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10 Best Places to Visit in Arkansas – The Culturally Endowed State of the USA

Wondering about the best places to visit in Arkansas? We have you covered with a list of awe-inspiring places in Arkansas that you can’t afford to miss. 

Also known as the ‘Natural State,’ Arkansas is surrounded by a spectacular show of nature. It is home to the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges, beautiful landscapes, and leafy forests. 

In addition to the natural beauty, Arkansas has little towns and cities filled with historical and outdoor attractions. For instance, the Hot Springs National Park and Eureka Springs have their history almost as steamy as the water in their bathhouses. 

From the Crystal Bridges Museum to the Little Rock Central High School, there are plenty of places to visit in Arkansas that fill the state with love, joy, and American art. 

Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Arkansas

1. Hot Springs National Park

Nestled in the mountain ranges of Ouachita, Hot Springs National Park has been the ideal site of relaxation for centuries. Tourists worldwide and even the locals consider it one of the best places to visit in Arkansas for rejuvenation.

Historically, American Indians believed that Hot Springs had some magical healing properties. The official inauguration of the park happened in 1921. However, visitors have been visiting this place for much longer.

Best places to visit in Arkansas
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

The National Park fills itself with precious old bath houses that still get used in numerous ways. For instance, the Fordyce Bathhouse is the major tourist interest of the park. In addition, tourists can enjoy several other attractions, such as the Gulpha Gorge Campground for camping, hiking trails, observation towers, and much more. The Hot Springs National Park is the perfect embodiment of natural beauty. All these factors combine to make it one of the best places to visit in Arkansas. 

  • Entrance Fee: Hot Springs National Park does not charge an entrance fee to its visitors. However, if you wish to camp at the Gulpha Gorge Campground, it will cost you $30 per night. 
  • Fun Things to Do in Hot Springs National Park: Camping, hiking trails, stroll down the bath houses, and much more.

2. The Buffalo National River

Meandering through the Ozark Mountains, the Buffalo National River is another natural attraction for tourists. Buffalo River is Arkansas’ first designated national river, making it a must-see for visitors. The state has protected the river since 1972, due to which it is still undeveloped. However, it has worked as a blessing in disguise for nature lovers because the Buffalo River is undammed and unpolluted. 

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
The Buffalo National River, Arkansas

The scenic banks of the Buffalo River, alongside the lush forests and the drizzling waterfalls, make one of the most iconic views of nature. In addition, several fascinating historic sites fill the surrounding area. These include around 300 caves, ancient bluff shelters, and villages used by the native Americans. 

The rich greenery of the area allows visitors to relish the natural beauty through horseback riding and camping. Canoeing down the river bank has some of the most breathtaking views of Arkansas. 

  • Entrance Fee: Visitors do not have to pay an entrance or day-use fee. Furthermore, backcountry camping also does not require any permit. 
  • Things to Do in Buffalo National Park: Admire the iconic views, horseback riding, camping, ranger-led tours, etc.

3. Little Rock

Being the capital of Arkansas, Little Rock has to be one of the best places to visit in Arkansas. It is, in fact, the most culturally and economically important city in the state. 

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
City of Little Rock, Arkansas

Its historic downtown area provides an impressive list of things to do. For instance, you can see American art in its purest form in the galleries, cultural centers, and theaters of Little Rock. If you want some time away from the hustle and bustle of the city, you can spend time in the tranquil environment of the parks. Riverside Park exhibits a unique collection of rocks, after which the city got its name. 

You can find plenty of cafes, bars, and restaurants to keep yourself entertained for days. The Little Rock Central High School may also amaze you with its events in the historic Civil Rights Movement. 

  • Fun Things to Do in Little Rock: Visit galleries, cultural centers, theaters, cafes, bars, Little Rock Central High School, and many other attractions.

4. Crater of Diamonds State Park

Located in southwestern Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only source of naturally occurring diamonds in the USA. Despite being a place of such importance, this state park is open to the public. Crater of Diamonds has provided more than 75,000 diamonds since 1906, including the famous Strawn-Wagner Diamond.

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

Even today, visitors can find diamonds in colors ranging from white, brown, and yellow. You can even keep a diamond as a souvenir, only if you are lucky enough to find one. 

The site became an official tourist place in 1972. Since then, it has been on the list of the best places to visit in Arkansas. In addition, the park provides various other tourist attractions, including a water playground, museum, and a tree-laden campground. 

Entrance Fee: If you wish to dig for diamonds, the state park will charge an entrance fee given below.

  • Adults: $10
  • Children (6-12 years): $6
  • Children below six years: Free

Fun Things to Do in Crater of Diamonds: Dig for diamonds, visit the museum, water playgrounds, campgrounds, and much more.

5. Fayetteville

After Little Rock and Fort Smith, Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas. Since the main campus of the University of Arkansas lies here, the city has always remained lively and youthful.

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas

Live music, festivals, theatrical performances, and cultural arts are the city’s lifeline. We assure you that you will enjoy every bit of time spent here. The college sports games may interest you if you are a sports enthusiast. If not, then the historic downtown square will save you from boredom. Walking through its old buildings and beautiful gardens is mesmerizing. 

The air museum in Fayetteville further helps it to be in the top 10 best places to visit in Arkansas. The museum houses several airplanes used in the 1920s and 30s era. The nightclubs, bars, cafes, historic landmarks, boutiques, and a weekly farmers’ market make Fayetteville a must-visit place. 

