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Getting There

Hot Springs

Hot Springs
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From Lexington, Ky., Hot Springs is a full day's drive. You take the Blue Grass Parkway to Elizabethtown, I-65 through Bowling Green to Nashville, I-40 through Memphis to Little Rock. At Exit 159 take I-440 South. That is the bypass around downtown Little Rock. At Exit 138 join I-30 South. Follow this 16 miles past Benton. Take 270 West at Exit 98. This is also Malvern Road. It will bring you in to Central Avenue (there's an odd little left turn then right turn to get onto Central). Once you turn right on Central, drive until the bathhouses begin showing up on your right, then look straight ahead for The Arlington. If you're camping at Lake Catherine, continue on I-30 to Exit 97 and follow the signs to the state park, which is only a few miles.

Keep your gas tank half full. There are stretches of the interstate between Nashville and Jackson, Jackson and Memphis, and Memphis and Little Rock, where gas stations are few and far between and not always open.

You probably don't want to travel by Amtrak to Hot Springs. The trains arrive and depart at 3 and 3:15 a.m. That would be enough to ruin anyone's vacation. And you'd have to get a shuttle from the depot to the Arlington which would be difficult at that time. This is a shame, because the Amtrak trains running between Chicago and San Antonio are among the best in the fleet, and coming into Hot Springs on one would be a pleasure. Hopefully as the oil crisis forces us to re-emphasize railroads, Amtrak will add more trains and run them at better times.

If you're using Hot Springs as a stop on a trip to Big Bend National Park or San Antonio, you'll want to head back to the interstate on State Route 7. Just leave The Arlington heading southeast on Central Avenue and stay on it. Central Avenue becomes Route 7. You'll get a little frustrated by the winding road with lots of traffic but you'll get back on the interstate four exits further South than where you left it.

Assuming you have cupholders in your vehicle, you may wish to eat breakfast at Windows on the Park or stop at the Arlington Starbucks on the way out and get something to drink. You're not going to pass any good breakfast stops either on Route 7 or once you get back on the interstate.

If you are heading on to Texas, you should be leaving The Arlington no later than 9 a.m. It is a long haul to either the Monahan Sandhills State Park (the next stop en route to Big Bend), or San Antonio, and you want to get through Dallas-Forth Worth or Austin before the 5 pm home from work traffic clogs the interstates.

If you're stopping at Hot Springs on the way home from Big Bend or San Antonio, State Route 7 goes off at Exit 78 (one exit past Arkadelphia). As you come into Hot Springs make no turns. Route 7 becomes Central Avenue. When the bathhouses begin on your right, just look for The Arlington straight ahead. If you're camping at Lake Catherine, continue on to Exit 97 (the third exit past 78) and follow the signs to the state park. If you are coming in this way, as you approach Exit 97 look for the Ouchita River on your right, This is the river they dammed up to create Catherine, Henderson and Ouchita Lakes, which have added a whole new dimension to Hot Springs' resort status.
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