Mauren Kennedy
Tubing, water skiing, sunbathing and fishing are summer-time staples on bustling Lake Hamilton.

Thermal springs aren’t the only popular water in Hot Springs. The city is also regarded 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 busiest of the three, 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 features 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. Known for its clarity, Lake Ouachita is a great spot for scuba diving. Divers can explore water that now covers valleys and ridges of the Ouachita Mountains. Fishing enthusiasts are fond of Lake Ouachita too; its waters are filled with largemouth, smallmouth and striped bass, among others.

The lake is connected to Lake Ouachita State Park, which offers camping, cabin and boat rentals, and wilderness trails. Several privately owned resorts dot the shoreline, including a visitor favorite, Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa.


PUBLIC BOAT RAMPS

Lake Ouachita, Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine were created by dams on the Ouachita River primarily for hydroelectric purposes, but today, the lakes attract thousands of visitors each year for cruising, swimming, wake boarding, fishing and more.

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 Dr.
•    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


WE RECOMMEND

Boat rentals are available on all three of Hot Springs' lakes.

PLACES TO EAT

  • Glenwood Country Club
  • J&S Italian Villa
  • Jason’s Burgers N More
  • JavaPrimo Coffee House, Cafe & More
  • Jenn’s Specialty Foods at Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa
  • The Lodge Restaurant at Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa

PLACES TO STAY

  • Glenwood Country Club
  • Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina
  • Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
  • Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa
  • South Shore Lake Resort
  • PLACES TO PLAY
  • Garvan Woodland Gardens
  • Glenwood Country Club
  • Hot Springs Marina
  • Iron Mountain Fishing Guide John Duncan
  • Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina
  • Mid-America Science Museum
  • Mountain Harbor Premier Lake Ouachita Fishing Guides
  • Mountain Harbor Riding Stable
  • Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

PLACES TO SHOP

  • Garvan Woodland Gardens
  • Glenwood Country Club
  • JavaPrimo Coffee House, Cafe & More
  • Lookout Point Lakeside Inn
  • Mid-America Science Museum Store
  • Munro Footwear Outlet Store

PLACES TO RELAX

  • Turtle Cove Spa

PLACES FOR NIGHTLIFE

  • Rumors Bar & Grill