Arkansas : Safety by City
- Eureka Springs
- Fort Smith
- Hot Springs
- Little Rock
- Mountain Home
- North Little Rock
- West Memphis
Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is a town so etched into the Victorian era you might expect Queen Victoria herself to come strolling down the street.
Steep brick stairways meet regal architecture so tall it seems to touch the sky.
This isn’t a city with a few historical landmarks, the whole city itself, winding across five miles, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
This is a town where lovers escape, families reunite, and girlfriends gossip the day away at the spa.
You can spend the day immersed in architecture or enjoy the outdoor adventures of the Ozark region.
It’s the water here that first brought attention to this area.
Unlike its springs sister city of Hot Springs, the water here comes from the earth at a cold temperature.
Some will swear by the healing properties of the water, others just enjoy the clean and fresh taste of water from the ground.
About 750,000 people visit this historic city every year, and an uncounted number of ghosts are said to walk these streets and hallowed halls.
This is truly one of the most affordable and safest experiences for a getaway in this part of the country, maybe even nationwide.
Warnings & Dangers in Eureka Springs
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There is a low overall risk. The crime numbers counted from the number of crimes vs the population tell a different story than the reality, being there is never a time this city is only filled with its 2100 residents. Tourists come here throughout the year.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
The Eureka Springs Transit Service isn't your typical public bus. It's a trolley design with stops at all the places people want to visit. One ride is $4, but you can buy an all-day pass for $6 or a 2-day pass for $10.You can get a taxi or rideshare, but that trolley is the best option. The city is designed with no traffic lights, adding to the bygone era vibe. All options are low-risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being pickpocketed and no reports were made of it in 2020. You still should keep belongings close and secured.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Severe weather and the high tornado risk themselves give this a medium risk. There's also worry in such a hilly town that flash flooding can cause problems. There is a tunnel system under the entire city to help move floodwaters alone. Winter can also bring snow or ice storms.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There were no robberies in 2020, so you can rest assured there's a low mugging risk and even violent crime rates are very low.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
There are no hard targets here and the terrorism risk is very low. There isn't even a nearby city that would be considered a hard target.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There are no scams being reported that would give this anything other than a low risk. They are mostly targeted at locals with the same annoying scams every community deals with. Two things to be aware of from potential scammers. If you are renting a home here, make sure the owner can prove they are the owner and have a license to rent the property. Don't ever buy gift cards for someone asking for help. This is a sure sign of a scam.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Women actually come here to get away from some of the stressors of their home communities, and there's a low risk here. It's designed, in part, for girlfriend getaways.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The tap water here is safe and meets or exceeds all requirements. While the springs themselves are great for soaking and bathing, you will find some water fountains in town with water straight from the springs.
Safest Places to Visit in Eureka Springs
The act of just being in Eureka Springs is a safe activity itself.
I went to this town many years ago, and with the high hills lined with treetops and the winding streets, you feel enveloped by the spirit of the founders in the 1800s.
If you can, stay at one of the hotels on the Register of Historic Places.
The hotels themselves are worth exploring for a few hours and a spa day is a great treat.
There are several Barian-themed hotels in town as well.
I stayed at the Palace Bath House and Hotel and even though it was many years ago, I remember the intricate details of the hotel distinctly.
Walking along the steep streets of the town, you’ll find all kinds of shopping and dining options.
From old-time fudge to upscale boutiques, the city is just filled with novelties you can’t get anywhere else.
For dining, I recommend the Local Flavor Cafe with its streetside patio with tremendous views and the baked brie is phenomenal.
The biggest spring is at the Blue Springs Heritage Center.
There are 33 acres to explore and a giant pool of spring water flowing nearly 40 million gallons of water daily.
When the sun goes down, do you dare take a tour of haunted Eureka Springs?
The tour starts above ground telling stories of ghost sightings and haunted hot spots.
It ends deep under the earth where tunnels fill the underground level of the city.
Stargazers can get a great view of the night sky anywhere in town, but for the best experience, head to one of the parks in the area.
Hobbs State Park has a program designed for stargazing and even turns off the parking lot lights for the best experience.
There are just so many things to do outdoors in Eureka Springs, from kayaking to fishing to birdwatching.
There’s even a glamping place just outside of town (that’s fancy camping).
Visit their tourism website to pick your perfect getaway.
Places to Avoid in Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs isn’t populated enough to have a part of town to avoid.
The city is cleverly designed to be focused on the springs.
The highest-end attractions are going to be right on the springs.
