Have an Arkansas Road Trip Adventure

Visit iconic and off-the-beaten path attractions.

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Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Photo By: The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Little Rock, Arkansas

Planning a trip to the nation’s 25th state? Here’s a suggested travel plan that begins with the state capital, Little Rock. Brush up on your U.S. history at the Old State House Museum and the Clinton Presidential Library. Others significant sights include the State Capitol and the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The whole family will enjoy the Museum of Discovery and exploring the Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. Exercise enthusiasts will want to check out the hiking trails at nearby Pinnacle Mountain State Park (pictured), which offers panoramic views from the summit.

The Empress of Little Rock

Make your Little Rock visit more memorable by treating yourself to luxury accommodations at the historic Capital Hotel or book a romantic getaway at the lovingly restored boutique B&B, The Empress of Little Rock (pictured). Go shopping in the River Market District and join the locals for outstanding home cooked meals at Franke’s Cafeteria, a popular favorite since 1919. Other top rated foodie destinations include Arthur’s Prime Steakhouse and Sim’s Barbecue. And for drinks, try the cocktails at South on Main or choose from the many beer selections at The Flying Saucer.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Travel southwest on Interstate 30 and stop in Hot Springs, nicknamed “The American Spa” due to its soothing thermal waters. Tour the famous Fordyce Bathhouse, climb the Mountain Tower and treat yourself to a spa experience at Quapaw Baths in Hot Springs National Park (pictured).

Quachita National Forest, Arkansas

Hot Springs is also the gateway to the spectacular scenic wonders of the Quachita National Forest. In this 1.8 million acre preserve, you can hike, bike, trail ride, fish, camp, take a scenic drive and enjoy many other favorite outdoor pastimes.

Russellville, Arkansas

From Hot Springs journey north on Highway 7 to the charming town of Russellville, overlooking Lake Dardanelles and the Arkansas River. Famous for its bass fishing and water sports, Russellville is also close to Mount Magazine State Park (pictured), the highest point in Arkansas. During your visit check out the River Valley Arts Center, marvel at the vintage cars at the Museum of Automobiles, dine at the beloved Feltner’s Whatta-Burger and see historic stagecoach stations preserved at the Potts Inn Museum.

Fort Smith, Arkansas

To fully appreciate the beauty of the Ozark Boston Mountains, you should head to Fort Smith and book an excursion through the wilderness on the Arkansas Missouri Railroad. You can enjoy a four hour journey from Fort Smith to Winslow that goes across the Arkansas River or choose a three hour trip from nearby Van Buren to Winslow. Go fishing or enjoy a picnic at the Janet Huckabee River Valley Nature Center. Visit the Trolley Museum and sample an old fashioned ice cream soda or float at the 1920 Pharmacy and Soda Fountain in the Fort Smith Museum of History.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Our next stop is Fayetteville in northwest Arkansas and home to the University of Arkansas. There are plenty of things to do in this idyllic college town such as tour the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, explore the community-run farmers’ market or do a self-guided ale trail tour of the thriving local brewery scene. Fayetteville is also an excellent base for exploring Ozark National Forest and its many natural wonders such as Lost Valley, Pam’s Grotto, White Rock and Shores Lake.

Bentonville, Arkansas

At the northwestern corner of Arkansas lies Bentonville, the birthplace of Wal-Mart, a true American success story. But the real lure here is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art which includes such famous works as Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter and Frank Lloyd Wright’s original Bachman-Wilson House. Another worthwhile stop is The Museum of Native American History and kids might enjoy the Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari in nearby Gentry. Top food picks include Tusk and Trotter in downtown Bentonville and Fred’s Hickory Inn for slow smoked meats.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Head east from Bentonville on Route 62 and follow signs to the quaint resort town of Eureka Springs, which is famous for its Christ of the Ozarks statue and the Great Passion Play featuring year-round performances of the outdoor drama. The Victorian village offers some delightful lodging options such as the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa and foodies should check out the Local Flavor Cafe or the more high end Grand Taverne with French-inspired cuisine.

Jasper, Arkansas

Heading south on Highway 7 you’ll want to spend some time in the beautiful town of Jasper, located in the middle of the Arkansas Ozark Plateau. The Cliff House Inn, overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon, is a top choice for lodging and dining. Stop by the Ponca Elk Education Center to learn about the local wildlife and then go elk watching in Boxley Valley. Nature lovers will want to check out the hiking trails at the Smith Creek Preserve.

Mountain View, Arkansas

We end our Arkansas road trip in Mountain View, home of the Ozark Folk Center which is dedicated to preserving Ozark crafts and music. The area is ideal for outdoor activities with camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing and zip lines a few of the available options. Explore Blanchard Springs Caverns or hang out in Mountain View nicknamed the “Folk Music Capitol of the World,” where you can enjoy live music on the square, at annual festivals and local venues.

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