Arkansas is widely known as the place where mega-retailer Walmart was born. But aside from that, it is also home to a lot of beautiful attractions and fascinating dining scene that you shouldn’t miss out on! Here are the best things to do in Arkansas:
1. Experience Art and Nature at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
There is just something so profound about the united power of art and architecture and beauty of nature. Experience it firsthand here at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art! The museum and trails are free; there are also temporary exhibitions that enhance the overall charm of the place.
2. Find a Great Spot to Eat at Bentonville
You can pretty much expect that food is the heart of every town. So when in Bentonville, make sure you try the most-loved restaurants of locals and travelers alike.
- Blu Fish Marketplace – 607 S. E. Fifth St.
- Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie – 110 SE A St, Bentonville
- Oven and Tap – 215 South Main St
- Table Mesa Bistro – 108 E Central Ave #10
- Crepes Paulette – 100 SW 8th St Suite 4
- Pressroom – 100 NW 2nd St #100
3. Attend a Wedding at Anthony Chapel
Okay, we know you can’t just strut off inside Anthony Chapel and crash someone else’s wedding. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a good look at the place! The Anthony Chapel possesses the earthy beauty of the outdoors with its floor-to-ceiling walls that provide the most magnificent views of the surrounding woodlands.
4. Try the Holly Jolly Hunt
Staying in Little Rock for the holidays? Try this fun scavenger hunt that is played using an app on one’s phone!
How to play: You’ll be tasked to find all holiday items around the city – each item corresponds to a certain point. The goal is to get as many items as you can and earn the most number of points to be #1 on the leader board.
5. Check out Artifacts at Museum of Native American History
Take a walk through America’s past by learning about the country’s first inhabitants. You can find five different time periods in the museum, and each will display precious artifacts, dating from over 14,000 years old to historic times.
6. Go on a Guided Tour at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Is checking out a sanctuary for big cats really one of the best things to do in Arkansas? The truth is, it depends. But if you’ve got a heart for the abused, abandoned and neglected lions, cougars, leopards, tigers, and bears, you should give this place a visit!
7. Look at Exhibits at Fordyce Bathhouse
Visit the Fordyce Bathhouse and know what it was like in the old days when millions flocked to the “American Spa.” You’ll be in awe of the glass ceilings, marble walls, and statues. A guided tour will also provide info and stories on the bathhouse and park’s history
8. Relax at the Old Mill
Does this place look familiar to you? That’s because this was featured in the opening scenes of the movie, “Gone with the Wind.” The Old Mill is inarguably the best-known movie location in Arkansas.
9. Strike a Pose With the Popeye Statue
It was around 1987 when the city of Alma in Arkansas called itself the “Spinach Capital of the World.” This is because the well-known Allen Canning Company was able to produce more than half of all the spinach canned in the United States – which was 27,000,000kg annually. So, you see, it only makes sense to erect a Popeye the Sailor statue for all visitors to admire!
10. Hike the Cedar Falls Trail
Who wants an adventurous time with their dog? One good place to start is the Cedar Falls Trail. It is a 1.9-mile trail near Morrilton, Arkansas that features a beautiful waterfall.
Tip: It is said it is best to hike from March until November.
11. Check the Walmart Museum
The history of the American discount department store chain Walmart can be traced back to 1950 when business Sam Walton opened “Walton’s 5&10” in the Bentonville Town Square. What was originally a dime-store has now become a global leader in retail that many Americans patronize to this day. The Walmart Museum features the Waltons 5&10, a world-class exhibit gallery, and The Spark Cafe.
12. Visit President William Jefferson Clinton’s Birthplace Home
While the name of the place suggests that this was where the 42nd president of the United States was born, this isn’t exactly true. President William Jefferson Clinton’s Birthplace Home is where he lived for his first four years together with his widowed mother and maternal grandparents. Check out the exhibits showing the president’s youth in a visitor center!
13. Beat the Summer Heat at Parrot Island Waterpark
Summers are warm and humid in Arkansas. Naturally, beating the heat sounds like a good plan!
Spend the day with family and friends at Parrot Island Waterpark, which treats its visitors to outdoor splashing and sliding, relaxing rivers, activity pools, and the region’s only FlowRider & wave pool!
14. Take a Tour of the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion
The Arkansas Governor’s Mansion is the symbol of the state’s history, natural resources, and government service. This is where the First Family hosts and conducts public events, including cultural activities and state dinners.
15. Explore the South Arkansas Arboretum
One of the best things to do in Arkansas is to see the flora and fauna of the West Gulf Coast located next to the former El Dorado High School in El Dorado.
Activities you can try:
- Exercise on paved trails
- Take a breeze walk or a light jog
- Enjoy the azaleas and dogwoods in full bloom
- Relax on the benches
16. Scour the City for the Best Catfish
Catfish can be almost always be found in Arkansas’ rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs. In this case, don’t be surprised if there are a lot of Catfish dishes in the area.
Ditch the cheeseburger and check out these restaurants:
- Brown’s Catfish – Russellville
- Catfish N – Dardanelle
- The Wooden Spoon – Gentry
- Jojo’s Catfish Wharf – Mountain View
- Eat My Catfish – Little Rock & Benton
17. Take a Bath at Hot Springs National Park
Relax and soak in a private bathtub at Hot Springs National Park, which is the regimented bathing routine established in the 1800s.
Tip: You can purchase a luffa bath mitt if you want to have your back scrubbed.
18. Discover Rare Objects at Maxwell Blade’s Odditorium and Curiosities Museum
When we say rare, we mean you’ll find voodoo dolls, Fiji mermaid, jars of preserved reptiles, and more! The collection of these strange objects are testaments to the town’s carnival and showmen history!
19. Check Out the Rush Ghost Town
The deserted town was once a thriving mining community, but it became isolated when the business collapsed and the inhabitants drifted away. It was officially recognized as a ghost town back in 1972.
20. Check out Pivot Rock Park
The rock formations of this park may seem bizarre, but for sure you’ll agree that it’s still nice and amazing to look at!
What you should know: To get to this park, pass through a gift shop just off of Highway 62 West in Eureka Springs and pay a small fee. The entry fee is $5 for adults and $1 for children.
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