Anchored by Jonesboro and surrounding Craighead County, Northeast Arkansas, or the Upper Delta, offers a unique setting for newcomers. Beautiful forests and the Mississippi River’s Delta shores envelop this charming piece of The Natural State. Throughout the Upper Delta, acres upon acres of bucolic farmland yield soybeans, rice, cotton and pecans, and yet, residents find worldly amenities within reach in nearby cities like Walnut Ridge, Forrest City, Pocahontas and West Memphis. Communities like Cherokee Village, Marked Tree, Newport, Osceola, Piggott and Wynne all have something to offer those looking for small-town charm and kindly neighbors.

Jonesboro, home to around 68,000 residents, is the biggest city within the region, and is considered its cultural hub, boasting renowned arts venues like the Fowler Center and the annual Johnny Cash Music Festival attended by people from all over the country.

Arkansans come from all over to savor the Southern delights and Delta soul food at notable restaurants like the veggie plate at Tyboogie’s in Tyronza, steak at Jerry’s in Trumann and seafood at Bistro Eleven 21 in Blytheville. A one-of-a-kind experience can be had at airplane-turned-Parachute Restaurant in Walnut Ridge, and the cold beer and colorful biker stories at Roy’s in Paragould are not to be missed.

The Upper Delta is also ripe with historical landmarks just waiting to be discovered. Thanks to Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro, many treasured museums and historic sites have been established or restored, and much of the region’s history is told through exhibits at ASU’s campus museum.

Locals have access to a well-rounded list of recreation, including visits to the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center (a 170-acre protected wildlife refuge), floats on the Spring River and rounds of golf at the Sage Meadows Golf & Country Club, which is a part of the Arkansas Golf Trail. Lakes, first-rate state parks—Parkin Archeological and Crowley’s Ridge, in particular—as well as excellent hunting and fishing spots, make this a desirable place to call home.

Explore even more of this great region on memorable planned drives like the historic Civil War Trail or Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, a National Scenic Byway that runs from the very northeast corner of the state at Piggott down to Helena-West Helena. Another National Scenic Byway, the Arkansas Great River Road, begins in Blytheville and winds all the way down to Lower Delta cities Lake Village and Eudora before ending at the Louisiana state line. Along the way, a stop in Turrell at the Wapanocca National Wildlife Refuge rewards visitors with sightings of barred owl and great blue heron on Wapanocca Lake and in the flooded cypress swamps. It’s a prime place to be come duck season.

In the Upper Delta you can…

History was made in the Upper Delta when…
  • acclaimed author John Grisham was born in Jonesboro. He lived throughout the region before his career took off—now having sold more than 225 million copies of his 30-plus books. 
  • Johnny Cash moved to Dyess with his family at the age of 3. Cash, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, wrote songs inspired by those early years on the family farm. 
  • Native Americans built earthwork mounds that date back more than 12,000 years and can be viewed at Hampson Archeological Museum State Park and Parkin Archaeological State Park. 
  • The Beatles’ airplane landed in Walnut Ridge. The city celebrates this 1964 brush with history at Beatles Park and with attractions that include a massive archive photo collection, Guitar Walk and an annual music festival. 

The Upper Delta is known for being…
  • a great place to live. In 2014, Jonesboro ranked seventh on Kiplinger’s list of “Top 10 U.S. Cities to Live In.” 
  • home to big fish in a small pond. On National Geographic’s list of “2014 Best Small Cities for Job Growth,” Jonesboro ranked No. 14. 

History will be made when…
  • Big River Crossing is completed. Arkansas and Tennessee officials are working to renovate the Harahan Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River and connects downtown Memphis, Tennessee, to West Memphis, Arkansas. Upon completion, it will become the longest pedestrian/cyclist bridge in the world. The project is barely underway, but will have a major economic impact on the Upper Delta.

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