As the old saying goes, the valleys are deep and the mountains are high in Arkansas. It’s no surprise why they call it the Nature State considering the 9,000 miles of usable rivers, millions of acres of Ozarks forest, Ouachitas Mountains, and 2,000 or so known caverns underneath it all. Oh, and did we mention the countless mineral hot springs? Nature has a powerful presence in Arkansas, and is the main draw.
People come here to soak their bones in the spas and springs, try their luck fishing in one of the rivers or lakes, or climb the mountain tops of the Ozarks. Arkansas is a beautiful place, especially in the fall. But there’s more than just outdoor recreation here. Arkansas also has a deep tradition of folk music, craftsmanship, and artistry. Its little mountain towns are inevitably lined with artist workshops, blacksmiths, and jewelers.
At the heart of it all is a culture that’s warm and welcoming, down-home, and simple. The food is tasty and filling, the pies made fresh and the barbecue as good as anything in the South. If you open your heart, the people of Arkansas will make you feel like family. Best of all, a visit here won’t break the bank. This is one of the most affordable travel destinations in the United States so splash out at a hot spring resort or tuck into a comfortable bed and breakfast for a relaxing getaway.
If you love the great outdoors, the options for fun are endless in Arkansas. You can sift for diamonds in Crater of Diamonds State Park (and keep what you find). There are countless caverns with underground wonders to see and a hot spring to unwind in every town. Fans of folksy culture will find the authentic charm of small Arkansas towns irresistibly fascinating. This is a place where people can still forge iron into artwork and spin a potter’s wheel. And not forgetting the music. From traditional Delta blues to ripping bluegrass, this state loves its old-timey tunes.
Getting around can be tricky if you don’t have your own wheels. Renting a car is really the only option unless you plan to stick to one town, which would be a shame because the countryside here is beautiful. You can catch Greyhound buses between towns, but then you’ll miss out on all the unique stops at wooden stands on the side of the road selling homemade pies for five dollars a pop.
- Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs epitomizes the mineral hot spring culture of Arkansas
- Dig for diamonds (and keep them) in the fun Crater of Diamonds State Park
- The Clinton Presidential Library is a solid repository of the great man’s legacy
- Blanchard Springs Cavern is one of the most accessible of the 2,000 caves in Arkansas
- Old Washington Historic State Park gives you a glimpse into the towns of early Arkansas
- Eureka Springs is a fantastic tourist town with loads of relaxation and nature
- The Ozarks and Ouachitas mountain ranges are packed with hiking trails, lakes to fish, and rivers to raft