Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a charming town in the Ozark Mountains, perfect for a weekend getaway. With beautiful scenery and a quaint, historic downtown, it’s no wonder that this town is a popular tourist destination.
Eureka Springs is an excellent destination with lots of history, natural beauty, and exciting activities. My husband and I visited in the fall and found plenty of things to do in this small town, and you can easily walk to most of the attractions. Here’s how to make the most of your time in Eureka Springs.
We were provided lodging and some meals and activities during our visit to Eureka Springs. All opinions are my own.
Things To Do In Eureka Springs
1. Take The Eureka Springs Tram Tour
Get an overview of the town and its history on the narrated tram tour. The tour takes you past hundreds of old homes and historic buildings. You will also see the healing springs that date back to the late 1800s and made Eureka Springs famous. Lasting approximately 90 minutes, the tram tour is a great way to become familiar with different things in the town and figure out what you want to revisit.
Another option is the trolley. It stops at various locations throughout town, and is an easy and inexpensive way to get around the area if you don’t want to walk.
2. Admire The Architecture
Various styles of architecture, from “Gothic Revival” to “Queen Anne,” are sprinkled throughout the town. Architectural Digest reports Eureka Springs is recognized as having one of “the largest collection of unspoiled Victorian houses in the central United States.”
During your tram tour, or while walking around the historic district, take time to admire the beautiful architecture and feel like you are taking a few steps back in time.
3. View The Art
There are numerous art galleries in the small town of Eureka Springs. As you explore the town, be sure to stop in and check out the local works of art.
4. Shop Unique Boutiques
Shop ‘til you drop at one of the many unique boutiques in downtown Eureka Springs. You can find plenty of souvenirs in the charming and quirky shops lining the district’s sloping streets. You will find stores selling unique foods, soaps, socks, sweets, and various other items.
We spent an afternoon shopping. My favorite stores were the sock store, the nut house, and the soap stores.
5. See The Christ Of The Ozarks Statue
A modern statue of Jesus stands 65.5 feet tall on Magnetic Mountain and looks down on the town and surrounding area of Eureka Springs. The statue and the view of the town and countryside are stunning when you visit Christ of the Ozarks.
6. Watch The Great Passion Play
The Great Passion Play is offered near the Christ of the Ozarks Statue from the spring season through the fall season. It is “America’s #1 Attended Outdoor Drama,” according to the Institute of Outdoor Theater and Drama at East Carolina University at Greenville.
Hosted in an outdoor amphitheater, it features a multi-level set, live animals, special lighting and sound effects, and over 100 biblically-costumed cast members create the thrilling and epic drama of Jesus Christ’s last days on earth.
7. Visit Thorncrown Chapel
Noted as one of the most beautiful chapels in America, Thorncrown Chapel is a remarkable structure just 3 miles from downtown Eureka Springs. The Chapel is 48 feet tall, standing amongst the trees in the woods. A true sight to behold, the structure consists of 6,000 square feet of glass and is one of America’s most photographed buildings.
8. Ride The Train
Ride the scenic Eureka Springs and Northwest Arkansas Railway through the Ozark Mountains. The Excursion Train is narrated and takes you on an hour ride, or ride in the Eurekan Dining Car to taste recipes from 100 years ago on the 2-hour trip. It is another chance to go back in time to when locomotive transportation was king.
Pro Tip: It’s only available April through early October.
9. Explore The Caves
The Onyx Cave is Arkansas’s oldest Show Cave. Onyx is a small cave located 6 miles east of Eureka Springs. You can enjoy this mysterious cave at your own pace with a headset that provides a self-guided tour.
Located near Beaver Lake, War Eagle Cavern is a seasonal attraction offering cave tours, a children’s maze, and gem panning. If you are the adventurous type, they also offer spelunking tours.
Speaking of the underground, consider taking an Underground Eureka Springs tour to learn the hidden secrets of downtown Eureka Springs.
10. Visit Eureka Springs Historical Museum
Learn how Eureka Springs became a Victorian health spa and so much more. The Eureka Springs Historical Museum will educate and entertain with various permanent and temporary exhibits.
