RVer's Guide to Arkansas

RVer’s Guide to Arkansas: Unmissable Destinations and Activities


Arkansas, known as the Natural State, offers an array of diverse landscapes and attractions for RV travelers. From the stunning Ozark Mountains to the lush wetlands of the Arkansas Delta, this state provides endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Immersing yourself in Arkansas’s vibrant culture, rich history, and enchanting natural wonders will surely make for an unforgettable RV trip that caters to all interests.

Whether you’re interested in exploring Arkansas’s bustling cities with their array of attractions or venturing off the beaten track into the serenity of state parks and wildlife reserves, you’ll experience the charm and warmth of Southern hospitality at its finest. Prepare your itinerary and get ready for an epic Arkansas RV journey that embraces the beauty of the region and satisfies your wanderlust.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore diverse landscapes and attractions in Arkansas for a memorable RV trip.
  • Discover vibrant culture, rich history, and immerse in natural wonders.
  • Venture into state parks, wildlife reserves, and bustling cities for a well-rounded experience.

The Allure of Arkansas

As an RVer, you’ll be captivated by the breathtaking beauty and rich culture of Arkansas, also known as the Natural State. This state offers something for everyone, from its artistic heritage to its fascinating history.

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty that Arkansas is famous for. The state boasts scenic landscapes, including majestic mountains, sprawling forests, and stunning rivers. The Arkansas River is an enormous draw, featuring picturesque views and a wide range of recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, and more.

Apart from its natural wonders, you’ll also discover various art venues and galleries throughout Arkansas. The state is home to a thriving arts scene, where you can experience everything from paintings to live performances. Be sure to visit the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for a comprehensive collection of stunning exhibits.

Arkansas’s rich history is waiting to be discovered around every corner. You’ll find numerous historical sites and museums across the state, detailing the region’s rich past and preserving the memory of crucial events. One must-visit destination is the Old State House Museum, housed in the oldest surviving state capitol building west of the Mississippi River, which offers an insight into Arkansas’s political and cultural history.

Additionally, you’ll enjoy the distinct culture Arkansas has to offer. Indulge in the flavors of the state’s culinary scene with mouthwatering dishes like fried pickles, barbecue, and catfish. Explore the many festivals and cultural events held year-round, showcasing the sense of community and charm that make Arkansas so unique.

As you make your way through Arkansas in your RV, take the time to appreciate all the state has to offer. From the natural beauty of its landscapes to the rich cultural experiences, you’re sure to create lasting memories on your journey.

Preparing for Your Arkansas RV Trip

Before embarking on your Arkansas RV adventure, take some time to prepare and ensure a stress-free experience. First, consider renting an RV if you don’t own one. There are several options available in Arkansas to fit your needs, budget, and preferences.

When renting an RV, focus on choosing a floor plan and amenities that suit your requirements. These factors impact the overall ease and enjoyment of your trip. Ensure that the RV is well-maintained and ready to hit the road.

Now that you have the perfect rig, it’s time to plan your route and destinations. Some popular locations for RV camping in Arkansas include Lake Ouachita State Park and Buffalo River – National Park. Research these sites and make note of any rules or regulations, such as quiet hours or pet policies.

When packing for your trip, remember these essentials:

  • Comfortable clothing for various weather conditions
  • A sturdy, waterproof pair of shoes for hiking and outdoor activities
  • Food, water, and cooking supplies
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Maps and guidebooks (printed or digital)
  • Necessary medications and personal care items
  • Entertainment options, such as books or games

Preparing for your Arkansas RV trip can be enjoyable and educational, as you learn about the state’s unique landscapes, history, and culture. By taking the time to plan and pack appropriately, you’ll be well-equipped for an unforgettable experience in the Natural State.

Arkansas’s Cities and Their Attractions

In this section, you’ll find valuable information about attractions in three Arkansas cities: Little Rock, Hot Springs, and Eureka Springs.

Little Rock’s Historic Significance

In Little Rock, you can explore the rich history of Arkansas’s capital city. Visit the Clinton Presidential Center, commemorating the legacy of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton. As you stroll through the River Market District, discover the variety of local shops and restaurants. Don’t forget to stop at the Old State House Museum, a well-preserved example of Greek Revival architecture and the original Arkansas State Capitol building.

