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Arkansas Must See Attractions

Arkansas regions map Click here for attractions, lodging and dining in the Arkansas Ozarks. Click here for attractions, lodging and dining in the Arkansas River Valley. Click here for attractions, lodging and dining in the Arkansas Ouachitas. Click here for attractions, lodging and dining in the Arkansas Timberlands. Click here for attractions, lodging and dining in Central Arkansas. Click here for attractions, lodging and dining in the Arkansas Delta.

For people unfamiliar with The Natural State, a frequent question is “What are the must-see attractions?”  Even those who have general knowledge of the state ask “What should I not miss while in Arkansas?” Ask no more.  We’ve made it easy for you.

Here you’ll find what we consider “don’t miss” when visiting Arkansas.  These highlights–some of the top attractions in the South–  are divided into six geographic regions: Ozarks, Ouachitas, Central, Arkansas River Valley, Delta, and Timberlands. The listings range from outdoors, history, and family-friendly to parks and museums.

The Natural State has a wide variety of destinations that make for ideal Southern getaways. From mountain music and Victorian villages to Arkansas delta blues and a diamond mine, it's all here.  Explore the “Must See” of Arkansas.

Ozarks

  • Arkansas Air and Military Museum Airplane enthusiasts will enjoy this attraction, which is home to vintage aircraft, including pre-World War II racing planes in flying condition, aeronautical memorabilia, and a gift shop housed in a historic hangar at Fayetteville’s Drake Field. Scenic U.S. 71 S. 479-521-4947.  http://www.arkansasairandmilitary.com/

  • Blanchard Springs Caverns Ranked among the most beautiful underground discoveries of the 20th century, this limestone cavern is located deep in the Ozark National Forest, 15 miles north of Mountain View. It is the only developed cave system operated by the U.S. Forest Service and is open throughout the year. Lighted walkways lead to stunning formations and massive rooms, one as large as six football fields. The "Wild Cave Tours" have proved to be extremely popular with the more adventuresome. Nearby, Blanchard Springs Recreational Use Area provides scenic campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, a massive natural spring and a trout lake.
    Off Ark. 14 near Mountain View. 870-757-2211. http://www.fs.fed.us/oonf/ozark/recreation/caverns.html

  • Buffalo National River The country's first national river (1972), the scenic Buffalo National River flows roughly 150 miles and offers boaters premier whitewater floating in the Arkansas Ozarks. One of the most popular Arkansas waterways, the river is flanked by soaring limestone bluffs, beautiful vistas and wilderness areas. It includes nearly 95,000 acres of public land along its corridor, where hiking trails lead to geologic marvels - springs, caves, waterfalls, natural bridges and box-like canyons. Fishing, rock climbing and wildlife watching (especially of the state’s elk herd) are major draws too. The landscape is popular with photographers, who like to capture pictures of historic homesteads, fall foliage, high vistas and other nature scenes that are among the most popular when it comes to sightseeing in Arkansas. Numerous outfitters (for canoeing, rafting, horseback riding and fishing) service the river, and there are several campgrounds, cabins, motels and other lodging options nearby. Buffalo Point off Ark. 14 and Tyler Bend off U.S. 65 are developed use areas. 870-439-2502. http://www.nps.gov/buff

  • Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art   The brainchild of Walmart heiress Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a premier art institution dedicated to American art and artists, learning and community gatherings. The main pavilions house a permanent collection of American art masterworks from the colonial era to modern day, and touring collections from national art institutions. Visitors can enjoy the collection within the state-of-the-art galleries and throughout the surrounding park. A dynamic temporary exhibitions program complements the holdings of the permanent collection and exemplifies the diversity of American artists.

    Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation, the museum of American Art takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building design by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two creek-fed ponds will house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Visitor amenities include a café on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds and a Marlon Blackwell-designed museum store. Sculpture and walking trails link the museum’s 120-acre park and gardens to downtown Bentonville. For art lovers, this is easily one of the top attractions in the South, if not the whole country. Admission is free. 600 Museum Way in downtown Bentonville. 479-418-5700. http://www.crystalbridges.org/

  • Daisy Airgun Museum Located in historic downtown Rogers in what is probably best known to locals as the old Rexall drug store building, circa 1890s. Exhibits depict the company’s history, airguns, advertising and other memorabilia. 202 West Walnut 479-986-6873. http://www.daisymuseum.com/

  • Eureka Springs “America’s Victorian Village” preserves turn-of-the-century architecture with fine dining, shopping, antiquing, spas, historic hotels, art galleries and museums. Winding mountain streets and natural springs provide the scenic setting for this quaint town that has been heavily influenced by its artist community. It's packed with attractions such as Blue Spring Heritage Center and Gardens, caves, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a doll museum, live music and magic shows, and Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway dinner train excursion rides. It was named one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is a great spot for romantic getaways in the South. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains, the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. 479-253-9417. http://www.eurekasprings.org

