Hey SETX, in need of a little R&R? Don’t we all these days? It’s been a rough year, and we think you deserve a trip to the spa. A place where you can get back to nature with your boo or best gal pals. A place where magical fairy gardens meet waterfalls and epic lakes. Where is this fantasyland, you ask? Just six hours north, in beautiful Hot Springs Arkansas. America’s first national park and resort town is an easy road trip that’ll have you feeling like you’re in another world entirely.
With our new triple threat itineraries, we’ll show you three places to visit, three things to do, and three places to eat in three days. Perfect for a long weekend, why not plan a road trip around Southeast Texas (or in this case, our northern neighbor -- Arkansas)?
Day 1- Bumble Around Beaumont
Go: Start the morning by strolling the Botanical Gardens before pampering yourself at a day spa like the Meridian. Get lost in the flora and fauna as you let your worries melt away.
Do: If this is truly a stress relief trip, throw some axes at Avenue Axe, whack some balls at 5 Under, or give archery a try at Tyrrell Park. It’s amazing what a little target practice will do (and it’s more satisfying than therapy).
Eat: Katharine & Co. is the best spot in town for scratch-made soups, salads, and sandwiches in a historic setting. Or, spread out on Amelia Farm and Market’s sprawling patio. For the ultimate nightcap, sip and swirl at Free State Cellars over flights of fancy (wine and sangria) overlooking the vineyards.
Day 2 – Get Back to Nature in Lumberton and Silsbee (30 minutes)
Go: The Roy E. Larsen Sandyland Sanctuary is another great nature reprieve. A rare combination of swamp, open-floor forest, and Southern pinelands, it’s 5,000 acres of biodiversity. With over 200 animal species and over 500 plant species, bring your camera and see what you spot.
Do: Paddle Village Creek. Before your spilkies take over and you’re relegated to the car, spend a few hours on the water. A calm, spring-fed waterway to enjoy by kayak or canoe, there are short guided tours (2-4 hours) or rental outfitters if you want to go at it on your own.
Eat: For breakfast, Southern Maid is a quick grab and go stop for donuts and kolaches. If you want a true taste of the area for lunch or dinner, hit up Crustaceans Boil House at the Silos for spicy seafood platters or West Texas Style Bar-B-Que for smokey ribs and pulled pork sandwiches.
If you have time to spare, here are some other cool stop ideas.
The Redbud Antique Mall (Buna, TX) – An eclectic group of vendors and artists all under one roof, make it a treasure hunt to find collectibles, jewelry, art, and one of a kind items.
Martin Dies Jr. State Park (Jasper, TX) – Rent kayaks, canoes, and bikes or fish from pier. Swim in the lake or explore the piney forest.
Wander Downtown Marshall (TX) – On the three corners of Texarkana (Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana), Marshall is especially great during the holiday season. Ablaze in Christmas lights, the picturesque downtown is the perfect spot to stretch your legs.
Crater of Diamonds State Park (Murfreesboro, AR) – The only place in the US where finder’s keepers applies to precious gemstones, instead of digging for gold, dig for diamonds on this ancient volcanic crater. You just may bring home the souvenir of the century.
Day 3 Relax in Hot Springs (6 hours)
Go: Garvan Woodland Gardens is the botanical gardens of your dreams with a crazy church, 1.8-million-dollar treehouse, koi ponds, and fairy villages. You can tour by golf cart or wander the sprawling property on your own. Lake Catherine State Park is another great spot to get off the grid with boat, kayak, and SUP rentals, and waterfall trails.
Do: Relax at America’s first resort getaway. Hot Springs National Park (the country’s first national park) includes historic bathhouse row where two of the beautiful spas, Quapaw and Buckstaff, still offer services. You can soak in the thermal tubs, enjoy the vapor caves or splurge on a massage or facial.
Eat: Deluca’s traditional New York-style pizza is a great midday snack while Kollective Coffee & Tea is perfect for a java jolt. Be sure to check out the Argentinian, which has wine ice cream and tapas, and the Ohio Club, once the hangout of mobsters like Al Capone. You can also cheers with a beer at Superior Bathhouse Brewery, the first brewery inside a national park with pours made from thermal water.