There’s no part of town that is more dangerous than another, but crime maps do show the most crime happens in that historic corridor.
This town of 2110 people swells to a town of 63,000, on average, each month.
Much of the crime that is reported might be due to tourists, but there’s no clear line of demarcation on that.
You definitely want to avoid wearing heels or uncomfortable shoes here.
The steps are made of stone and can be quite steep and you will go uphill and downhill on steep slopes as you walk around.
You are in the Ozarks, after all, there’s no reason to dress up.
If you’re in town for a wedding, try using the trolley to get around to avoid blisters.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Eureka Springs
- There are many events in Eureka Springs throughout the year, from “Eureka-Gras” to Diversity Weekends to Biker Rallys and so on. Check the Chamber of Commerce website for a list of events. If you’re seeing elevated prices or a sold-out hotel, one of these events might be why.
- The Police Department lists monthly crime statistics on its website. You can review that before you book to see what crime trends are like at that time.
- Check the weather before you go, especially in the winter. In early 2022, the city was hit by a snow and ice storm. You can figure out how hard it is to navigate icy streets that are so steep here. Don’t come to visit if there’s an ice storm. Power can go out and travel can be impossible.
- If you’re heading into the Ozark wilderness, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back. Cell phone service can be spotty in rural areas and if something happens you might not be able to call for help. Check in on social media as you get the mobile service so people can know your last location.
- One of the benefits of staying in a hotel in historic areas is that you will usually get free parking. This can not only save money from meters and fees, but it also puts your car safely in a monitored lot in case of a car break-in.
- This is a very popular place for motorcycles. Drivers can come solo or in mass to enjoy the breathtaking views on windy streets. Always be on the lookout for motorcycles in your blind spot as you are driving.
- Eureka Springs comes to life at night with many nightlife options. There’s live music, breweries sharing their latest creations, and dancing of all kinds available. Be sure to limit how much you drink to have the safest experience. If you’ve had a lot to drink, don’t walk back to the hotel by yourself. Also, never take a drink from someone if you haven’t seen the drink made by the bartender. It’s just too easy to drug someone’s drink.
- Fishing requires a license in Arkansas, and you should get a license on the website of the Arkansas Department of Fish & Game. It’s easy and you’ll get the license right away. One less thing to worry about when you arrive.
- You need a good weather app in Eureka Springs in case severe weather pops up. Local news and weather come from the Springfield, Missouri television market. You need to be aware of storm potential so you can limit outdoor activities if storms are coming.
- The tunnels under the town are not for the average person to explore. Some parts of the tunnels can be dangerous. It’s not something you can easily find, but if you do, don’t go down there. It’s a labyrinth of tunnels and you can easily get lost.
So... How Safe Is Eureka Springs Really?
You are going to see internet articles saying this is one of the most dangerous towns of its size.
Technically, that’s true when you look at crime numbers vs the population and then do the math to make it per 100,000 people, as the FBI does.
However, none of the statistics bring into account the 750,000 visitors that come each year.
The numbers don’t distinguish crimes against tourists vs crimes of a domestic nature.
The category with the highest number of crimes is “Vandalism” and that’s just 32.
Here are the raw numbers of the common crimes concerning tourists:
- Violent Crime: 11
- Robbery: 0 (There have been 12 robberies in the past DECADE)
- Theft: 50
- Fraud: 8
- Homicide: 0 (and no homicides since 2010)
So you can see when you look at the raw numbers and consider the number of tourists, this is a very safe town.
It thrives off tourism, so locals don’t want any crime trends to happen that would keep tourists away.
How Does Eureka Springs Compare?
- Visas - Visas are handled at the airport and you don't need additional processing to be in Arkansas or Eureka Springs.
- Currency - You'll only use the U.S. Dollar here. There's really not a need for cash as all attractions take credit cards.
- Weather - The weather is hot and humid in the summer, so plan to be sweaty as you walk around. Bring plenty of water and don't overexert yourself on the steep hills of the town. Spring is tornado season, so always keep an eye on the weather and ask at your hotel where the safe place is should a tornado warning be issued. Winter can bring snow and ice, so you want to be aware of the weather then as well. It's not all that common, but it's crippling when it happens.
- Airports - There is an airport in the county, but it's more for private and charter jet services. The closest commercial airport is more than an hour away in Bentonville at the Northwest Arkansas National Airport. The Springfield-Branson airport is less than two hours north across the Missouri state line.
- Travel Insurance - This is a unique experience and you don't want to lose money on this trip, which can easily be resolved with travel insurance protecting your investment.
Eureka Springs Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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