  • Greers Ferry Lake Nestled in the hardwood forests and foothills between Clinton and Heber Springs, Greers Ferry is the third largest lake in Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains (31,500 surface acres). The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir has served as a national model for environmental cleanliness. Commercial and public use campgrounds, first-class lodging, resorts and championship golf courses are trademarks. The Little Red River emerges icy-cold from Greers Ferry Dam and provides excellent trout fishing waters for miles downstream. The current world-record brown trout (40 pounds, four ounces) was landed on the Little Red in 1992. Resorts and outfitters are available. Providing more than 31,000 acres of crystal-clear water for fishing, water sports, boating and camping, Greers Ferry Lake is a national model for environmental cleanliness. Between Clinton and Heber Springs. 501-362-2416. http://www.swl.usace.army.mil/parks/greersferry

  • Mammoth Spring State Park One of the great natural wonders of mid-America, Mammoth Spring flows at an average hourly rate of some nine million gallons of 58-degree water. The flow creates a 10-acre lake and then becomes Spring River, a popular year-round canoe and fishing stream. The park, located at the big spring, includes a restored 1886 Frisco Depot with engaging exhibits and a “crew” of workmen and waiting passengers from the early 1900s. Other features include walking trails, picnic sites, playgrounds, early hydroelectric power plant and an official Arkansas Welcome Center. U.S. 63 near Mammoth Spring 870-625-7364. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/mammothspring/

  • Mark Martin Museum Museum honoring one of "The 50 Greatest NASCAR Drivers of All Time." Includes several of Martin’s past cars, racing mementos including around 100 trophies and several of Martin’s racing helmets and fire suits 800-566-4461. http://www.markmartinmuseum.com/

  • Ozark Folk Center State Park Mountain View is the home of the only park in America devoted to the preservation of Southern mountain folkways and music. The Ozark Folk Center State Park is a “living museum” of traditional pioneer skills, such as furniture making, quilting, blacksmithing, tintype photography, woodcarving and 15 other craft demonstrations. Concerts, performed in a 1,000-seat theater, feature songs and instruments from America’s past. The park also offers a restaurant, lodge, library, conference center, visitor center and gift shop. Off Ark. 5-9-14, Mountain View. 870-269-3851. http://www.ozarkfolkcenter.com

  • Pea Ridge National Military Park The site of one of the largest Civil War battles west of the Mississippi River, Pea Ridge marks the successful culmination of the Union's effort to secure control of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers and protect the arsenal at St. Louis, which made easier the supply of General Grant's Vicksburg campaign. The park encompasses 4,300 acres and includes a seven-mile, self-guided tour with 10 stops featuring wayside exhibits, including Elkhorn Tavern. It also has a visitors center, museum and bookstore. U.S. 62 in Pea Ridge 479-451-8122. http://www.nps.gov/peri/

  • Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park The 1862 Battle of Prairie Grove was the last time two armies of almost equal strength faced each other for supremacy in northwest Arkansas. When the Confederate Army withdrew, it was clear Missouri and northwest Arkansas would remain in Federal hands. Today, historic homes are located on the 500-acre Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, which has a self-guided walking tour and driving tour. The park's visitors center has a gift shop, museum and bookstore. Pavilions, a picnic area and a playground are also at the park. On U.S. 62 in Prairie Grove 479-846-2990. http://www.ArkansasStateParks.com

  • Shiloh Museum of Ozark History Dedicated to the study, interpretation and preservation of the rich history of the Arkansas Ozark Mountains, the museum offers lectures, films, classes, tours and frequently changing exhibits of interest to adults and children. Beautiful park-like grounds showcase six historical buildings. 118 West Johnson Avenue, Springdale 479-750-8165. http://www.springdaleark.org/shiloh

  • Thorncrown Chapel Designed by Arkansas native E. Fay Jones, a nationally honored and recognized architect, the chapel soars skyward from an Ozark woodland. Extensive use of glass and wood beams makes nature an integral part of the structure. The chapel was chosen in 2001 as one of the Top 10 Designs of the 20th Century by The American Institute of Architecture. It has also won the institute's Design of the Year for 1981 and Design of the Decade for the 1980s. Non-denominational services are offered. Off U.S. 62 West, Eureka Springs 479- 253-7401. http://www.thorncrown.com

  • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge With over 450 acres and 130+ exotic cats, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is one of the largest big cat sanctuaries in N. America, anon-profit organization providing lifetime homes for abandoned, abused and neglected exotic cats. Founded in 1992, the USDA licensed refuge has grown to one of the Top 10 Destinations in Arkansas and one of the most popular attractions in Eureka Springs with over 35,000 visitors per year. Lions, cougars, ligers, leopards, tigers, bears and other wildlife are displayed in large natural habitats surrounding the main compound enclosures and gift shop.  Each animal has a story plaque for self-guided tours and popular daily feeding times are 4 p.m. (winter) to 5 p.m. (summer). Interns lead guided half-mile walking tours daily with trolley tours available during summer. Tours are hourly from 11 a.m. until one hour before feeding time.

