Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Arkansas


By Abigail Lewis

Located in the southern region of the United States, Arkansas is a hidden gem filled with natural beauty and historical sites. The state is home to a variety of top-rated tourist attractions that cater to a range of interests. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or art lover, Arkansas has something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Arkansas is the breathtakingly beautiful Ozark Mountains. With its stunning vistas, rugged terrain, and abundant wildlife, the Ozarks offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and birdwatching. The region is also dotted with charming small towns, where visitors can experience the charm of Southern hospitality and explore local crafts, food, and music.

If you’re a history enthusiast, a visit to the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock is a must. This museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Arkansas’s heritage, with exhibits showcasing the state’s diverse cultural history. From Native American artifacts to pioneer cabins and Civil War artifacts, there’s something to interest every history lover.

For art lovers, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is a must-visit attraction. This world-class museum is home to a vast collection of American art, ranging from colonial-era portraits to contemporary masterpieces. The museum is also set in a stunning natural landscape, with walking trails and outdoor sculptures adding to the overall experience.

These are just a few of the top-rated tourist attractions in Arkansas. Whether you’re exploring the natural wonders of the Ozarks, immersing yourself in the state’s rich history, or discovering masterpieces of American art, Arkansas offers a truly memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Natural State Beauty

Known as “The Natural State,” Arkansas boasts an abundance of natural beauty. From rugged mountains to serene lakes, the state offers a diverse landscape that attracts visitors from near and far.

The Ozark Mountains dominate the northwestern part of the state, providing stunning panoramic views and endless outdoor recreation opportunities. Hiking trails wind through lush forests, leading to hidden waterfalls and breathtaking overlooks. Buffalo National River, the country’s first designated national river, cuts through the Ozarks, offering visitors the chance to float and kayak through pristine wilderness.

In the central part of the state, visitors can explore the enchanting beauty of the Ouachita Mountains. These ancient mountains are a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with miles of hiking and biking trails crisscrossing their scenic peaks. Hot Springs National Park, located in the heart of the Ouachitas, features thermal springs that have drawn visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation for centuries.

Southwestern Arkansas is home to the captivating beauty of the Cossatot River and its surrounding wilderness. Known for its challenging rapids, the Cossatot River is a haven for thrill-seekers looking to conquer its whitewater. Nearby, the stunning Ouachita National Forest offers opportunities for camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

Arkansas’s natural beauty isn’t limited to mountains and rivers. The state is dotted with picturesque lakes and rolling prairies, providing abundant options for boating, fishing, and bird-watching. From the crystal-clear waters of Lake Ouachita to the tranquil beauty of the Mississippi River Delta, there’s a natural oasis for everyone to enjoy.

Discover the unparalleled beauty of Arkansas, and let its natural wonders take your breath away.

Historic Hot Springs

Hot Springs, located in the Ouachita Mountains, is known for its rich history and natural beauty. This charming town has been a popular tourist destination for centuries, thanks to its thermal hot springs that were believed to have healing powers by Native American tribes. Today, many visitors come to enjoy the historic bathhouses, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant downtown area.

One of the most famous attractions in Hot Springs is Bathhouse Row, a collection of beautifully preserved bathhouses from the early 20th century. These bathhouses were popular gathering places for socializing and relaxation, and many of them have been converted into museums and shops. Visitors can explore the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center, which offers exhibits on the history of the baths and the town of Hot Springs.

In addition to the bathhouses, Hot Springs National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The park offers trails for hiking and walking, scenic drives, and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also take a dip in the hot springs, which are still flowing and can be enjoyed in designated areas.

Hot Springs also offers a vibrant downtown area with a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. Visitors can stroll along Central Avenue, the main street of the downtown area, and explore the many unique shops and boutiques. There are also several art galleries and museums showcasing the work of local artists and the history of the town.

For those interested in history, the Gangster Museum of America is a fascinating stop. This museum tells the story of Hot Springs as a hotbed of illegal gaming, bootlegging, and other criminal activities during the Prohibition era. Visitors can learn about famous gangsters who frequented the area and see artifacts from this notorious period in American history.

