Tucked into the mountainsides of the Ozark Mountains in Northwestern Arkansas, the tiny Victorian town of Eureka Springs welcomes over 750k visitors each year.
Tourists flock to Eureka Springs from all over the globe to explore the town, seeking out the healing waters, and unwind in the beautiful scenery that surrounds the area.
Eureka Springs is a historic Victorian resort town that you do not want to miss!
We’ve got 12 of the best things to do and see when you visit. Let’s dive in.
About Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs is a small, eclectic mountain town in the Ozarks of northwestern Arkansas. Often referred to as “Little Switzerland of the Ozarks”, this unique Victorian town manages to charm everyone who visits.
Designed with Victorian houses and buildings built into the mountainside, with steep hills and even steeper ravines, each block in this town is built on a different level of the mountain which makes it challenging to explore on foot. But, totally worth it!
Eureka Springs has a very interesting history. Founded in 1879, the town was originally created because of the “miraculous, healing waters” found in the hundreds of springs flowing in and around the town.
Before white settlers found Eureka Springs, the area and the springs were believed to be used by Native Americans for healing. The springs in and around Eureka Springs were believed to be filled with healing properties and have been attracting tourists for hundreds of years. The waters even gained national recognition with the founding of Ozarka Bottling Company, which still manufactures bottled water to this day.
12 Best Things To Do In Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs should be on everyone’s bucket list. This charming mountain town has steep and winding streets, staircases between city blocks, a huge shopping district, tons of history, and breathtaking Victorian architecture throughout.
Note: You cannot drink the spring water in Eureka Springs. It is no longer safe to drink, but beautiful to look at!
Check Out Basin Springs Park
Start out your Eureka Springs visit in the heart of it all: at Basin Spring Park. Located in downtown Eureka Springs and home to Basin Spring, the legendary spring that is said by Native American healers to have healing properties.
Basin Spring Park has a fountain that pumps the water from the original spring up on the mountain. Behind the amphitheater is a short hiking trail to the top, where you can get a peek into the original spring.
During peak season, Basin Spring Park is home to many activities including shows, farmers markets, and more.
Get a Bite and Drink at the Basin Park Hotel Balcony Bar and Restaurant
Right next to Basin Spring Park is the Basin Park Hotel. The hotel has a bar and restaurant located on a balcony overlooking downtown Eureka Springs.
This is the perfect place to get a bite and take a break. Menu items are moderately priced and include everything from burgers to baked potatoes, with gluten-free and vegetarian options as well. You can also choose from a variety of drinks, including craft beer on tap from Eureka Brewing Company.
Check out Historical Downtown
Now that you’ve seen the park and gotten a bite to eat, be sure to stroll the downtown area. Downtown Eureka Springs has several blocks of shopping and sightseeing.
From crystal stores, hippie stores, psychic readings, reiki healing, and more, any new-age enthusiast will be like a kid in a candy shop here.
But that’s not all you’ll find in Eureka Springs. There are candy stores, magic stores, outdoor-wear stores, bakeries, art galleries, and so much more. Eureka Springs is a very eclectic town full of hippies and artists – and you’ll find plenty of that here!
Take a Ghost Tour at the Crescent Hotel
The entire town of Eureka Springs is considered to be haunted. The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka Springs is a mountain-top spa resort with a dark and fascinating history. Crescent Hotel has been referred to as the most haunted hotel in the United States.
This breathtaking, towering hotel was once used as a cancer hospital, where a phony doctor took in many patients promising to cure them of cancer with his special elixirs. But the elixirs and the doctor were fake, and many people lost their lives in a very painful way in this very building.
The Crescent Hotel offers ghost tours where you will learn more about the history of the building and countless people who have had paranormal experiences. You will even get to see the morgue in the basement, where the bodies were stored many, many years ago.
Ghost Adventures did an investigation at the Crescent Hotel, you can see the episode and learn more here.
Grab a Beer at Eureka Springs Brewery
Eureka Springs is a tiny town, but they have their own brewery! Located on Highway 62 on the edge of town, stop into ESB to relax and see what they have on tap.
Get a Massage at Eureka Springs Mind Body Spirit
All that walking around the steep and rugged terrain that Eureka Springs is built on is sure to make your feet sore. Stop into Mind Body Spirit and get a massage to refresh you for more exploring!
The Blue Spring Heritage Center
Blue Spring is the largest spring in Northwest Arkansas, producing over 38 million gallons of water each day! The water flows into a crystal clear turquoise lagoon and is located just outside of Eureka Springs.
The Blue Spring Heritage Center is a visitor center and developed around the springs for visitors to come and learn about the area, and peer into the beautiful blue waters.
Check Out the Various Springs Around Town
There are upwards of 60 natural springs in the town of Eureka Springs, with hundreds more in the surrounding area. The water flowing from these springs is crystal clear and cold – but don’t drink it!
Although the water used to be safe to drink, the town has been battling with pollution so this water is unsafe to drink. But beautiful to look at!
Many of the springs in and surrounding the town are worth exploring. Here’s an article about a springs trail you can follow through town – and you can access many by car, as well!
Visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is located about 8-10 minutes outside of Eureka Springs. This wildlife refuge is on a mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and protect big cats. But they also have a variety of other exotic animals – including lions, tigers, and bears. This is a really cool place to see out in the Ozarks of Arkansas.
Check Out Thorncrown Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel is a beautifully constructed chapel outside of Eureka Springs built into the woods of the Ozark Mountains. This chapel has gone viral on social media many times and is a popular wedding destination.
If there isn’t a ceremony going on, tourists are free to visit the chapel at any time.
Snap Pics at Pivot Rock and Natural Bridge
Pivot Rock and Natural Bridge is an unusual natural formation with a large rock that seems to balance on its tip, and a natural bridge formed out of a rock.
This is a cool location to stop off and snap pictures while exploring more of the area.
Eureka Springs Historical Museum
The coolest part about Eureka Springs is its history. If you’re a history buff, be sure to stop at the Eureka Springs Historical Museum to learn all about this charming town’s past!
Eureka Springs is a Must See
An eclectic, haunted, victorian mountain town might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Arkansas… but hopefully now it is!
Eureka Springs is a must-see and a perfect place to spend a vacation.