    On-site lodging is available at the Safari Lodge, RV Park & campgrounds. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., the refuge is 7 miles south of Eureka Springs on Scenic Ark. 23, voted one of America's Top 10 Motorcycle routes. 479-253-5841. Turpentinecreek.org
  • Wal-Mart Visitors Center The origin and growth of the nation's largest corporation is encapsulated at this Bentonville museum housed in the building that gave birth to the retail giant. In 1962, Sam Walton opened his first discount store in Rogers at 8th and Walnut streets and had 25 employees. Today, Wal-Mart is the world's largest company with more than $220 billion in annual sales and more than 1.3 million employees. 105 North Main, Bentonville 479-273-1329. http://www.walmartstores.com

  • War Eagle Crafts Fair Each fall, War Eagle hosts one of the largest crafts fairs in the country. Arts and crafts exhibitors from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and beyond come to display and sell their wares. Customers come from all over the U.S. Blanche Elliott and a group of fellow weavers founded the original War Eagle Fair over 50 years ago as a means to preserve and display the skills and traditions of Ozark craftspeople. As the fair grew, more and more people made their way to the event at Mrs. Elliott’s home, historic War Eagle Mills Farm near Springdale. Over the years, the rural site has attracted all sorts of national attention including coverage from The New York Times and Southern Living. Today numerous fairs take place adjacent to the original fair and across Northwest Arkansas in October. Located at historic War Eagle Mills Farm near Hindsville 479-789-5398. http://www.wareaglefair.com

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Ouachitas

  • Crater of Diamonds State Park: North America’s largest diamond (40.23 carats) and more than 70,000 other diamonds have been found in a field south of Murfreesboro since farmer John Huddleston discovered the first such gems there in 1906. Now the eroding surface of a volcanic pipe located about three miles south of Murfreesboro is preserved as Crater of Diamonds State Park, the world’s only site where, for a small fee, anyone can dig for diamonds and keep what they find. The park’s visitors center offers an audio-visual presentation giving tips on diamond hunting, a display of diamonds in the rough, and exhibits detailing the site’s history and geology. The park also has a campground, hiking trail, a picnic and play area, and Diamond Springs, a water park. On Ark. 301 near Murfreesboro 870-285-3113. http://www.CraterOfDiamondsStatePark.com

  • DeGray Lake Resort State Park: Arkansas's only resort state park is located about eight miles north of Arkadelphia on 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, formed when the Caddo River was dammed in 1972. Located on an island and reached by a short causeway, the park's 96-room lodge features a spa, swimming pool, well-equipped exercise room, convention facilities, and a full-service restaurant. Other park facilities include a challenging 7,200-yard golf course with pro shop, a riding stable, campgrounds and hiking trails. Visitors can avail themselves of rental watercraft at the park marina to take advantage of the lake's fishing or can launch for free their own craft. Water-skiing, sailing, jet-skiing and pleasure boating are other popular DeGray activities. Also located on the lake are a private resort and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreational areas, most of which have campsites. Eight miles north of Arkadelphia off Scenic 7 Byway 501-865-2801. http://www.degray.com

  • Garvan Woodland Gardens: Located on the shores of Lake Hamilton, this 210-acre botanical garden contains the Oriental-influenced “Garden of the Pine Wind” with stream courses, waterfalls, stone bridges, native and Asian plantings. Other features are “Daffodil Hill,” a welcome center, gift shop, canopy bridge, bird sanctuary. The Evans Children's Garden provides special natural play area just for kids. The glorious Anthony Chapel is a striking glass and wood structure popular for weddings. Postcard-quality photo opportunities. 550 Arkridge Rd., 12 minutes from I-30. 800-366-4664. http://www.garvangardens.org

  • Hot Springs National Park: America's first national preserve predates Yellowstone by some 40 years. A film and exhibits in the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitors Center located on historic Bathhouse Row tell how a remarkable array of thermal springs in a valley of the Ouachita Mountains prompted Congress to protect the area in 1832. Today it’s one of the top weekend getaway destinations in the Ouachitas. Learn how the town of Hot Springs earned a reputation as “The American Spa.” Thermal baths and massages are available on the Row at the Buckstaff Bathhouse, the Ozark Bathhouse and Spa, and at other locations.The park also offers scenic drives and a campground. Central Ave. in Hot Springs. 501-624-3383. http://www.nps.gov/hosp