Overall, Hot Springs is a charming and historic destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in natural beauty, history, or simply relaxing in the thermal hot springs, Hot Springs is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Thrilling Hiking Trails

Arkansas is home to some of the most thrilling hiking trails in the United States. From breathtaking views to challenging terrains, there is something for every adventure seeker. Here are some of the top hiking trails in Arkansas:

  • Whitaker Point Trail: Also known as Hawksbill Crag, this trail offers stunning views of the Ozark Mountains and the widely photographed Hawksbill Crag rock formation. The trail is moderately difficult and perfect for those looking to experience the beauty of Arkansas.
  • Buffalo River Trail: This trail follows the scenic Buffalo River and offers hikers the opportunity to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the area. With its rugged terrain and stunning views, it is a favorite among experienced hikers.
  • Lost Valley Trail: Located in the scenic Boxley Valley, Lost Valley Trail is a must-visit for nature lovers. The trail takes you through a lush forest, past waterfalls, and to the stunning Eden Falls. It is a relatively easy trail, perfect for families and beginners.
  • Pinnacle Mountain Trail: For a challenging hike, head to Pinnacle Mountain. The trail offers panoramic views of the Arkansas River Valley and the surrounding landscape. It is a popular spot for rock climbing and provides an exhilarating experience for advanced hikers.
  • Devil’s Den State Park: With its rugged trails and unique rock formations, Devil’s Den State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers various hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, making it a great destination for both beginners and experienced hikers.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, Arkansas has plenty of thrilling hiking trails to offer. The natural beauty and diverse landscapes of the state make it a perfect destination for outdoor adventure.

Breathtaking Waterfalls

The state of Arkansas is home to some truly awe-inspiring waterfalls. With their cascading beauty and picturesque surroundings, these natural wonders are a must-see for any nature lover or adventure seeker.

One of the most famous waterfalls in Arkansas is the Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls. Tucked away in the dense forests of the Ozark National Forest, this majestic waterfall plunges 209 feet into a turquoise pool below. The hike to reach the falls is challenging but well worth the effort, as the view from the top is absolutely breathtaking.

Another must-visit waterfall is the Eden Falls, located in the Lost Valley State Park. This 53-foot waterfall is especially captivating after a heavy rain, when the water flows with incredible force. Surrounding the falls, visitors will find lush greenery, unique rock formations, and even a natural cave that can be explored.

For those looking for a more secluded experience, the Glory Hole Falls is a hidden gem. This waterfall gets its name from the hole that has been eroded into the rock, creating an impressive sight as the water pours through. Situated in the Ozark National Forest, reaching this remote waterfall involves a moderate hike, but the reward is a peaceful and serene setting that feels like an escape from the modern world.

The Natural State is also home to the splendid 95-foot Cedar Falls. Located within Petit Jean State Park, this waterfall offers stunning views of the surrounding canyon and the Arkansas River. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely hike to the falls, or for a more adventurous experience, climb the staircase carved into the rock to reach the top.

Whether you are an avid hiker or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, the waterfalls in Arkansas are sure to leave you in awe. From towering cascades to hidden gems, these natural wonders are a testament to the state’s stunning landscape.

Quaint Mountain Towns

Arkansas is home to several charming mountain towns that offer a unique blend of natural beauty and small-town charm. These towns are nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains and provide a perfect escape for those seeking a peaceful and scenic getaway.

Eureka Springs

One of the most popular mountain towns in Arkansas, Eureka Springs is known for its Victorian architecture and historic downtown district. Visitors can explore the town’s winding streets and browse through its many boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops. Be sure to visit the Thorncrown Chapel, a stunning glass cathedral tucked away in the woods.

Mountain View

Mountain View is a haven for music lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The town is famous for its Ozark Folk Center State Park, where visitors can enjoy live folk music performances and learn about traditional crafts. Additionally, Mountain View is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails and scenic drives, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers.

Hot Springs

Located in the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs is known for its healing mineral springs and historic bathhouses. Visitors can relax and rejuvenate in one of the many thermal baths or explore the charming downtown area. Don’t miss a visit to Hot Springs National Park, where you can hike the trails and take in the breathtaking scenery.


Jasper is a small mountain town that offers unparalleled views of the surrounding wilderness. The town serves as a gateway to the Buffalo National River, which is perfect for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Make sure to take a scenic drive along the nearby Arkansas Grand Canyon, a stunning natural wonder.


Mena is a hidden gem nestled in the Ouachita National Forest. The town offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and ATV riding. Mena is also home to the Queen Wilhelmina State Park, which offers breathtaking views of the Ouachita Mountains.

These quaint mountain towns in Arkansas offer a unique blend of natural beauty, history, and small-town charm. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or a peaceful getaway, these towns provide the perfect setting for a memorable vacation.

Wildlife Watching Adventures

Arkansas offers an abundance of opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to observe and appreciate diverse species in their natural habitats. From the picturesque Ozark Mountains to the vast Delta region, this state is home to an impressive array of wildlife.

