Fun, affordable vacations await you in Arkansas. There’s so much to see and do, we welcome you to stay awhile. Popular destinations are featured below. For more places to go, visit Arkansas.com.
DOWNTOWN LITTLE ROCK and NORTH LITTLE ROCK
At the center of fun in Arkansas is Little Rock, the state’s capital city. Located along the Arkansas River, the River Market entertainment district offers scenic beauty in the heart of downtown. Stroll through the Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, and make your way toward the actual “little rock” at La Petite Roche Plaza. Continue down President Clinton Avenue, and discover great shops, restaurants, music venues and more. Don’t miss the Museum of Discovery, Little Rock’s premier science center. Within walking distance is the Clinton Presidential Center, the nation’s 12th presidential library. Nearby, Heifer Village is a global learning center with programs and events throughout the year. Other must-see attractions include the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas Arts Center, Old State House Museum, Historic Arkansas Museum, Arkansas State Capitol, Central High School National Historic Site and Esse Purse Museum on South Main Street, which has become a hot spot for dining and entertainment. For outdoor fun in an urban area, bring your bike or rent one from a local bike shop, and hit the Arkansas River Trail with access points at the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, Junction Bridge, Two Rivers Bridge and Big Dam Bridge. Also accessible from the Clinton Presidential Center is the Southeast Trail, a new 13-mile spur that links the Arkansas River Trail with the David D. Terry Lock and Dam.
Downtown North Little Rock is home to the vibrant Argenta District known for its lively arts and entertainment scene. Verizon Arena draws big crowds to concerts and sporting events. It also contains the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum. Spring means it’s time to play ball. Root for the Arkansas Travelers, minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Dickey-Stephens Park in North Little Rock. Also nearby, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum features the U.S.S. Razorback, a submarine that was present at the signing of the treaty that ended WWII.
Renowned for its outdoors, this region features some of the state’s finest hunting, fishing and birding. The beautiful Ouachita River offers excellent fishing and floating. In addition to the region’s natural beauty and outdoor adventures, there are several unique attractions, including the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover; the McCollum Chidester House in Camden; the restored Rialto Theater in El Dorado; the Perot Theatre in Texarkana; and the Clinton Birthplace Home in Hope. This is also the site of the famous natural thermal springs found in Hot Springs National Park, America’s First Resort. Also in this region is Murfreesboro, home of Crater of Diamonds State Park. It was a big deal for the 37-acre field of dreams when the Esperanza was discovered last summer. The sparkling 8.52-carat diamond was spotted within 30 minutes of searching. It has since been fashioned into a beautiful, original triolette designed by world-renowned diamond cutter Mike Botha. On any day at Crater of Diamonds, you too can keep what you find at the world’s only diamond mine open to the public. People come from across the country and all over the world for their chance. After a day of digging, cool off at Diamond Springs Water Park onsite.
From Bathhouse Row to the gangster era, Hot Springs is home to fascinating history. It’s also a place of outdoor fun. The sparkling lakes of Catherine, Hamilton and Ouachita are popular for fishing. Hiking and biking abound in the Ouachita National Forest, in fact, three Epic mountain biking trails are located in these parts – Womble Trail, Lake Ouachita Vista Trail and Ouachita National Recreation Trail. World-class golfing is enjoyed year-round. Hot Springs also boasts exciting attractions in a scenic setting. Soar 1,200 feet above the city at Hot Springs Mountain Tower overlooking 140 miles of Ouachita Mountain scenery. Oaklawn Racing and Gaming offers endless entertainment in the expanded gaming room with instant racing, simulcast and electronic games of skill, such as blackjack, craps and poker. While the live Thoroughbred racing season runs January through mid-April, gaming is open year-round with simulcast racing every day. Experience beautiful spring blooms at Garvan Woodland Gardens located on a 210-acre peninsula on Lake Hamilton. Another must-see site is The Gangster Museum of America, which chronicles the history of Hot Springs as a famous hideout for some of the nation’s most notorious mobsters. A finalist for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, Mid America Science Museum is Arkansas’s largest hands-on science center and the state’s first Smithsonian affiliate. There are more than 100 exhibits for kids and adults of all ages to explore the wonders of science, energy and matter in all its forms. With exhibits like the Marvelous Motion Gallery and Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk, this place makes learning look cool. Magic Springs Water and Theme Park is a hot spot in the summer months with thrill rides and water slides plus free summer concerts at Timberwood Amphitheatre.
Bentonville is a thriving Northwest Arkansas city and home to many unique attractions. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one of the nation’s premier art institutions. Situated on 120 acres, the museum features six galleries, a restaurant, research library, grand hall, classrooms and museum store, plus beautiful grounds with a 1.5-mile multi-use trail, featuring outdoor sculpture, the Crystal Bridges overlook and the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House. Nearby, 21c Museum Hotel is located on the northeast corner of Bentonville’s downtown square. The hotel includes the upscale, award-winning restaurant, The Hive, and a fine art gallery with exhibits, installations and live art events. Also on the square is the Walmart Visitors Center Museum. New to Bentonville is the Scott Family Amazeum, a place that engages families in exploration, learning and fun. Exhibits cover a range of areas like science, art, history, nature and weather and encourage active participation – whether it’s in the art studio, on the Canopy Climber, in the Cloud Theater or in other interactive play spaces.
