Lake Hamilton was created in 1932 when the Arkansas Power and Light Co. completed Carpenter Dam on the Ouachita River to generate electricity. Today, the 7,460-acre impoundment is one of Arkansas's most popular recreational and residential lakes. Much of it is ringed with condominiums, resorts, motels, restaurants and private homes. State Scenic 7 Byway crosses the lake. Hill Wheatley Park, located on the shore, has a popular swim area with a man-made sandy beach, picnic facilities and restrooms.
Water-skiing, pleasure boating and fishing are popular Hot Springs attractions on Lake Hamilton and rentals of watercraft and sport accessories are readily available. The Belle of Hot Springs is a 400-passenger riverboat that offers sightseeing, lunch, dinner and dance cruises on the lake. Garvan Woodland Gardens is a 210-acre, lakeshore botanical garden accessible by both land and boat.