Buffalo National River – Located in northern Arkansas, Buffalo National River provides an ideal setting for wildlife watching. Visitors can spot various animals such as deer, elk, wild turkeys, and even black bears. The crystal-clear waters of the river also attract a variety of fish species and waterfowl.

White River National Wildlife Refuge – Located in eastern Arkansas, the White River National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for birdwatchers. This refuge is known for its incredible bird diversity and serves as an important stopover for migratory birds. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, herons, egrets, and more as you explore the refuge’s wetlands and forests.

Bayou DeView – Situated in the heart of Arkansas, Bayou DeView is a meandering waterway that offers fantastic wildlife watching opportunities. Grab your binoculars and search for white-tailed deer, wood ducks, and an assortment of other waterfowl species. The surrounding wetlands and bottomland hardwood forests provide a rich ecosystem for numerous wildlife species.

Petit Jean State Park – Wildlife enthusiasts will find Petit Jean State Park to be a treasure trove of natural beauty. Explore the park’s trails and you might catch a glimpse of white-tailed deer, armadillos, foxes, and a variety of bird species. Don’t forget to visit Rock House Cave to see a colony of endangered gray bats.

Devil’s Den State Park – Nestled in the scenic Ozark Mountains, Devil’s Den State Park is not only a great destination for hiking and camping, but also a prime location for wildlife observation. Look out for vibrant birds like the scarlet tanager, as well as deer, bobcats, and other creatures that call the park home.

Whether you’re an avid birder or simply enjoy observing wildlife, Arkansas offers ample opportunities to connect with nature. Remember to always respect and observe animals from a safe distance, and tread lightly as you explore these incredible habitats.

Thrilling River Rafting

Arkansas is known for its beautiful rivers and thrilling river rafting experiences. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rafter, there are plenty of options to choose from for an adrenaline-pumping adventure.

One of the top destinations for river rafting in Arkansas is the Buffalo National River. The river offers various levels of rapids, making it ideal for both beginners and advanced rafters. As you navigate through the crystal-clear waters, you will be surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery and diverse wildlife.

The Cossatot River is another popular spot for thrilling river rafting. Known as the “Cossatot Falls,” this river is famous for its challenging rapids, including Class IV and V. It is recommended for experienced rafters looking for an exciting and heart-pounding ride.

If you are looking for a unique river rafting experience, the Mulberry River is the place to go. This river offers a combination of beautiful scenery and exhilarating rapids. You can choose from half-day or full-day trips, and even overnight camping adventures.

No matter which river you choose, safety should always be a top priority. Make sure to wear a life jacket, listen to the instructions of your guide, and be aware of the water conditions. It is also recommended to book your river rafting trip with a reputable outfitter.

So, if you are seeking an adrenaline rush and a memorable adventure, don’t miss the thrilling river rafting experiences in Arkansas. Get ready to paddle through rapids, admire stunning landscapes, and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Preserving History at Fort Smith

Fort Smith is a historic site in Arkansas that holds a significant role in the history of the American West. Originally established in 1817, Fort Smith served as a frontier military post and a courthouse for the federal district of western Arkansas.

Today, Fort Smith National Historic Site stands as a testament to the rich history of the region and is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the stories of the diverse peoples who have shaped it. Visitors can explore the restored buildings, including the courthouse, jail, and gallows, which provide a glimpse into the life of frontier soldiers and the challenges they faced.

One of the notable features of the site is the Trail of Tears Overlook, which commemorates the tragic forced removal of the Native American tribes from their ancestral lands in the 1830s. The overlook provides a powerful reminder of the complex and often painful history of the region.

Throughout the year, Fort Smith offers a range of educational programs and events that delve deeper into the history of the site. From living history demonstrations to guided tours, visitors have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the past and gain a deeper understanding of the people and events that shaped Fort Smith and its surrounding areas.

Preserving the history of Fort Smith is not only important for understanding the past but also for informing the present and future. By studying and learning from our history, we can better appreciate the struggles and achievements of those who came before us and work towards a more inclusive and equitable society.

In conclusion, Fort Smith National Historic Site stands as a vital link to the past, preserving the stories and memories of those who shaped the region. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply curious about the rich heritage of the American West, a visit to Fort Smith is sure to be an educational and immersive experience.

Plan your trip to Fort Smith National Historic Site and step back in time to explore the history of the American West.

Exploring the Ozark Mountains

The Ozark Mountains are a scenic region located primarily in northern Arkansas, although they also extend into southern Missouri and eastern Oklahoma. Covering over 50,000 square miles, the Ozarks are known for their rugged beauty, abundant wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities.

