Eureka Springs is a bit like a time capsule. Nicknamed “The Magic City,” which was actually its original name – and also dubbed “Stairstep Town” due to its steep streets and paths – it’s a historic town in Arkansas that’s long attracted people to its hot springs, spas and clear mountain air.
Centred around the Victorian buildings of its historic Downtown, choosing where to base yourself can mean the difference between a more peaceful break or something more bustling. To help you figure out which area in Eureka Springs is right for you, we’ve put together an in-depth guide full of all the information you’ll need. This article has you covered.
Best Vacation Home in Eureka Springs: 1930s Treehouse Cabin
Overlooking the historic Lake Lucerne, this cabin in Arkansas is utterly full of charm. It’s the ultimate cosy spot to spend a family vacation, with enough room to sleep four guests. The interiors have a kitsch meets rustic aesthetic, and it’s equipped with a wood-burning stove to keep you warm on chilly nights, as well as a fully equipped kitchen for cooking family meals. And did we mention the wraparound porch?
Best Cabin in Eureka Springs: Loblolly Pines Cabin
An affordable option for accommodation in Eureka Springs, this cabin combines charming, modern interiors with a glorious natural setting. Surrounded by woodlands and with access to trails on the doorstep, guests staying here will also be able to spend time unwinding in their own hot tub. There’s also a porch to kick back on after a busy day exploring the historic Downtown and nature in the surrounding area.
Best Hotel in Eureka Springs: 1905 Basin Park Hotel
1905 Basin Park Hotel is a historic landmark in the city. The hotel features stylish antique furniture in the guest lounges and lobby, and cosy rooms that are quaintly decorated. It’s also home to one of Eureka Springs’ most famous eateries, The Balcony. With its good views and great food, it’s popular with guests and passing visitors alike.
It’s the first place many people would think of for a stay in Eureka Springs, and that’s for a good reason. The historic Downtown area is the heart of the city, all of which is covered by the National Register of Historic Places.
Situated on the north side of Eureka Springs, Lake Leatherwood may not have the high concentration of Victorian buildings of Downtown, but at the same time, it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle, and instead makes for more of a natural destination, thanks to the spring-fed 85-acre Lake Leatherwood itself.
To the south, just outside the city, you’ll find Lake Lucerne. This peaceful location is perfect for a vacation in Eureka Springs. Originally designed as a health spa in the late 19th century, the (human-made) lake itself is named after the popular Swiss Alps resort of the same name.
Eureka Springs Top 3 Neighborhoods to Stay in
Eureka Springs is well known for its history. Thanks to its relatively untouched streetscape, it has retained the atmosphere of a Victorian-era resort town. Its buildings are unique, and the surrounding natural scenery makes it an awesome USA travel destination.
The entire Downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places. This is part of what makes the historic core of Eureka Springs such an inviting option in itself. It’s easily one of the best places to stay in town, with its historic hotels, bed-and-breakfasts, converted homes now inns and lodges – not to mention the entertainment options.
Despite being so compact, there is an interesting mix of restaurants, bars, cafes, and music venues that are enough to keep any city-loving visitor entertained on their trip. It’s a good place to visit if you’re only visiting for a couple days, or just passing through on an epic road-trip.
If you’re looking for something a little more out of the way, consider Lake Lucerne. Situated to the south of the city, Lake Lucerne is a human-made lake with its very own health spa history. In fact, it was once a very exclusive place to stay. This part of town is more secluded, offering the chance to kick back amongst the nature in renovated cabins.
Lake Leatherwood is a good option for those looking for budget-friendly accommodation in the area. This area provides opportunities for glamping and staying in cabins among the woodlands, and there are numerous trails to be explored. It’s a great place to stay in Eureka Springs if you want a cheaper and quieter alternative to Downtown.
With all of that in mind, let’s get stuck into figuring out the details of what makes these neighbourhoods ideal for your vacation!
Downtown is the first place many people would think of for a stay in Eureka Springs, and for good reason. The historic area is the heart of the city, all of which is covered by the National Register of Historic Places. Its Victorian-era buildings winding through the hillside make it a charming place to wander and explore.
Here, you’ll find Eureka Springs’ eclectic mix of boutiques, bars, cafes, music venues, eateries and historical monuments. If you like exploring art galleries, sipping craft beer and taking endless photos of the streetscape, then Downtown is the place to be.
