Unexpected Arkansas…We’re known as The Natural State for our stunning mountain vistas and clear running streams, but Arkansas is so much more. Cities like Little Rock, Hot Springs and Bentonville offer a cosmopolitan feel, while a visit to one-of-a-kind Eureka Springs will stay with you for a lifetime. Arkansas’s Delta region is where The Blues were born and where Johnny Cash’s musical journey began. Bill Clinton, another Arkansas son, also launched his political path in the state, and sites commemorating the legacies of both Cash and Clinton can be toured today. Arkansas is also the rice capital of the world and home to one of only three purse museums on the planet. Throw in Crater of Diamonds State Park, where you can dig for real diamonds and keep what you find, and Arkansas truly is a unique treasure to discover.
You’ll know you’re here when….
You experience sights and sounds unlike any other – from tractors planting rice fields in the Delta and motorcyclists cruising mountainous twists and turns, to musicians playing rockabilly, country, folk and bluegrass. Or, when you witness vibrant fall colors in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains and enjoy easy access to 52 state parks. In Arkansas, you’ll find adventure and hospitality at every turn, whether your interests take you indoors or out.
Where locals go to relax
The famous thermal waters of Hot Springs, which give the town and national park their names, are great for purifying the soul by drinking and soaking. Area bathhouses, including the historic Buckstaff on National Historic Landmark Bathhouse Row, use the namesake springs for spa treatments.
Put these events on your calendar
Bikes Blues & BBQ, Fayetteville Late September/Early October One of the largest motorcycle rallies in the United States features a unique mix of free blues music concerts, famous barbecues, motorcycle giveaways, a motorcycle parade, and motorcycle stunt riders. www.bikesbluesandbbq.org
Johnny Cash Music Festival, Dyess Summer The annual Johnny Cash Music Festival benefits the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project in Dyess, Arkansas, and features various country music acts. www.johnnycashmusicfest.com
Beatles On The Ridge Music Festival, Walnut Ridge September Three stages of entertainment feature Beatles music, early rock n’ roll, country and bluegrass from regional and national musicians. www.beatlesattheridge.com
World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest & Wings Over The Prairie Festival, Stuttgart November The World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest is held every Thanksgiving weekend. The winner is named the World Champion Duck Caller. http://www.stuttgartarkansas.org/duck-festival/worlds_championship_duck_contest.aspx
River Fest, Little Rock May Attracting more than 250,000 visitors, Riverfest boasts five music stages and a whole weekend packed with music, food, a KidZone area with crafts and entertainment just for children, and fireworks over the Arkansas river on Sunday night. www.riverfestarkansas.com
American Taekwondo Association World Championship Tournament, Little Rock July The American Taekwondo Association World Championship Tournament is held every year in Little Rock featuring thousands of competitors from around the world. http://ataonline.com
Ozark Folk Festival, Mountain View April The annual Ozark Folk Festival features music performances, a"hometown" parade, dudded-up horses, decorated floats, and dancing on the Courthouse Square. http://www.arkansas.com/events/details.aspx?id=84025
Hope Watermelon Festival, Hope August Drawing over 50,000 watermelon-aficionados annually, festival events include: watermelon eating and seed spitting contests, Watermelon Olympics, live music, fishing, archery, arm-wrestling and horseshoe tournaments, 5K run, more than 300 craft booths, food booths, antique engine and car shows, and motorcycle show. www.hopemelonfest.com
- MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Little Rock, is the birthplace of General Douglas MacArthur.
- Clinton Presidential Center, Little Rock, is one of twelve Presidential Libraries in the United States and features a replica of the Oval Office.
- WWII Japanese American Museum, McGehee, highlights the lives of Japanese-Americans following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and their experiences at relocation camps in Arkansas.
- The Esse Purse Museum, Little Rock, is one of three purse museums in the entire world and features the evolution of the ladies handbag.
- Heifer Village, Little Rock, highlights sustainability in third world countries and opportunities to help those in need.
- Fort Chaffee Barbershop Museum, Fort Smith, is where Elvis Presley received his famous first G.I. haircut.
- WalMart Museum, Bentonville, features Sam Walton’s Medal of Freedom and original office. All artifacts are authentic including Mr. Sam’s iconic 1979 Ford F150 pickup truck. Spark Café Soda Fountain offers ice cream treats in a fifties setting.
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, is one of the nation’s finest art museums and explores the unfolding history of America by collecting and exhibiting outstanding works.
