You do not need to take long trips if you want to relax on the weekend. Especially if you live near Arkansas. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking in the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, while the Buffalo National River offers a soothing atmosphere.
Not far from Eureka Springs you will find cozy accommodation, and small towns like Van Buren have a rich historical heritage.
And if you’re still not convinced that Arkansas is the perfect place for a short weekend getaway, check out the list of the most popular places to visit.
1. Hot Springs
The small town of Hot Springs is located in the Ouachita Mountains and has been one of the favorite tourist attractions in the area for years. A particularly popular place is the thermal waters coming from the bowels of the earth, providing many thermal baths.
The local Hot Springs National Park is one of the smallest parks in the United States, located in the northern part of the city and created to protect monuments such as Bathhouse Row. The first stop in Hot Springs should be the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center, so you can create a complete plan for sightseeing.
Some of the favorite attractions here are Garvan Woodland Gardens and the Anthony Chapel, and among the most famous accommodation is the historic Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa.
2. Mountain View, Ozark Mountains, Blanchard Springs
Among the depths of the Ozark Mountains, nature and folklore intersect. The annual Arkansas Folk Festival has been held here since the 1960s, entertaining spectators with traditional and more modern folk music.
Of course, do not miss the natural resources around – the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area is ideal for a restorative walk. If you love cycling, here you will find some of the best terrain.
If you want to stay in one of the really nice accommodation, choose Wildflower Bed and Breakfast on the Square or Ozark Country Inn Bed and Breakfast. There are several nice restaurants nearby with delicious local delicacies.
3. El Dorado
The golden years of El Dorado during the oil boom (20s of the 20th century) still bring his old glory and this is no accident. The main building is the 1928 Union County Courthouse, surrounded by several pleasant places for lunch and relaxation.
Around the Murphy Arts District you will find live music performances, and the Newtown House Museum will take you back two centuries, telling the story of the area.
The Union Square Guest Quarters is the only central accommodation in El Dorado, but in the so-called Guest Quarters you will find many places, ideal for couples and within walking distance of the most popular night attractions.
This small town is located along the Buffalo National River, which promises a great choice of water adventures. There are several campsites nearby, guided tours and boat rentals. One of the popular camping places is the Steel Creek Campground, close to impressive massive limestone cliff walls.
Not far from Jasper is the Boxley Valley, which is a great place to start exploring the Buffalo River. Continuing south you will reach the Arkansas Grand Canyon, and for adventurers the ideal place is the Mystic Caverns providing over 10 miles of underground exploration sites.
One of the favorite places to have lunch or eat on foot is Low Gap Cafe and the Blue Mountain Bakery.
5. Van Buren
Located in western Arkansas, near the Oklahoma border, the small town of Van Buren is an ideal place for a few days of vacation and relaxation. The city center (although only a few blocks away) is rich in art galleries and historical monuments.
Of course, you will find a number of local restaurants and cafes. Lovers of cultural events must visit the King Opera House and the Drennen-Scott House Museum. For nature walks Lee Creek Park offers several scenic routes.
The surrounding accommodation is great if you are traveling with your family and will provide you with the peace of mind you need.
6. Murfreesboro, Arkansas
One of the best things to do in Arkansas is visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park here. The park covers 37 acres and covers more than 33,000 diamonds. It is the thrill of being able to find a real diamond that makes this place so popular with tourists.
A favorite place to stay here is Diamonds Old West Hotel & Cabins, which combines an Old West setting with all modern comforts.
Bentonville combines mountain hiking, cycling and cultural events in one place. Located in the Ozark Mountains, the city offers local restaurants, Farmers Markets and boutique shops. But what Bentonville is best known for is that it is the birthplace of Walmart.
Of course, one of the main attractions here is the Walmart Museum, followed by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which presents a huge set of impressive works by American artists. One of the closest accommodation is The 21C Museum Hotel.
8. Little Rock
Little Rock is the largest city in Arkansas and skillfully combines historical heritage with modern attractions. Some of the favorite attractions here are the Clinton Presidential Library, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and the River Market District.
For an inspiring walk in nature, visit the surrounding Pinnacle Mountain State Park or the neighboring Maumelle Park (which also has a campsite). The city has accommodation of all types – from budget-friendly and family hotels to five-star resorts.
9. Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs is a historic town that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the downtown you will find nice restaurants and boutiques, and if you are lucky you can become part of the annual events such as the Ozark Mountain Music Festival and the Christmas Parade of Lights.
Not far away are the beautiful Beaver Lake and Lake Leatherwood, as well as over 15 miles of hiking trails.
If you want the maximum comfort during your stay, stay in one of the best resorts in Arkansas – the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.
10. Fayetteville, Arkansas
The city is located in northwestern Arkansas and is known as a college town, rich in nightlife, cafeterias, live music and restaurants. Here is the University of Arkansas and a number of football and baseball competitions.
Surrounded by the Ozark and Boston Mountains, Fayetteville also offers the opportunity for a relaxing walk. If you are traveling with your children, the ideal stop is the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.
One of the accommodation places that is close to almost all attractions is the Graduate Fayetteville.
11. Mammoth Spring State Park
As mentioned above, one of the places you must visit are the hot springs of Arkansas. One of the ideal places for this is Mammoth Spring State Park, which is home to some of the largest hot springs in the United States with a water flow of over nine million gallons per hour.
Nearby is one of the local historical landmarks – the restored 1886 train depot. If you take one of the picturesque hiking trails you will probably reach an out-of-service hydroelectric station.
12. Fort Smith
Weekend trips to the Western Arkansas town of Fort Smith will appeal to history buffs, outdoor adventurers, Instagrammers, and luxury vacationers alike.
To learn more about the city’s Wild West past, pay a visit to the Fort Smith National Historic Site. Fort Smith, located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and along the Arkansas River, is the state capital of Arkansas.
Aside from the many beautiful parks to explore, there are exciting events that take place at the Fort Smith Riverfront Park, such as the Peacemaker Music and Arts Fest and the Riverfront BluesFest, that visitors can attend. Weekend visitors will enjoy exploring Fort Smith’s historic downtown, which is home to a variety of charming shops and restaurants.
Conway, Arkansas is known as “The College Town.” Conway is located in Central Arkansas and is only about 30 miles from the capital city of Little Rock.
Conway is home to two other colleges as well as a university! Catch a football or basketball game at the University of Central Arkansas, or take a stroll around the quaint campus of Central Baptist College.
Conway is a great place to spend the weekend if you want to eat a juicy burger and bottomless fries, stay in one of the many comfortable hotels in the area, and relax.
Arkansas is the right place to escape from the hectic everyday life of the weekend. Whether you are traveling with your family or alone, here you will find the right accommodation and attractions. The small but historically rich towns offer cultural events, luxury resorts and beautiful nature ideal for outdoor sports.