Howdy, wanderers! Arkansas isn’t just the Natural State; it’s a hidden gem of Southern charm and adventures waiting to unfold.
Whether you’re a history buff, a water enthusiast, or just in it for the mouthwatering BBQ, Arkansas has a little something for everyone. From quaint towns to breathtaking natural wonders, we’ve rounded up the top 15 Best Places to Visit in Arkansas this 2024.
So, polish your boots, bring your appetite, and get ready to embrace the hospitality and scenic beauty that make Arkansas a true Southern delight!
1. Blanchard Springs Caverns: Subterranean Splendor
Embark on an underground adventure at Blanchard Springs Caverns in the picturesque Ozark National Forest, near Mountain View, Arkansas. Choose the Dripstone Trail for an accessible, wheelchair-friendly half-mile exploration, bypassing stairs.
Opt for the Discovery Trail, a more challenging 1.2-mile journey with 700 stairsteps, revealing the middle level of the cavern system. Note that this tour is seasonally available, adding an element of exclusivity to your underground experience.
While the Wild Cave Tour is currently unavailable, it promises an introduction to off-trail caving, exploring the undeveloped sections of the middle level. The structured environment ensures a safe yet thrilling adventure into the depths of Blanchard Springs Caverns.
With a reasonable cost of about $10 per person, this cavern system beckons you to explore its wonders. Located on Highway 14 in the Ozark National Forests, signs will guide you to this captivating underground realm from Little Rock, offering a memorable journey into the heart of Arkansas.
2. Hot Springs National Park: Thermal Oasis
Welcome to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, where nature and relaxation converge, and the best part—no entrance fee! Everyone is welcome to stroll through the park at their leisure, absorbing the serene atmosphere.
Bring your furry companions along; pets are not only permitted but embraced throughout the park and on all trails, excluding federal buildings. Keep them on a leash and ensure a clean visit. Enjoy free parking in town, including a convenient garage at 128 Exchange Street.
While outdoor soaking is not available, immerse yourself in a unique experience at the Buckstaff and Quapaw bathhouses.
Indulge in the therapeutic waters and historical ambiance, providing a soothing escape within Hot Springs National Park.
3. Little Rock: Capital Harmony
Welcome to Little Rock, Arkansas, where Southern hospitality meets a wealth of experiences. Explore the River Market District, a lively enclave with diverse shops, eateries, and entertainment, reflecting the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
Picnic amidst history at the Old Mill, renowned for its picturesque charm and starring role in “Gone with the Wind.” Nestled along the Arkansas River, it offers a tranquil escape for relaxation and scenic enjoyment.
Satisfy your taste buds at Ottenheimer Market Hall, an epicurean delight housing a variety of culinary treasures. From gourmet dishes to local favorites, embark on a flavorful journey through Little Rock’s diverse food scene.
Don’t miss the vibrant Farmers Market, where the community gathers to showcase fresh produce and crafts. Little Rock invites you to indulge in its cultural richness, scenic wonders, and delectable offerings, promising a Southern adventure you won’t forget.
4. Crater of Diamonds State Park: Gemstone Haven
Embark on a sparkling adventure at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, where the thrill of discovering your own gem awaits. With rates ranging from $6 for children to $10 for individuals, the park is open year-round from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Explore the 37-acre diamond field, the world’s only public diamond-bearing site. Dig into the rich soil, and who knows, you might uncover a rare gem. Keep what you find, whether it’s a sparkling diamond or a precious souvenir.
The park offers a unique blend of excitement and education, with knowledgeable staff providing insights into diamond hunting techniques. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced prospector, the prospect of finding your own gem is an unforgettable experience.
Visit Crater of Diamonds State Park for a day of discovery and adventure, where the promise of unearthing a precious gem adds a sparkle to your journey. It’s a gem enthusiast’s paradise, and the thrill of the hunt awaits!
5. Petit Jean State Park: Natural Splendor
Welcome to the natural wonderland of Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, where exploration comes with no entrance fee. Delight in the picturesque surroundings and diverse trails, perfect for hiking enthusiasts.
Discover the allure of Mather Lodge, a central hub for park activities. Within a 10-km radius, explore attractions like the Barnyard Friends Petting Zoo and the Museum of Automobiles, adding variety to your visit.
Embark on the Seven Hollows Trail, a 2.1 km hiking adventure revealing captivating landscapes. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings, featuring natural formations and lush greenery.