Daunting Natural Beauty of Hot Springs

Next, venture to Hot Springs, located within the stunning Ouachita Mountains. Immerse yourself in nature and relax in the soothing waters of Hot Springs National Park. With over a century of history, these springs have long been known for their healing properties. While in the park, you can also explore the beauty of the mountains through numerous hiking trails and wildlife spotting opportunities.

Unique-Escape to Eureka Springs

Lastly, head to the charming town of Eureka Springs. Take a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown before exploring the renowned Thorncrown Chapel, an architectural wonder nestled in the Ozark woods. For art enthusiasts, the town offers various galleries showcasing local artists’ work. Don’t miss out on the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway, where you can travel through the picturesque Ozark Mountains on a vintage steam train, experiencing a unique glimpse of the area’s history.

In summary, Arkansas offers an abundance of attractions in its cities, from historical sites to natural wonders and thriving art scenes. As you explore Little Rock, Hot Springs, and Eureka Springs, you’ll create unforgettable memories in The Natural State.

Exploring Arkansas State Parks

Hot Springs National Park: A Must Visit

When visiting Arkansas, you must include a trip to the Hot Springs National Park. This park, known for its natural hot springs, offers rejuvenating experiences for your body and soul. Immerse yourself in the soothing waters or unwind at the bathhouses while enjoying the park’s natural beauty. If you prefer outdoor activities, the park has many hiking trails teeming with wildlife, providing snapshots of the lovely Arkansas scenery.

The Unexplored Ouachita Mountains

Venture into the heart of Arkansas by exploring the stunning Ouachita Mountains. This range offers diverse landscapes, including dense forests, sparkling waterways, and picturesque vistas. Many state parks are located throughout the mountains, offering campgrounds with various amenities and experiences for RVers. Hike through the trails, observe the local wildlife, or relax by a campfire as you immerse yourself in this unforgettable destination.

A True Gem: Crater of Diamonds State Park

Lastly, don’t miss out on the unique opportunity to visit Crater of Diamonds State Park. This one-of-a-kind park allows you to search for real diamonds in a 37.5-acre plowed field. While the park’s natural beauty alone is a significant draw, the chance to uncover your very own diamond makes visiting this park a thrilling experience.

Pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey through the natural wonders of Arkansas. Stay in amazing campgrounds, experience the diverse landscapes, connect with nature, and create lasting memories during your visit to the state’s abundant parks.

Venturing into Arkansas’s Wildlife

As you explore the natural beauty of Arkansas, you’ll be amazed by the abundance of wildlife in the state. Home to more than 265 species of birds, Arkansas offers numerous opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation, whether you prefer a guided tour or a self-guided adventure.

One of the best places to start your wildlife journey is the Big Woods of Arkansas. This region is vital for migratory birds as they play an essential role in seed dispersal, pollination, and supporting agriculture by consuming insect pests. Keep your eyes peeled for various resident, wintering, and migrating birds as they travel at speeds ranging from 15 to 45 miles per hour.

If you’re feeling adventurous, consider participating in a wildlife enterprise program. Property owners in Arkansas can learn about generating income from leasing land for hunting or starting an ecotourism business, allowing you to immerse yourself in the native habitats while also supporting the local community.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the numerous resources provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. They offer valuable information on various species, habitats, and guidelines, ensuring that your wildlife encounters remain safe and enjoyable for both you and the animals.

Remember, while exploring Arkansas’s vibrant wildlife, be sure to respect the environment and follow all local regulations. By doing so, you’ll create lasting memories while also contributing to the conservation and appreciation of the state’s remarkable ecosystems.

Vibrant Arkansas Culture and Education

As you explore Arkansas, you will undoubtedly encounter the state’s vibrant culture, steeped in history and tradition. Arkansas is home to a unique blend of influences, including Deep South cotton industry, Mississippi River Delta culture, and frontier spirit, leaving you with a wealth of diverse experiences to enjoy during your visit.

One key aspect of Arkansas’s culture is its museums. You’ll find numerous museums showcasing the state’s rich history from Native American tribes, subsequent pioneers, European settlers, to the African American history Arkansas — History and Culture. These institutions strive to preserve the unique cultural contributions of various groups who have helped shape Arkansas over the centuries.

When planning your itinerary, be sure to visit some of these exceptional museums across the state. Examples include the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which offers an insight into American art history, and the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial, which shares the state’s significant role during the Civil War Culture of Arkansas – Wikipedia.

