As the City of Colleges and one of the fastest-growing communities in the state, Conway has no shortage of things to do. The city of more than 60,000 residents is located approximately 30 miles northwest of Little Rock along Interstate 40. The abundance of natural beauty in the area makes Conway a great place for an outdoor adventure. Spanning 6,700 acres, Lake Conway is the largest man-made game and fish commission lake in the United States and is a favorite destination for Arkansas anglers. Beaverfork Lake is a popular site for water recreation. Toad Suck Park is located on the Arkansas River at Toad Suck Lock and Dam and provides excellent boating and fishing opportunities with scenic views. Cadron Settlement Park is a National Historic Site that includes a restored blockhouse, a Cherokee Trail of Tears memorial and interpretive signage.
The presence of the University of Central Arkansas, Hendrix College, and Central Baptist College contribute to Conway's strong arts and cultural scene. The state's only professional Shakespeare company, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, brings professional performers from around the country to Conway and provides opportunities for local performers as well. The Baum Gallery is an educational art museum located on the UCA campus. The gallery, which is free and open to the public, develops exhibitions and events that invite interaction and encourage dialogue about visual art and relevant topics. UCA Public Appearances is an annual series under the auspices of UCA's College of Fine Arts and Communication, which manages the 1,200-seat Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall. Conway Symphony Orchestra performs a full season of six high-quality, professional concerts, including a free outdoor community concert, a holiday performance and a children's concert. Hendrix College hosts a variety of artists and performances throughout the year through a program called Hendrix Special Events: Programs in the Fine and Performing Arts. The performances are free to the campus community and the public.
As the home to a variety of employers, restaurants and retailers, downtown Conway is the heart of Conway's economy. It's a place where government, education, business and entertainment intersect. With 20 restaurants in the area, award-winning steaks and local pizza joints are just around the corner from hearty Italian and sizzling Mexican favorites. Conway's downtown shopping scene is a perfect mix of old and new. Approximately 40 retail businesses ranging from antique shops to jewelry stores to high-fashion boutiques call downtown Conway home.
Toad Suck Daze is one of the largest and most popular festivals in Arkansas. The free, family-friendly festival takes place each May in downtown Conway. Toad Suck Daze derives its attention-getting title from the Legend of Toad Suck, one of the state's most colorful. According to local folklore, long ago when steamboats plied the Arkansas River and the water wasn't the correct depth, the captains and their crew docked where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now spans the river to wait until the water level rose. While waiting, they occupied themselves at the local tavern there, to the displeasure of the locals who lived in the community. The residents described the sailors this way: "They suck on the bottle 'til they swell up like toads." Hence, the name Toad Suck. The tavern is long gone, but the legend lives on at Toad Suck Daze. In addition to providing food and fun for the entire family, proceeds from the festival support education in Faulkner County.
Make plans to check out Conway, Arkansas, and see what this vibrant and growing city has to offer! You'll find plenty of hotels, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in town.