Petit Jean State Park offers a gateway to outdoor adventures, allowing you to enjoy the serenity of nature without any cost. Whether you’re exploring trails or visiting nearby attractions, the park promises an enriching experience for all.
6. Ozark National Forest: Forested Haven
Welcome to the breathtaking expanse of Ozark National Forest in Arkansas, a haven for nature enthusiasts without any entrance fees. Explore vast, open lands that invite you to immerse yourself in the beauty of unspoiled wilderness.
Picnic amidst the serene surroundings with designated picnic shelters providing a perfect spot for a day out. For a nominal fee of $30, enjoy the comfort of these shelters, creating an ideal setting for a relaxing outdoor experience.
Discover diverse landscapes, from rolling hills to dense woodlands, providing a playground for outdoor activities. Whether you’re a hiker, camper, or wildlife enthusiast, Ozark National Forest offers a canvas of natural wonders for your enjoyment.
Visit Ozark National Forest to escape into a realm of untouched beauty and boundless opportunities. With no entrance fees and picnic shelters enhancing your experience, it’s a destination that promises a tranquil retreat into the heart of Arkansas’ wilderness.
7. Eureka Springs: Victorian Charm
Welcome to the charming town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where every corner exudes history and natural beauty. Begin your adventure by exploring the pristine waters of Beaver Lake, a haven for water enthusiasts.
Dive into the heart of Eureka Springs with a stroll through its historic downtown. Admire the Victorian architecture, boutique shops, and vibrant arts, creating an atmosphere steeped in both culture and charm.
For thrill-seekers, embark on the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour, unveiling the haunted history of the iconic Crescent Hotel. Explore its eerie corridors and learn about the paranormal tales that linger within.
Eureka Springs offers a harmonious blend of outdoor escapades, cultural richness, and a dash of the supernatural. Visit for a memorable journey where the town’s unique character and captivating experiences leave an indelible mark on your travel memories.
8. Bentonville: Artistic Hub
Welcome to Bentonville, Arkansas, a hidden gem offering a plethora of enriching experiences. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Compton Gardens and Conference Center, a serene haven blending botanical wonders with architectural charm.
For aviation enthusiasts, Thaden Fieldhouse awaits. Delve into the history of flight at this unique facility, showcasing vintage aircraft and celebrating the spirit of aviation through immersive exhibits.
Enjoy a day of relaxation and recreation at Osage Park, where fishing becomes a delightful pastime. Whether you’re a novice or an avid angler, the park provides a picturesque setting for memorable moments with family and friends.
Bentonville invites you to explore its diverse attractions, combining nature, history, and recreational opportunities. Whether strolling through gardens, admiring aviation marvels, or casting a line into the peaceful waters, Bentonville promises an unforgettable journey.
9. Mount Magazine State Park: Summit Serenity
Welcome to Mount Magazine State Park, where nature’s grandeur unfolds atop the state’s tallest mountain, standing at 2,753 feet. Immerse yourself in the allure of this scenic Arkansas state park.
Enter without any entrance fees and explore the culinary delights nearby. Skycrest Restaurant, just 2.9 km away, offers a range of American, bar, and vegetarian-friendly options.
Embark on the Signal Hill Trail, a 2.8 km hiking trail leading to the highest point in Arkansas, rewarding you with breathtaking panoramic views. Discover the Cove Lake Recreation Area, situated just 17 km away, providing a tranquil retreat for outdoor enthusiasts.
Mount Magazine State Park, nestled within the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, invites you to a captivating experience. From scenic hikes to delicious dining, this park promises an enriching journey into the heart of Arkansas’ natural beauty.
10. Fayetteville: Cultural Nexus
Welcome to Fayetteville, Arkansas, a city pulsating with vibrant energy and diverse attractions. Immerse yourself in nostalgia at Arkadia Retrocade, a haven for arcade enthusiasts offering a trip down memory lane.
Experience family-friendly fun at Gator Golf of Fayetteville, where a unique mini-golf course awaits. Engage in friendly competition and enjoy the quirky ambiance, making it a memorable outing for all ages.
For thrill-seekers and puzzle lovers, the NWA Escape Room beckons with immersive challenges. Test your wit and teamwork as you navigate through intricate scenarios, providing an exhilarating and mind-bending experience.
Fayetteville offers a blend of entertainment, recreation, and brain-teasing adventures. Whether reliving arcade classics, enjoying mini-golf, or tackling escape room mysteries, this city ensures a diverse array of activities for an unforgettable visit.
