Perched alongside the Mississippi River, Arkansas is one of the states to visit if you love nature! Not only that, it has a fair few lovely cities and historic spots that are perfect for a long weekend break, too. Honestly, there’s so many epic and best things to do in Arkansas regardless of what floats your boat.
This is exactly why I wanted to share some really epic places that you should visit whilst exploring Arkansas. Now, some of the spots are so easy to get to, whilst others need a little more planning. Whatever the case, they’re all gobsmacking-ly lovely spots to include on your trip.
Of course, you’ve got the vast Ozarks and the hot springs, but there’s so much more to the ‘the natural state’.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in Arkansas when you visit. Have the best time exploring.
1.) Hot Springs
Hot Springs National Park is one lovely stopping point for a few days chill time whilst driving on a wider road trip. You see, it’s perfectly distanced between Memphis (in Tennessee) and Oklahoma City (in Oklahoma) and just off Highway 30, too.
Now, to start off, enter the park by starting at Fordyce Bathhouse, a historic bathhouse that operated from 1915 to 1962. Adorned with marble and stained glass you can treat yourself to a dip in one of the bathhouses for a small fee. You deserve it!
Afterwards, take a stroll through the West Mountain Trail and visit the Hot Springs Mountain Tower for the views.
2.) The Ozark Region
Ozark is a huge and pretty vast area in Arkansas (and other neighbouring states) that’s too stunning to miss.
The whole area around here is totally stunning and you can easily spend a chilled week exploring here alone. Once arriving, make sure to check out the views around the rivers and bodies of water that are just so relaxing.
Afterwards, head over to Hawksbill Crag ( and the Whitaker Point Trailhead) that’s within the Ozark National Forest.
You’ll get some stunning views across the whole region and it’s so beautiful to boot!
If you want to see a waterfall, get yourself over to the relatively easy Glory Hole Waterfalls Trail. The trail is nice and easy but does get a little more challenging right at the end. Whatever the case, it’s well worth a gander.
That being said, if you’re closer to Mountain View, pop over to Folk Center State Park. This living history park is the only one of its kind preserving Ozark cultural and history in the country. Located in Mountain View, you’ll get a first-hand experience in living history by participating in a variety of events.
3.) Museum of Native American History
If you’re driving through Bentonville, be sure to stop off at the Museum of Native American History. This museum allows you to travel back in time and explore Native American artefacts and learn more about Native American history, lands and culture.
The museum is divided into five time periods that literally let you walk through history and changing lives of the first inhabitants. It’s a proper hidden gem and one of the best things to do in Arkansas if you want to learn more about Native American history.
4.) Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Now, it might sound strange telling you to go visit a school but bear with me here.
You see, this particular spot played a vital role in the desegregation of schools in the United States and can be toured at certain times throughout the year.
Although the school is still in operation, and you can get a tour during the day. Alternatively, another option is booking a “streetscape tour” and get the same information but remain outside of the building. Either choice is a good one to learn more about this piece of US history.
Afterwards, hop over to Rock Town Distillery for some of the best craft brews in Arkansas. These lot know their stuff.
5.) Buffalo National River
Perched within the northern parts of Arkansas, visiting Buffalo National River is one of the best things to do if you want a more chilled time on the water.
Now, you have to be strategic about where to visit this 153-mile long river, after all, it’s long! Check out the Tyler Bend Visitor Center, located in St. Joe, to get started and get yourself on your merry way. From there rent a canoe to float the river, hike on over 100-miles of trails and spend the night camping. Keep your eyes peeled for elk!
That being said, if you’re closer to Ponca, head on over to the Hemmed in Hollow Falls that’s close by the Buffalo National River itself. It can be a tough trail to get here, so make sure you’re up to the hike! It’s not the kind of trail for first-timers I’m afraid.
Around 30-km south of Bentonville, Fayetteville is a lovely spot to spend a day (or afternoon) exploring.
You see, you’ve got the lovely downtown Square and Gardens but you’ve also got the Clinton House Museum and the Mount Sequoyah Woods Trail if you fancy stretching your legs.
Afterwards, pop over to Hammontree’s Grilled Cheese. Trust me, you’ll be in grilled cheese heaven that you won’t wanna leave. Their raging-cajun is so good.
7.) Little Rock
Now, I know I mentioned the school in Little Rock earlier, but I just had to share more epic things to do in the city!
Being the capital of Arkansas, visiting Little Rock is one of the best things to do in Arkansas if you’re looking for a bit more of a buzzing city.
Once here, be sure to check out the T.R. Pugh Memorial Park and see the incredible State Capitol Building, too. Oh, and if the weather turns a little dreary, pop into the Museum of Discovery and the Old State House Museum, too. They’re incredible.
Finally, after working up an appetite head on over to the yummy, Brave New Restaurant. Trust me, their smoked fish and their veal with lime is just too good to miss.
8.) Van Buren
Nestled near the border with Oklahoma, Exploring Van Buren is one of the best things to do in Arkansas if you love historic cities.
You see, there’s a totally quaint Historic District that’s lovely to stroll around and visit.
It’s great for a little wander and lunch before continuing towards Oklahoma City.
9.) Fort Smith
Just across the river from Van Buren, Fort Smith is a much larger city that’s perfect to visit if you want to delve into the regions history a little more. You see, you’ve got the Fort Smith National Historic Park that’s filled with a heap of trails and routes to explore.
10.) Blanchard Springs Caverns
Heading north from Mountain View, Blanchard Springs Caverns is a pretty unique place to visit in Arkansas. You see, it’s a whole cavern and underground system of tunnels that have been carved over thousands of years. It’s incredible to see and tours take around 1-2 hours to complete.
If you’ve got some extra time, hop on the Blanchard Spring Trailhead that’s close by and pretty lovely to explore.