11. Check Out The Views From Inspiration Point Overlook
Gorgeous panoramic vistas can be found all over Eureka Springs, but the view from Inspiration Point Overlook is absolutely spectacular. A cliff sitting 550 feet above the White River provides breathtaking views of the Ozark landscape.
12. Explore Beaver Lake
A 32,000-acre water playground, Beaver Lake, located approximately 30 miles west of downtown Eureka Springs, is the perfect place to bike, hike, swim, dive, fish, paddle, boat, and more.
13. Take A Ghost Tour
Ghost tours are offered at various hotels across the town. We stayed at the Crescent Hotel and participated in an evening ghost tour within the hotel when we visited. It was a fun way to learn the spooky history of the hotel and the ghosts who supposedly roam the halls. (I did not see or feel any spirits while there.)
The tour was fascinating and educational. We were there two nights before Halloween, so a great time to enjoy some ghost stories. It is a must-do activity when visiting Eureka Springs.
The Basin Hotel is also thought to be haunted and hosts “Paranormal Investigations.”
Pro Tip: The whole town celebrates Halloween. Every place is decorated. Halloween weekend is one of their busiest times. So if you plan to visit near the holiday, be sure to make your reservations far in advance.
14. Visit The Springs
The town became famous because of its springs. The natural springs are said to have healing properties. Although they are cold springs, they are thought to be therapeutic, and the water is heated for use in the spas located throughout the town. Basin Spring Park is where the original spring is located. It also features benches to sit and relax.
15. Go Mountain Biking
Some of the state’s best mountain biking trails can be found in Eureka Springs. There are a variety of trails for all skill levels. Many of the trails are downhill and provide shuttle services back up the mountain.
16. Visit The Spas
Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a massage or soak in a tub of water thought to have healing benefits. The famous spring water is pumped throughout the town. It is heated and used in various spas for therapeutic benefits. I visited the New Moon Spa at the Crescent Hotel when I was in Eureka Springs. The Basin Hotel has a 1905 Spa, and the old Palace Hotel is now a hotel and bathhouse with spa facilities.
Restaurants In Eureka Springs
17. Rogue’s Manor Restaurant And Lodging
Located on Spring Street near the historic Sweet Spring, Rogue’s Manor features fine dining and a unique lounge. Lots of locals were eating and drinking there when we visited.
We enjoyed a special intimate dinner at Rogue’s Manor. I ordered the pork tenderloin with a sweet apple relish. It was so tender and delicious. The food and service were excellent.
18. Crystal Dining Room
We enjoyed breakfast at the Crystal Dining Room in the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. They were only open for breakfast and weekend evenings when we visited due to COVID-19 issues. But I’m told they are open for both breakfast and dinner now.
Learn about other dining options in Fantastic Restaurants To Try In Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Hotels In Eureka Springs
19. 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
This historic hotel is located on a hill above downtown and offers beautiful views of the Ozark Mountains. It looks like a hotel out of a movie or fairy tale as you drive up the mountain. It has been featured in a few films and TV shows.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is supposedly haunted, which is a big draw for many. They offer ghost tours and a variety of activities for all ages at the hotel. We stayed at the Crescent Hotel when we visited Eureka Springs.
20. The Basin Park Hotel
The 1905 Basin Park Hotel is in a prime downtown location. Guests can walk to the cafes, bistros, galleries, shops, and night spots. The Hotel features the Balcony Bar and Restaurant with views of Spring Street and Basin Spring Park.
21. Oak Crest Cottages & Treehouses
You might enjoy the Oak Crest Cottages & Treehouses for a unique stay. It’s located a short drive from the historic shopping district and only minutes from the Passion Play.
There are dozens of bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the town.
Looking for a fantastic weekend getaway, look no further than Eureka Springs. This charming town has plenty of activities to keep you busy, as well as delicious food and comfortable places to stay. Whether you’re interested in ghost tours, shopping, or spa treatments, we guarantee you won’t be bored. Eureka Springs is definitely worth a visit!
If you just can’t get enough of Eureka Springs’ healing energy, check out these stories: