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Thermal springs aren’t the only popular water in this resort town. In recent years, the city has become known as a recreational hot spot thanks to three lakes on its southern and western edges.

Lake Ouachita, Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine were created by dams on the Ouachita River primarily for hydroelectric purposes. Today, the lakes attract thousands of visitors each year for boating, fishing, camping, hiking and nature watching.

Lake Hamilton is the most popular, with shores that are dotted with lake homes, lodging rentals, marinas and restaurants. One of the most popular features is the Belle of Hot

Springs Riverboat, which offers dining, sightseeing and dinner-dance cruises on the lake.

Lake Catherine includes Lake Catherine State Park, which has boat rentals, boat tours, guided horseback trail rides and guided hikes, as well as a pavilion, camping area and visitor center.

Completed in the 1950s, Lake Ouachita is the newest lake, and at 40,000 acres, it’s also the largest man-made lake in Arkansas. The lake is known for its clarity, inviting divers to explore the water that now covers valleys and ridges of the Ouachita Mountains, and luring fishing enthusiasts to cast their lines into its fish-filled waters.

Part of it, too, is a state park, offering a marina, boat rentals, camping, cabins, wilderness trails and more. Several privately owned resorts dot the shoreline of Lake Ouachita, including a visitor favorite, Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa.

Public Boat Ramps

Great water doesn’t end with Bathhouse Row. Here’s a selection of free boat ramps for spending the day on one of Spa City’s three beautiful lakes.

Lake Catherine

  • Ramp accessible off Arkansas Highway 171 on the lake’s north side near the marina.

Lake Hamilton

  • Sunnybrook Landing, 560 Lakepark Drive
  • Carpenter Dam, 301 Powerhouse Lane
  • Hill Wheatley Park, 688 Majestic Lodge Road

Lake Ouachita

  • Two boat ramps accessible via Lake Ouachita State Park on Arkansas Highway 227.

PLACES TO STAY:

  • Bar Fifty Guest Ranch
  • Brady Mountain Resort & Marina
  • Country Inn & Suites
  • Econolodge Inn & Suites
  • Hamilton House Estate Bed & Breakfast Inn
  • Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina
  • La Quinta Inn & Suites
  • Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
  • Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa
  • Mountain Thyme Bed & Breakfast Inn
  • Quality Inn & Suites
  • South Shore Lake Resort

PLACES TO EAT:

  • Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat
  • Bleu Monkey Grill
  • Gilligan’s on the Lake
  • JavaPrimo Coffee House, Café & More
  • KJ’s Grill
  • Lodge Restaurant at Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa
  • Smyly’s Crab Shack Nightclub & Restaurant

PLACES TO PLAY:

  • Bar Fifty Guest Ranch
  • Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat
  • Brady Mountain Resort & Marina
  • Hot Springs Marina
  • Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina
  • Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa
  • Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

PLACES FOR NIGHTLIFE:

  • Bleu Monkey Grill
  • Smyly’s Crab Shack Nightclub & Restaurant

PLACES TO SHOP:

  • JavaPrimo Coffee House, Café & More
  • Lookout Point Lakeside Inn Gift Shop
  • Mountain Thyme Bed & Breakfast Inn Gift Shop
  • Lake Catherine Family Footwear
  • Thai-Me Spa

PLACES TO RELAX:

  • Thai-Me Spa
  • Turtle Cove Spa