  • Magic Springs/Crystal Falls: Among more than 80 attractions and amusement rides at this combination theme and water park are five exciting roller coasters, including the legendary Arkansas Twister, The X-Coaster, The Gauntlet and The Plummet Summit. The beautifully landscaped water park features a 350,000-gallon wave pool, thrilling water slide complex, relaxing lazy river, children’s activity pool and a family splash zone. The park’s amphitheater hosts a summer series of musical concerts featuring big-name entertainers. Don't miss the Surf Simulation Ride. U.S. 70 immediately east of Hot Springs. 501-624-0100. http://www.magicsprings.com/

  • Queen Wilhelmina State Park/Talimena Scenic Byway: Beginning at Mena, the scenic byway stretches for 54 miles along crests of the Ouachita Mountains before terminating at Talihina, Oklahoma. The route offers some of the best sightseeing in Arkansas, with numerous vistas from atop some of the highest peaks between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. Along the route atop Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak, lies Queen Wilhelmina State Park with a lodge, restaurant, camping, picnic areas and hiking trails. The 192-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail passes through the park. Ark. 88 near Mena. 479-394-2863. http://www.QueenWilhelmina.com

  • The Witness Musical Passion Play: An Christian musical drama which tells of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ through the eyes of the apostle Peter.  Performed in an outdoor amphitheater in Hot Springs. 1960 Millcreek Road, U.S. 70 East. http://www.witnessproductions.com/

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Central

  • Arkansas Arts Center Located in Little Rock’s historic MacArthur Park, the arts center is a first-class facility with an internationally recognized collection of drawings with works dating from the Renaissance to the present. It is also the home of world class art exhibitions that are spread throughout seven galleries. 9th and Commerce Sts., MacArthur Park, Little Rock. 501-372-4000. http://www.arkarts.com

  • Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum Home to the USS Razorback, a 311-foot submarine was present in Tokyo Bay at the signing of the Peace Treaty ending World War II. Also docking at the museum is the Arkansas Queen cruise and dinner riverboat. 501-758-1424. http://aimm.museum/

  • Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame Museum Displays memorabilia chronicling sports legends from Arkansas. Exhibits highlight the three major sports – football, baseball and basketball – plus golf, tennis, the Olympics and more. #3 Verizon Arena Way, Inside Verizon Arena, North Little Rock 501-663-4328. http://www.arksportshalloffame.com/

  • Arkansas State Capitol A striking Neoclassical building in downtown Little Rock, the capitol was modeled after the United States Capitol. It has served as the state’s seat of government since it was completed in 1915. At Woodlane and Capitol Ave. in Little Rock. 501-682-5080. http://www.sos.arkansas.gov/tours.html

  • Central Arkansas Nature Center Located on 3.4 acres in Little Rock within the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park overlooking the Arkansas River. Exhibits highlight the role of fish and wildlife management and many of the projects conducted throughout the history of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. River Market District; 500 Clinton Avenue, Suite 216 501-907-0636. http://www.centralarkansasnaturecenter.com/

  • Clinton Presidential Center and Park America's 12th Presidential Library is situated on the banks of the Arkansas River in the River Market District of downtown Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas. The library contains the largest collection of presidential papers and artifacts in U.S. history and includes an authentic replica of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room, making this among the most popular attractions in the South. Forty-two, which gets its name from Clinton's place in line of U. S. presidents, features an eclectic menu. The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is also located within the park in the renovated 1899 Choctaw Station. 501-370-8000. http://www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org/

  • Heifer Village The village uses interactive exhibits and engaging educational programming to introduce visitors to Heifer International’s innovative work of providing livestock and training to families worldwide, and focuses on the sustainable, practical and cost-effective solutions to hunger and poverty. Half-hour tours of the headquarters showcases Heifer’s dedication to sustainability, its mission to end world hunger and commitment to responsible use of resources. 1 World Avenue Little Rock. 877-870-COWS . http://www.heifer.org/heifervillage

  • Historic Arkansas Museum Visit the state's oldest neighborhood where medicine came from the herb garden and the newspaper was printed on a hand-operated press. Four original Little Rock dwellings provide the setting as expert tour guides describe life on the Arkansas frontier and costumed living history actors portray early Arkansans. Also on site is a center celebrating Arkansas's cultural and material heritage with full-scale galleries and interactive exhibits. 200 E. Third St., Little Rock. 501-324-9351. http://www.historicarkansas.org/

