Arkansas is truly a hidden gem. The state is largely rural, with over half of its landmass devoted to agriculture and forestry. But it has all kinds of fun things to do! Here are my picks for the best attractions in Arkansas:
1. Petit Jean State Park
Petit Jean State Park is a park near Morrilton, Arkansas. It’s the highest point in the state of Arkansas and offers many hiking trails as well as waterfalls. The park also has historical significance with several cabins built by German settlers in the 1800s.
2. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was founded by Alice Walton, a daughter of the Walmart fortune. The museum is located in Bentonville, Arkansas, and features an impressive collection of American art, including works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Andy Warhol. The museum was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie who also designed Habitat 67 in Montreal and Les Terrasses de la Chute Montmorency in Quebec City. While open year-round (except Thanksgiving Day), hours vary depending on the season so be sure to check out their website before your visit!
3. Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith was a major river port, making it the perfect place for pioneers to stop and rest. What’s more, you can still see the remains of Fort Smith that are still standing today. The National Historic Site features a replica of the fort, as well as a museum dedicated to its history. Exhibits include artifacts from throughout its history as well as information on what life was like for those who lived and worked here.
4. Buffalo National River
The Buffalo National River is the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 states, and it’s also home to many species of wildlife, including bears, wild boar, and deer. There are also many hiking trails in this area that you can explore with your friends or family.
You can enjoy swimming in this river if you like, but keep in mind that it may not be as warm as what you’re used to!
5. Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is a small town in Arkansas that was originally founded as a summer resort, but today it is known for its Victorian architecture and quirky shops. The town is also known for its healing springs, some of which are still used today. There are many places to stay in Eureka Springs including bed and breakfasts with charming rooms and amazing views.
Eureka Springs has been featured on several shows such as “Mystery Hunters” and “Ghost Adventures” so if you have an interest in the paranormal this may be the perfect place for you!
6. Arkansas Museum of Discovery
The Arkansas Museum of Discovery is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for something educational, interactive, and fun. The museum features over 300 exhibits that are spread throughout five exhibit halls. These include a science center, an IMAX theater, and an aquarium.
What to Do: You can find everything from a life-sized replica of the Titanic shipwreck to an actual piece of the space shuttle Columbia’s hull at this museum. You can also see dinosaur fossils in their original state. If you want to learn more about Arkansas history, there are many artifacts on display as well (including Abraham Lincoln’s hat). Visitors can also create their art while they enjoy the hands-on activities available in the arts & crafts area or take part in various workshops offered throughout the year such as glass etching or cartooning with someone from “Family Guy.”
Takeaway: The Arkansas Museum of Discovery offers something for every age group—from toddlers who will love playing around with toys at its children’s museum section called “PeeWee’s PlayPlace” up to adults who want a more relaxing experience by visiting its tranquil Japanese garden filled with cherry blossoms trees!
7. Lake Ouachita State Park
A great place to camp and explore the Ouachita Mountains, Lake Ouachita State Park is the largest state park in Arkansas. Located about eight miles east of Hot Springs and just south of U.S. Highway 70, it is home to more than 1,000 campsites that can be reserved online or by phone at 877-722-6783. Campers can choose from cabin rentals as well as tent sites with electricity hookups or water access—campsites are available on a first come first served basis year round as well as by reservation beginning in February through March 31st every year.
The park has over 25 miles of hiking trails ranging from one-mile interpretive trails to longer wilderness treks through some of the most beautiful scenery around! From wildlife viewing opportunities like elk, deer, and bald eagles; stunning views from high peaks; easy river walks along the Buffalo River; waterfalls cascading down rocky cliffs; cooling off after your hike at Mountain Mist Pool or driving over bridges that span deep gorges filled with clear blue waters (or even swimming if you have your boat), Lake Ouachita State Park offers something for everyone!
8. Mount Magazine State Park
Mount Magazine State Park is a 1,591-acre state park located on the top of Mount Magazine in Arkansas. This park is the highest point in the state and offers an array of hiking trails, as well as camping and picnic areas. The park is open year-round, so you can visit anytime!