  • Fun Things to Do in Fayetteville: Enjoy live music, theatrical performances, sports games, festivals, etc.

6. Mammoth Spring State Park

Alongside Hot Springs, Mammoth Spring State Park is on the list of the most visited springs in the USA. The water flow in the Mammoth Spring gets estimated at nine million gallons per hour. The Mammoth Spring town has become one of the best places to visit in Arkansas due to its restored 1886 train depot, a Frisco Railroad caboose, and whatnot!

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Mammoth Spring State Park, Arkansas

Apart from relaxing in the steamy bath houses of the Mammoth Spring, visitors can also go to a hiking trail. Its pathway includes gorgeous views of Arkansas, dams, and an out-of-service hydroelectric station. 

If you plan to visit Mammoth Spring in a group, you can book covered pavilions before reaching this beautiful town.

  • Entrance Fee: Mammoth Spring State Park does not charge an entrance fee to the visitors.
  • Fun Things to Do in Mammoth Spring State Park: Relax in the steamy bath houses, go for a hiking trail, etc. 

7. Mount Magazine State Park

Located in northwest Arkansas, visitors can experience the tranquility of nature in Mount Magazine. The city is on the state’s tallest mountain. As a tourist, you can opt for various popular outlets, including camping, hiking trails, picnic areas, and much more.

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas

The primary reason for Mount Magazine to be on the list of best places to visit in Arkansas is because of its visitor center. Why? Because the center consists of an exhibit gallery, gift shops, and the Skycrest Restaurant. 

On top, this city heavily contributes to the flora & fauna of Arkansas. If you are into extreme sports, you can enjoy some of the most adventurous moments of your life in Mount Magazine State Park. You can opt for rock climbing, mountain biking, horse riding, etc.

  • Entrance Fee: No entrance fee. 
  • Fun Things to Do in Mount Magazine State Park: Camping, hiking, rock climbing, horse riding, mountain biking, etc.

8. Ozark National Forest

There couldn’t be a list of best places to visit in Arkansas without the Ozark National forest. The forest spreads over a vast landscape of 1.2 million acres, alongside the St. Francis National Forest. 

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Ozark National Forest, Arkansas

As for the visitors, Ozark National Forest brings so much to the cup. The forests have hiking trails expanding over 630 kilometers, more than 20 campsites, swimming areas, and countless breathtaking sceneries. Besides the green forests and lush mountains, Ozark also has 600 kilometers of pristine rivers and streams. 

People who want to rejuvenate at the heart of nature camp at the Ozark National Forest. Its high mountain ranges and diverse forests will surely keep you wanting more of Arkansas.

  • Fun Things to Do in Ozark National Forest: Rejuvenate at the heart of nature camp, swimming, etc.

9. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Another way to experience American art is to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum. Located in the northwest region of Arkansas, the museum was inaugurated in 2011 by Alice Walton and the Walton Foundation. People consider the museum one of the best places to visit in Arkansas. Why? Because it is one of the largest American art collections.

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Some renowned pieces in the museum include works by Norman Rockwell, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, and many more. In addition, the surrounding area fills itself with beautiful architecture, giving off an aesthetic viewing experience. 

  • Entrance fee: Contrary to other museums, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art does not charge any entrance fee.
  • Fun Things to Do Crystal Bridges Museum: See American Art in its purest form and read renowned works from Norman Rockwell, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, etc.

10. Blanchard Springs Caverns

Another addition to the list of the best places to visit in Arkansas is the Blanchard Springs Caverns. Located within the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, Blanchard Springs is a delightful tourist attraction. These caverns are ever-changing. Even today, visitors can witness water flowing through the cave.

Best Places to visit in Arkansas
Blanchard Springs Caverns

If you desire to explore the caverns, the only way is through ranger-led tours. The surrounding region of the caverns is also full of beautiful attractions, including the Ozark Mountain waterfall. 

  • Entrance Fee: To enter Blanchard Spring Caverns, you must enroll in the discovery trail tour, which costs about $12 per adult.
  • Fun Things to Do in Blanchard Springs Caverns: Explore the Blanchard Springs Caverns.

FAQ

  1. <strong>Why is Arkansas famous?</strong>

    Arkansas is also known as the ‘Natural State’ of the USA. One of the major tourist attractions here is the diamond mines. If you are lucky enough, you can even mine a diamond and keep it with yourself. The mining site is in the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas.

  2. <strong>What is the number one attraction in Arkansas?</strong>

    According to us, one of the best places to visit in Arkansas is the Hot Springs National Park. It’s a great escape from the world and lets you rejuvenate in nature. Even the American Indians believed that Hot Springs had healing properties within them.

  3. <strong>Are there Hot Springs in Arkansas?</strong>

    Yes! And there are plenty of them. Apart from the ones mentioned above, Basin Spring, Crescent Spring, Eureka Spring, and Grotto Spring are some of the most notable ones in the state. There are almost 18 naturally occurring springs in Arkansas.

  4. <strong>Is there anything to do in Arkansas?</strong>

    Definitely! And you can find plenty of them. From hiking trails to museums, visitors can enjoy their time in Arkansas doing various things. Cafes, bars, restaurants, forests, road trips, and whatnot! You simply can’t get bored of this beautiful state.

  5. <strong>What is the most visited town in Arkansas?</strong>

    The answer to this question is in the capital city of Arkansas. Statistically, the capital is also the most populous city in the state. The culture, traditions, and intriguing history of Arkansas are sure to amaze you. All these little details about the city make it one of the best places to visit in Arkansas.

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