  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Experience the history of this major U.S. Civil Rights landmark at the Museum and Vistor Center across the street from Central High. The first African-American students -- "the Little Rock Nine" -- were admitted to the school in 1957 following a dramatic confrontation between Gov. Orval Faubus, who used the state's National Guard to block desegregation, and President Eisenhower, who sent federal troops to enforce it. See and feel the history of this important civil rights landmark–easily one of the must-see attractions in the South. 2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Dr., Little Rock. 501-374-1957. http://www.nps.gov/chsc/

  • Little Rock Zoo Nationally accredited 40-acre zoological garden, housing over 700 mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians representing 170 species, some of which are on the endangered list. Historic Works Progress Administration-constructed buildings are found throughout the natural tree-shaded grounds, including the original big cat house, now Cafe Africa. Don't miss the Over the Jumps Carousel, the only left in the world, plus the petting zoo, gift shop, miniature train rides. One Jonesboro Dr., War Memorial Park, Little Rock. 501-666-2406. http://www.littlerockzoo.com

  • Old State House Museum Set in the oldest surviving state capitol west of the Mississippi River, the museum has been designated a National Historic Landmark, though it is probably best known throughout the country as the scene of President Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 election night celebrations. This magnificent Greek Revival structure houses a multimedia museum of Arkansas history, with a special emphasis on women’s history, political history, and historical programming for school children. The Little Rock museum also boasts nationally recognized collections of Civil War battle flags, the inaugural gowns of governors’ wives, Arkansas art pottery, and African-American quilts. 300 W. Markham in Little Rock. 501-324-9685. http://www.oldstatehouse.com

  • River Market District/Riverfront Park Formerly a nearly abandoned warehouse district, this area of downtown Little Rock is now filled with restaurants, shops, art galleries, a museum, library, bars and seasonal farmers market. The Ottenheimer Market Hall has more than 17 permanent merchants. Other attractions in the area include the Clinton Presidential Center and Library, the River Rail Trolley, Junction Bridge Pedestrian and Bicycling Walkway, the Central Arkansas Nature Center, Heifer International Headquarters and Heifer Village. The River Market District is bordered by Riverfront Park and the Arkansas River to the north. President Clinton Blvd. 501-375-2552. http://www.rivermarket.info

  • Scott/Keo The flavor of the Old South surrounds these two tiny communities located approximately 20 minutes southeast of Little Rock. U.S. 165 South.

  • The Old Mill An authentic reproduction of an old water-powered grist mill, this striking structure appears in the opening scene of the classic 1933 film Gone with the Wind and is believed to be the only building remaining from the film. McCain Boulevard and Lakeshore Drive in North Little Rock 501-758-1424. http://www.northlittlerock.travel

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Arkansas River Valley

  • Arkansas and Missouri Railroad Travel over the Boston Mountains aboard beautifully restored turn-of-the-century cars, passing over three high trestles and through the 1882 Winslow tunnel. Enjoy a 134-mile round trip beginning in Springdale with a layover in historic Van Buren for shopping and lunch, or a 70-mile excursion from Fort Smith to Winslow. 800-687-8600. http://www.arkansasmissouri-rr.com

  • Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway For unbeatable sightseeing in Arkansas, go for a cruise on one of the most scenic drives in the nation. Scenic 7 runs from the Louisiana border to Bull Shoals lake near the Missouri state line, passing through both the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains. Numerous resorts, attractions and scenic overlooks are found along its route. Car and Driver magazine named a portion of Scenic 7 Byway as one of the top 10 driving experiences in the United States and it’s a popular route for motorcycling adventures. http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2155/

  • Fort Smith National Historic Site The site embraces the remains of two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Through a recent multi-million dollar rehabilitation project the historic courthouse and jail building have been restored and now include a visitor’s center. You can visit the “Hell on the Border” jail, “Hangin’ Judge” Isaac C. Parker’s courtroom and see the gallows where justice came at the end of a rope. Numerous exhibits and videos also focus on U.S. Deputy Marshals and outlaws, Federal Indian policy, and the Trail of Tears. The center also contains a bookstore and auditorium. 301 Parker Avenue 479-783-3961. http://www.nps.gov/fosm

  • Heifer Ranch At the ranch, one of Heifer International's three learning centers, visitors can participate in educational programming that promotes sustainable solutions to global hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. The Ranch offers a variety of education programs from a couple of hours up to 5 nights long. The 1,200 acre working ranch and experiential learning center includes Global Villages, Challenge Course, Conference and Retreat Center with modern group lodging and dining facilities, Gift Shop, livestock and organic gardens. The Ranch is a place where families and individuals can drop-in for a tour and see many of the animals that Heifer International uses around the world, as well as see housing similar to those found in developing countries such as Guatemala, Zambia, and Thailand. Tours are available for drop-in visitors (10 or less) Monday-Saturday from 8-5 pm Central time. All overnight programs and group tours require advance reservations. Located in Perryville, an hour west of Little Rock on Ark. 9/10. 501-889-5124 . http://www.heifer.org/ranch