Education plays a central role in Arkansas’s cultural landscape as well. The state has invested heavily in its educational institutions to continually expand access to knowledge and learning resources. These schools are well-equipped for teaching various subjects, including history, geography, and political developments such as the presidency.

As an RVer, visiting Arkansas will provide you with a unique opportunity to engage with both its culture and its educational institutions. With various museums, historic sites, and educational centers across the state, you can easily find activities that cater to your interests and provide a deeper understanding of what makes Arkansas such a uniquely diverse and vibrant state.

Remember, your adventure in Arkansas will be enriched by immersing yourself in the state’s vibrant culture and educational opportunities. So stay curious, explore widely, and let the richness of Arkansas enhance your RV journey.

Arkansas’s Gourmet Delights

As an RVer exploring Arkansas, you’ll be delighted by the diverse and unique culinary experiences that await you. From local eateries to popular food festivals, your taste buds are in for a treat.

While traveling, you’ll come across a variety of restaurants that showcase Arkansas’s rich food traditions. Many of these establishments focus on community, family, and a rural way of life, making for a truly heartwarming dining experience.

Keep an eye out for innovative and eclectic Arkansas-made food and drink offerings available at local bars, breweries, and wineries. Savor distinctive flavors crafted from fresh ingredients and influenced by the state’s cultural traditions.

Don’t forget to try some of Arkansas’s famous dairy bars and ice cream shops. Dairy bars are a unique part of the state’s culinary landscape, offering delicious eats and cool treats that will surely satisfy your cravings.

While on your quest for gastronomic delights, make sure to check out A Bite of Arkansas: A Cookbook of Natural State Delights by Kat Robinson. This cookbook is a treasure trove of delicious recipes that showcase the best flavors of the region, making it a perfect souvenir or gift to bring back home.

In summary, your Arkansas RV adventure will be filled with mouthwatering gourmet delights. So, buckle up and get ready to explore Arkansas’s vibrant food scene while creating unforgettable memories on the road.

Arkansas National Parks: Unmissable Experiences

Hot Springs National Park

At Hot Springs National Park, you can immerse yourself in the soothing waters of the park’s famous hot springs. The park has been popular for centuries due to the therapeutic properties of the springs. Take a dip in the outdoor thermal pools or indulge in a spa treatment in one of the bathhouses. Don’t forget to explore the park’s scenic hiking trails, offering beautiful vistas and opportunities to spot local wildlife.

Buffalo National River

For an adventure-filled trip, visit the Buffalo National River. This stunning park features over 135 miles of pristine river for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The park is also home to numerous hiking trails, allowing you to explore the surrounding wilderness and marvel at the limestone cliffs and caves scattered throughout the area. Don’t miss the 209-foot tall Hemmed-In Hollow Falls, the tallest waterfall between the Appalachians and Rockies.

Pea Ridge National Military Park

History buffs will appreciate the Pea Ridge National Military Park, a crucial Civil War battlefield site in northwest Arkansas. As you walk along the seven-mile trail, you’ll learn about the 1862 battle, its impact on the war, and the strategies employed by both sides. The interactive visitor center provides additional insights and context to enrich your visit.

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Experience a pivotal moment in the American civil rights movement at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. In 1957, nine brave African American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, faced adversity when integrating the formerly all-white high school. The site offers guided tours and exhibits that tell the story of the Little Rock Nine and their fight for equality.

Fort Smith National Historic Site

Step back in time at the Fort Smith National Historic Site, which highlights the role of the frontier in American history. Explore the stories of soldiers, Native Americans, and outlaws during your visit. Be sure to check out the Trail of Tears overlook, where thousands of Native Americans were relocated during the 19th century, and the reconstructed 19th-century gallows, a grim reminder of the justice system of the time.

Arkansas Hiking and Biking Trails

Arkansas offers a diverse and beautiful landscape for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re an RVer looking for a scenic place to park your rig or an avid hiker searching for new trails, Arkansas has plenty of options for you. In this section, we’ll explore some of the best hiking trails in the state.

Whitaker Point Trail

Whitaker Point Trail is a 3-mile round-trip hike that leads you to an iconic rock formation known as Hawksbill Crag. This picturesque spot provides stunning views of the Ozark National Forest and Buffalo National River. Keep your camera handy as you hike this moderately challenging trail!

Lost Valley Trail

The Lost Valley Trail takes you on a 2.3-mile round-trip journey through lush forests, past a natural bridge, and to an impressive waterfall. Located within the Buffalo National River park, this trail is perfect for hikers of all skill levels.

