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See Arkansas First: History Weekend Getaway Trips in the Timberlands

The Natural State has a rich history in the Timberlands. Visitors can learn about Arkansas’s contributions to politics, publishing and the petroleum industry while visiting historic travel destinations in the area.

On the way:

El Dorado Welcome Center

El Dorado Welcome Center

Heading south, stop off at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. The National Park site is home to the gallows on the border of Indian territory. Dozens of outlaws caught by frontier U.S. marshals were hanged after being sentenced to death in Hangin’ Judge Isaac Parker's federal court at Fort Smith.

Where to stay:

The past is beautifully restored at the Union Square Suites in El Dorado, a great place to stay on weekend getaway trips to the Timberlands. The guest quarters consist of 22 suites, 17 luxury suites with sitting areas, large dressing rooms and private baths equipped with the finest modern amenities. Four full suites are in a circa 1875 home. Two executive suites are located downtown and an executive apartment is located at Myrtelle’s House. In addition, a beautifully restored and furnished 1925 oil boom mansion with four bedrooms is available.

What to do:

You’ll find a wide variety of historic travel destinations in the Timberlands region. At the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover, the history of the state’s "oil boom" is told through films, historic photographs, geological exhibits oil-era memorabilia.  Outside, an Oil Field Park displays derricks and pumping equipment.

The restored childhood home of the founder and publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, John H. Johnson Museum, is located in historic Arkansas City. Johnson founded The Johnson Publishing Company in Chicago in 1942, eventually making it the country’s largest African American-owned publishing business.

Clinton Home, Hope

Clinton Home, Hope

The President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home Historic Site in Hope, located at 117 S. Hervey St., is where President Clinton lived with his grandparents from 1946 to 1950. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the house has been refurbished to look as it did in the 1940s.

Historic Washington State Park interprets the town of Washington from 1824-1875. The 19th-century town, which was a popular stop along the Old Southwest Trail, includes a print museum, steam-powered cotton gin and the Williams Tavern Restaurant. The 1836 County Courthouse became the Confederate State Capitol after Union forces captured Little Rock in September 1863. Visitors can take surrey tours of the Confederate Capitol, have a meal at the Tavern Inn, and visit a re-created blacksmith shop where the first Bowie knife is believed to have been made. Other buildings open to visitors include a weapons museum and several historic residences. History lovers looking for weekend getaway trips should look into the historic travel destinations found only in the Timberlands.

Find more fun family weekend getaways in the other regions of Arkansas!