Travel to Hot Springs, Arkansas for History, Natural Beauty and Relaxation

With a population fewer than 40,000 Hot Springs, Arkansas has much more to offer than you would expect from a small town. Museums, parks, lakes, concerts, hiking trails, art galleries, antique shops, an amazing botanical garden on Lake Hamilton, and numerous outstanding restaurants make a trip to the hot water city relaxing and memorable.

Hot Springs is the only city in the United States that encompasses a national park. Within Hot Springs National Park alone you can visit the Fordyce Bathhouse Museum and Visitor’s Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Gangster Museum of America and the Mountain Tower. Before leaving the park stroll past bathhouse row and up to the Grand Promenade where you can see many of the 43 thermal springs including several that are uncovered and flowing 143ยบ F water. If you happen to be a phycologist you are in for a treat as Trelease’s Blue-green Algae can be found near several of these open springs. This is the only place in the United States it has been found so take a long look. Want 25 more miles of Hot Springs National Park? Great, then get back to nature hiking marked trails where you can make your way to Gulpha Gorge Campground for a night or two of camping. Finish the park with a scenic drive up Hot Springs Mountain and then to West Mountain for outstanding views of the city, lakes, and national forest.

For nature outside the national park try camping at one of the State Parks on Lake Ouachita. Most sites have power for your camping trailer or RV. Tent camping is also great if you don’t go in the hottest part of summer. Lake Ouachita is the largest lake in Arkansas and it is one of the clearest and cleanest. Boats are for rent at the marinas for water skiing, fishing, or just touring the lake. Hiking trails along the lake make for a great back to nature moment. The ranger’s lecture schedule is usually posted and is a treat especially if you have kids. If camping is not an option rent a 2 or 3 bedroom cabin at Lake Ouachita State Park. Most of these cabins have a basic kitchen and air conditioning. Check with State Park websites for details. If you would rather visit the lake but not sleep there, you are in luck as Hot Springs has an abundance of Hotels for most budgets. If your visit is for a week or more you might think about renting a condo on Lake Hamilton. While near Lake Hamilton make sure you visit Garvan Woodland Gardens, Arkansas’ premier botanical garden also located on Lake Hamilton.

Now that you have a place to stay and are done with visiting the national park and nature you are ready for other Hot Springs’ attractions. Magic Springs Theme Park and Crystal Falls Water Park will provide the kids with a fun packed day. Mid-America Science Museum houses the world’s largest conical Tesla coil and it has lots of kid friendly educational displays. Other attractions include the Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo, the magic of Maxwell Blade, the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum, and a cruise on the Belle Riverboat. If you’re in town between January and April you may want to check out Oaklawn Park to watch the ponies run.

Hot Springs has some great restaurants to fill the gaps between attractions. BBQ is king in Hot Springs. There are quite a few good BBQ restaurants. It’s hard to find a bad one because with so many good ones the bad ones can’t last long. For outstanding pizza that is far from typical try the Godfather pizza at Rod’s Pizza Cellar. Find other good established restaurants by asking the locals then for dessert wash it all down with some Gelato at Dolce Gelato.

When planning your next vacation give Hot Springs, Arkansas a try especially if you haven’t been there in the last few years. If you go chances are you will be back. With so many unique museums, attractions, and surrounding nature you won’t be able to see it all on the first trip.

Car Insurance Requirements for Resident Drivers in Arkansas

Arkansas drivers must carry minimum automobile insurance before they can travel on the highways. The department that is responsible for motor vehicles will verify vehicles that are purchased and registered in the state of Arkansas. They will attempt to verify the auto insurance of the vehicle and see if it meets the minimum requirement of Arkansas law. Arkansas requires all residents to carry auto liability insurance including bodily injury, all injuries and property damage insurance. The minimum requirement for bodily injury insurance is $25,000. The liability insurance requirement for all persons involved in the accident is $50,000. The property damage liability insurance is $25,000.

If you are driving a rental car, you also must make sure that it is covered with car insurance. Many credit card companies offer rental car insurance. You can call and check with your credit card company to see if they offer insurance for your rental car. The state of Arkansas requires drivers without auto coverage from credit card companies to carry the rental agreement from the rental company. The rental agreement should specify information about the auto insurance coverage for the rental cars.

In Arkansas, drivers are not required to purchase the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Although uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required, the state of Arkansas recommends drivers to purchase them. Many motorists that travel on the highway are uninsured. There are also a large number of drivers that are underinsured in Arkansas. To prevent the financial disaster, you should get an uninsured/underinsured coverage from the local insurance company.

The state of Arkansas permits exclusion of insurance coverage for family members that share the same car under one household. The auto insurance company can exclude a person from the household from the auto insurance coverage. This type of coverage is called household or family exclusion coverage.

Drivers must insure their vehicles at all times. If the auto insurance coverage has expired, you must quickly renew it otherwise the officials will suspend your driving license. Most auto insurance companies in Arkansas evaluate the risk of policy buyers by checking the personal credit history. The personal credit history is not the only factor that the auto insurance company used to determine the rate. When you receive the insurance quote, you will be informed about other factors that influence the rate.

Arkansas is not a no fault state. Instead, it is a Tort state. Due to this fact, the person who causes the accident will pay for the damage cost. Therefore, companies in Arkansas suggest drivers to buy a higher automobile insurance coverage.