One of the coolest places to stay in the historic Downtown area is within a slice of the history itself. This heritage cottage is located on a quiet street where you can easily walk to an array of eateries and entertainment options. Inside you’ll find charming period features, with hardwood floors, open fireplaces and a homey cottage style kitchen.
Best Hotel in Downtown Historic District: 1905 Basin Park Hotel
1905 Basin Park Hotel is a historic place to stay in Eureka Springs. True to its name, this hotel first opened in 1905 and is awash with old-world features and charm as a result of its long life. Inside, the guest rooms are quaint and comfortable; some of them come with large freestanding baths, fireplaces and seating areas. The hotel is also home to The Balcony Restaurant, serving up delicious food as well as views out over Spring Street.
Best B&B in Downtown Historic District: 66 Center St Bed and Breakfast Eureka Springs
Situated a two-minute walk from the heart of the historic district, this charming B&B offers up comfortable accommodation inside a historic house. Each room is individually decorated with varying amenities, and all come with a complimentary breakfast each morning. The house itself is surrounded by picturesque landscaped gardens, and boasts an outdoor terrace where you can sit and soak up the scenery in the sunshine.
66 Center St Bed and Breakfast Eureka Springs is one of our favourites in Eureka Springs but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Downtown Historic District:
- Learn about the discovery of hidden spring waters at Eureka Springs Historical Museum.
- Enjoy coffee and cake at the subterranean Mud Street Cafe.
- Make a journey up to the Christ of the Ozarks, a landmark 67-foot-tall statue built in 1966.
- Hit up Basin Springs Park – bands will often put on outdoor concerts here in the summer.
- Ascend the steps at the colourful Staircase Up (don’t forget to snap a photo of the mural itself).
- Head to Crescent Spring for some peace and quiet.
- If you’re not already staying there, swing by The Balcony for a delicious burger in a picture-perfect setting.
- Take a scenic ride on the historic Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway.
- Watch a show at the Intrigue Theatre, a local hotspot, for an entertaining night out.
- Relax with a vintage (or modern) spa treatment at The Palace Hotel and Bath House.
- Pay a visit to the picturesque Grotto Spring, one of the original springs found in the city.
- Witness ‘The Great Passion Play’, a year-round theatrical rendition of the Easter story.
- Book yourself a walking tour or a self-guided stroll around Downtown to learn more about Eureka Springs’ history.
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Situated on the north side of Eureka Springs, Lake Leatherwood is more relaxed than the bustling Downtown. Lake Leatherwood itself is a spring-fed 85-acre lake, and is the perfect option for budget travelers deciding where to stay in Eureka Springs.
The surrounding park and neighbourhood is enjoyed by hikers, cyclists and other visitors who come to enjoy the wildlife and natural beauty of the area. Accommodation isn’t as plentiful as in Downtown, but there are more options for things like cabins and glamping for a more unique stay in Eureka Springs.
Best Glamping in Leatherwood: Eureka Yurts
This yurt experience in Eureka Springs is the ideal way to spend some time in nature, but isn’t too far away from Downtown. Enjoy home-cooked meals in the kitchen, and kick back with a glass of wine in the hot tub in the evenings – all on a backdrop of a serene natural soundtrack.
Loblolly Pines Cabin isn’t your run of the mill rustic cabin, though the setting certainly is a natural one. Situated close to a private trail, this cabin is modern and stylish inside, with shiny hardwood floors, freshly painted walls and stylish finishes. Guests have access to their very own hot tub and can enjoy sleeping in a king-sized bed.
Best Hotel in Leatherwood: The Wanderoo Lodge
Any design-lovers should consider spending a night or two at the Wanderoo Lodge. This is an old motel that’s been lovingly updated for the modern-day, with some mid-century retro furnishings added into the mix. Guests can opt to stay in private rooms or in cottages situated among the trees on the grounds of the motel. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, and a trolley stop just outside that’ll whisk you down to the historic Downtown.
Things to See and Do in Leatherwood:
- Take in the surrounding landscape from up high on an exciting trip to Ozark Mountain Ziplines.
- Tuck into a delicious meal at the phenomenal Bombadils, a hidden gastronomic gem.
