Arkansas is rich in culture and abundant in natural beauty. It offers a spectrum of outdoor and historical attractions that enchant visitors and residents. Arkansas is well known for its well-endowed natural resources and captivating cities.
Starting from the world-famous Hot Springs National Park with scenic views to Crystal Bridges Museum for its history, you won’t run out of amazing places to visit in Arkansas.
However, it might be overwhelming to choose from so many options. So, here I am with the list of the 25 most beautiful places in Arkansas that you need to visit at least once.
1. Hot Springs National Park
The most popular and the first ranked beautiful place to visit in Arkansas is Hot Springs National Park. It is located in the Ouachita Mountains, and established in 1921. Since then, to this day, it has been visited by thousands of visitors annually.
The park has many interesting attractions like the visitor center, observatory, exciting hiking trails, and many more options for adventure time. The most beautiful part of the park is the historic Fordyce Bathhouse.
There are many other old Victorian bathhouses as well, to enjoy a relaxing time amid the hot springs. Treat yourself to a relaxing experience in this beautiful park.
2. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Looking forward to an exclusive indoor and outdoor attraction in Arkansas? Located in Bentonville is the famous Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, founded by Alice Walton.
Surely, you will have an unforgettable experience while exploring the historical and architectural museum that focuses on Arkansas’s and America’s history. You will be taken aback by the architecture of the museum.
Not only is this place a beneficial site for increasing your knowledge, but it is also a place to appreciate the beauty of nature and masterworks of the colonial era.
3. Petit Jean State Park
Petit Jean State Park is situated in central Arkansas. It is the oldest state park and has always been a highly recommended place by visitors. It is an exclusive spot for nature lovers and even history lovers. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, you will have the best time in this state park, where you can hike, camp, and swim in a large area.
The hiking trails have a wonderful view of meadows, mountains, streams, and canyons. The highlights of the state park are Cedar Falls, Bear Cave, and Seven Hollows. Besides these, there is Lake Roosevelt and various campsites for different adventures.
You might also like to visit these wonderful waterfalls in Arkansas.
4. Mammoth Spring State Park
Did you know that Mammoth Spring is one of the largest springs in America, located in Mammoth Spring State Park? Every hour, approximately nine million gallons of water flow through the spring and births the rivers. A fascinating history is that it is a part of the restored 1886 train depot that excites tourists to explore the area more.
The interpretive hiking trail is a notable feature of the park where there is a pathway across the and a shut-down hydroelectric station. You will enjoy the remarkable beauty of the surroundings of the park.
5. Buffalo National River
Want to relax amid an unpopulated and remote place to enjoy the beauty of nature? The Buffalo National River is a free-flowing river of serene waters. An interesting feature of this river is that you can visit three designated wilderness areas that connect the bank’s boundaries.
The area is protected, and you can have an isolated time running through the Ozark Mountains. There are also choices to hike, camp, fish, and kayak along the river. It is ideal for visiting during the summer season as at that time water sports are the most fun to enjoy.
6. Crater of Diamonds State Park
Who does not love finding gems? Located in southwestern Arkansas is Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is the only exclusive publicly open-source natural diamond in the US. Since 1906, more than 70000 diamonds have been found in this park.
The diamonds range in colors, and the famous Strawn-Wagner Diamond is also found in this park. It will be a pity if you do not explore the park and find one for yourself to keep. Besides, there are 52 camping sites along with a water playground.
Check out these tranquil state parks in Arkansas.
7. Garvan Woodland Gardens
At the top of the list, when I mentioned Hot Springs National Park is the most beautiful and popular, one of the parts of the park that adds to the beauty significant is the Garvan Woodland Gardens.
It is a botanical garden of the University of Arkansas that was spurred to life in 1956. It was created by Verna Cook Garvan who is an influential business leader of Hot Springs. The garden features different plots, scenic structures, and stunning overlooks.
There is an on-site Chipmunk Café as well, which is a major attraction for the visitors. If you are lucky, you can catch the sight of the resident peacocks of the Pratt Welcome Center.
8. Mount Magazine State Park
Did you happen to know that Mount Magazine is the tallest mountain in Arkansas, with a 2,753 ft. peak? You can visit Mount Magazine State Park to go hiking or mountain biking to the peak of this highest mountain.
