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 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. 


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


Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat

Bleu Monkey Grill

JavaPrimo Coffee House, Cafe & More

Jose’s Mexican Restaurant

The Lodge Restaurant at Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa


Glenwood Country Club

JavaPrimo Coffee House, Cafe & More

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn

Munro American Footwear Outlet Store

Thats So You Boutique


Brady Mountain Resort & Marina

Country Inn & Suites

Econolodge Inn & Suites

Glenwood Country Club 

Hamilton House Estate Bed & Breakfast Inn

Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina

La Quinta Inn & Suites

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn

Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa

Quality Inn & Suites

Red Oak Ridge

South Shore Lake Resort

SWBC Mortgage

Willow Beach Motel


Belle of Hot Springs Riverboat

Brady Mountain Resort & Marina

Glenwood Country Club

Hot Springs Marina

Iron Mountain Fishing Guide—Tammy Richardson 

Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina

Mountain Harbor Premiere Lake Ouachita Fishing Guides

Mountain Harbor Riding Stable

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf


Turtle Cove Spa