Your child will always remember...
- Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Eureka Springs, is a 459-acre wildlife refuge for abandoned big cats. The refuge houses over 130 animals including, tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, bobcats, black bears, ligers, servals, monkey, coatimundi and a grizzly bear.
- Magic Springs & Crystal Falls, Hot Springs, is the only theme park located in a national park and named one of the three most family friendly parks in the nation by Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Offers over 80 attractions, including roller coasters, thrill rides, lazy river, wave pool and more.
- The Arkansas State Capitol, Little Rock, vault allows guests to hold $10,000 for a photo opportunity.
- Kids and adults love digging for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro, the only public diamond mine in the world.
- At Wegner Crystal Mine, Mount Ida, quartz crystals are literally lying on the ground and all you have to do is pick them up. Geologists say that Arkansas has some of the best quality quartz in the world, and today families and tourists from all over the world head for Hot Springs and Mount Ida to go prospecting in the abundant quartz crystal deposits of the Ouachitas.
- The Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park, Walnut Ridge, is a 115-ft-long by 40-ft-wide guitar, honoring musical legends Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley.
- State Line Post Office & Federal Building, Texarkana, is the only U.S. Post Office that sits in two states, and the second most photographed courthouse in the U.S.
- The Eiffel Tower, Paris, is a water fountain with a 25 ft. tall replica of the Eiffel Tower. The fountain base lights up and changes colors, and is painted with the same paint used on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
- The Motorcycle Hanging Tree, Jasper, highlights five motorcycles literally hanging from a tree.
- Pickles Gap Village, Pickles Gap, is an Ozark foothills shopping village featuring The Pickle Barrel Fudge Factory & Cafe, Big Al’s BBQ & Burgers, Collector’s Market & Boutique, Wax Worm candles, Handcrafted Gifts, Knife & Gun Shop and Print Shop.
- The BB King Sign, Twist, honors legendary blues musician B.B. King, who named his guitar “Lucille” following a fire near this sign.
- The Outlets of Little Rock, Little Rock, (Opening October 2015) features over 80 outlet stores.
- Pinnacle Hills Promenade, Rogers, offers 95 stores and 1,136,400 square feet of retail shopping.
Only have one day here?
The Clinton Presidential Library is in downtown Little Rock, on the banks of the Arkansas River. The library contains the largest collection of presidential papers and artifacts in U.S. history and includes a replica of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room.
Arkansas’s motorcycle routes, statewide, feature over 21 on-road routes and five dual sport routes for the avid motorcycle enthusiast. This list includes USA Today’s current #1 motorcycle route in the United States, The Pig Trail. A complete motorcycle guide is available.
Five IMBA Epic Mountain Bike Trails, Southwest and Northwest, can be found in Arkansas. The state is tied for second with Colorado in having the most Epic trails, and Northwest Arkansas has the only IMBA Regional Ride Center in the world.
The Delta Resort & Spa in Tillar is one of the largest sporting clay resorts in America and hosts Junior Olympic events.
Float the Buffalo National River, the first National River to be designated in the United States.
Elk viewing in Ponca is possible year 'round, especially in the fall, winter and spring. Fall is especially a great time to elk watch as the bulls go into mating season form, bugling and battling for herd domination right before your eyes.
At star gazing events in Arkansas’s state parks, an interpreter will guide you through the constellations and tell stories while you explore the sky in a whole new way. Whether you are a novice star gazer or an astrophysicist, come and relax while appreciating the earth's natural night lights.
Seven national parks and 52 state parks are waiting for you to explore in Arkansas. Enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, backpacking and horse riding. Play tennis and golf. Experience star gazing, birdwatching, snorkeling and exploring ATV trails. Treasure hunters can go geocaching or dig for real diamonds. In addition to outdoor recreation, some parks also have historic or archaeological sites and museums.
For your first visit...
Arkansas has 52 state parks where you can go fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, backpacking and horse riding. Play tennis and golf. Enjoy birdwatching, snorkelling and exploring ATV trails. Treasure hunters can go geocaching or dig for real diamonds. In addition to outdoor recreation, some parks also have historic or archaeological sites and museums.
Just a Few of the Famous People From Our State
- Johnny Cash
- President William Jefferson Clinton
- General Douglas MacArthur
- Sam Walton
- Sonny Burgess
- Levon Helm
- Sunshine “Sonny” Payne
- John Grisham