11. Garvan Woodland Gardens: Botanical Oasis
Welcome to the enchanting Garvan Woodland Gardens in Arkansas, a botanical paradise waiting to captivate your senses. Immerse yourself in a world of vibrant blooms, winding pathways, and serene lakes.
To explore this haven, admission is free for members, offering an exclusive perk for botanical enthusiasts. For adults (13 and up), indulge in the beauty for $25 (online: $20), making it a budget-friendly escapade.
Families with children aged 4-12 can enjoy the gardens for $15 (online: $10), creating a perfect setting for nature-inspired family outings. Even the little ones aged 0-3 can join for free, fostering a love for the outdoors.
Enhance your experience with a golf cart ride at $20 per person, offering a convenient and scenic way to navigate the expansive gardens. With free parking, Garvan Woodland Gardens invites you to wander through its horticultural wonders at your own pace.
12. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: Artistic Haven
Welcome to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, an extraordinary cultural haven in Bentonville, Arkansas. Thanks to Walmart’s sponsorship, entry to the permanent collection galleries is absolutely free.
Discover the wonders of the museum amidst the tranquil Ozark woods, featuring over five miles of scenic trails. Marvel at the iconic architecture crafted by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, creating a captivating backdrop for artistic exploration.
Plan your visit during the museum’s open hours: Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Note that Crystal Bridges is closed on Tuesdays, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.
Located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712, getting here is a breeze. Immerse yourself in the vast collection, from permanent exhibits to intriguing temporary displays, making Crystal Bridges a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
13. Arkansas Air Museum: Aviation Legacy
Step into the captivating world of aviation at the Arkansas Air Museum, a haven for history enthusiasts and families alike. Open from 11 AM to 4 PM, Tuesday to Saturday, plan your visit to this treasure trove of aviation heritage.
Admission pricing caters to all, with adults at $11, children aged 6-16 at $6, and the little ones aged 5 and under enjoying free entry. Opt for the family package at $26 for parents and their kids under 16. Members are entitled to free entry, providing added value to aviation aficionados.
Honoring veterans, the museum extends free admission to World War II and Korean War Veterans, while individuals aged 65 and over, along with retired and active military personnel, enjoy a discounted rate of $10.
Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of aviation history, exploring vintage aircraft and exhibits. With a commitment to accessibility and a range of offerings, the Arkansas Air Museum promises an enlightening and affordable experience for all.
14. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge: Big Cat Sanctuary
Embark on an unforgettable wildlife journey at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Adult tickets at $25, teens at $20, and children and seniors at $15 ensure an affordable adventure, with infants 3 and under enjoying free entry.
Explore a range of activities, from daily guided habitat tours to the discovery area showcasing diverse animals.
Engage in the behavior management program, offering stress-reducing activities for the animals and routine medical checkups. Witness training sessions after the last tour of the day, gaining insights into the refuge’s dedication to animal well-being.
For a more exclusive experience, Saturdays unveil behind-the-scenes exploration for an additional $100 to $150 per person. Schedule three days in advance to partake in this private tour. Don’t miss the enlightening educational events covering animal conservation, biodiversity, and more. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge promises a thrilling and educational escape.
15. Devil’s Den State Park: Natural Retreat
Nestled in the enchanting landscape of Arkansas, Devil’s Den State Park invites you to explore its wonders throughout the year, free of charge.
Unleash your adventurous spirit with a plethora of activities, from the exhilarating Devil’s Den Hiking and Mountain Biking to the tranquility of Horseback Riding and Canoeing.
Traverse the captivating trails that wind through the park, revealing scenic vistas and diverse flora and fauna. The visitor center serves as your gateway to understanding the park’s rich history and natural beauty. Immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of the park, whether you’re an avid hiker, nature lover, or seeking a peaceful retreat.
Devil’s Den State Park beckons with its year-round accessibility and a tapestry of outdoor experiences. Embrace the spirit of exploration and bask in the wonders of this Arkansas gem, where adventure and tranquility coalesce in perfect harmony.
Conclusion: 15 Best Places to Visit in Arkansas
What a journey through the 15 most amazing spots in Arkansas! The Natural State has blown us away from the Ozark Mountains to Hot Springs. But wait, there’s more!
Head to our blog for an extra dose of Arkansas adventure—other hidden gems await. Your thoughts and experiences matter; let’s keep this exploration alive together. Please share your insights, and let’s keep the conversation going!