You do know what the summer weekends mean in The Natural State; hitting the road to discover what nature has in store! And there’s no better way of spending those fabulous weekends than packing up your car for an adventurous road trip, with your family or buddies tagging along! So find out some of the best Arkansas road trip destinations now!
Being the only source of diamonds in the US, Arkansas is famous for its unsurpassed beauty backed up by the scenic hot springs, rivers, and lakes. In fact, the lakes are accommodated by more than 600,000 acres of land.
And to wipe out the hassle of finding the best destinations for your road trip, we’ve done our homework and added our travel experience around the state to come up with these stunning destinations.
Want to have a quick glimpse into our top recommendations? Browse through the slides below:
- 1 The Eureka Springs Delight
- 2 Art and History in Bentonville
- 3 Paris: Mount Magazine & Recreational Activities
- 4 Little Rock
- 5 Outdoor splendor at St. Francis National Forest
- 6 The Ozark folk music and crafts
- 7 Hot Springs
- 8 Buffalo National River Park, Ponca
- 9 Lost Valley Trail
- 10 Wrapping Up Arkansas Road Trip Destinations
The Eureka Springs Delight
Anyone cruising through Arkansas will appreciate the distinctive sensation of Eureka Spring, an authentic town with splendor like no other. In this town, you’ll come across the timeless Victorian homes located along the twisting mountainside streets.
This is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll definitely be excited by the beautiful award-winning eateries, classic boutique shops featuring local items, craft shops, studios, and art galleries. The town’s commitment to originality is evident through the public arts on display around the town.
The charm of Eureka Springs doesn’t just vanish in the town – being located in the middle of Ozarks, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy some adventure in hiking, fishing, mountaineering, and lots more. And if you’d like to clear your mind and relax your nerves, the hotel has got lots of invigorating spas and hotels offering soothing springs.
Art and History in Bentonville
At Ozarks’ foothills lies Bentonville best known as the origin of Walmart; you can as well pay Walmart 5 and 10 a visit. The town is quite small but has got lots more neatly packed in its small space.
Head down to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to explore the 5 centuries of the rich American art dating back to the colonial days up to the present. And if you’re a deep art fan, you might want to go further with your exploration at the 21c Museum and Hotel, which is a combination of art galleries spanning over 12,000 square feet and an adjacent boutique hotel with over 100 rooms.
There are lots of activities to cater to kids at the Scott Family Amazeum, which entails fun through learning and playing. Be sure not to leave Bentonville before visiting the Museum of Native American History where you’ll get to learn a lot from the collections of artifacts by native Americans.
Paris: Mount Magazine & Recreational Activities
This is a rural town rich in natural history, located in Logan County, and set at Mount Magazine’s foot in Northwest Arkansas. While here, you can head to Mount Magazine State Park to view the tallest mountain in Arkansas, rising to 2,753 feet above the Petit Jean River Valley.
If you brought the family along, you won’t regret it; the park has got lots of fun activities suited for families, such as guided hikes and hawk watching. The park also offers amazing campsites where you and your crew can spend the entire weekend of fun at. Be sure to make early reservations online at Mount Magazine State Park’s website. And don’t forget to read about bear safety before setting out for this road trip.
If you haven’t been to the State Capital, this road trip is your chance to not only visit Little Rock but also explore the splendor that it has to offer. Refresh your memories or learn new stuff about the history of the US at Old State House Museum. Then take a tour into the Clinton Presidential Library to view the magnificent bookshelves and some great reads about the country’s rich past.
This trip is considered incomplete without a visit to the State Capitol, popularly known as the Capitol Building; you’ll get to appreciate the rich history and architectural excellence of the sitting place of Arkansas state government. Make sure you’ve booked your guided tour via the Visitor Services Specialist.
Next, learn a little bit about the history of war in the state at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The family is also going to love the thrill of exploring the Museum of Discovery and Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. Don’t forget to check out Pinnacle Mountain State Park for amazing hiking trails and panoramic views from the peak.
Outdoor splendor at St. Francis National Forest
Where can you find the only national forest that features the shoreline of the Mississippi River? Yes, it’s St. Francis National Forest, located in the state’s east-central area. The forest spans over a length of over 20,000 acres and is covered with rich indigenous hardwood creating awe for wildlife enthusiasts.
