Multiple Regions- Arkansas: A Presidential Place
The 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, was born in Hope, Arkansas. After the death of his father, William Blythe, young Bill and his mother lived with his grandparents in Hope until he was in the second grade. Ms. Clinton moved her son to Hot Springs where the future President spent his boyhood. After leaving the state for college at Georgetown University and Yale Law School, Clinton returned to the University of Arkansas to teach law. In 1974, Bill Clinton ran for the 3rd District Congressional seat from Arkansas and was defeated. Two years later in 1976 he was elected the state's Attorney General, and in 1978 he was elected Arkansas's youngest governor at age 32. After being defeated in a reelection bid in 1980, Clinton came back in 1982 to recapture the governorship - a post he held until 1992 when he was elected President of the United States. Arkansas is proud of our native son and his continued dedication to the state. Join us for a tour of important events and attractions related to President Clinton's life in Arkansas. This tour is best enjoyed in spring and fall, and can also be great in summer and winter.
Begin your tour in Hope, Bill Clinton's birthplace and the Watermelon Capitol of the World. Lunch, tour the Clinton Birthplace and Museum, browse the gift shop, and maybe sink your teeth into a juicy Hope watermelon on the lawn of the Birthplace! You can also drive by his subsequent childhood home. The Hope Visitor Center is housed just down the way in the old train depot. The Depot offers a large collection of Clinton memorabilia and photographs from his early days in Hope and subsequent trips home during later years. Grab your camera and have your photograph made next to a life-size cardboard cutout of the 42nd President! Take the short drive for dinner and overnight Hot Springs.
Clinton spent the majority of his youth in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Take a city tour specifically highlighting the president's hangouts in Hot Springs. See the homes he and his family lived in, the church where he is still on the books as William Blythe, Jr., and after lunch, grab a treat at the after school hot spot - Polar Bar, now Bailey's Dairy Treat. The tour also points out the YMCA where Bill's high school band, The Three Kings, frequently played for weekend dances, and Hot Springs High School, soon to become the Clinton Cultural Center. Guides pepper the tour with personal stories of the President and entertaining tales of his youth. Since you're here, you might as well take advantage of what Arkansas's Spa City has to offer in terms of a traditional Hot Springs bath and massage, right? Dinner and overnight Hot Springs.
After breakfast, it's on into Little Rock, the seat of Arkansas's state government. Start with a guided city tour, filled with more stops and anecdotes surrounding Bill Clinton's history here. Your tour will include a stop a the Old State House Museum, which served as the backdrop for Clinton's 1992 and 1996 election eve acceptance speeches and festivities. Exhibits within the museum include a replica of Clinton's Oval Office, and the gowns of the First Ladies of Arkansas, including Hillary and Chelsea Clinton's inaugural wardrobes from several gubernatorial balls. Your tour will also take you to the Arkansas's Governor’s Mansion where the future President spent 12 years as the chief executive of the state, the Arkansas State Capitol Building, and the Little Rock Central High School Historic Site.
After lunch, perhaps at Doe's Eat Place, one of the famous Clinton and other politico hangouts, and a guided tour of the Clinton Center, you'll be free to spend hours continuing to explore the Center, which houses the largest archival collection in American Presidential history. Since the Clinton Center is located on the edge of the River Market district, on the banks of the Arkansas River and close to your hotel, you can choose to walk or trolley to shop and there is an abundance of restaurants to choose from. Be sure to visit the award-winning Clinton Center gift shop as well.
Enjoy retracing the steps of the "Man from Hope" who arose to capture the presidency of the United States of America.
Please note: If you are able, you'll want to work in a visit to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to see the house where Bill and Hillary got married while both teaching at the University of Arkansas, has been made into a museum further commemorating their days in Arkansas. The Clinton House Museum focuses on the early years when Bill and Hillary were just figuring themselves out in the world and just getting started. Fayetteville is located in the brilliant Ozark Mountains and we would love to round out the rest of your itinerary to include a visit.
1 Capitol Mall, 4A-900 - Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | 1-800-872-1259 or (501) 682-7777 (V/TT)