Nestled between the Ozark Mountains and the beautiful forests and farms of the Upper Delta, the North Central Arkansas highlands and its mountain valley towns are a world of their own. It’s a popular region for retirees and vacation-home owners, thanks to the tranquility of the area, and a place Arkansans converge on for float trips, cavern exploring, festivals, lake weekends and world-class fishing.

In fact, North Central Arkansas fishing—especially on the cold-water segments of the White River—is one of the most popular tourist attractions in The Natural State. Anglers are lured here to catch blue-ribbon brown and rainbow trout on the White and Little Red rivers, as well as striped bass, walleye and bream on lakes like Bull Shoals and Norfolk. Fishing resorts like Gaston’s in Lakeview and Teal Point in Mountain Home are popular getaways. Field & Stream magazine named Mountain Home the second “Best Fishing Town in America.” The city is one of the region’s largest, with 12,400 residents, but serves more than 200,000 people from the small towns surrounding it.

The Buffalo River is a big draw to the region. Kayakers and canoers, as well as campers and trail-goers, populate its shores year-round for seasonal pay-offs—spring flora, autumn foliage, frozen waterfalls and white water in the summer.

Greers Ferry Lake is another chief destination. Whether you prefer the bustling Heber Springs side or quiet Fairfield Bay, the quality of life around this body of water is second to none. Known for sailing, swimming holes, secluded waterfalls, bald eagles, scuba diving and the annual World Championship Cardboard Boat Races at Sandy Beach—Greers Ferry near Heber Springs has it all. Fairfield Bay is also known for lake fun and wildlife, but also for mountain biking, parasailing and hiking (especially the island trail on Sugar Loaf Mountain and historic Indian Rock Cave).

The pastoral towns along Arkansas Highway 65 in Searcy County are as beautiful as they are unique. The state’s prized elk population calls this area home, and it’s not because it’s the “Chocolate Roll Capital of the World”— although, that’s one reason Arkansans love to come here. In addition to eating a world-champion chocolate roll and visiting the Ozark Heritage Art Center in Leslie, others come to catch a movie at the old-timey Kenda Drive-In theater in Marshall or to see one of the United States’ smallest municipalities, Gilbert. The county also plays host to some unique events like the Arkansas State Championship Hillbilly Chili Cook-Off in Lakeview.

Nearby, in the town of Fifty Six, Blanchard Springs Cavern is one of the most spectacular developed caves in the country. Also nearby, Mountain View is known for being the “Folk Music Capital of the World.” It’s home to the celebrated Ozark Folk Center State Park, a living history attraction.

Batesville and Clinton have treasures of their own. Batesville is known for being the birthplace of NASCAR champion Mark Martin, who retired there and opened the Mark Martin Museum. In Clinton, thousands come to see a geological wonder called The Natural Bridge. About 20,000 people also come to Clinton each year for the Wild West-inspired action of the National Championship Chuckwagon Races in September.


In North Central Arkansas you can…

  • spot a yellow-banded trumpeter swan on Magness Lake. Get the band number and email it to the Trumpeter Swan Society. They will send you its birth certificate and story.

  • sleep in a cave and alongside a natural pool at Longbow Resort in Prim.

  • see Arkansas’s Stonehenge. Ancient stone spheres can be found in this region, including one in Murphy Hallow east of Prim.

  • hike an island mountain in Fairfield Bay.

  • find the most beautiful waterfall—Triple Falls or Bridal Veil Falls, perhaps? The region is home to many that compete for this title.

  • Tour one of the largest antique stores in the nation, Antique Warehouse, in Botkinburg.

  • eat your first chocolate roll, and then a second, at Misty’s in Leslie.

  • watch elk graze in the Boxley Valley.

 

North Central Arkansas is known for being…

  • adventurous. National Geographic recently ranked Mountain View as one of the “50 Great Adventure Towns” in America.

  • a great place to retire.Rand McNally Retirement Places and AARP’s Sun Belt Retirement both ranked the Mountain Home area as one of the top places to retire in the United States.

  • “an undiscovered haven.” That is what Where to Retire magazine called Mountain Home.

  • “the capital of the world,” if you’re talking chocolate rolls in Leslie or folk music in Mountain View.

 


Visit North Central Arkansas to enrich your life with culture and history at the region’s finest arts venues, historical sites and attractions