Finding Romance in the Little Switzerland of America
Eureka Springs, perched in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas’ northwest corner, is a funky town of winding streets, Victorian homes, interesting shops and top-notch restaurants. A drive through verdant forests and along rocky bluffs, coupled with a stay in a historic hotel, creates the atmosphere for a memorable getaway.
Stay in a Eureka Springs Historic Hotel
Surrounded by 15 acres of woods and gardens, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (75 Prospect Ave., Eureka Springs, AR) is a favorite romantic destination for couples. Listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s registry of historic hotels, the Crescent offers accommodations in suites, cottages and standard rooms, all with mountain views. Book a couples massage at the hotel’s New Moon Spa before heading to the rooftop bar for drinks and appetizers.
Located right in the center of Eureka Springs’ downtown shops and restaurants, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel (12 Spring St., Eureka Springs, AR) is a more affordable option than the Crescent. Arrange for a couples massage at the on-site day spa followed by sunning on the deck and a dip in the hot tub. Don’t expect cookie-cutter rooms at the Basin Park. Because of the hotel’s age and design, each room has a one-of-a-kind character, but doesn’t lack amenities like hot tubs, king beds and balconies.
Parking is hard to find on Eureka Springs’ twisted, hilly downtown streets. Let the valet service at your hotel park your car for the duration of your stay, and walk to a nearby romantic restaurant.
Le Stick Nouveau (63 A Spring St., Eureka Springs, AR), an affordable, intimate restaurant with an extensive wine list, serves French food with a nouveau twist. The dimly-lit dining room is decorated with original artwork, and unobtrusive music plays in the background. While the restaurant has no dress code, wearing something a little bit dressier might add a special touch to a romantic dinner.
Stop by the wine cave at Grotto Wood Fired Grill & Wine Cave (10 Center St., Eureka Springs, AR) for wine on tap, craft beers and specialty cocktails. Stay for grass-fed meat cooked on an open, wood-fired grill in a dining room that gets its name from its rock-lined walls. You can share a meal of small plates or order from the full menu of seasonal dishes. A classically-trained pastry chef prepares desserts on-site.
A Drive in the Ozark Mountains
If you’re visiting Eureka Springs in the warm months, set aside some time for a drive through the mountainous countryside. Thorncrown Chapel (12968 Highway 62 W, Eureka Springs, AR) is an architectural masterpiece less than 2 miles west of town. The glass building, opened in 1980, is No. 4 on the American Institute of Architects’ list of top buildings of the 20th century.
If you prefer a destination rather than a drive, head to the Buffalo National River southeast of Eureka Springs, where you can rent a boat for two. Or, explore the caves in the Ozark National Forest south of town.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR), an exotic cat rescue refuge about 7 miles outside Eureka Springs, has campsites, safari tents and a treehouse with great views of the mountains. If you’re traveling with older kids, sign them up for one of the refuge’s tours so you can spend a few hours relaxing with your partner.
A Few Tips for Eureka Springs Travel
Winter is the slow season in Eureka Springs, so expect room rates to be lower. Some attractions may close, and the area’s mountain roads can pose some driving hazards after an ice or snow storm.
If the downtown hotels are out of your price range, check the many hotels on the outskirts of town. Be aware that some of them cater to motorcyclists who flock to the mountains to ride.
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- The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
- Historic Hotels of America: The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
- TripAdvisor: 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa
- 1905 Basin Park Hotel
- TripAdvisor: 1905 Basin Park Hotel
- Sittercity: Find a Babysitter in Eureka Springs, AR
- Le Stick Nouveau
- TripAdvisor: Le Stick Nouveau
- Grotto Wood Fired Grill & Wine Cave
- TripAdvisor: Grotto Wood Fired Grill & Wine Cave
- National Geographic: Road Trip-The Ozarks, Arkansas
- Thorncrown Chapel
- National Park Service: Buffalo National River
- USDA Forest Service: Ozark-St. Francis National Forests
- Go-Arkansas: Eureka Springs Weather
Meg Jernigan has been writing for more than 30 years. She specializes in travel, cooking and interior decorating. Her offline credits include copy editing full-length books and creating marketing copy for nonprofit organizations. Jernigan attended George Washington University, majoring in speech and drama.