One of the best ways to explore the Ozark Mountains is by hiking the numerous trails that wind through the region. With trails for all skill levels, from easy walks to challenging treks, hikers can enjoy stunning views of towering bluffs, ancient forests, and pristine streams. The Buffalo National River, one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states, offers excellent hiking opportunities, as it flows through the heart of the Ozarks.

In addition to hiking, the Ozark Mountains also offer excellent opportunities for camping, fishing, and boating. With hundreds of campgrounds that range from full-service RV parks to primitive sites, visitors can choose the camping experience that suits their preferences. Filled with clear, coldwater rivers and lakes, the Ozarks are a paradise for anglers, with abundant populations of trout, bass, and catfish. Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts will also find plenty of scenic waterways to explore.

The Ozarks are also home to a number of charming small towns that offer a glimpse into the region’s cultural history. Eureka Springs, with its Victorian-era buildings and art galleries, is a popular destination for tourists. Mountain View is known as the “Folk Music Capital of the World” and hosts numerous festivals throughout the year.

For outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and history buffs, exploring the Ozark Mountains is a must-do when visiting Arkansas. With its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant local communities, the region offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

Outdoor Recreation at Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake, located in northwest Arkansas, is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With its clear blue water and scenic surroundings, the lake offers a wide range of recreational activities for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, Beaver Lake has something to offer.

One of the most popular activities at Beaver Lake is boating. The lake is ideal for both motorized and non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks and canoes. Boaters can enjoy exploring the lake’s many coves and inlets, or even leisurely cruising along its shores. Fishing is also a favorite pastime at Beaver Lake, with anglers casting their lines in search of bass, catfish, and other species.

If you prefer to stay on land, there are plenty of options for hiking and camping. The area around Beaver Lake is home to several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding Ozark Mountains. The Lost Bridge South Trail and the Horseshoe Bend Trail are just a few examples of the trails available for hikers of all skill levels. Camping is another popular activity, with multiple campgrounds located along the lake’s shoreline.

For those who enjoy wildlife watching, Beaver Lake is a haven for bird enthusiasts. The lake attracts a wide variety of bird species, including bald eagles, ospreys, and great blue herons. Visitors can spot these majestic creatures while walking along the lake’s shoreline or even from the comfort of their own boat.

Lastly, for those seeking a bit of adrenaline-pumping fun, Beaver Lake offers opportunities for water sports such as jet skiing, water skiing, and wakeboarding. The lake’s calm waters and large expanse create the perfect conditions for these thrilling activities.

No matter what type of outdoor recreation you enjoy, Beaver Lake offers something for everyone. Whether you’re boating, hiking, camping, or simply enjoying the lake’s natural beauty, a visit to Beaver Lake is sure to be a memorable experience.

Cultural Delights in Little Rock

Little Rock, the capital and largest city of Arkansas, is a hub of cultural treasures waiting to be explored. From world-class museums to historic landmarks, this city offers a rich cultural experience for visitors.

One of the must-see attractions in Little Rock is the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, which houses extensive archives and exhibits dedicated to the life and presidency of former President Bill Clinton. Visitors can explore the museum’s interactive displays, view historical documents, and even step into a replica of the Oval Office.

For art enthusiasts, the Arkansas Arts Center is a must-visit. This renowned institution features a diverse collection of visual and performing arts, including paintings, sculptures, and live theater performances. The center also offers art classes and workshops for those looking to enhance their artistic skills.

History buffs will appreciate a visit to the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. This site commemorates the events of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African American students who faced significant opposition while attempting to integrate into the previously all-white high school in 1957. Visitors can take guided tours to learn about the bravery and resilience of these trailblazing students.

No visit to Little Rock would be complete without exploring the vibrant River Market District. This lively area is home to numerous restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues. Visitors can sample delicious local cuisine, browse through unique boutiques, and even catch live music performances.

In addition to these attractions, Little Rock boasts a thriving music scene, with numerous venues showcasing a variety of genres. From rock and blues to country and jazz, there is something to suit every musical taste. Visitors can enjoy live music performances at venues like the Revolution Music Room or the South on Main.

Whether you’re interested in history, art, or music, Little Rock offers a plethora of cultural delights for visitors to enjoy. Plan a trip to this charming city and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage.

Stunning Scenery of Mount Magazine

Located in the majestic Ouachita Mountains, Mount Magazine is the highest peak in Arkansas, reaching an elevation of 2,753 feet. The breathtaking scenery of this mountain offers visitors an unforgettable experience.