  • Lake Dardanelle State Park$2.4-million, 10,527-square-foot visitor center features exhibits on Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River and its tributaries. The center features four large aquariums, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, a lab, and touch-screen kiosks that feature information on the park, the area’s water resources and history. Lake Dardanelle, a 34,000-acre reservoir, has become known as one of Arkansas’s hottest bass fishing destinations, hosting over 50 tournaments annually. The park’s facilities also include a state-of-the-art fishing weigh-in pavilion, designed to accommodate major fishing tournaments. The park also offers 83 campsites. Located four miles west of Russellville on Ark. 22 479-967-5516. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakedardanelle/

  • Lake Fort Smith State Park Lake Fort Smith State Park features all new facilities including campsites, a group lodging facility, picnic sites, a pavilion, marina with boat rentals, swimming pool and visitor center with exhibit gallery. Located eight miles north of Mountainburg on U.S. 71 479-369-2469. http://www.ArkansasStateParks.com/LakeFortSmith

  • Mount Magazine State Park Near Paris, the highest point in Arkansas rises from the Arkansas River Valley to an elevation of 2,753 feet. It offers hang gliding, rappelling, rock climbing, horseback riding, camping and hiking. The mountain's main road contains bicycle lanes and from its eight scenic overlooks visitors can see hundreds of miles of beautiful forested lands and mountains. It is also known for its outstanding butterfly population, boasting 94 of the 126 species found in Arkansas. The new luxury 60-room lodge with a grand lobby welcomes guests and has an indoor swimming pool, Skycrest Restaurant, conference center, meeting rooms, fitness center and gift shop. Thirteen full-service cabins with fireplaces, a bathroom for each bedroom, and wrap-around covered porches with outdoor hot tubs. All lodging facilities have views of the Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake below. A large visitor center has an exhibit gallery and gift shop. Nearby, the Blue Mountain Lake area offers more camping and outdoor recreation. Mount Magazine Scenic Byway leads travelers across the top of Mount Magazine and past the Cove Lake Recreation Area and the Cove Lake Trail. Ark. 309 near Paris 479-963-8502. http://www.MountMagazineStatePark.com

  • Mount Nebo State Park Rising 1,350 feet, Mount Nebo offers sweeping views of the Arkansas River Valley. In 1933, a portion of the mountain was chosen as a park site. Native stone and logs from Mount Nebo were used by the Civilian Conservation Corps to construct many of the park's bridges, trails, rustic-style cabins and pavilions. The park offers 35 campsites and 14 fully-equipped cabins with kitchens. Fourteen miles of trails encircle Mount Nebo. For mountain biking enthusiasts, the 4 1/2-mile Bench Trail is a fairly level route encircling the side of 1,350-foot Mount Nebo. Historic Cornwell House contains exhibits about legacy of the mountain, including the teachers college, the grand resorts, the CCC, and the Cornwell Family that last owned the home. 16728 West State Hwy. 155, Dardanelle 479-229-3650. http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/mountnebo

  • Petit Jean State Park Popular with families and outdoor enthusiasts, Petit Jean State Park offers a restaurant, swimming pools, playgrounds, tennis court, ball field, boating, fishing, campsites, cabins, lodge and gift shop. Scenic views are found throughout more than 20 miles of hiking trails that lead to mountain overlooks, streams, an abundance of unmarred woods, ravines, springs, caves, interesting ecological formations and 95-foot Cedar Falls. The history of the area is evidenced by Native American pictographs on a cave wall and the grave of a French explorer’s great love for whom the mountain is named. Pioneers that settled the summit left their mark as did the Civilian Conservation Corp., which constructed Mather Lodge and the dam for Lake Bailey. The visitor center’s touch-screen program anchors the exhibit area. This mountaintop respite is the flagship of the state parks system. The Museum of Automobiles is also located on the mountain. Near Morrilton on Ark. 154, off Ark. 9 501-727-5441. http://www.PetitJeanStatePark.com

  • Van Buren Downtown Historic District Located along a beautifully restored Victorian Main Street, the district is composed of six blocks of art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and historical attractions. From specialty stores to warehouses, shoppers can search for offer hard-to-find collectibles, one-of-a-kind gifts, original art, local Ozark crafts, home decoratives and extraordinary antiques. Van Buren is also the southern terminus of the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad that offers patrons Ozark Mountain excursions aboard refurbished passenger cars. 800-332-5889. http://www.vanburen.org

