitely check out some of the reasons why Arkansas is dubbed as The Natural State. Arkansas has numerous natural wonders to go out and explore but of course, getting to all of them will drain you of your time, energy, and money. If you want to check out the state in all it’s glory, then you’ll need to head to Eureka Springs in Carroll County.
Eureka Springs is one of the two county seats in Carroll County and it is located in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. It is also a part of the National Register of Historic Places to which it is known as the Eureka Spring Historic District for Historic Preservation. Originally called The Magic City, Eureka Springs continues to attract thousands if not millions of tourists annually.
Eureka Springs has been around since the 19th century. According to Native American legends, there was a Great Healing Spring in the area of Eureka Springs. The place was constantly visited for this very purpose. Even the European Americans that went to the are believed the spring had magical power as well. Regardless of whether or not that is true, the truth is that the springs in the area are both relaxing and calming once you take a dip in it.
Now, the place itself is stylized to mimic a Victorian resort village. As such, people who visit can’t help but take out their cameras for a shot. We’re sure that you are very excited to head to this slice of magical life at the heart of Arkansas but before we get down to the things you can do, here are some important things to know first.
- 1 How To Get To Eureka Springs
- 2 Budget For Eureka Springs
- 3 Best Time To Visit Eureka Springs
- 4 Things to Do in Eureka Springs
- 4.1 Visit a futuristic chapel (Thorncrown Chapel)
- 4.2 See The Ozarks’ Strangest Dwelling
- 4.3 Take a look at Pivot Rock Park’s rock formations
- 4.4 Stay in a hotel where every floor is the ground floor (Basin Park Hotel)
- 4.5 See a replica of Rio de Janeiro’s Jesus Sculpture (Christ of the Ozarks)
- 4.6 Watch a passion play (Christ of the Ozarks’ Outdoor Amphitheater)
- 4.7 Climb a 100-feet observation tower (Razorback Tower)
- 4.8 Take in some enchanting views (Castle Rogue’s Manor)
- 4.9 Cross the Little Golden Gate
- 4.10 Go downtown
- 4.11 Take a peaceful walk (Magnolia Trail)
How To Get To Eureka Springs
While it may be in a remote area, don’t get mistaken as Eureka Springs is fairly easy to get to. Of course, before you get to Eureka Springs, you need to get to Arkansas first. There are three airports that you can take to easily access Eureka Springs. There’s the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport which is 50 miles southwest but it will take you long to drive to the Ozarks. The other airports are the Tulsa International Airport and the Springfield/Branson Regional Airport which are over a hundred miles away.
From the airport, we advise that you rent a car to get to Eureka Springs as public transportation to the area is very limited. To get to Eureka Springs via driving, you will need to travel south from Springfield, MO or Branson, Mo. Take the U.S. 65 to U.S. 62 route and then head west. Eureka Springs is about 90 minutes away from Springfield and 45 from Branson.
You may want to leave early as parking is fairly limited in Eureka Springs. Most tourists either walk around the area or they take the available trolley instead. As this is the case, we suggest getting a concierge service from your hotel of choice so you can walk around the city at your leisure.
Budget For Eureka Springs
This is where you’ll need to make ends meet. As it is a tourist destination, expect to bleed your wallet dry in Eureka Springs especially if you are unprepared. For starters, the rooms in the area are around $100 per night. The cheapest you can find will range from at least $50-70. The key is to book the rooms very early.
You’ll also need to set aside at least $150 per head for the attractions in Eureka Springs. As for food, there are wide choices to choose from and you could spend somewhere between $5 to $20 per meal.
Best Time To Visit Eureka Springs
If you are looking for comfort when traveling to Eureka Springs, you should visit in September. During this tme, the temperatures are still very warm. For the temperatures, expects it to be at the mid-70s and the average 80s. What’s even better about visiting during this season is that the rooms are relatively cheaper. Expect to pay around $120 per night on a hotel room which is around $10 cheaper than the usual price.
On the other hand, if you are looking to avoid heavy crowds, you should avoid visiting during the summer as this is the busiest season for tourism in Eureka Springs. More specifically, avoid the Memorial Day week which is from the 24th to 28th. While you won’t have any issues getting rooms during the peak season, you will have a harder time with parking and you’ll likely see crowded streets.
If you are visiting from April-June, make sure to bring an umbrella or anything that can protect you from the rain. It rains an average of 17 days during these months so you want to be prepared at all cost. The good thing is that the rooms could be around $15 cheaper during this time of the year.
These are some of the crucial things you should know before visiting Eureka Springs but now we’ll get to the good parts. While it is a county seat, there are plenty of things to do in Eureka Springs and these will surely get your hearts racing. Here are great things you can do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Things to Do in Eureka Springs
Arkansas may have a lot of places that can provide the best attractions to see and things to do. But among all of those, its Eureka Springs city is one that is more worth talking about. This is due to the fact that it has a lot of hidden gems waiting to be discovered too. In case you need some guide to the best hidden things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas to add to your travel itinerary, you’ve come to the right place. Without further ado, here are some of the surprisingly hidden things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas that you probably didn’t know you can do.
1Visit a futuristic chapel (Thorncrown Chapel)
Eureka Springs actually has a futuristic chapel that you can visit and that is the Thorncrown Chapel. But we’re not talking about the usual futuristic design that will make you think of aliens and the future and so on. Rather, we’re talking about unusually designed chapels that aren’t made of big stones or whatnot like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and other historical churches. Instead, the Thorncrown Chapel is made of glass wit angular beams hanging down the peaked ceiling in perfect symmetry. It has a unique design for a church and because of how it was remarkably designed, it has been granted the National Historic Site Status in 2000. It has won numerous architectural awards as well. It’s not just a nice place to visit but it is also good for weddings. No wonder a lot of people add it to their list of things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and you should do the same too. You won’t regret it.
2See The Ozarks’ Strangest Dwelling
The Quigley’s Castle is one of the popular castle attractions in Eureka Springs. However, it’s not the kind of castle that you’d imagine. Rather, it looks like a mere two-story house with large windows. But what makes people buzz about it is its history. People say that one of its owner, Ms. Quigley demolished their original house while her husband was away so he would help her build the house that we see today made with rocks that Ms. Quigley collected since childhood; probably hence the nickname “Ozarks’ Strangest Dwelling.” You can tour the house and it’s one of the best surprising hidden things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas as you only have to pa6 $6.50 and children under 14 can get in for free. The Quigley’s Castle is open from 8:30 AM to % PM. However they are closed on Sundays and Thursdays.
3Take a look at Pivot Rock Park’s rock formations
Seeing rock formations is also one of the best things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This activity might probably sound boring and nothing unusual at first but visit Pivot Rock Park and you’ll be amazed at the way the rocks were formed. You’ll see huge strangely stacked rocks and some are even stacked like an upside-down pyramid.
No one exactly knows who and how these large rocks were stacked but it is believed that it is one of the works of nature. The park even has a stone bridge that was believed to be naturally made as well. If you want to be amazed by these rock formations, the Pivot Rock Park is found right off of Highway 62 West. Note that to get to the rock formations, you need to pass through the gift shop first and pay an entrance fee of $5 for adults and $1 for children. From there, you can easily reach the formations as it is accessible by paved paths.
4Stay in a hotel where every floor is the ground floor (Basin Park Hotel)
Eureka Springs has a unique hotel, namely the Basin Park Hotel, where every floor is the ground floor which draws a lot of people out of curiosity. But, nope, it’s not a bungalow. Apparently, it has upper floors. But what makes its owners say that every floor is the ground floor is that it has iron catwalks that leads to the mountainside that you can access in case of emergency. This was added after a fire plague its area back in 1890. Today, a newer Basin Park Hotel stands and claims to be fireproof as it is constructed primarily from limestone and dolomite. And it’s also a must-visit if you are looking for some more thrilling adventure as this historic building has its creepy side too. Some guests report that they see entities walking through rooms, children playing in the hallways, and so on. For that reason, several ghost tours are being offered too and if you’re feeling brave, it’s an exciting activity that’s not to be missed too.
