Skip to main content
Try our new AI Powered Travel Planner
It's Free. Try it now!

Welcome to the Natural State, where enchanting landscapes meet vibrant culture. Endless adventures await. Arkansas is a treasure trove of attractions that promise unforgettable experiences for every traveler. From the majestic peaks of the Ozark Mountains to the meandering waters of the Mississippi River, this state boasts a diverse tapestry of natural wonders, historical sites, and thrilling activities.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a food lover, or an art aficionado, Arkansas has something special to offer. These bucket list attractions are a combination of the most popular and most unique to Arkansas. After visiting all of them, you’ll have a better understanding of the state’s vibe and local perspective.

10. Crystal Bridges

crystal bridges in bentonville arkansas

(image via Kevin Dooley)

Spearheaded by Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges has become a cultural beacon of Northwest Arkansas with modern looks that belie its love of Americana. The gallery houses include American artists from Rockwell to Pollock. Collaborations with the Louvre, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Terra Foundation for American Art have also resulted in an enormous cultural exchange and a chance for art from all over the world to tour the state.

9. Crater of Diamonds State Park

crater of diamonds state park in murfreesboro arkansas

(image via Crater of Diamonds State Park)

Crater of Diamonds State Park has a unique draw. Yes, you really can find diamonds here! Somebody finds one just often enough to remind people that the park is here and that the diamonds aren’t all gone. Located near Murfreesboro, the park also holds lesser pieces of geological curiosity, as well. This state park is a quick day trip from Hot Springs and is sure to excite and charm the whole family, even on a budget!

8. Floating the Buffalo River

kayakers floating along on the buffalo river in arkansas

(image via Buffalo Outdoor Center)

The Buffalo River flows freely for 135 miles. It’s one of the few undammed rivers in the contiguous United States. Canoe rentals are available allowing you to take advantage of the serene, empty stretches as well as the quick rapids. Arkansas foliage is some of the most beautiful in the country, and the river is one of the best ways to take it in. Early November is an especially great time to see Autumn leaves, even if you just rent a cabin and don’t get out on the water. Check out the Buffalo Outdoor Center for all there is to see and do along this mighty stream.

7. Johnny Cash’s Boyhood Home

a historical marker in front of the johnny cash boyhood home memorial in arkansas

(image via Will Huff)

Johnny Cash’s family moved to his boyhood home when President Roosevelt carved out a farming colony in Mississippi County as part of the Great Depression rehabilitation. The house has been lovingly restored by Arkansas State University and contains exhibits about the social experiment that led the Cash family to the area. It also, of course, charts the influence of the area on Cash’s famed musical career. The building was even featured in the movie Walk the Line.

6. Toltec Mounds

toltec mounds near scott, arkansas

(Herb Roe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia)

Toltec Mounds” is actually a bit of a misnomer. The owner of the property, Mrs. Gilbert Knapp, believed the Toltecs to have built the mounds here. Scientific research, however, indicates that they were actually pre-historical structures built by members of the indigenous Plum Bayou culture. Used as gathering places for religious and ceremonial purposes, these mounds form a key part of our understanding of early life on the continent.

5. Thorncrown Chapel

thorncrown chapel near eureka springs, arkansas

(image via Brad Holt)

Eureka Springs is sort of a hippie enclave in the middle of Arkansas. It’s home, for instance, to a robust treehouse hotel scene. It also houses the beautiful Thorncrown Chapel. Thorncrown contains some 6,000 square feet of glass. It was designed by E. Fay Jones, an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel’s architecture showcases the famous aesthetics of Wright’s Prairie School design movement and was built using only local Northwest Arkansas materials.

4. Bathhouse Row

bathhouse row in hot springs

(image via J. Dickert)

Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs is a place to find refuge and peace of mind. The mineral water here doesn’t carry the sulfur stench most natural hot springs do. Plus, the town trades almost as much on the history of the area as they do the springs themselves. In the roaring ’20s, Hot Springs legalized gambling, and mobsters like “Lucky” Luciano and Al Capone sought refuge and good times here. Things have calmed down considerably since then. Instead of a mobster hangout, the area is now a popular boating resort town.

3. Blanchard Springs Caverns

a colorfully lit cave in blanchard springs caverns in arkansas

(image via US Forest Service – Ozark-St Francis National Forests)

It’s hard to describe the beauty of caves to people who haven’t experienced them. From the lack of light to the bizarre calcite formations, being in a cave feels like stepping into another world. Blanchard Springs Caverns offers three trails to explore and is considered a “living” cave, as the limestone formations are still in progress. There’s a whole other world beneath the surface, and it’s sure to excite!

2. Arkansas River Trail

arkansas river trail system near Little Rock, Arkansas

(image via Arkansas State Tourism)

The Arkansas River Trail is a network of biking and walking trails and bridges that circles both sides of the Arkansas River and cuts right through the downtown Little Rock area. Apart from the beauty of the scenery and the Big Dam Bridge, the River Market area along the River Trail boasts restaurants, bars, and the Clinton Presidential Center.

1. Mount Magazine & Lodge

a view from the top of mount magazine as the sun sets

(image via Latteda)

Check in to Mount Magazine And Lodge to truly take in all the magic that is Arkansas. The tallest mountain in the state looks out over river valleys teeming with trees, a view that stretches for miles in every direction. The lodge is a mixture of luxury accommodations and a destination for ATV riders and hang gliding. The only thing better than watching the scenery from your balcony at the lodge is looking at the same thing in the air from a hang glider.



Related Reads