There is a place for everyone in Arkansas, a 176-year-old state with a history and culture as colorful and diverse as its physical landscape. The deep woods of the Ozark Mountains, the wide-open farmlands of the Delta, the slow pace of small-town life or the conveniences and attractions of the big city — Arkansas has it all, including an endless supply of great food, good music, festivals, fishing, hunting, hiking and other recreational activities.

The state is divided into geographical regions, each with its fair share of excitement, beauty and history. To view photos of each region, visit and take the virtual tour of the state.


At the heart of Arkansas you’ll find the capital city of Little Rock. The hub of the city is the downtown area, which is thriving with restaurants, art galleries, museums, shops, bars and fine hotels. Statewide media and state government, banking and financial centers have also made their home in the area.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center continues to bring in hundreds of thousands of guests from around the world. Adjacent to the center is the world headquarters of Heifer International and Heifer’s Global Village — an education center, outdoor commons area and wetlands. The Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center overlooks the Arkansas River and highlights the state’s fish and wildlife resources, and the adjoining William E. “Bill” Clark Presidential Park Wetlands allows visitors an up-close-and-personal view of the wetlands’ native plants and wildlife via bridges and trails.

A River Rail Electric Streetcar system connects the downtowns of Little Rock and North Little Rock, the latter of which is home to Verizon Arena, an 18,000-seat coliseum that hosts a variety of sporting events and musical acts. Also on the north side of the river, Dickey-Stephens Park is the state-of-the-art home of the Arkansas Travelers baseball team, the AA affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

There are numerous opportunities to golf, play tennis and bike in the area. Additionally, the Arkansas River, Pinnacle Mountain State Park and Burns Park provide plenty of other activities like fishing and hiking.

The history of the state comes to life at the Historic Arkansas Museum and several other museums in the area, including the Old State House Museum, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum and the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

Other notable cities/towns:
Benton, Bryant, Cabot, Conway, Jacksonville, Maumelle, Searcy, Sherwood

More can’t-miss attractions:
Arkansas Arts Center, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Arkansas River Trail, Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Little Rock River Market, Little Rock Zoo


This geographic region runs along the entire east side of the state, most of which borders the Mississippi River. Agriculture, along with agribusiness, is the predominant industry in the Delta, with hundreds of thousands of acres of cotton, rice, soybeans, corn and wheat grown each year.

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway, a National Scenic Byway, runs from the very northeast corner of the state at Piggott through Paragould, Jonesboro, Marianna and Helena-West Helena. Another National Scenic Byway, the Arkansas Great River Road begins in Blytheville and winds down through Osceola, Helena-West Helena, DeWitt, Dumas, Lake Village and Eudora before ending at the Louisiana state line in the southeast corner of the state.

Jonesboro is the largest town, with around 68,000 residents. Much of the area’s history is told through displays and exhibits at the Arkansas State University Museum on the ASU campus. Helena-West Helena is famous for its King Biscuit Blues Festival, presented by the Sonny Boy Blues Society each October.

Duck hunters from across the nation flock to Stuttgart during the fall and winter months, and the little town is definitely the place to be on Thanksgiving weekend for the annual World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest & Wings Over the Prairie Festival. The festival includes a duck gumbo cook-off, a beauty pageant and an arts and crafts fair.

Arkansas’s first capital city, Arkansas Post – also the first European settlement in the lower Mississippi River Valley – is located in the region. History buffs will want to seek out the Louisiana Purchase monument that marks the initial point for surveys of the 1803 deal.

Other notable cities/towns:
Blytheville, Brinkley, Lake Village, Paragould, West Memphis

More can’t-miss attractions:
Crowley’s Ridge State Park, Delta Cultural Center, Lake Chicot State Park, Lakeport Plantation, Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie, Parkin Archeological State Park


The Ouachitas’ largest city, Hot Springs, is known for horseracing at Oaklawn Park and for Bathhouse Row, which consists of turn-of-the-century bathhouses. The only city in the nation to contain a national park, Hot Springs was named for the mineral waters that bubble up from 47 underground springs and maintain a consistent temperature of 143 degrees.

The city is also known for its rich baseball history. During the late 19th century and early 20th century, the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Brooklyn Nationals, Chicago White Stockings and the Boston Red Sox all held spring training there. In celebration of that history, the city recently developed The Historic Baseball Trail: The Birthplace of Spring Baseball. Plaques and a smartphone-guided tour mark major moments in Hot Springs’ baseball history — like Babe Ruth’s first 500-foot-plus home run, achieved while playing ball at Whittington Park.

Magic Springs Amusement Park, combined with Crystal Falls Water Park, keeps families entertained for hours with thrilling rides and nationally known musical performers. The Mid-America Science Museum has entertained and educated children for years.

A spot favored by locals and guests is Garvan Woodland Gardens, situated on a 210-acre Lake Hamilton peninsula. Peak time for the botanical gardens occurs from March through May, but the grounds offer a variety of flora and fauna and special events year-round.

The region is also known for its Diamond Lakes, including lakes Catherine, DeGray, Hamilton and Ouachita. Full-service resorts and other amenities, as well as ample opportunities for camping, fishing, boating, horseback riding and golf, can be found in the area. After a spin on one of the lakes, be sure to dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. The largest diamond ever found in North America – at 40.23 carats – was discovered here. You can also dig for the easier-to-find quartz crystals at Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines in Mt. Ida.