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Delta

  • Arkansas Post Museum Located near to the Arkansas Post National Memorial is the Arkansas Post Museum, an Arkansas State Parks site, which includes authentic Delta structures and numerous exhibits, including farm implements and Native American pottery. 5530 U.S. 165 S., Gillett. 870-548-2634. http://www.ArkansasStateParks.com

  • Arkansas Post National Memorial The memorial, a National Park Service unit, commemorates the first permanent European settlement (1686) in the Mississippi River’s lower valley. The Post also served as Arkansas’s first territorial capital and was the site of a major Civil War battle. Ark. 169, seven miles south of Gillett. 870-548-2207. http://www.nps.gov/arpo

  • Crowley's Ridge Nature Center State-of-the-art displays create a realistic "rain storm," and a movie about the massive 1811 New Madrid earthquake actually "shakes" the audience. The center has a computerized "fly-over" of the entire 200-mile ridge country, topographical models and a 23-foot-long space satellite photo of the delta landscape. It also features hands-on nature exhibits, walking trail, aquarium, and a duck hunting adventure. 600 E. Lawson Road, Jonesboro 870-933-6787 . http://www.crowleysridge.org

  • Crowley's Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway National scenic byway follows the 198-mile length of the Delta's only "highlands;" comprised of federal, state and county roads. From Piggott to Helena, the route passes by or near five state parks, a national forest, Civil War sites, the former home of Ernest Hemingway, historic homes, museums, rich agricultural areas, and the Delta Cultural Center. 870-910-8080. http://www.byways.org

  • Delta Cultural Center Located in a restored depot and storefront in the historic Mississippi River port of Helena, the center’s exhibits sketch the history and culture of Arkansas’s portion of the Delta, the lower river’s fertile alluvial plain. Exhibit topics include the region’s blues and gospel music, its natural history and the Civil War battle at Helena. Missouri and Natchez Sts., Helena. 870-338-4350. http://www.deltaculturalcenter.org

  • Great River Road National Scenic Byway The Great River Road shadows the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. Arkansas's portion of the route, which was designated a National Scenic Byway in 2002, travels the flat terrain of the nation's largest alluvial plain as well as an extraordinary strip of elevated ground known as Crowley's Ridge. At stops on and near Arkansas's Great River Road, travelers can explore the rich heritage of eastern Arkansas's Delta region, including remnants of its original hardwood-forest landscape, Native Americans, the Civil War and more. 870-910-8080 . http://www.deltabyways.com

  • Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center Visitors to the center step back to the 1930s and tour the restored home and barn-studio where Ernest Hemingway penned portions of A Farewell to Arms and other works. Original furnishings and memorabilia related to his extended visits to the childhood home of his wife, Pauline, add to the interest in this early 20th-century home in Piggott. 870-598-1037. http://hemingway.astate.edu

  • Lake Chicot State Park A former main channel of the Mississippi River, Lake Chicot is Arkansas’s largest natural lake and North America’s largest oxbow lake. The state park offers cabins, camping, hiking trails, a swimming pool, a marina and lake tours for observing wildlife and sunsets. On Ark. 144, eight miles northeast of Lake Village. 870-265-5480. http://www.ArkansasStateParks.com

  • Lakeport Plantation Last remaining antebellum plantation home on the Mississippi River in Arkansas. Restored as a museum focusing on the people and cultures of the Mississippi River Delta. New exhibits tell the stories of the house, restoration, and people who lived and worked there. Also displayed are artifacts found during restoration and original items donated back to the house. 601 Hwy. 142, Lake Village. 870-265-6031 http://lakeport.astate.edu/ 

  • Lepanto’s ‘A Painted House’ The original house used in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of John Grisham’s novel, The Painted House, has been re-assembled in Lepanto. The CBS movie included many scenes in the area, including the historic downtown. Located on south Greenwood Ave/Ark. 135. 870-475-2415. http://www.lepantoaralumni.com/CITYOFLEPANTOHOMEPAGE.html

  • Louisiana Purchase Historic State Park A boardwalk leads through a rare headwater swamp to a monument marking the starting point established in 1815 for surveys of the Louisiana Purchase territory. Interpretive panels along the way reveal the history of the 1803 land deal, under which the land that would become Arkansas first became U.S. soil. U.S. 49 South of Brinkley to Ark. 362. 888-AT-PARKS. http://www.ArkansasStateParks.com

  • Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie The museum tells the story of the people who pioneered Arkansas’s emergence as the nation’s leading rice state on a 500,000-acre tall-grass prairie and of the German settlers who gave the town of Stuttgart its name. Exhibits include historic farm equipment, pioneer life and duck hunting. Authentic and re-created prairie structures. 921 E. 4th St., Stuttgart. 870-673-7001.

