We spent this past weekend right near beautiful Lake Ouachita in Arkansas.
This lake is perfect for a weekend getaway from Dallas, just a five hour road trip away.
It’s one of the cleanest lakes in America, so you can be sure that it’s going to be stunning when you visit.
Even though we went on a cloudy weekend, you could still see the beauty of the lake as powerful clouds covered the sky.
We chose Lake Ouachita, and specifically Hot Springs, AR, as a meeting point.
We wanted to meet our friends halfway from Memphis- and even though this “halfway” mark is a whole lot closer to Memphis, I chose it because of its beauty.
Turns out, it was a great choice!
Here are seven things to do when visiting Lake Ouachita.
1. Go hiking
Lake Ouachita State Park is filled with trees, lake views, and trails. We hiked the trail from the visitors center that loops around the peninsula.
From the observation deck at the top of the peninsula, you can see the stunning lake view captured in the last photo below.
It’s a rocky hike that has a few ups and downs and an incredible view of the lake.
You can always cut back using the service road if it gets to be too tough or if you need to save time.
2. Go boating
This is the number one thing you should do on Lake Ouachita! There are multiple marinas around Lake Ouachita since it is so huge, but these photos are from the Lake Ouachita State Park Marina.
You can rent a canoe, kayak, fishing boat, small motor boat, pontoon, and more from the marina.
Just keep in mind that for any boat- except for the kayak, canoe, and paddle boat- a boating license is required per Arkansas law.
Once you have the license in hand, get out on the water- go fishing, tubing, jet skiing. Because what better activity to do an a lake than go boating?
3. Go camping
While this wouldn’t have been very feasible/comfortable for us in the rain, typically there is excellent camping at Lake Ouachita.
Using the park website, you can easily reserve your spot. It is just $12 to reserve, so it’s definitely a cost-effective way to live!
You can reserve your camping site here.
If tent living is not for you, there are cabins available on the park website as well!
4. Rent an AirBNB
Though I love the idea of camping, I know that I totally romanticize it and would actually be much happier indoors.
Renting an AirBNB is usually my go-to rental option.
Affordable, great for groups, and usually in a prime location, AirBNB is the way to go.
We stayed at a particularly awesome AirBNB in Hot Springs Village, where we got this incredible view of the mountains!
AirBNB is a fantastic way to explore a city like a local.
They are also perfect for groups, since you can stay in a place with multiple rooms and a shared living space.
Our hosts, Mel and Lynette, were the kindest human beings, who actually cooked us a hot breakfast in the morning and took us on a hike through their property.
Though there aren’t AirBNB options on Lake Ouachita, if you want a lake view, there are some options at nearby Lake Hamilton.
5. Explore Hot Springs
Going to Hot Springs, you’ll find a fun bits and pieces of history as you walk down the main street.
There are multiple bath houses lined along the town, which is known for its hot springs (the town is named fittingly!)
The town gets its name from the hot springs that run underneath it. The natural springs are at 143 degrees Fahrenheit and are rumored to have healing powers!
The eight bathhouses on Bathhouse Row were constructed in the late 19th century and have since been maintained so that they are still up and running.
Besides the hot springs, Hot Springs has a colorful gangster and baseball history, you can learn more about it here!
There are also plenty of shops and restaurants to entertain you. Some of the best fajitas I’ve ever had were from Rolando’s, right on the main road.
6. Golf at Hot Springs Village
If you’re into golf, Hot Springs Village offers great golfing. It’s actually the largest gated community in America! You’re bound to enjoy one of the holes out at Hot Springs Village.
7. Mountains & mining nearby
You can go through the surrounding areas and see some incredible views.
My friend recommended Mount Ida to me, where there is a lake at the top of the mountain.
She explained that nearby you can go crystal mining as well.
We would’ve explored more if we had the time and if the weather wasn’t stormy, but that’ll have to be for a future trip and later blog post!
Have fun at Lake Ouachita!
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