The woods in St. Francis National Forest creates a natural home to many wildlife common in the state, such as the whitetail deer, waterfowls, rabbits, and turkeys. You’ll get to indulge yourself in game fishing for largemouth, striped bass and catfish.
Head to Bear Creek Lake and enjoy camping, deep diving, and boating. For those with high adventurous spirits, they can spend lots of time at Ozark and St. Francis National Forests doing the popular fun activities such as cycling, horseback riding, canoeing, and ATV rides during the whole four seasons.
If looking for a perfect place to enjoy hassle-free and low impact outdoor adventures, you won’t go wrong with St. Francis National Forest.
The Ozark folk music and crafts
If looking for a more interesting way to enjoy traditional music, you should visit the locals at Ozark. The local people join hands with visiting music bands to entertain multitudes of people with customary mountain music during warm months (mid-April to late November) in the town square.
Mountain View has risen to become the main center of the traditional Ozark music and culture since it was founded in the 1870s. Ozark Folk Center is the heartbeat of crafts and folk music here. You’ll get to experience a variety of crafts in the demonstration, such as blacksmithing and pottery. And if you’d like to learn how to play classic music instruments like dulcimer or autoharp, you’ll get several lessons from the area’s experts.
When summer arrives in Arkansas, it can get pretty hot! Luckily, Hot Springs has got three lakes in their pristine state that you can cool off the heat in. Spa City is just an hour’s drive away, so you got plenty of spare time to soak yourself up in the waters.
And if you don’t have a boat with you, all the three lakes have lots of them in rental. You can choose from the ski boats to kayaks. If you’d like to do some fishing, Lake Catherine is your lake of choice. Lake Hamilton, on the other hand, has got Belle of Hot Springs riverboats and National Park Duck Tours, making it an excellent choice for those who’d like to experience true aquatic adventure.
Lastly, Lake Ouachita stands out among the cleanest in the US and the largest in Arkansas. Just before you do your thing on the waters, remember the basic safety precautions and the essentials like life jackets and sunscreen.
Buffalo National River Park, Ponca
Ponca is the gem of Arkansas’ outdoor recreation. If you’ll notice, your choices for adventure revolve around Buffalo National River running 135 miles through the town’s length. Buffalo National River Park was established in 1972 and became the first protected river in the country.
Here, you are never going to run out of fun activities to indulge in; you can choose to explore the pristine caves and waterfalls, hiking trails, or venture out for cabin retreats.
The best time you’re going to get the most out of this road trip is during summer due to the picturesque ambiance. Get your whole family ready to go with outfits and rental boats at Buffalo Outdoor Center.
The park has got numerous campsites with amenities where you can camp for a night or two. Buffalo National Park offers an amazing ambiance and spectacular serenity for stargazing during the night.
Lost Valley Trail
One of the many attractive road trip destinations in the town of Ponca is the Lost Valley Trail which spans 2.2 miles. This trail is among the most popular in the town; it boasts of unique peculiarities depending on the season in which you visit.
Just after the rains, there are humongous waterfalls in the region. The landscape will be full of lovely flowers during spring, while the winters present a crisp air excellent for hiking. Along Lost Valley Trail, you’ll come across Cobb Cave, which runs 150 feet below the buff. It serves as a great start for those who haven’t experienced what a cave looks like. Don’t forget to carry flashlights with you!
Wrapping Up Arkansas Road Trip Destinations
From now on, you’ll understand why Arkansas is referred to as The Natural State. And there are a lot more attractions we haven’t highlighted yet that back up the reason for this nickname. The series of mountains, parks, valleys, lakes, wildlife, and more catch the attention of road trippers coming from each corner of the country. An Arkansas road trip in one or all of these destinations is worth it and will spark life memories. Just don’t forget to bring along an HD camera with you!
Now that you know about the best Arkansas road trip destinations, check out some exciting yet affordable things to do in Arkansas, check out our dedicated sampling. Our website Rental Trader is an excellent place to explore a wide variety of vacation rentals to choose the most affordable one for you.