  • Parkin Archeological State Park Parkin Archeological State Park in eastern Arkansas at Parkin preserves and interprets the Parkin site on the St. Francis River where a 17-acre Mississippi Period Native America village was located from A.D. 1000 to 1550. A large platform mound on the river bank remains. At the junction of U.S. 64 and Ark. 184 near Parkin. 870-755-2500. http://www.ArkansasStateParks.com

  • White River National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center A 10,000-square-foot visitors center for the White River National Wildlife Refuge located off Ark. 1 just south of St. Charles in east Arkansas. The $2.6-million facility houses a bookstore and an environmental education classroom. Exhibits cover such topics as an historic timeline of the area, fish and wildlife, bottomland hardwood forests, and birds and migratory flyways. There is also an exhibit on bears. Long-range plans call for the development of more than two miles of trails around the center. Established in 1935 and covering some 160,000 acres along the lower White, the refuge is home to the nation’s largest contiguous block of bottomland hardwood forest under a single ownership. 870-946-1468. http://whiteriver.fws.gov

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Timberlands

  • Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources Films and exhibits relate the history of Arkansas's oil and brine industries and the big 1920s oil boom that caused an explosion of population and wealth in South Arkansas virtually overnight. The museum’s Oilfield Park contains full-size derricks, other equipment. Near El Dorado on Ark. 7 in Smackover. 870-725-2877. http://www.amnr.org

  • Camden Visitors Center & McCollum-Chidester House In the spring of 1864, the Union Army briefly captured the town of Camden during a failed Civil War campaign. Gen. Frederick Steele occupied the McCollum-Chidester House at 926 Washington Street, then the home of stagecoach operator John T. Chidester. Now hosting public tours, the house is mostly furnished with antiques original to the Chidester family, who moved into the home in 1857. Ten miles west of Camden on Ark. 76, Poison Spring Historic State Park preserves and interprets a battlefield of the Red River Campaign. (870) 685-2748, www.ArkansasStateParks.com/redrivercampaign. Civil War artifacts and displays on two of Camden's historic products, Camark pottery and Grapette soft drinks, are among exhibits housed in the Camden Visitors Center and Museum. 314 Adams S.W. 870-836-6426. http://www.teamcamden.com/index.php/chamber

  • Delta Rivers Nature Center Designed to resemble an old-fashioned Delta hunting lodge, the center’s exhibits reveal the history and importance of Arkansas’s delta streams and wetlands. Live and preserved wildlife displays include a 20,000-gallon aquarium. The center also offers trails for wildlife observation and a gift shop. Off U.S. 65-B Regional Park, Pine Bluff. 870-534-0011. http://www.deltarivers.com

  • El Dorado Downtown Historic District Llisted on the National Register of Historic Places, this downtown contains a significant collection of 1920s and 1930s architecture (courthouse, churches and commercial buildings) made necessary and financed by the oil boom that began in 1921. A walking tour reveals the variety of boutiques, shops and dining options recently brought to the district. 870-863-611. http://www.goeldorado.com/

  • Historic Washington State Park This 19th-century restoration village contains the state’s largest collection of pre-Civil War homes open for tours and Arkansas’s Confederate capitol from 1863-65. Weapons and print-shop museums, re-created blacksmith shop, restored courthouses, exhibits on 19th-century construction techniques. On U.S. 278, northwest of Hope. 870-983-2684. http://www.HistoricWashingtonStatePark.com

  • President William JeffersonClinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site On August 19, 1946, Bill Clinton, the nation's 42nd President, was born in the southwestern Arkansas town of Hope. He lived his first four years with his maternal grandparents in a house at 117 S. Hervey Street. Today, the two-and-one-half story, wood-frame structure built in 1917 in an American Foursquare design is the centerpiece of the Clinton Center. With input from Clinton's late mother, the house has been decorated with period furnishings to appear as it did when it served as the future chief executive's home. Guided tours are offered. Located in a restored 1912 railroad depot at Fourth and Division Streets, the Hope Visitors Center and Museum contains exhibits on Clinton, the town's history, railroad memorabilia, and the area's legacy of producing giant watermelons. 870-722-2580. http://www.nps.gov/wicl/index.htm

  • Saracen Landing A $4.2 million park facility features a 10,080-square-foot pavilion and concrete fishing pier plus a fountain that sprays water 40 feet into the air; it is also the home of the Pine Bluff Farmers Market; located on the shores of 500-acre Lake Saracen in downtown Pine Bluff. Perfect for fishing tournaments, educational programs, car shows, picnics, concerts, reunions and weddings. Martha Mitchell Expressway (U.S. 65B), across from the Jefferson County Courthouse complex and adjacent to the Regional Park entrance. 870-536-0920 . http://www.cityofpinebluff.com/parks/

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