With its wealth of history, wilderness, and cultural experience, the state of Arkansas has something for everyone. Visitors in the mood for relaxation will find much to enjoy at two of Arkansas’ most popular destinations: Hot Springs and Eureka Springs. Both are mountain towns built on a foundation of natural springs, and both offer great spa vacations for couples. Vacationers can also enjoy a touch of Arkansas history on one of the state’s dinner or family riverboat cruises. Whether it is on the Belle of the Ozarks or the Arkansas Queen, vacationers will revel in the sights along the river and the chance to experience the steamboat-powered travel of the state’s early days. For those interested in getting their hands dirty, there is plenty to be excited about: Arkansas is home to a robust network of “agritourism”, including u-pick farms, farm and winery tours, hayrides for the kids, and other eco-tourism ventures.
Outdoor enthusiasts should be certain to visit the tri-peaks of Mount Magazine, Petit Jean, and Mount Nebo, each of which is surrounded by its own state park. Canoeing, kayaking, and rafting experiences can be enjoyed on the Buffalo National River, which flows 150 miles and offers both whitewater challenges and natural beauty. Fishers, also, are in luck in Arkansas: with six distinct regions in the state and temperate conditions year-round, Arkansas hosts some of the finest fishing in the nation. Both trout and bass fishing are renowned in Arkansas and the best fishing locations are just a step away from almost anywhere in the state. Hunters, too, will find plenty to keep themselves excited about in the state. With populations of black bear, elk, and a particularly large number of whitetail deer, Arkansas is one of the nation’s most popular states for big game hunting. Liberal regulations for archery, crossbow, muzzleloading, and modern gun hunters are set so that hunting vacationers can get the most out of their visit.
Whether its mountain bikes, ATV’s, or motorcycles, Arkansas has all the bases covered for the visiting “freewheeler”. Both scenic cycling roads and single-track trails are available for the cycling enthusiast, including terrain for all skill levels. The state is also abundant with authorized ATV trails, some of which are in the state’s national and state parks and forests. And bikers should certainly take note of Fayetteville’s “Biker, Blues, and BBQ” rally, regarded by many as the fastest growing motorcycle event in the nation.
As a key state in the civil war, Arkansas is rich in battle sites and trails that highlight one of the most important events in early U.S. history. History fans will enjoy a driving tour of the trails of the civil war, which span the breadth of the state. Arkansas is also home to the “Trail of Tears” heritage trail system, in which drivers can follow the routes taken by Native American tribes during their tumultuous period of relocation.
Small towns hidden throughout the Ozark Mountains capture one of the most eclectic communities in the nation. Visitors interested in an overview of the Ozark Mountain way of life are advised to visit Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, where the traditional music, dance, food, and history of the Ozark community is showcased. Mountain View is also considered the “folk music capital of the world”, and music aficionados should be sure to stop in for a listen.
In addition to offering the traveler miles of unspoiled wilderness, the Ozark region hides beauty under its surface in the form of its complex and famous network of limestone caves. Many of the cave systems are open to the public and made safe with stairs and lighting, and those who venture in will have the chance to see an amazing array of geological formations and underground wildlife such as blind trout and salamanders.
Of course, all of this is just the beginning of the many experiences that “the natural state” has to offer the traveler or vacationer!