Northeast Arkansas Tour

  

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Scenic Northeast Arkansas

Tour the Ozark Foothills
The northeastern reaches of the Natural State offer up tons of unmistakable landscapes and fun-filled cities. Looking to see it all in one fell swoop? Grab your keys and head out on the Northeast Arkansas Tour – a four and a half-hour trip highlighting the Ozark foothills.

Hardy

Your tour of northeast Arkansas starts in Hardy ­– a city nestled on the banks of the Spring River, and only a short drive from the Missouri-Arkansas border. Hardy may be small – roughly five and half square miles in total – but it certainly packs plenty of charm and offers quite a few things to do to.

Must See
Located on West Main Street, the Vintage Motorcar Museum is a favorite destination among Hardy visitors and residents alike. During your visit, take a stroll through the museum and check out the impressive collection of vintage automobiles and classic cars. Along with the very impressive collection of vintage cars, the museum also features a host of unique and authentic American-made memorabilia – some related to cars and some not so related to cars.

Local Guide
After checking out the museum, be sure to explore historic Main Street Hardy for a true taste of the city. From Kelly Avenue to Spring Street, you’ll find plenty of quaint boutiques and specialty shops offering the best in antiques, crafts, and collectibles. Some must-visits include the Old Time Candy Shoppe – great for kids and families, Jades Boutique, and the Corner Booth Restaurant.

Outdoor
A great to explore the nearby Ozark scenery is by heading over to Griffin Park – a riverside respite found on the south fork of the Spring River and just about two miles west of downtown Hardy. If you only have an hour or an entire day, you’ll find plenty of outdoor fun along the Spring River, whether it’s fishing, canoeing, kayaking, or horseback riding. Oh, and be sure to hit the Zippin Griffin – “Arkansas’ highest and fastest zip line canopy tour.“

Jonesboro

Main Street in Hardy conveniently merges with the US-63/62, which – along with AR-91 – will take you nearly all the way into Jonesboro. Home to Arkansas State University, “JoBro” is by far the largest city on our tour, and the fifth largest city in all of Arkansas in terms of population.

Must See
Contextualize your trip by visiting the Arkansas State University Museum located on the ASU campus. The museum features a large collection of exhibits centered on northeast Arkansas heritage and nature. Must-see exhibits include the Crowley’s Ridge Mastodon skeleton, the Native American Gallery, and Frontier Arkansas. Too, the museum often hosts special events and guest speakers – check the schedule during your visit.

Local Guide
If you’re looking to do as the locals do, your best bet is to get out and explore downtown Jonesboro. As a college town, downtown JoBro, which is just minutes away from the ASU campus, is home to a variety of local restaurants, pubs, trendy retailers, and art-based organizations.

Outdoor
Craighead Forest Park, set just south of downtown on Culberhouse Road, serves as the easiest avenue for exploring the scenery of northeast AR without ever leaving the city. If you fancy yourself a fisherman or woman, feel free to cast out at the 60-acre Craighead Forest Lake, which comes stocked with bass, bream, crappie, and tilapia. Or simply enjoy the natural beauty of the park by exploring over 15 miles of crisscrossing trails – some of which lead to the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center.

Searcy

After short journey southwest along US-49 and US-67 you’ll find yourself in Searcy, a historic and thriving college town, home to both Harding University and Arkansas State University-Searcy.

Must See
Once there, your first stop should be the Searcy Art Gallery – a two-story art gallery set inside the historic Black House on Race Avenue. Peruse the halls and bedrooms and check out the impressive collection of contemporary art. Even better, the house doubles as a history museum, as it’s still filled to the brim with period furniture and décor dating back to the mid 1800s. Oh, and admission is free. Did we mention how awesome this place is?

Local Guide
For a little more hands-on fun, be sure to check out the White County Pioneer Village, located just south of Harding University on Higginson Street. The village is chock-full of period interpreters, 19th century buildings, and other authentic farm hears, while crafters, live music, kids’ activities, and specialty food makes for a very lively experience.

Outdoor
Not unlike many of the other cities along this tour and throughout northern Arkansas, excellent outdoor adventure is practically right outside the city, no matter which way you go. However, one the best ways to explore the scenery and woodlands surrounding Searcy is by embarking on a guided fishing journey with Tailwater Fishing Company. Join these knowledgeable anglers as they guide you along the Little Red River – a truly one-of-a-kind experience in Searcy.

Clinton

Just about one hour west of Searcy via AR-24 and US-65, Clinton, the gateway to the Ozarks, stakes its claim as a top destination city in north-central AR.

Must See
After arriving in Clinton, continue along US-65 north and keep a sharp eye out for Natural Bridge Road, home of, well, the Natural Bridge. This is a great way to see some of the beauty surrounding Clinton while also catching a glimpse of one of the area’s best natural wonders. After a short drive to the creek and an even shorter hike, snag a few pictures of the beautiful rock formations. You won’t regret it.

Local Guide
Clinton is known far and wide for its famous National Championship Chuckwagon Races – a local festival taking place over the course of Labor Day weekend, featuring fun-filled wagon races, live music, a plethora of vendors and craftsmen, and plenty more fun for kids and adults. Plan you trip accordingly, this is truly not to be missed.

Outdoor
Although the gateway to the Ozarks, Clinton is perhaps more commonly known as the gateway to Greers Ferry Lake – a massive, 40,000-acre reservoir featuring endless outdoor and aquatic recreation, including boating, fishing, hiking, and more. The Choctaw Recreation Area, which sits at the western-most end of the lake, is just about 10 miles from downtown Clinton and provides convenient access to the beautiful lakeshores and waters.

Mountain View

Hop on AR-9 and head east. Before you know it, you’ll end up in the aptly named Mountain View – a scenic little city set in the heart of the Ozarks affectionately known as the “Folk Music Capitol of the World.”

Must See
Speaking of the Ozarks, if you’re looking to gain a little Ozark knowledge, or perhaps learn about the colorful history of the region, be sure and stop at the Ozark Folk Center State Park on the north side of the city. The park, which also contains the Craft Village, Skillet Restaurant, and Homespun Gift Shop, is essentially a living history museum and cultural center. Visiting in April? Be sure to experience the Ozark Folk Festival.

Local Guide
For a little local fun and excitement, check out Loco Ropes. This family-friendly destination lets visitors fly through the Ozark forest with the greatest of ease on the zip lines, or hone in their mountain climbing skills with the massive rock climbing walls. Loco Ropes is absolutely fit for all ages, and is one of the best ways to enjoy the adventure of Mountain View in a safe, yet thrilling fashion. And really, you want a “mountain view?” This is perhaps the best way to get it.

Outdoor
So you’ve seen the Ozarks from above and from on the surface, so how about seeing underneath? Blanchard Springs Caverns is located just a short 20-minute drive north of Mountain View, and offers an unparalleled way to explore the Ozark National Forest and surrounding scenery. Take your pick from three different cavern adventures, like the Discovery Trail, Dripstone Trail, Wild Cave Tour, and see what makes this piece of Arkansas nature so special. All of the tours are available year-round, so plan your trip today. No headlamp necessary.