Eureka Springs Arkansas
Nighttime view of the 1892 New Orleans Hotel and Spring Street downtown
Eureka Springs, an Arkansas city with character, both outdoors and underground
The Great Outdoors
A trip to Eureka Springs’ Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is not to be missed. Though most of these big cats (lions, tigers and cougars) aren’t native to Arkansas, or anywhere close, they are at home in recreated habitats, where you can observe them from only three meters away. There are three lakes and two rivers to explore around Eureka Springs, and Belle of the Ozarks boat service cruises over one of them, Beaver Lake, with a leisurely 20-kilometer tour. You’ll pass an Indian burial ground, a wildlife sanctuary and a huge game preserve. Other popular pastimes on the waterways include sailing, swimming and skiing. Skip the mainland and go straight to the sky with Ozark Mountain Zip Lines. A 90-meter-high jag in the air that takes you through the lush Ozark forest above hardwood trees and limestone cliffs.
There’s just as much going on below the Ozark landscape of rolling hills and forests, a whole rich underworld, in fact. The many caves and caverns here are considered “living” because they drip with water and are still evolving, which keeps them cool year-round. Explore this subterranean land full of lakes, mazes and rock formations at Onyx Cave Park, where spelunkers will discover cave creatures, crystals and fossils. Another way to experience the complex cave system is by sleeping in one.
Eureka Springs Treehouses, Caves, Castles and Hobbits is an accommodation like no other, offering lodgings that keep guests underground all night.
Something to Talk About
Eureka Springs has character, for sure, but the characters define the place’s spirit. Like any historic town, Eureka Springs has its legends and lore, which is embodied by Quigley’s Castle, the eccentric home built from scratch by the late Elise Quigley (it must be seen to be believed). Catch a show at the Intrigue Theater, where an illusionist and a medium bring some macabre fun to your night. If that’s not enough, take a ghost tour at the Crescent Hotel, a stylish Victorian-era lodging reported to be the most haunted hotel in the USA.
At St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, instead of using a door, you enter through the bell tower.