Tag Archive: Lake Hamilton


Jet Skiing on Lake Hamilton

Hot Springs has¬†five lakes¬†in the area, with the main three being Lake Ouachita, Hamilton, and Catherine. Each have their own unique qualities and traits about them that sets them apart from the others. But, there is¬†one thing I know that they all¬†have in common, and that is that I would love to ride a jet ski on any and all of them…

¬†Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine are both man-made lakes created¬†by Arkansas Power and Light, Catherine was created in the 1920’s with the building of Remmel Dam, and Hamilton in 1932 with the creation of Carpenter Dam. The forming of these lakes combined with the thermal waters¬†really helped out with tourism in Hot Springs in the early years, and continues to draw people here today. Lake Ouachita is the largest lake within Arkansas’ boundaries encompassing 690 miles of shoreline and 40,000 acres of water. Ouachita is also a very frequented destination for scuba divers around the world, since the lake is so clean. I however, decided to ride the jet ski on Lake Hamilton…and I had a blast!

I hadn’t been on a jet ski, before yesterday, in 15+ years so it felt really good to get back on one. If you’ve never ridden a jet ski, then you definitely need to as soon as possible! Being on a jet ski is such a cool and unique experience because it is relatively small giving you a TON of maneuverability, while not giving up any power or speed. I was speeding by boats left and right while turning on a dime, and being able to get into much shallower water than a boat would. Jet skis are even powerful enough to sling around a loaded tube from the back of it. I’ve seen many people being thrown back forth across the wake of a jet ski, while desperately clinging to their tube!

There are many places to rent boats and watercrafts/toys on and around all the lakes around Hot Springs. I would suggest going to Salty Dog Boat & Jet Ski Rental for any of your Lake Hamilton needs. They’re in a great location and have great service.

In closing, if you haven’t ever ridden a jet ski on the lake, then you aren’t using the lake’s full fun potential. Get out there and do it! Enough said.

Contact: (501) 525-6400, www.saltydogboatingcenter.com

Location: Lake Hamilton, Hot Springs, 71913

Continuing my tour of entertainment and attractions in Hot Springs, I stepped aboard the Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat. I had heard many good comments about the Belle and¬†decided that it definitely sounded like it was “blog-worthy.”

The Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat is a 225 passenger riverboat that takes you across the beautiful waters of Lake Hamilton. The Belle has been making its trek across Lake Hamilton for more than 25 years and is still going strong. It has 3 separate decks, 2 of which are enclosed and climate controlled allowing for a pleasant journey. The Belle also has multiple excursions you can choose from, including a sightseeing cruise, luncheon cruise, sunset dinner and dance cruise (the most popular), and even an ice cream social cruise during the summer months.

I chose to take the sightseeing cruise, which sails daily at 1 pm (also at 3 pm June-mid August). The Captain took us on a 15 mile journey of the lake which lasted a little over an hour. One of the many things I’ve learned this summer is that, if you want to have a good tour, you must have a good personality overseeing and narrating your tour with interesting and helpful information. And luckily, the Belle had just that. The Captain narrating our cruise gave me enough information concerning the history and life of Lake Hamilton and Hot Springs, that I now feel confident to write a book on the city. The Captain also made sure to point out many famous mansions and getaways known to belong to different celebrities, spicing up the tour with some humour along the way.

The Belle’s second deck offered a variety of foods, snacks, and drinks available for purchase at its snack bar, which makes the trip that much more enjoyable. I can’t speak personally for the quality of food served on the dinner cruises (because I was on the sightseeing cruise), however I did get a chance to peek at the menu and it had a very good selection of foods ranging from prime rib to shrimp and crab. But, the food must be good because the Belle even caters to different events going on in the city.

Overall, I had a very enjoyable time aboard the Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat and learned a lot about the lake itself. I am most definitely going to come back again and try one of the other cruises¬†that they¬†offer. The Belle is fun for you whether you’re by yourself or with friends, I would also highly recommend it if you’re looking for a good date activity. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxing and scenic attraction in the Spa City, climb aboard the Belle of Hot Springs, sit back, and take it easy on this fun-filled tour of Lake Hamilton!

Location: 5200 Central Hwy. 7 South, 71913

Contact: www.belleriverboat.com, (501) 525-4438

This past weekend was a first for me…It was the first time I had ever gone to the Blakely Dam on Lake Hamilton. My mom, who is a native of Hot Springs,¬†has always told me stories about the Blakely Dam, saying things like “My friends and I¬†used to dare each other to jump in the cold water.” Well, a few days ago I found out exactly what she was talking about.

Some good friends of our family came down to the Spa City to visit us recently, and even brought their boats so we could all go out on beautiful Lake Hamilton together. My girlfriend and I were excited about getting to go out on the lake and were anxious to jump in the water! That is however, until we jumped in the lake by our house and realized that the temperature of the lake was warmer than bath water. Yeah, not exactly what you would call refreshing on a hot summer’s day with the temperature ranging¬†in the mid 90’s. So, anyway, we swam around for a little while, constantly diving to the bottom to try to get a little cooler, until it was time to get in the boats and head toward the Blakely Dam.

The water was pretty choppy that day because it was the weekend, and during the weekend there are more boats on the water, the more boats there are on the water, the more choppy it becomes. But luckily, as we rode the watery rollercoaster towards the dam, the number of boats started to thin out. And, by the time we were about 5 min away from the dam, there were only a couple of boats within our sight, which meant the lake regained its smooth covering once again.

¬†Now,¬†we come to¬†the part in the story where you could cue in the scary music to start to play. As I looked ahead toward our quickly approaching¬†destination, skinny tendrils of fog began to creep up and around our boat! And, before I knew it, we were plunging bow first into a fog the likes of which¬†I have never seen! Our visibility must have been around 5 feet or so, because we couldn’t even make out the boat we were following. With the horn repeatedly blowing to warn other boats of our location, we made our way slowly through the foggy haze and into a little break in the fog.

After everyone in our group found each other, we all cut the engines and took in our surroundings. With fog rising up against the steep-sided banks and gnarled trees twisting out to touch the water, it really did look like a scene from a scary movie! At this point, everyone was already getting cooled off by the fog and we hadn’t even put a toe to the water yet. Needless to say, I reached down and felt the water with my hand…and was surprised to find that¬†it didn’t come out with icicles covering it! It was by far the coldest water I have ever felt, and growing up splashing around in the Spring river, that’s saying a lot. Well, of course we all had to “man-up” and jump in, and all I can say is, wow. I felt like I was in Alaskan waters!

To summarize my experience when I was at Blakely Dam, I felt like I was in another world. It seemed crazy to me that this was the same lake that I had just swam in a moment ago, and I was complaining because the water was too warm! I would highly recommend going to the Blakely Dam to anyone and everyone! If you are a visitor¬†or native¬†to Hot Springs and you haven’t been to the Blakely Dam, you need get on a boat and experience it for yourself. It is quite the adventure, and if you think you are “man” enough, dive right in…