It’s hard to argue against the beauty and charm of Arkansas. From its great outdoors to vibrant culture, Arkansas offers something special for every visitor.
Whether you are looking for a weekend getaway filled with outdoor adventure, charming small towns, mouth-watering southern cuisine or shopping in big cities like Little Rock – there is no shortage of incredible things to explore in The Natural State.
But before planning your trip, it’s important to know the best time of year to visit this fantastic destination.
Here is everything you need to know about when and why you should plan your next trip for visiting Arkansas.
What’s the best time to visit Arkansas?
As the leaves start to change and the air turns crisp, there’s no better time to plan a visit to Arkansas than in the months of September to October.
This is the time of year when the state comes alive with vibrant fall colors and picturesque scenes that are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and canoeing.
With so many scenic locations to choose from, such as the stunning Ozark National Forest and the breathtaking Hot Springs National Park, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture the essence of the season and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the beauty of Arkansas in the fall months.
Most popular tourist attractions in Arkansas
From stunning state parks to amazing museums and quirky roadside attractions, Arkansas offers a plethora of tourist spots that appeal to all kinds of travelers.
Whether you’re planning a family road trip or a weekend getaway, here’s 10 most popular tourist attractions in Arkansas that you shouldn’t miss.
Hot Springs National Park:
Home to natural hot springs believed to have healing powers, this national park is a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation.
You can soak in the thermal waters, take a scenic hike, and learn about the fascinating history of the park at the Visitor Center.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art:
If you appreciate art and architecture, you won’t be disappointed with this world-class museum set in a beautiful natural setting.
With masterpieces by famous American artists like Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol, as well as rotating exhibitions, this museum is a must-visit for art lovers.
Buffalo National River:
This 135-mile river is known for its crystal-clear waters and limestone bluffs, making it a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
You can also explore the surrounding wilderness, hike scenic trails, and see wildlife such as elk and deer.
This award-winning chapel is a masterpiece of modern architecture and design.
Built entirely of wood and glass, it boasts a stunning 48-foot high ceiling and windows that offer spectacular views of the surrounding Ozark Mountains.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site:
History buffs and civil rights activists will appreciate the significance of this national landmark.
It was the site of a desegregation crisis in 1957, where nine African American students were escorted into the school amid protests and violence.
The Visitor Center offers an informative exhibition and guided tours.
Garvan Woodland Gardens:
This 210-acre botanical garden is a horticultural wonderland, featuring a vast collection of plants, flowers, and trees that bloom throughout the year.
You can stroll the trails, cross the bridges, and admire the waterfalls, ponds, and themed gardens.
Crater of Diamonds State Park:
This unique state park allows visitors to hunt for diamonds and other gemstones in a 37-acre plowed field.
If you’re lucky enough to find a diamond, you get to keep it! The park also features camping, hiking, and other activities.
Mount Magazine State Park:
This mountain park is the highest point in Arkansas, offering breathtaking views of the Arkansas River Valley and the Ouachita Mountains.
You can hike the trails, go rock climbing, or enjoy the luxury of the mountaintop lodge.
This charming Victorian town is a popular tourist destination, with its historic downtown, quaint shops, and locally-owned restaurants.
You can also visit unique attractions such as Thorncrown Chapel and the Crescent Hotel, and take part in events like the Ozark Folk Festival and the Eureka Springs Blues Weekend.
Mammoth Spring State Park:
This beautiful natural attraction boasts a 10-acre spring-fed lake, a huge spring that gushes over nine million gallons of water per hour, and a railway water tower museum.
You can fish, boat, hike, or just relax in this pristine setting.
Best things to do in Arkansas
With so much to see and do, planning a trip can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve curated a list of the 10 best things to do in Arkansas to make your trip planning easier.
Visit Hot Springs National Park:
Established in 1832, Hot Springs is one of the oldest national parks in America. It is famous for its thermal pools and bathhouses, where you can soak in the natural hot springs. Take a leisurely stroll along Bathhouse Row and learn about the park’s history.
Explore the Ozark Mountains:
The Ozark Mountains offer a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, and fishing. The Ozark National Forest is filled with scenic trails that lead to waterfalls, creeks, and mountain vistas.
Venture into Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art:
Located in Bentonville, Crystal Bridges boasts of a stunning collection of American art, from Colonial times to contemporary works. The museum’s architecture itself is a work of art, featuring graceful curves and glass walls that blend seamlessly with the surrounding nature.
Discover the Buffalo National River:
The Buffalo National River is a 135-mile scenic river and offers opportunities for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Be sure to hike the trails in the nearby Ozark Mountains to get a stunning view of the river.
Drive along Scenic Highway 7:
Known as one of the most beautiful drives in America, Scenic Highway 7 will take you through the Ozark Mountains and past charming little towns. Be sure to stop at the viewing areas along the way to take in the breathtaking views.
Marvel at Blanchard Springs Caverns:
Located in the Ozark National Forest, Blanchard Springs Caverns is one of the most spectacular cave systems in America. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave and marvel at its sparking formations.
Visit Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site:
Little Rock Central High School played a significant role in the American Civil Rights Movement. Visit the site to learn about the school’s history and the courage of the students who struggled for equality.
Delve into the history at the Arkansas State Capitol:
Built in 1915, the Arkansas State Capitol is a neoclassical building that houses the state’s government. Take a tour and learn about the state’s history, including the tumultuous years leading up to the Civil War.
Relax at Lake Ouachita:
Uouachita is the largest lake in Arkansas and is known for its crystal-clear waters. Spend a day on the lake, swimming, fishing, or boating. There are plenty of picnic areas and campgrounds around the lake too.
Learn about the history of the area at the Delta Cultural Center:
Located in Helena, the Delta Cultural Center brings to life the rich history of the Mississippi Delta region. The center has exhibits on the Civil War, the riverboats that navigated the Mississippi River, and the blues music that came from the Delta.
Visiting Arkansas during fall months is the ideal time of year to explore everything that this great state has to offer.
From picturesque natural scenery to vibrant culture, there’s something for everyone in The Natural State.
Whether you’re looking to explore Hot Springs National Park, float down the Buffalo River, or take in some stunning art at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arkansas has something for everyone.
Don’t forget to relax and enjoy the beauty of Lake Ouachita and indulge in the rich history of the Delta Cultural Center. Whatever your plans are, you’re sure to find something to love in Arkansas.
What is the best time of year to visit Arkansas?
Fall is the most popular time to visit Arkansas as the weather is cooler and the landscape is bursting with color.
Is there camping available in Arkansas?
Yes! There are numerous state parks, national forests and other areas with campgrounds where you can spend the night.
What is there to do in Arkansas?
There are plenty of activities to enjoy in Arkansas, from hiking and fishing to visiting museums and exploring historic sites. You could also go canoeing or kayaking down the Buffalo River or take a drive along Scenic Highway 7 for some spectacular views!
Is there any public transportation in Arkansas?
Yes, there are several public transportation options available. The most popular is the Rock Region Metro which operates buses and light rail services throughout the Little Rock area. There are also many companies that offer shuttle services between cities within the state.