No trip to Arkansas is complete without a visit to Eureka Springs. A quaint Ozark Mountain town, Eureka Springs is one of the most popular destinations in the state. Some of the must-see attractions include Thorncrown Chapel, The Great Passion Play, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and Blue Spring Heritage Center. Rip through the green scenery at Ozark Mountain Ziplines. Stroll through the historic downtown district for shopping and dining. Book a spa treatment for relaxation at the end of a fun-filled day. Choose from charming B&Bs, historic hotels or lakeside lodging on Beaver Lake.
Fayetteville has it all. It’s a hip college town, thriving business community, outdoor paradise and cultural hub for arts and entertainment. In fact, Forbes recognized it as one of the best places for business and careers. Enjoy performances at the Walton Arts Center on vibrant Dickson Street, known for its nightlife. A fun way to experience the craft beer scene is on the Fayetteville Ale Trail. Pick up a passport to participating breweries at the Fayetteville Visitors Center on the square. In nearby Rogers, tour Pea Ridge National Military Park, War Eagle Mill and Cavern, and the Daisy Airgun Museum. Rogers also offers great dining and upscale shopping at Pinnacle Hills Promenade. For outdoor enthusiasts, discover fishing and camping on Beaver Lake. For cyclists, the Razorback Regional Greenway connects 36 miles of trails from the Bella Vista Trail in north Bentonville to south Fayetteville.
Located in the heart of Northwest Arkansas, Springdale is a growing city with an abundance of outdoor opportunities and family attractions. The city is home to more than 200 acres of parks and boasts the only indoor ice rink in the region at the Jones Center for Youth and Families. Another popular attraction is the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad, which offers a scenic train ride through the Boston Mountains in a vintage railcar. Take in a minor league baseball game at Arvest Ballpark, home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, a AA-affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The event of the year in Springdale is Rodeo of the Ozarks, held annually at Parsons Stadium in June. Getting here is easy via Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA).
The original Wild West, Fort Smith is the site of the 1817 fort on the Arkansas River. Preserved as a national historic site, attractions include the restored courtroom of the infamous “Hangin’ Judge” Isaac C. Parker and the frontier jail known as “Hell on the Border.” While you’re in Fort Smith, visit the Fort Smith Regional Art Museum in its beautiful state-of-the-art facility. Walk the downtown streets to view the Unexpected Project, a series of murals along Garrison Avenue. A great way to explore this region is on the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad with excursions to Van Buren, Springdale and Winslow.
Mountain View is where you’ll find Ozark Folk Center State Park, the only place in America that preserves traditional Ozark folkways. Pioneer arts and crafts, such as woodworking, blacksmithing, weaving and quilting, are practiced through live demonstrations, as well as gardening in the Heritage Herb Garden. The sounds of folk, bluegrass, country and Americana fill the auditorium, which hosts celebrity concerts. Learn more about Ozark crafts, music and gardening at workshops and special events held throughout the year. Lodging and dining are on-site. Loco Ropes, a zip line and ropes challenge course, is also located here. While in Mountain View, a must-see attraction is Blanchard Springs Caverns, a living cave and the site of the world’s largest flowstone.
A place known for its fertile soil, the Arkansas Delta is deeply rooted in history and heritage. Take a scenic drive or motorcycle ride along one of two national scenic byways, Arkansas’s Great River Road and Crowley’s Ridge Parkway. Make time to stop and explore historic homes, museums, Civil War sites, state parks and a national forest featuring some of the state’s best hunting and fishing. Southland Park Gaming and Racing in West Memphis is popular for its greyhound racing, simulcast and electronic games of skill, such as video poker and blackjack. This region is where you’ll also find Dyess, the site of the boyhood home of Johnny Cash and the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott where Ernest Hemingway famously wrote portions of A Farewell to Arms. Also located here is Parkin Archeological State Park, which preserves a 17-acre Mississippi Period Native American village dating back to A.D. 1000-1600. It’s now a research station perfect for early explorers with site tours and educational programs.
The Lower Delta is world renowned for its outdoors. Some of the state’s finest hunting, fishing and birding opportunities await you at the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. The beautiful Ouachita River offers excellent fishing and floating. In addition to the region’s natural beauty and outdoor adventures, there are several unique attractions, including the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in Pine Bluff; Delta Rivers Nature Center, also in Pine Bluff; Delta Resort in Tillar; and Lakeport Plantation in Lake Village.
A town dedicated to preserving its roots and celebrating its history, Helena-West Helena is home to the Delta Cultural Center located on historic Cherry Street. Exhibits, concerts and special events. Also in Helena-West Helena is Fort Curtis, a reproduction of the Union Civil War fort. Civil War history is also interpreted at Freedom Park, the first site in Arkansas dedicated as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site by the National Park Service. For family fun, rent bikes at Delta Heritage Trail State Park, and hit the easy 21-mile Delta Heritage Trail from Helena-West Helena to Elaine. As part of the national rails-to-trails program, the trail will eventually extend for nearly 85 miles. Another idea for adventurers in your family is Quapaw Canoe Company for floating on the Mighty Mississippi.