- Chill out at the Lake Leatherwood City Park.
- Hit up Pivot Rock and Natural Bridge to see some pretty cool rock formations – a tourist attraction for over a century!
- Stop by the very scenic and unique Thorncrown Chapel, boasting 425 windows allowing the surrounding trees to do the talking.
- Head to Gotahold Brewing for a fresh pint of beer from one of many taps – best enjoyed in their beer garden.
- Grab your best hiking boots and explore one of the many trails winding around Lake Leatherwood.
- Go shopping for gifts and souvenirs at the friendly Razorback Gift Shop.
- Cruise out of town to Inspiration Point for some awesome views over the valley.
- Have a day out at Beaver Lake, a man-made reservoir nestled in a flooded Ozark valley.
#3 Lake Lucerne – Where to Stay in Eureka Springs for Families
To the south, just outside the city, you’ll find Lake Lucerne. This peaceful location is perfect for a family vacation in Eureka Springs. Originally designed as a health spa in the late 19th century, the man-made lake itself is named after the popular Swiss Alps resort of the same name. It was a classic resort getaway for wealthy holidaymakers in the 1950s and ’60s.
Fast-forward to now, and the area is still a charming spot. There are a number of cabins and holiday rentals around the area for a relaxing, tranquil stay in this now rustic and down to earth Eureka Springs locale.
This historic cottage has been restored to modern-day standards and makes for a fun place to stay for families in Eureka Springs. Located on the shores of the lake itself, this treehouse-style cabin was first built in the 1930s, and its period features – including a wood-burning stove – add to its charming aesthetic. One of the best things about this place is its wraparound porch, where you can sit and enjoy peaceful lake views.
Best Cottage in Lake Lucerne: Clovertree Cottage
Clovertree Cottage is one of the coolest cabins on offer at Lake Lucerne Resort and Ranch. It’s a spacious and stylish woodsy retreat, and sits just a stone’s throw from the lake. Here, guests can enjoy staying in a beautiful house with room enough to sleep six people. There’s a large, open-plan living space complete with an open fireplace, plus two outdoor decks to enjoy a family dinner in the summer months.
Best Hotel in Lake Lucerne: Stonegate Lodge
This roadside inn is set between Downtown Eureka Springs and Lake Lucerne, making it an ideal location for family accommodation. Rooms here are spacious, and come with modern furnishings and wooden floors. They feature seating areas, ensuite bathrooms, fridges and coffee-making facilities. On-site amenities include an outdoor pool and a large deck for guests to kick back on.
Stonegate Lodge is one of our favourites in Eureka Springs but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Lake Lucerne:
- Go for a spot of wine tasting and admire local art at Keels Creek Winery & Art Gallery.
- Hunt through all the vintage and retro wares at Wonderland Antiques for your own treasure.
- Try out one of the many beers on tap at Eureka Springs Brewery (they also have disc golf and a beer garden).
- Catch an entertaining family-friendly Ozark Mountain Hoe-Down Music Theatre.
- Grab a coffee and something delicious at Sweet & Savory Cafe.
- Marvel at the weird and wonderful Quigley’s Castle, complete with shell mosaics, antiques and overgrown exotic plants.
- Rent kayaks from Kings River Outfitters Canoe & Kayak Rental Service.
- Wrap up a picnic and hit the short but sweet Black Bass Lake Hiking Trail.
- Tuck into authentic Mexican fare for your family dinner at Flaco’s Mexican Grill.
- Road trip to the twin Lake Bridges – the only surviving stone arch bridges in the entire country.
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What To Pack For Eureka Springs
Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.
Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.
Hanging Laundry Bag
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Sea To Summit Micro Towel
Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
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Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Eureka Springs
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Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs really is a magical destination not to be missed on your USA travel experience. It’s got plenty going for it – beautiful scenery, historic buildings, hiking trails, and other outdoors activities to enjoy. There’s definitely something about this place – you’ve just got to make the journey there to experience it for yourself.
The best place to stay in Eureka Springs for you should suit your travel style and your budget. We reckon Downtown is a pretty unique place to stay, complete with historic accommodation like this charming romantic cottage. If you prefer things quieter, this equally historic 1930s treehouse cabin in neighbouring Lake Lucerne still offers up plenty of quirky Eureka Springs charm.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!