Other notable cities/towns:
Arkadelphia, Glenwood, Hot Springs Village, Mena

More can’t-miss attractions:
Arlington Hotel, DeGray Lake Resort State Park, The Gangster Museum of America, Hot Springs Mountain Tower, Ouachita National Recreation Trail


Photo opportunities abound along Scenic Byway 7, many close to the Buffalo National River near Jasper. America’s first national river, the Buffalo celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. Canoe trips are popular down parts of the 150-mile river, and the 95,000 acres of public land surrounding the river offer campgrounds, cabins and other lodging, as well as springs, caves, waterfalls, natural bridges and walking and hiking trails.

A favorite destination in the Ozark Mountains is the artsy town of Eureka Springs, the entire downtown of which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Popular attractions include Thorncrown Chapel and The Great Passion Play. AmericanStyle magazine has repeatedly named Eureka Springs as one of the top 25 art destinations in its small cities and towns category.

Each year, thousands of folk music enthusiasts gather in Mountain View for the Folk Music Festival. Many of the activities take place at the Ozark Folk Center State Park where musicians and craftspeople showcase their skills. The center offers events, crafts and educational opportunities year-round.

The metropolitan area of the Ozarks includes the towns of Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville, the latter of which is the birthplace of Walmart and is home to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This growing urban area attracts thousands of University of Arkansas fans each fall to watch their beloved Razorbacks toss around the pigskin at Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

The Ozark Mountains are a fisherman’s delight, with great trout fishing on the White River and largemouth bass in Bull Shoals Lake. Another favorite spot is Greers Ferry Lake near Heber Springs and Fairfield Bay. Golfers enjoy the greens near the lake, while shoppers enjoy great finds at area antique stores.

Other notable cities/towns:
Harrison, Mountain Home, Siloam Springs

More can’t-miss attractions:
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Raimondo Family Winery, Sam Walton’s Five & Dime Walmart Visitor Center, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, Walton Arena, Walton Arts Center


The highest point in the state, at 2,753 feet above sea level, can be found in this region at Mount Magazine State Park in Paris. Outdoor adventures offered at the park include hang gliding, rappelling, rock climbing, camping and hiking. Other prominent mountains in the area include Petit Jean, near Morrilton, and Mount Nebo, near Dardanelle. These three points gave the River Valley region the Tri-Peaks nickname.

Soil is fertile in the valley towns of Paris, Ozark and Altus, where vineyards took root in the late 1800s when Swiss-German immigrants settled here. This area is known as Arkansas Wine Country, and includes Chateau Aux Arc, Cowie Wine Cellars, Mount Bethel Winery, Neumeier Winery, Post Familie Vineyards & Winery and Wiederkehr Wine Cellars & Vineyard. Each offers a variety of wines, tastings and other specialty products.

The largest town in the River Valley is Fort Smith, originally established in 1817 as a military post to keep peace between the local Native American tribes and those forcibly moved to the area by the federal government. In the town’s early years, it was a jumping-off place for California-bound forty-niners; then, it became the seat of justice for the taming of the Indian Territory after the Civil War.

Around the early 1880s, federal judge Isaac C. Parker became infamous for hanging scores of desperados brought back from Indian Territory by U.S. Marshals. His restored courtroom and reconstructed gallows are popular visitor attractions.

Fort Smith is probably best known these days as the town in which Arkansas author Charles Portis set his work of fiction, True Grit. In light of the Coen Brothers’ recent film adaptation of the book, the historical city has enjoyed a sharp rise in tourism. The Fort Smith Visitors Center – located in a former bordello and on the National Register of Historic Places – offers visitors tons of interesting information about the city’s colorful history.

Other notable cities/towns:
Clarksville, Russellville, Van Buren

More can’t-miss attractions:
Lake Dardanelle State Park, Mount Nebo State Park, Mulberry River, Museum of Automobiles, Petit Jean State Park and its newly re-opened Mather Lodge, Pig Trail Scenic Byway


Pine Bluff is the largest town in the region and also the commercial hub of the area. Attractions include the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame, the Arkansas Railroad Museum and the Delta Rivers Nature Center. The center – run by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission – features animals and wildlife native to the region, including fish, snakes, turtles and alligators.

A regional favorite is Hope, best known as the boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton. Guests are invited to tour Clinton’s first home, which is now a National Historic Site. Hope is also known for its watermelons — the Hope Watermelon Festival is held each August.

Families with children of all ages love Logoly State Park in McNeil, the state’s first environmental education state park. The 368-acre park comprises a natural area that includes native plant species, wildlife and mineral springs — a living laboratory for visitors.

The oil boom in Arkansas, which occurred in the 1920s and ’30s, can be experienced at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover. Farther south, the Union County seat, El Dorado, also sprung up as a result of the oil boom. Restaurants, shops and history can be found in downtown El Dorado’s historic square. Residents can also experience the arts at the South Arkansas Arts Center and the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which often holds concerts and events at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium.

Deer hunters head to the woods of Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, a forest preserve between El Dorado and Crossett. The refuge is the region’s top recreational draw.

Other notable cities/towns:
Camden, Fordyce, Magnolia, Texarkana

More can’t-miss attractions:
Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources, Historic Perot Theatre, Historic Washington State Park, Jenkins Ferry Battleground, Marks’ Mills Battleground State Park, Poison Spring Battlefield State Park