The summit of Mount Magazine provides panoramic views of the surrounding lush forests, deep valleys, and distant mountain ranges. Hiking trails wind through the mountain’s landscape, allowing visitors to explore its natural beauty up close. Wildlife enthusiasts will have the opportunity to spot a variety of birds, including hawks and eagles, as well as other native animal species.

One of the highlights of Mount Magazine is its stunning waterfalls. The famous Cedar Falls cascades down a 90-foot drop and is a popular spot for photographers and nature lovers. The sound of rushing water and the mist that fills the air create a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for relaxation and reflection.

For those seeking adventure, Mount Magazine offers rock climbing and rappelling opportunities. The steep cliffs and challenging routes attract climbers from all over. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, there are routes suitable for all skill levels.

In addition to its natural beauty, Mount Magazine State Park offers amenities and accommodations for visitors. There are cabins and camping sites available, providing a unique opportunity for an overnight stay surrounded by nature.

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a serene getaway, the stunning scenery of Mount Magazine is sure to captivate and inspire.

Peaceful Retreat at Garvan Woodland Gardens

Located in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Garvan Woodland Gardens is a peaceful retreat that offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Spread out over 210 acres, the gardens are a beautiful combination of natural beauty and meticulously planned landscaping.

One of the highlights of Garvan Woodland Gardens is the Anthony Chapel, a stunning glass and wood structure that provides a tranquil space for reflection and celebration. Surrounded by the lush greenery of the gardens, the chapel is a popular spot for weddings and other special events.

Visitors can stroll along the various walking trails that wind through the gardens, taking in the sights and sounds of nature. The gardens are home to a diverse array of plant life, including vibrant flowers, towering trees, and serene water features.

For those who want to learn more about the local flora and fauna, the Garvan Woodland Gardens offers educational programs and guided tours. These initiatives provide visitors with an immersive experience and deepen their understanding of the natural world.

In addition to its natural beauty, Garvan Woodland Gardens also hosts various events throughout the year. From art exhibitions to outdoor concerts, there is always something happening at the gardens. These events add an extra element of excitement and entertainment for visitors.

Whether you are looking for a peaceful retreat, a romantic spot for a date, or an educational experience, Garvan Woodland Gardens has something to offer. Its natural beauty, diverse plant life, and tranquil atmosphere make it a must-visit destination in Arkansas.

Unforgettable Buffalo National River

Located in northwestern Arkansas, the Buffalo National River is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Designated as America’s first national river, it offers a diverse range of activities and breathtaking natural beauty.

With its towering limestone bluffs, cascading waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters, the Buffalo National River provides endless opportunities for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and camping. Whether you’re looking to relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings or seek adventure in the great outdoors, this majestic river has something for everyone.

One of the main highlights of the Buffalo National River is its abundant wildlife. The river is home to a wide variety of species, including deer, beavers, otters, eagles, and even black bears. Wildlife enthusiasts will have the chance to spot these animals in their natural habitats as they explore the river and its surrounding areas.

In addition to its natural wonders, the Buffalo National River is rich in history. The area is dotted with historic sites that tell the story of the region’s past, including Native American petroglyphs and old homesteads. History buffs can immerse themselves in the tales of the early settlers and gain a deeper understanding of the area’s cultural heritage.

For those seeking a memorable and unforgettable outdoor experience, the Buffalo National River is the perfect destination. Whether you’re floating down the river, hiking along its scenic trails, or simply taking in the breathtaking views, this natural wonder is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Don’t miss the chance to explore the Buffalo National River and create memories that will last a lifetime.


What are some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Arkansas?

Some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Arkansas include the Hot Springs National Park, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Buffalo National River, and the Clinton Presidential Library.

What can I see and do in Hot Springs National Park?

In Hot Springs National Park, you can visit the historic Bathhouse Row, take a bath in the thermal waters, hike the park’s trails, and enjoy scenic drives.

How many miles long is the Buffalo National River?

The Buffalo National River in Arkansas is approximately 135 miles long.

What types of artwork are displayed at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art?

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art displays a wide variety of artwork, including American masterpieces from the colonial era to contemporary works of art.


Explore Arkansas – 8 Best Places to Visit in Arkansas 2023

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Abigail Lewis

Abigail Lewis, a valued Cancun resident since 2008, skillfully combines her extensive knowledge of the region with her travels across Mexico in her engaging TravelAsker pieces. An experienced traveler and dedicated mother, she brings the lively spirit of Mexico to her articles, featuring top family-friendly destinations, dining, resorts, and activities. Fluent in two languages, Abigail unveils Mexico's hidden gems, becoming your trustworthy travel companion in exploring the country.

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