When you visit the state park, you have a range of outlets for an adventurous time, including campgrounds, overlooks, hiking trails, and a picnic area. To top it all, there are interpretive programs based on the flora and fauna, natural and cultural history of Mount Magazine. So, visitors can surely have a great time if they visit the state park.
9. Thorncrown Chapel
Located in Eureka Springs, is the uniquely designed Thorncrown Chapel. It is an iconic old wood structured chapel. You might get chills with the rustic and natural woodland setting of the place. You can get iconic shots across the property.
The chapel stands 48 feet tall, and more than 6000 square feet of glass spread across the gorgeous 435 windows. The best time to visit is from 9 am to 11 am in summer to attend the Sunday services. You can explore the beauty as well as say a prayer. To top that, you can make donations for Arkansas’ chapel.
10. Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is the ideal place to visit in Arkansas for a secluded time in a peaceful and beautiful spot. The mountainside streets of the site are refreshing from the chaotic cities.
This place is one of a kind, from local boutiques, craft emporiums to relaxing activities like spas, jazz clubs, motels, and more. It is nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, and you can plan different outdoor activities, including visiting the fine art galleries, restaurants, and cottages to enjoy a getaway.
11. Blanchard Springs Caverns
Located on Blanchard Springs Road, Arkansas, is the Blanchard Springs Caverns. It is an ideal spot for exploring the dynamic natural systems found underground. The caverns are truly an amazing place that keeps on growing and changing.
The frequent visitors are appalled at the carvings inside the cave. For thousands of years, this cavern has been evolving, and through the three ranger-led tours, tourists can marvel. You can explore the scenic landscapes outside the cavern and watch the Ozark Mountain waterfall as well.
12. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Do you want to take a tour to explore the history of the US and Arkansas? Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is for you. Firstly, you have to book a tour for your trip. The town guide will narrate you historical stories, and you can surely learn a lot of education and general information.
Unsure of visiting? This spot is a significant site in Arkansas not just for its beauty but also for its historical recognition. Since 1977, it has been included as a historic place in the National Register.
A central town in Arkansas is the lovely Bentonville town. It was established in 1836, and it is very popularly known as the headquarters of retail giant Walmart. It is an interesting town to explore the history of Arkansas and Walmart.
There are several spots to explore, including the Bella Vista Historical Museum, Peel Mansion Museum, and many more. A great place for looking at natural beauty is the Heritage Garden. You can bike around the town to enjoy the refreshing atmosphere of Bentonville.
14. William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum
Are you a book lover? For every book lover out there, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is a must-visit. It is located in the heart of the Clinton Presidential Center and Park. The library is an archive for thousands of books, collections, and research materials.
The museum features replicas of the Oval Office and Cabinet Room. It also holds special programs and educational programs in some designated months. You have to look up their website to know when it will be best for you to visit. It is a unique heritage of the US and the American Presidency.
15. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
Now, for the nature and animal kingdom lovers, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a non-profit organization that is a refuge for abused, abandoned, or neglected tigers. It is home to over 100 “Big Cats” including Tigers, Cougars, Bears, Leopards, Lions, and more.
You can have the chance to donate as well and treat the animals with compassion. It will provide great learning experiences for children. Different kids Day Camps, public conventions, and other programs are often arranged for visitors to take part in and enjoy the touch of the wildlife animals.
16. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
With an extensive area of 2,356-acre, Pinnacle Mountain State Park is a day-use park in Little Rock. The towering cone-shaped Pinnacle Mountain at the central point of the park is the most famous part of the park. People who hike to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain get to enjoy the sweeping views of the remarkable natural landscapes.
You can choose a trail to hike through different trails, and there is a base loop trail for those who want to make records of reaching the peak. This park is ideal for gaining environmental education and activities like canoeing, biking, and horseback riding. For the best horseback ride trail, Chief Whitehorse Trail Rides is the best trail.
17. Fossil Flats Trailhead
Fossil Flats Trailhead can be recognized as the most beautiful and exciting part of the Devil’s Den State Park. It is the best trail for hiking and mountain biking for enjoying moderate levels. The Flat is exposed to rocky creeks and bends that make the trail more adventurous.
The prime factor is the scenic and appealing landscapes. You can watch the waterfall near the park or even hike through the loop trail for hours. Fun fact: it is known as “A Sacred Place” due to the beauty of nature viewed through the trails.
