Hot Springs National Park is more of a historic town than a park. The town of Hot Springs became famous as early as the 1850’s due to the supposed therapeutic properties of the water. The Caddo, Choctaw, and Cherokee tribes also believed in the medicinal properties of the springs, calling it the “Valley of Vapors.” The water is on average 142 degrees Fahrenheit.
The bathhouses along Bathhouse Row were built between 1911 and 1939 and feature Gilded Age architecture. The Fordyce Bathhouse is now the National Park Visitor Center and the Buckstaff Bath still operates as a bathhouse today.
The town is known for Major League Baseball spring training, where players would immerse themselves in the healing properties of the waters after long nights filled with booze. Gambling, speakeasies, and gangsters like Al Capone frequented the area. The town is also the childhood home of Bill Clinton.
The famous Arlington Hotel, built in 1924, is where New York Giants’ manager John “Mugsy” McGraw was arrested for unlawful gambling. The hotel has hosted many MLB players including Babe Ruth.