9. Hot Springs National Park
As the name suggests, hot springs are natural springs with water that is hot enough to boil. Hot springs have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times and today they’re still a popular tourist attraction in Arkansas, where there are more than 1,000 of them.
Hot Springs National Park contains numerous geothermal features including hot springs and mud pots—or rather bubbling pools of mud-like substance that looks like something out of The Lord Of The Rings—as well as fumaroles (gas vents), travertine terraces and hot rivers full of sulfuric acid.
10. Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs Caverns is a National Natural Landmark located in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. The caverns are open year-round, but the best time of year to visit is during fall when the leaves begin to turn. There are two tours available: the Discovery Tour and Wilderness Tour.
The Discovery tour takes you through a beautiful limestone cave with stalactites hanging from its ceiling and pools of water along the way. It lasts about 35 minutes, which gives you enough time to see everything without feeling rushed or bored. The Wilderness tour goes further into this same cave system where there’s even more beautiful scenery (and some bats!). This tour takes around 50 minutes, so bring comfortable shoes as you will be doing some walking on uneven ground as well as climbing up some stairs with no railings!
Both tours have handrails for stability and electric lights so that everyone can see their surroundings clearly—which makes all those fun shapes much easier to spot!
11. Arkansas Air and Military Museum
Located in Fayetteville, Arkansas Air and Military Museum is a great place to learn about the state’s rich history. The museum hosts an impressive collection of aircraft and military vehicles on display, including B-17 Flying Fortresses and P51 Mustangs. Visitors can also see aircraft that were used during World War II, as well as some vintage cars.
Visitors will be able to explore both indoor exhibits and outdoor displays at this museum, which is open year-round and free to the public (though donations are appreciated).
12. Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center is a museum that tells the story of the Pfeiffer family, who settled in Arkansas in 1838. The museum includes exhibits on the history of their home, as well as an art gallery, nature trail, and more.
13. Clinton’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party (Arlington)
The Clintons’ Ugly Christmas Sweater Party is held at the family’s home in Arlington, Virginia. It takes place in November, and it isn’t a place to visit if you’re looking for an authentic Arkansas experience. However, if you’re planning on visiting Washington DC with no other plans and want to experience something quintessentially Americana, this party is the perfect opportunity!
The event was started by Hillary Clinton in 1994; she wanted something fun that would bring people together during a very difficult time for their country (the events surrounding Whitewater). It has since become an annual tradition that attracts both members of Congress and celebrities alike (like Ellen DeGeneres).
The party itself is a great way to see what life was like behind closed doors during Bill Clinton’s presidency. The setting is intimate: only 150 guests are invited each year; all of them must dress up in ugly holiday sweaters; even though there are plenty of secret service agents present at all times, they never let their guard down completely because they know they could get attacked at any moment by someone whose situation has become increasingly desperate due to overpopulation or other issues related to basic survival needs not being met adequately enough across many areas throughout rural America.”
14. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
One of the most beautiful parks in Arkansas is Pinnacle Mountain State Park, located just 20 minutes from Little Rock. In addition to being a gorgeous place to enjoy yourself, it also has a lot of things to offer! The park offers over 30 miles of hiking trails and 10 miles of bike trails for you and your family. Horseback riding is also available if you prefer that method. The park is open year-round, so come out anytime!
Arkansas has a lot to offer!
One of the best things about Arkansas is that it offers a variety of activities to engage in. Whether you’re interested in some history or bringing your family on an annual visit to enjoy the natural beauty, there’s something for everyone here.
In addition to being a great location for hiking and fishing, Arkansas also has several museums that provide visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the state’s history.
While visiting these museums will give you insight into what life was like in past eras, they can also leave you feeling inspired by how far we’ve come as humans and how much more we still have left to explore!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip through the best things to do in Arkansas. It’s a great state, with a lot of history, culture, and natural beauty. If you need more ideas on what to see or do while you’re here, let me know! I would be happy to help plan your trip.