Top 10 Things to Do in Eureka Springs – The Best Kept Secret of the South

Eureka Springs, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, is a place where nature’s beauty meets history.

Imagine walking through streets lined with Victorian houses, each telling its own story, or exploring nature, where every turn brings a new adventure.

Today, I will list the top 10 things to do in this magical mountain village, highlighting why each activity is a must-try for visitors of all ages.

10. Exploring the Blue Spring Heritage Center

Eureka Springs attractions

The Blue Spring Heritage Center, a site of natural and historical significance, offers a glimpse into the area’s past, from Native American history to the Trail of Tears.

Its gardens and natural spring make it a place of beauty and reflection.

Why Visit?

  • Learn about the rich history of the area and its people.
  • Experience the tranquility of the gardens and the clarity of the natural spring.

A visit to the Blue Spring Heritage Center is a journey through history and nature, offering insights into the past and a space for peaceful contemplation in the present.

9. Riding the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

Must see places Eureka Springs

Step aboard the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway for a scenic journey through the Ozarks.

This excursion ride offers a glimpse into the golden age of rail travel, complete with themed meals.

Why Visit?

  • Enjoy the nostalgia of a bygone era on a historic train.
  • Marvel at the scenic beauty of the Ozarks from a unique perspective.

The railway adventure is a journey through time and nature, offering an experience that appeals to history buffs and nature enthusiasts alike.

8. Relaxing at Basin Spring Park

Basin Spring Park, located in the heart of Eureka Springs, is a natural haven with a healing spring at its center.

It’s a peaceful spot to relax, enjoy nature, and soak in the town’s history.

Why Visit?

  • Experience the healing powers of the natural spring.
  • Enjoy a tranquil setting perfect for a leisurely afternoon.

Basin Spring Park is a reminder of the simple pleasures in life — nature, peace, and community, making it a must-visit spot for anyone seeking a moment of tranquility.

7. Experiencing The Great Passion Play

Hidden gems Eureka Springs

The Great Passion Play, an outdoor theater production, reenacts the last days of Jesus Christ’s life.

It’s a moving performance set against the backdrop of the Ozark Mountains, providing a spiritual and cultural experience.

Why Visit?

  • Witness a powerful performance that has moved audiences for decades.
  • Feel the history and spirituality of the story amidst the natural beauty of Eureka Springs.

Attending The Great Passion Play is a profound experience, blending art, history, and spirituality, offering a moment of reflection and connection.

6. Wildlife Encounters at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Eureka Springs travel guide

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge provides a sanctuary for rescued big cats and other exotic animals.

Educational tours offer insights into the lives of these magnificent creatures and the importance of conservation.

Why Visit?

  • Get up close with lions, tigers, and other exotic animals.
  • Learn about conservation efforts and how you can help protect wildlife.

A visit to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is not just an encounter with wildlife; it’s an educational journey that inspires respect and love for nature’s most majestic animals.

5. Discovering Onyx Cave Park

Eureka Springs sightseeing

Onyx Cave Park, a short drive northeast of Eureka Springs, offers a cool adventure underground.

Self-guided tours reveal stunning geological formations, while activities like ax throwing add a fun twist to the visit.

Why Visit?

  • Explore fascinating underground caves and marvel at nature’s underground art.
  • Try your hand at ax throwing for an unusual and exciting experience.

A trip to Onyx Cave Park is an adventure into the heart of the earth, where the wonders of geology and the thrill of ax throwing create unforgettable memories.

4. Ghost Tours at The Crescent Hotel

Activities in Eureka Springs

Known as “America’s Most Haunted Hotel,” The Crescent Hotel offers ghost tours that send shivers down the spine.

It’s a thrilling adventure through the hotel’s haunted history, where tales of the past come alive.

Why Visit?

  • Experience the thrill of exploring haunted spaces.
  • Learn about the hotel’s peculiar history and the stories of its ghostly inhabitants.

Braving the ghost tour at The Crescent Hotel is a must for those who love a good scare and are curious about the mysteries that linger in the shadows of history.

3. Marveling at Thorncrown Chapel

Designed by architect E. Fay Jones, Thorncrown Chapel is an architectural masterpiece set amidst tranquil woods.

Its glass structure allows nature to flow inside, creating a serene space for reflection and admiration.

Why Visit?

  • Witness a stunning example of modern architecture harmonizing with nature.
  • Enjoy the peaceful ambiance, perfect for quiet contemplation.

Visiting Thorncrown Chapel is like entering a different world, where the boundaries between man-made and natural beauty blur, offering a unique spiritual experience.

2. Taking a Dip in Beaver Lake

Eureka Springs tourism spots

Beaver Lake, a crystalline oasis northwest of Eureka Springs, beckons nature lovers with its serene waters and lush surroundings.

Ideal for swimming, fishing, and a home to one of the best hiking trails in Arkansas, the lake offers a refreshing escape into nature’s embrace.

Why Visit?

  • Pristine waters are perfect for swimming and water sports.
  • Scenic hiking trails offer breathtaking views and opportunities for bird-watching.

A day at Beaver Lake is a day well spent, whether you’re paddling peacefully in a kayak or lounging by the water’s edge, soaking in the tranquility of the Ozarks.

1. Exploring Historic Downtown Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs destinations

Walking through the historic downtown of Eureka Springs feels like stepping back in time. Victorian-era buildings, filled with colorful stories, line the winding streets. Shops, art galleries, and restaurants offer a taste of local culture and cuisine.

Why Visit?

  • Experience the charm of Victorian architecture.
  • Discover unique shops and art galleries, perfect for finding treasures to take home.

Strolling downtown is not just about shopping; it’s an immersive experience in history and creativity.

Every corner and alleyway has its own tale, waiting for curious minds to uncover.


Can you swim in the mineral springs of Eureka Springs?

No, swimming in the mineral springs is not allowed. These springs are preserved for their historical significance and natural beauty.

Are pets allowed at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge?

Pets are not allowed inside Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge to ensure the safety and well-being of both the rescued animals and the pets.

Is fishing permitted in Beaver Lake?

Yes, fishing is permitted in Beaver Lake. It’s a popular activity, but make sure to have a valid Arkansas fishing license.

Do I need reservations for the Crescent Hotel ghost tours?

Yes, reservations are highly recommended for the ghost tours at The Crescent Hotel as they often sell out, especially during peak tourist seasons.

How long does it take to tour Onyx Cave Park?

The self-guided tour of Onyx Cave Park typically takes about 30 minutes, depending on your pace and interest level.

Is the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway ride suitable for young children?

Yes, the train ride is family-friendly and suitable for all ages, offering a fun and educational experience for children and adults alike.

Final Words

Eureka Springs is a treasure trove of adventures, history, and natural beauty.

Each activity offers a unique way to connect with the past, enjoy the present, and appreciate the natural and architectural wonders of this enchanting mountain village.

Whether you’re exploring underground caves, marveling at architectural feats, or soaking in the natural beauty of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.