With connectivity to Little Rock via Highway 70, the East District is a major gateway to Hot Springs. Folks arriving along this route will be greeted by dense woods and rolling mountains – and roller coasters peeking out above the treetops. It’s a fitting first impression for a town known for its playful spirit and top-rated tourist attractions. The district is home to the state’s only theme and water park, as well as an off-road vehicle park. Both parks are nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. At Magic Springs Theme & Water Park, you can experience expansive views of the surrounding forest before descending in a series of twists and turns on one of the park’s world-class roller coasters. Or rock crawl your way through a thousand-plus acres of woods at Hot Springs Off-Road Park. After a day of adventuring, head back to town to calm your nerves with dinner and drinks. The East District is home to multiple restaurants favored by locals and visitors alike.
Essentially two parks in one, Magic Springs features dozens of rides and attractions with high-intensity thrill rides, roller coasters and water slides, plus kiddie rides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. One of its most popular rides is the Arkansas Twister, a classic wooden coaster that opened at Magic Springs in 1992. Gauntlet and X-Coaster are the two most visible rides from Highway 70 and offer some of the biggest thrills. Gauntlet is a suspended roller coaster where riders dangle beneath the track. The heart-thumping X-Coaster, the first of its kind in the U.S., allows riders to go upside down without a shoulder harness. The theme and water park also makes a big splash with its annual summer concert series, featuring a diverse lineup with legendary performers across multiple genres. And each October, the park is transformed into Magic Screams with tons of Halloween fun!
Spanning 1,254 wooded acres, this popular off-road park features miles of trails, challenging rock crawling terrain, and scenic views. It’s open to dirt bikes and just about anything that is four-wheel drive: Jeeps, trucks, side-by-sides, buggies and four wheelers. Open seven days a week, Hot Springs Off-Road Park offers guided tours – in your own vehicle or a rented Side x Side – and an Off-Road 101 workshop. The park hosts the Southern Rock Racing Series, and several other events including a huge Easter egg hunt, and a Fun-Run to benefit Camp Sunshine, a free camp held each August for children who have sustained burn injuries.
The East District is home to several award-winning restaurants serving a variety of cuisines. Cafe 1217 is a popular lunch counter cafe that has been serving Hot Springs since 1997. Next door is Taco Mama, loved for its hand prepared classic Mexican food and delicious margaritas. King Kone is a classic drive-up dairyette, serving made-to-order hamburgers, veggie burgers and more plus soft-serve ice cream. Via Roma Italian Restaurant is an elegant, upscale restaurant that features an expansive menu with all the flavors of Italy, while the Pho House serves authentic Vietnamese with soups, noodle and rice dishes, including a variety of vegetarian options.
Visiting off-roaders can stay where they play. Hot Springs Off-Road Park has RV and tent sites and cabins available for rent. Other accommodation in the district include the Hot Springs National Park KOA with RV and tent sites and cabins as well. Additional amenities include a fishing pond, a playground, a swimming pool and a mini-golf course. There are also a handful of privately-owned vacation rentals. Natural State Cabins is a collection of four custom cabins located just off Highway 70. They include The Horse Cabin, The Bear Cabin, The Wildlife Cabin, and Longhorn Lodge. The lodge is the largest with accommodations for up to 16 people.
Boundaries: The East District includes the east sides of 270B (Malvern Avenue) and East Grand Avenue and continues east to the city limits.
Shorts and t-shirt over a bathing suit, plus a hat and sunscreen for a day at Magic Springs.
Magic Springs is open daily from June to mid-August. The ORV Park is open year round.
You’ll need a car to ferry the family to Magic Springs, and a four-wheel drive vehicle for the ORV park.