Eureka Springs was originally an anniversary road trip celebration with my then-boyfriend. We both left feeling like this town is practically made for couples on a budget. It’s romantic, sweet, and provides ample opportunities, whether you’re the type to relax, shop or get active. Eureka Springs had it all, and it wasn’t too expensive. Plus, road trips with your significant other can be tons of fun.
(Not saying my single friends can’t also enjoy the town. You’ll have so much fun! It’s just a great spot if you’re a couple looking to celebrate on a budget.)
Anyways, let’s get into this 3 day budget itinerary for Eureka Springs!
How to Spend 3 Days in Eureka Springs
Introduction to Eureka Springs
Official Language(s): none at federal level, English is considered the national language
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Emergency phone number: 911
When to Go to Eureka Springs
September – October or February – March
Arkansas is like most of the South; gets hot and humid the first chance it gets. Opt for late fall and early spring to avoid the heat wave. Plus, February trips can be quite romantic, no?
Where to Stay in Eureka Springs
The Bavarian Inn
When we booked our stay, the staff at Bavarian Inn sent us a postcard. Basically foreshadowing the kind of experience we were about to get: personalized and detailed. The room we got was cozy and home-like. Heck, there’s a fireplace! It’s meant for curling up, reading a good book or just enjoying your beloved’s company.
There’s also an adjoining restaurant that serves Czech and German inspired cuisine. Hearty, tasty meals that’ll leave you pleasantly full.
How to Get Around in Eureka Springs
Rent a car
If you stay in the Bavarian Inn, you’ll need to drive into town. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of parking, you’ll just have to pay cash for it. There’s a wall of numbered slots and you just… insert your cash in and be on your way. I have no idea how this works or how it’s monitored but… meh.
The Giant Jesus Statue (not the actual name) will also require a car. As will the two trips I’ll mention in day two. Basically: bring a car. We’re road-tripping!
Where to Eat in Eureka Springs
Just get the fried chicken. We were both skeptics and Myrtie ended up seriously surprising us. I guess it does kind of make sense. We’re in the South, and comfort food is the specialty.
It’s hard to pick a favorite spot, since we loved every meal we had in Eureka Springs, but I think Ermilio’s takes the cake. Make sure you call ahead. It crowds up fast (although there are board games and a bar upstairs while you wait). The food is so flavorful and skillfully prepared. make sure you save room for dessert. It’s fabulous.
Mud Street Cafe
Mud Street Cafe is underground (that’ll be a theme here in a bit) which is neat enough on it’s own. That said, the food itself is a standout. They serve sweet and savory breakfast options that make it worth a stop.
If you need a bit of a break from the heavy fare, give Oscar’s Cafe a go. Simple, fresh ingredients make for a delightful stop that won’t leave you bursting at the seams.
Day 1 of 3 Days in Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs Historical Museum
Eureka Springs has an incredibly interesting history, so what better way to get started than to tour the Historical Museum? You can learn all about what makes the town famous, from it’s bizarre landscaping, the healing springs, and get a primer for just how deeply haunted this place is.
There are several springs in the town, but Crescent Spring has the biggest surrounding area. It’s really something. Historically, the town grew in popularity due to the waters which people believed to be healing. Crescent Spring has a stage for local talent, seating areas and a staircase that leads to a pretty sweet view of the city.
St. Elizabeth Catholic Church
This church is a beautiful and uniquely constructed building that’s fun to walk through. Some of the materials came from Italy, and the architecture makes quite the statement.
Get a spa treatment
If you’re going to a town known for healing waters and relaxation, you might as well go all out and get a spa treatment. There are so many spas and massage therapy centers in Eureka Springs. It got a bit overwhelming.
We ended up choosing Healthworks Massage and Wellness Center and loved it. It’s run by a husband and wife duo who are total experts. It was the best massage of my life and I’m seriously considering the three hour drive again and making this a yearly thing.
Tour (underground or ghost)
Two tour options are the most popular in Eureka Springs, and allow you to see some of their most iconic spots. The Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour takes place at the Crescent Hotel, which was built in 1886 and has an unsettling history. I’m not one for haunted tours since I scare too easily, but this could be for you.
Instead, I opted for Eureka Springs Underground, which is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, you do go to some underground locations, but it’s about 10% of the tour. The rest is spent touring certain areas and learning the history. I loved it, even if it wasn’t what I expected.
Day 2 of 3 Days in Eureka Springs
Hike Whitaker Point
The Whitaker Point trailhead is about an hour’s drive away and well worth it. The view is incredible. I’m tempted to return sometime in the fall just to see how it all looks.
Be warned, cell coverage can be sparse. Make sure you have a map in some way shape or form to get you there and back. I also didn’t find any public restrooms, and the towns in between are pretty small and sparse. Plan ahead.
Visit Mystic Caverns
After your hike, Mystic Caverns is another hour’s drive. The Ozarks are full of caves worth exploring, and Mystic Caverns ranks pretty high up there for me. It’s two caves, Crystal Dome and Mystic Cavern. And uh, not to play favorites but… Mystic Cavern is way cool. Probably because it’s much, much bigger, so there’s more to explore. And the stalactites look like a pipe organ. That’s pretty neat too.
See some local music
Go to any local bar after dark and your guaranteed to find a great local act. We saw at least three performances at different bars, across a wide range of genres (for free!) and had a great time!
Day 3 of 3 Days in Eureka Springs
We’re still on our adventure game, and this time, we’re going across the longest zipline in Arkansas. I felt a little goofy in all the safety gear (but does anyone look cute in a helmet? Get back to me on that) but had a great time. I have a fear of heights. If I can do this, you probably can too.
It rained towards the end of our time in Eureka Springs, so we didn’t get to do any lake activities at Leatherwood Lake. But if you’ve got good weather, there’s lots to do. Hiking, kayaking, fishing and more are all there.
Fuller Trail, Eureka Springs
When you can’t afford Rio de Janiero, Tall Jesus Statue will be there for you so you can pretend like you’re really there. It’s actually called Christ of the Ozarks, but we took to calling it Tall Jesus for the remainder of the trip. You’re welcome to use the moniker.
Nearby is a remnant of the Berlin Wall, next to the Church in the Grove.
Know Before You Go
The city is a bit odd to drive through. There are no stoplights or 90° angles. It’s super easy to make a wrong turn and get lost.
Oh, and the one time we seriously got lost and it took us a good five or so minutes to redirect was just after visiting the Crescent Hotel. Spooky coincidence? Maybe.
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