Tag Archive: Spa City

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


Duck Tours

So, I finally gave in and did it…I rode a Duck. It seems like every time I get on the road I have at least 2 Duck sightings, and they are almost invariably packed full of people! So, I decided it was about time to get on a Duck, and see what they were all about…

For those of you who don’t know, riding a Duck in Hot Springs, although it may sound like it, doesn’t pertain to anything bizarre going on with animals and is  not gonna get you arrested for animal cruelty. The Duck Tours in Hot Springs are one of the most popular and best ways to have some fun while learning a little bit about the city. A Duck, originally called a DUKW by the Army, is an old WWII amphibious vehicle developed by the U.S to deliver cargo and troops from sea, directly to shore. The DUKWs were crucial in several battles during WWII and were also used in the Korean War. Today, the Ducks as the National Park Duck Tours calls them, are used in Hot Springs to give people a unique way to tour the city!

Upon stepping onto the Duck, I was prepared for an hour and a half of swimming in my own sweat, but it actually wasn’t near as bad as I thought. The Duck’s big and tall frame coupled with its wide open sides allows for passengers to get the most out of the cool breezes that blow across the lake, creating a fairly comfortable climate.

The tour guide, or captain as they are called, boarded the Duck and we were finally off. Our Captain, who was hilarious, reminded me of a cross between Bill Engvall in looks, and Larry the Cable Guy in his sense of humour. Mixed in with the humour however were many interesting facts about the city and its history. Whether I was lost in the beautiful scenery or laughing at jokes the Captain was making, I was entertained for the entirety of the trip.

The tour really took on a unique twist when the Captain turned the Duck towards the lake and, just like they were made to do…drove right in! Yes, the Duck Tour takes you across Hot Springs by land and water. While I think it’s top speed on the water is probably 2.5 mph, it was still exciting to be on the water in a vehicle with wheels!

Riding a Duck is a very unique experience and is something I would recommend to anyone visiting Hot Springs. I really enjoyed this experience and look forward to more in the future!

Location: 418 Central Avenue (Across from the historic Bath House Row)

Contact: (501) 321-2911, www.rideaduck.com

So, what better thing to do in Hot Springs to highlight some unique attractions around the city than by going trophy fishing with a legit guide? Well, the answer is nothing…That’s why I chose to tag along with Captain John T. Hall as he went out on one of his famed trophy striper fishing expeditions.

My day started by waking up well before dawn, at 3:15 am. Needless to say, I’m not much of a morning person, so waking up this early was only going to happen for a chance to catch some trophy fish. Mr. Hall’s other customer for the day, Dave Wallace, and I were met by Mr. Hall and his tricked out fishing boat at 4:00 am at a McDonald’s fairly close to where we were going to be putting in. As soon as I met John T. Hall I knew it was going to be a good day. Mr. Hall’s old school personality and way of doing things was original and energizing, which is much-needed when you are up that early in the morning.

We saw a multitude of animals on our way to the lake, including many deer. When we made it to Lake Ouachita Mr. Hall backed his boat into the water, and drove his truck back up to the parking lot. Once we were all settled into the boat, we were off. We went to the first spot of the day, one of John’s “honey holes” as he calls them, which was in fact right beside the Blakely Dam (if you don’t know about the Blakely Dam, feel free to read what I thought of my experience while I was there). Mr. Hall loaded up 7 rods and reels with some live shad (I’m sad to say the shad that we were using as bait were about the same size as a fish I would’ve caught on my own), cast them into the dark water, and thus begun our waiting game.

We didn’t have to wait too long before one of the rods began to dip low in the water and let out line furiously! Mr. Hall yelled to Dave to grab the rod and reel like his life was at stake. After a hard-fought battle, Dave’s fish finally breached the surface, a 12 pound monster over 2 feet long, where it was netted by Mr. Hall’s oversized net, big enough to fit two of me inside it. From that point on, we did some major damage to the school of fish surrounding our boat, as we hauled in 4 more fish, all weighing over 10 pounds.

The fishing itself was pretty uneventful after that as we moved to a few different “honey holes” which didn’t prove to be as sweet as the first. Although the fish throughout the rest of the day weren’t keeping us entertained, Mr. Hall did a great job making sure we weren’t bored. Whether it be through one of his many stories, feeding the blue heron with some dead shad, or giving us historical information and facts about the lake, Mr. John kept us interested when there was no fish activity. He even provided complimentary drinks and snacks aboard his vessel.

I would definitely go on another fishing trip with Mr. John T. Hall, and guarantee that anyone with him would have a great time on the lake with him, fish or no fish. But, with somebody who previously held the state record for striper, a ginormous 53 pounds, the latter is almost a given.

Location: 120 Waggoner Hot Springs, 71913

Contact: (501) 622-9972, www.fishing-boating.com/trophy-striper/

The Spa City Uncovered

So, this is officially my first ever blog entry and I am pumped! The purpose of this blog is to let people know what Hot Springs truly has to offer…

If you live in Arkansas or its surrounding areas then you are probably familiar with Hot Springs aka the Spa City. On the same token, when you think of Hot Springs, the first thoughts to pop into your head are probably things like “Old people, retirement community and slow driving” or “Kid oriented, children and family fun.” I thought the exact same thing 3 years ago before I moved here. But in these 3 short years I’ve learned otherwise. I’ve changed my opinion of the Spa City and I am here to change yours as well.

This summer my main goal is to change this “strictly old people or families only” perception of Hot Springs. Even though the Spa City has cultivated a reputation as a great place to retire or a great place to bring your family on vacation, Hot Springs has many fun and exciting things to do for young adults (20-30 year olds) as well. And that is exactly my purpose/goal for the summer, I want to increase awareness of all the thrilling and entertaining things there are to do in this city for this sometimes neglected demographic. And, in order to do so, I will be visiting and experiencing many of the different businesses/events that Hot springs has to offer to the young adult crowd and blogging about what I find. There are many diverse businesses/events going on around this town that are exciting, entertaining, thrilling and down right fun for young people to experience yet remain undiscovered by the majority of the public.

So, all that’s left for me to do is to get out there and start experiencing the various and enthralling activities that Hot Springs has to offer and to keep you posted on my discoveries!