Wine Travel – Arkansas Wine Country

Over 135 years ago, many German-Swiss immigrants traveled well into the south central United States to stake their claim. And back in the 1870’s, the beautiful Ozark Mountain area of northwestern Arkansas seemed an appropriate place to begin. Rolling mountains, while not quite the height or splendor of the Swiss Alps, offered a reminder of home.

And so, a large German-Swiss settlement blossomed in the west/northwest area of Arkansas, “The Natural State”. Now, almost a century and a half later, this European influence is still felt in a unique area of the state, roughly between Little Rock in the state’s center and Fort Smith, at its’ western boundary. Not far off of Interstate I-40, about 50 minutes east of Fort Smith, you’ll find Arkansas Wine Country.

Traveling west/northwest out of Little Rock (actually, North Little Rock) on Interstate 40, it’s about 140 miles to the heart of Arkansas wine country. As you travel outside of Little Rock, you’ll notice the topography changing … lush valleys and rolling mountains … a perfect subclimate for grape growing and wine making. Approximately two hours outside of Little Rock on Interstate 40, look for exit 41, Arkansas Route 186. Go south about five miles on 186 and you’ll enter the charming and historic town of Altus, heart of Arkansas wine country and home to four area wineries. Let’s take a closer look.

Chateau Aux Arc Vineyards and Winery: Directly on Rt. 186, actually just two miles off I-40 and before you reach the town of Altus,is Chateau Aux Arc, the world’s largest propagator of Cynthiana grapes. Be sure to check out their gorgeous tasting room, situated on top of St. Mary’s mountain. Enjoy the view of the Arkansas River Valley while you taste the fruit of Chateau Aux Arc’s labor.

Mount Bethel Winery: Three generations of the Post family have proudly guided this beautiful historic winery. Just 1/4 mile east of the town of Altus, Mount Bethel Winery offers a full selection of reds, whites, and fruit wines. Since Arkansas is a renowned fruit producer, we decided to try the Elderberry and Blackberry wines, both produced from fruit grown and hand picked by the Post family. Both were sweet, tangy, and quite enjoyable. Mount Bethel is also renowned for their port wine, Big Daddy Port.

Post Familie Vineyards and Winery: On to downtown Altus, where one block north on Rt. 186 stands the Post Familie Vineyards and Winery. They say the scenery in this area is just as beautiful as Napa Valley and we wouldn’t disagree! Post Familie is known for their muscadine wines (a southern specialty), as well as a very nice Pinot Grigio.

Wiederkehr Wine Cellars: A pioneer in the U.S. wine industry (Wiederkehr is Bonded Winery #8), Wiederkehr Wine Cellars is an introduction to the Swiss winemaking heritage. Housed in an Alpine lodge, Wiederkehr offers 45 minute winery and cellar tours for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into winemaking. We enjoyed a German-Swiss lunch in their onsite restaurant, the Weinkeller Restaurant. As for wine, try Wiederkehr’s deliciously dry Johannisberg Riesling or their unique, crisp Verdelet, a white wine made from a French developed grape variety.

Cowie Wine Cellars and Museum: Our last stop takes us to the smallest winery in Arkansas, Cowie Wine Cellars and Museum. Located three miles west of Paris, Arkansas on scenic Rt. 22, Cowie Wine Cellars is a must stop, not just to taste and buy their wines, but also to see their museum, dedicated to the art of Arkansas winemaking and Arkansas wineries.

The Wine Museum traces Arkansas wine history through the last 130 years. Be sure to see the original wine press and other historic winemaking artifacts. Interestingly, this is the only museum in the United States dedicated solely to the wine history of one state. A new branch of the museum was recently opened in Hot Springs, a popular tourist stop further south in the state.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is an extraordinary travel destination in the USA. Visited by thousands of visitors around the globe, this beautiful place is best known for its rich history, magnificent Victorian homes, and the trolley tour that take visitors around the city. One of the most popular tourist attractions in the area is the elegant, 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa. Situated downtown in the historic city, this wonderful hotel is popular for the vibrant history that surrounds it and makes it worth a visit. As you enter the soaring hotel building, you can experience the old charm of the Victorian era.

The best way to tour this historic city is to take a horse drawn carriage ride. In case you are not interested in the traditional carriage ride, you can choose the trolley ride to tour the city. The trolley services are extremely inexpensive and are best suited for those who are traveling on a strict budget. One trolley ride pass costs just $2, a full day pass costs $4, and a 2-day pass merely $6. However, if you buy the 2-day pass, you are required to use it on 2 consecutive days. If you are traveling with kids, traveling become cheaper, with the trolley passes for kids charging just $1 per ride.

Special tram tours are also available but are a bit pricey. These trams function on a daily basis from March 4 to October 30. In November, the service is made available Thursday through Monday, while in December, it operates on a limited schedule. You can also opt for the special narrated tram tours. The detailed information regarding the trolley and tram tours can be obtained either at the visitor information center or in free travel guides available online.

Another major point of tourist interest in Eureka Springs is the Opera in the Ozarks. The productions are stupendous and exceptionally talented artists travel to the area just to take part in this grand opera festival. During every season, three foremost operas are performed here-two in English and the third one in the respective regional language. Eureka Springs has a lot more to offer and is certainly an ideal holiday destination in the USA.