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Popular Attractions in Arkansas
One-of-a-Kind Things to Do in Arkansas
With swift rushing rivers, leafy hollows, and rugged mountains, Arkansas lives up to its nickname as the Natural State. It is a land of stunning beauty, from dense forests to wide open lakes. In the north and west, the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains rise along the spine of the state with granite outcrops and sweeping views. Tall pines tower in the Timberlands further south, while the Delta region possesses fertile farmland and oxbow lakes.
But Arkansas is much more than lush wilderness and outdoor adventures. Be charmed by quaint mountain villages and cool cities with booming brewery and dining scenes. Savor the cosmopolitan vibe in Little Rock, Bentonville, and Hot Springs. Soak in mineral-rich waters at historic Eureka Springs. Visit the birthplace of the blues in the Delta. Discover a land of diverse cultures, rich heritage, and breathtaking natural beauty.
Little Rock and the Heart of Arkansas
Start in the middle of the action: Little Rock. Arkansas’ capital city is also its cultural epicenter, with prominent historical sites and outdoor activities. Shop at upscale boutiques and dig into down-home cuisine. Tour a landmark of America’s Civil Rights Movement at the Central High School National Historic Site. Gain insight on the 42nd President at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Library.
Linger in Little Rock’s vibrant neighborhoods and explore art galleries, farmers markets, and eclectic restaurants. The SoMa and River Market districts are two of the hottest scenes in the city. Have fun at seasonal events and food festivals that celebrate everything from cornbread to cheese dip to food trucks. Embrace the outdoors on trails that circle the city and on the famous Big Dam Bridge.
Northwest Arkansas: Fun Adventures in the Ozark Mountains
A wild country of untamed beauty, the Ozarks are home to quiet forest trails, crystal-clear rivers, and bubbling mountain springs. Its pristine natural character is enhanced by mountain villages with a divergent mix of folk charm, biker culture, and free-spirited hippie appeal.
Victorian homes hug the cliffsides in Eureka Springs, a historic town with one-of-a-kind flair and an old-fashioned Main Street. Bentonville boasts an uber-modern art museum with sci-fi style and one of the finest collections of contemporary art in the country at Crystal Bridges. Fayetteville is the home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks and their fervent fan base, especially around football season.
Outside of the city hubs, the Ozark region is awash with natural playgrounds. Go fishing, floating, and kayaking on the Buffalo National River. Hike and bike through the mountains, or rent a boat on Beaver Lake. Winding roads with myriad photo opps run through the Ozark region, making it a favorite for bike, motorcycle, and driving tours.
Southwest Arkansas: Ouachita Mountains and the Timberlands
Arkansas’ mountains continue south with the Ouachita (pronounced wash-ee-tah) range, which descends into the tall pine trees of the Timberlands. Like the Ozarks, the Ouachita Mountains and Timberlands are crisscrossed with mountain streams, rivers, and trails for hiking and biking. Bass fishing and deer hunting are popular pursuits, along with wildlife photography and foliage tours in the fall.
Hot Springs is the undeniable epicenter of the southwest. Travelers have flocked here for centuries for the natural springs’ healing properties. At Hot Springs National Park, historic Bathhouse Row features lovely old bathhouses from the late 1800s. Further south, you can search for gemstones – quartz at Mount Ida and diamonds at Murfreesboro. Visit Hope to explore the childhood home of President Bill Clinton.
North Central Arkansas: Caves, Rivers, and Mountain Folk Culture
Go deep in the Great Outdoors in this rugged highland region, which is known for its caves, trails, and rivers. Sparsely populated, its pristine wilderness an adventurer’s dream. Go fishing, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Have a blast on the bluff-lined Buffalo National River or ride a jet ski on Bull Shoals Lake. Swim in waters of astounding clarity at Mammoth Springs. Find underground thrills at mysterious caves like Blanchard Springs Caverns.
Shop for handmade treasures and listen to bluegrass music in Mountain View, an epicenter of arts and crafts. Visit the Ozark Folk Center State Park for a glimpse into the region’s mountain subculture. Stroll Heber’s historic Main Street and tour a ghost town in Calico Rock.
Upper Delta: Mississippi Lowlands with Downhome Charm
Enveloped by beautiful forests and the Mississippi River, the Upper Delta has a personality all its own. Flat woodlands, flooded cypress swamps, and rolling farmland create a serene atmosphere that has inspired American legends. This is where Ernest Hemingway worked on A Farewell to Arms and where Johnny Cash’s musical journey began.
The buzzing city of Jonesboro anchors the Upper Delta region with a wealth of trendy restaurants, arts venues, and cultural festivals. Pea Ridge National Military Park is the best preserved Civil War battlefield in America. Cruise scenic byways up to Crowley’s Ridge and follow the Mississippi along the Arkansas Great River Road. Explore well-presented state parks with first-rate fishing spots, swimming holes, and hunting grounds. Five great rivers provide plenty of opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and watersports.
Lower Delta: Oxbow Lakes, Hunting, and Blues Music
Welcome to the birthplace of blues music and the duck hunting capital of the world. Sidled up to the Mississippi River, the fertile farmland in this low-lying region is as rich as its musical heritage. Helena-West Helena buzzes with homegrown blues and gospel music. Uncover the roots of American music every fall here at the King Biscuit Blues Festival. Go further back in time at the Arkansas Post, which was established in 1686 as the first European settlement on the Lower Mississippi.
Outdoor enthusiasts will discover amazing oxbow lakes and rivers, including the majestic Mississippi River herself. The Lower Delta is known for its bountiful fishing and duck hunting scene. Sportsmen travel from near and far to enjoy its well-stocked bottomlands. Bayous and their roadways offer charismatic routes for kayaking, boating, biking, and driving.
Popular Attractions in Arkansas
Fayetteville Historic Square
Founded in 1911, the Fayetteville Historic Square is a must-visit downtown area set in Fayetteville in northern Arkansas. The square is less than one mile from the University of Arkansas campus.
Historic highlights around the square include the Old Post Office, the Fayetteville Visitor Center, the Lewis Brothers Building, and the Old Bank of Fayetteville. Plan your visit accordingly – the square hosts the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market weekly during the summer.
River Market District
Have a blast in The Rock. Set in downtown Little Rock, the River Market is a major entertainment district of the Little Rock metropolitan area. Home of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park, the River Market is a major fixture of cultural Arkansas and pride of the Natural State. Other Rock museums in River Market district include the Arkansas Arts Center, the Arkansas Museum of Discovery, and the Old State House Museum – all of which may be enjoyed after a trip through the Little Rock Farmers' Market.
Open up your mind, and also your wallet, for a browse the River Market's Ottenheimer Market Hall – a collection of small eateries boasting of food fro around the world. Don’t forget a stroll through Julius Breckling Riverfront Park, found along LaHarpe Boulevard and Arkansas River, and trek along the Arkansas River Trail after snapping a picture of the Indian Head at History Pavilion. Discover the stunning artwork of Sculptural Promenade, also in Riverfront Park, and see if you can catch a show at the Riverfest Amphitheatre.
Follow your time in the River Market with a stay at a Best Western hotel in Little Rock, or in nearby North Little Rock and Jacksonville.