18. Big Dam Bridge
Spanning the vast Arkansas River is the Big Dam Bridge. The view from the middle of the dam is breathtaking. It is the longest purpose-built pedestrian bridge in the country. Cycling through this long bridge will enhance your mood and health. The most beautiful aspect of the bridge is the scenic view and unique structure.
By cycling or walking through it, you can enjoy an incentive to be active with yourself. The backdrop of the bridge is the best part to get a shot off. It connects the roads above the river, spans 4226 feet, and is 90 feet above the river waters. You can visit Two Rivers Park, Downtown Little Rock, Pinnacle Mountain, and Emerald Park when you cross the bridge.
19. Fort Smith National Historic Site
If you list the things to do in Fort Smith National Historic Site, you might break a sweat. Diverse people shape this site, so diversity influences the architecture, culture, and sights.
However, it is best known for its turbulent history on the Western frontier. You can visit the parks, Trail of Tears, historic jail, or simply roam around to enjoy the landscaped park. There are several national historical landmarks to learn about. It is well known as an educational and recreational place for visitors and local people.
20. The Walmart Museum
Walmart Museum is situated in the hometown of Sam Walton in Bentonville. It is truly a must-see spot for visitors as it is a prominent spot related to the history of this powerhouse retailer. You can enjoy the incredible displays that trace back history from when it all began to the present day.
The glass panels, fixtures, and architecture of the place are truly wondrous to observe. The Spark Café located next door is a great enjoyable aspect that sells various flavors of mouthwatering dessert, including ice cream, sundaes, soda, and more. You can then visit Yarnell’s, a local dairy company well-known for providing exclusive ingredients for ice cream.
21. Quigley’s Castle
Want to visit a fairytale-like spot in Arkansas. Quigley’s Castle in Eureka Springs is a beautiful dreamlike castle. It was the dreamlike dwelling of Elise Quigley and, with time, has become one of the most popular places to visit in the town. Her grandchildren have opened the place for public visits to wander and explore the beauty of the perennial garden. There are over 400 species of flowers and plants.
22. Hemmed-In Hollow Falls
Situated in the Ponca Wilderness Area in the Ozark Mountains is the beautiful Hemmed-In Hollow Falls. You will find one of the highest waterfalls near the Buffalo National River. From the 250 feet high summit, you will experience the ecstatic feeling of the enchanting beauty of the surrounding nature.
With only a 5-mile hike, you can reach the base from the State Highway. This place is the most beautiful place to visit during spring and summer. At that time, the water volume is at its best level for water sports. You can rent a kayak, boat, or raft to enjoy the gushing flow of waters that are accessible for visitors almost throughout the year.
23. Hawk’s Bill Crag Trail
Another beautiful picturesque trail with an exciting way is Hawk’s Bill Crag Trail. It is also known as Whitaker Point. It is located along the Buffalo National River. Want to walk amid nature and enjoy the pleasant slow life? This trail is what you are seeking.
The route to the trail is easy with only 3 hours of journey, and the hiking is considered moderate level. Once you visit, you can experience memorable sightseeing and photograph the wonderful beauty of nature. Although there are not many activities, you will thoroughly enjoy the hike and walk because of the stunning scenery.
24. Arkansas vacations: Hope
Located in southern Arkansas is the quaint little town of Hope. It is famous as the birthplace of President Clinton. Fascinating, isn’t it? You can tour around President William Jefferson Clinton’s Birthplace Home to know more about young Clinton.
Additionally, there are different places worthy of visiting, sites like the restored Missouri-Pacific Railroad Depot to explore the local history of Arkansas. There are several cafés and restaurants to enjoy a relaxing time.
Let’s look into the famous city of Conway in Arkansas. For exploring the local life of Arkansas, Conway is your ultimate destination. The city is full of life at night, and throughout the day, you can explore the scenic streets and dramatic views of busy city life.
Not only that, the people expect tourists, so they warmly welcome them to explore the city. The main attraction is Beaverfork Lake, where water sports enthusiasts can do several activities. Besides, you can also visit the National Historic Site featuring the Cherokee Trail of Tears Memorial.
You will not be disappointed with the abundant beauty of Arkansas. It is indeed a state full of history and presents colorful attractions. If you are visiting or residing in Arkansas, you have to visit some of the listed most beautiful places in Arkansas to appreciate the beauty and incredible nature of Arkansas state fully.