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Eureka Springs: The best kept secret in Northwest Arkansas

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November 21, 2019 By Hannah Ash

Deep in the heart of the Ozark Mountains in Northwest Arkansas lies Eureka Springs, a hidden gem of a town chock full of beautifully preserved Victorian buildings, exciting nightlife, and natural fun for the whole family. Eureka Springs is the perfect vacation destination for those seeking a good time or a quiet escape. From the many community events to the peaceful, secluded lakeside cabins, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Eureka.

One of the most famous attractions in Eureka Springs is the classic Victorian Crescent Hotel & Spa, also known as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel.” The grandiose hotel has garnered national attention and television exposure for its ghost tours, but it is so much more than just a spooky haunt for those seeking a scare. The gorgeously preserved hotel overlooking the quaint historical village is also the perfect setting for a memorable wedding that will stand out in the minds of friends and family alike.

Eureka Springs offers another perfect wedding venue: Thorncrown Chapel. The Chapel is an architectural masterpiece made of glass and wood that looks out upon the endless rolling, wooded hills of the Ozark Mountains. This majestic edifice was designed by renowned architect E. Fay Jones to blend perfectly with its forested setting, and since opening in 1980, it has won numerous awards from the American Institute of Architects.

For those who love exploring nature, or just love a breathtaking view, there are three gorgeous lakes surrounding Eureka, and each packs plenty of outdoor fun for the whole family. Whether it’s fishing, boating, skiing, or just hiking around and enjoying the views, Table Rock, Beaver, and Leatherwood Lakes all offer exciting adventure nestled in scenic Eureka Springs. Guests can rent cabins and lakeside cottages to snuggle up in at night for a stay.

Those seeking a more underground adventure can find what they are searching for in one of Eureka Springs’ unique caverns. Onyx Cave and Cosmic Cavern both offer exciting cave tours that are fun for all ages, where guests can explore the natural wonders of the underground world. With each cave tour, there’s plenty of fun for the whole family, including panning for gems, perusing the gift shops, and checking out the natural cave wildlife.

For those seeking exciting nightlife, Eureka Springs has a great array. Eureka’s downtown entertainment district has plenty of unique and eclectic bars filled to the brim with live music, good drinks, and exuberant dancing. Chelsea’s, a Eureka institution for over 25 years, is proud to host live music five nights a week as “a guaranteed party and a place to dance your cares away,” according to their website. From the classic local haunt “The Rowdy Beaver” to the swanky “The Upstairs,” there is a tasty libation and a lively crowd to suit every guest’s need in this tiny resort town.

For an activity the whole family can enjoy, try visiting Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. This sanctuary for survivors of the exotic pet trade provides lifetime care for big cats and exotic animals and is in high demand. Not only can guests visit the majestic big cats who call the refuge home, but they can also stay in one of the refuge’s many cottages, including the treehouse bungalow, and fall asleep to the sounds of Africa nestled right in the Ozarks. This unique vacation destination is great for all ages because it is filled with fun adventures, but also educates with a lesson in compassion for animals.

Want to plan a visit to Eureka but aren’t sure when to go? Why not pick one of the many community festivals or events happening throughout the year and visit during the one that strikes your fancy! Eureka Springs is host to music festivals, art festivals, car shows, and holiday events galore. During the Bikes Blues & BBQ rally, Eureka is just a scenic ride away and has its own Bikes & Bluegrass festival for guests to enjoy away from all the hoopla in the main NWA event area. During Mardi Gras, Eureka is the place to be, being home to the largest Mardi Gras celebration in Northwest Arkansas. During the Christmas season, guests are warmly welcomed into the beautifully restored Victorian homes of locals during the annual Tour of Homes.

One event, the May Festival of the Arts, really sets Eureka Springs apart as a nationally recognized art destination. The month-long festival celebrates and showcases the town’s historic arts village, powered by over 350 artists. Art in all media is presented through one-of-a-kind exhibits and performances, from live music to culinary arts, sculpture to oil painting, all throughout the town. The festival culminates and peaks during the White Street Walk—a wild party throughout the town thrown by artists, for artists. Guests can walkabout through the homes of artists living in the village for a unique and personal art-viewing experience.

Eureka Springs is easily one of the best-kept secrets of Northwest Arkansas. Filled with art, culture, music, dancing, and great food, all set against the gorgeous natural backdrop of the Ozark Mountains, Eureka Springs makes for the perfect vacation destination packed with fun for everyone.


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