5See a replica of Rio de Janeiro’s Jesus Sculpture (Christ of the Ozarks)
When thinking of Rio de Janeiro, many of us think of the huge Jesus sculpture with both arms spread open. Eureka Springs has its own version of that one too. But unlike other Jesus figures, this rep is not as impressive as others but is still worth talking about due to its expressionless face and a weird body structure that resembles a milk carton. Hence, the nickname “Our Milk Carton with Arms.” But it’s the level of your faith that matters, right? It still counts as one of the reason to make the pilgrimage to Eureka Springs. Plus, it has an amphitheater at its base. And speaking of that, if you’re already here, might as well see a passion play.
6Watch a passion play (Christ of the Ozarks’ Outdoor Amphitheater)
At the base of Christ of the Ozarks, you’ll see an outdoor amphitheater where passion plays are performed and it’s also one of the best things to see in Eureka Springs. In fact, it is known as America’s number 1 attended outdoor drama. It’s no surprise, though, as the plays are really well done. One of the popular performances is their portrayal of Jesus Christ’s last days on earth.
7Climb a 100-feet observation tower (Razorback Tower)
If you feel like you want to test or conquer your fear of heights, climb a 100-feet observation tower, the Razorback Tower. Don’t worry if you feel scared of heights as the views up the tower are very rewarding, overlooking the Ozark Mountains. If you don’t feel braving the tower, it’s fine, you can still get to enjoy the place as you visit the Razorback Gift Shop as this isn’t your ordinary gift shop. Inside, you’ll find a bunch off cool stuff to take home as a remembrance or gifts for your loved ones back home such as Ozark quartz, geodes, unique soaps, and more. Keep an eye out the shop’s corner before you cross the street to find some delicious goods too.
8Take in some enchanting views (Castle Rogue’s Manor)
Visiting the Castle Rogue’s Manor is one of the best things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Designed by Smith Treuer, the castle has a nice structure that will leave you in awe. You can tour the castle with a guide available by appointment. But what makes it worth the drive even more is the enchanting views of the White River and Table Rock Lake that you can get to see from the area. It’s definitely one of the best hidden things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas that you will love too.
9Cross the Little Golden Gate
If you haven’t seen the Golden Gate, seeing the Beaver Bridge is one of the best things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas that we can recommend. Built in 1949, this bridge has already witnessed a lot of stories and maybe even significant events in Eureka Springs’ past. But don’t just stop at the bridge and take pictures. Less than a mile down the road, you’ll find the Railway Winery, a small local farm winery where you can even watch the sun spruce up the already beautiful vineyards even more with its golden hues at dawn.
Downtown Eureka Springs has a lot more things to offer than you can imagine too. It is lined with small museums, Victorian buildings, and the Basin Spring Park. There are free Instagram worthy spots too such as the vivid rainbow stairs that connects the upper Spring Street and lower Main Street. In addition to that, there are more fun attractions as well that are great for groups of friends like the Escape Room 13 and going to these places is definitely something that you need to add to your list of things to do I Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
11Take a peaceful walk (Magnolia Trail)
You can also take a peaceful walk and escape the hustle and bustle in the city and it’s also one of the highly-recommended things to do in Eureka Springs, Arkansas that we can suggest. There are many small trails around Eureka Springs that you can take. But among all of these, the Magnolia Trail is a must-visit due to its tranquil atmosphere, much more relaxing than other trails. It is tucked below the Historic Crescent Hotel. It is also a stone throw away from the beautiful St. Elizabeth Catholic Church.