Cedar Falls Trail at Petit Jean State Park

This 2-mile round-trip trail at Petit Jean State Park takes you to the base of Cedar Falls, a breathtaking 95-foot waterfall. Though steep and rocky in some parts, the trail is well worth the effort for its stunning views.

Seven Hollows Trail at Petit Jean State Park

Another gem within Petit Jean State Park, the Seven Hollows Trail offers a 4.5-mile loop through a variety of landscapes, including hardwood forests, sandstone bluffs, and rock formations. Keep your eyes open for the Natural Bridge and the Grotto along the route!

Mt. Nebo Rim Trail

Mt. Nebo Rim Trail is a 3.2-mile loop located within Mount Nebo State Park, offering panoramic views of the Arkansas River Valley. The trail winds around the mountain’s edge, with some steep and rocky sections, but the breathtaking vistas make it worth the trek.

Hemmed in Hollow Trail

Hikers up for a challenge will enjoy the Hemmed in Hollow Trail, a 5-mile round trip that rewards you with the tallest waterfall between the Rockies and Appalachians at 200 feet. This strenuous hike is not for the faint of heart, but the payoff is spectacular!

Glory Hole Trail

At just 1.9 miles round trip, the Glory Hole Trail leads you to a unique waterfall that cascades through a hole in the rock ceiling into a small pool below. This trail is rated as moderate and offers a memorable experience for hikers.

Sugar Loaf Mountain Summit Trail

Sugar Loaf Mountain Summit Trail is a 1.6-mile round-trip hike that rewards you with panoramic views of Greers Ferry Lake and the surrounding area. The trail features a steep incline, so be prepared for a workout on your way to the summit!

Falls Branch Trail at Lake Catherine State Park

Falls Branch Trail is a moderate 2-mile hike located within Lake Catherine State Park. The trail travels through diverse terrain, leading to a seasonal waterfall. During the summer months, enjoy the view and take a refreshing swim in the pool below the falls.

Centerpoint to Big Bluff Goat Trail

One of the most iconic trails in the Buffalo National River area, the Centerpoint to Big Bluff Goat Trail is a 5.9-mile round trip that offers stunning views of the Buffalo River and dramatic limestone bluffs. This challenging trail is best suited for experienced hikers but provides an unforgettable adventure.

Historical Sites to Visit in Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park

When visiting Arkansas, be sure to explore the Hot Springs National Park, which is famous for its thermal springs and healing properties. You can take a dip in the soothing waters, hike the beautiful park trails, or visit the historic bathhouses.

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Step back in time at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and learn about the significant events of the Civil Rights Movement. Explore the history behind the Little Rock Nine and their courageous stand for desegregation in 1957.

Arkansas Post National Memorial

Discover the Arkansas Post National Memorial, the first permanent European settlement in the Mississippi River Valley. Established in 1686, this site offers a fascinating insight into Native American, French, Spanish, and American cultural interactions through exhibits and guided tours.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Art enthusiasts must visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art located in Bentonville. Showcasing an extensive collection of American art masterpieces, including works by renowned artists such as Norman Rockwell and Georgia O’Keeffe, it’s a must-see for art lovers.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library

Dive into the political career of the 42nd President at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. Browse through exhibits showcasing major milestones in Clinton’s presidency and check out the full-scale replica of the Oval Office.

Historic Arkansas Museum

Your Arkansas history tour should include a visit to the Historic Arkansas Museum. This museum immerses visitors in the frontier history of Arkansas, featuring restored historic buildings, a pre-civil war neighborhood, and interactive exhibits.

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park

Uncover the mysteries of the ancient Plum Bayou culture at the Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. Marvel at the vast earthen mounds, explore the visitor center’s artifacts, and stroll the boardwalk to truly experience this important archeological site.

Daisy Bates House

Finally, pay tribute to a civil rights hero by visiting the Daisy Bates House, located in Little Rock. This National Historic Landmark was the home of Daisy Bates, an important figure in the fight for desegregation and the Little Rock Nine’s mentor during their challenging times at Central High School.

Natural Wonders

As an RVer exploring Arkansas, you’re in for a treat when it comes to the state’s stunning natural wonders. In this guide, we will highlight some must-see destinations for you to experience the beauty of The Natural State.

The Ozark Mountains

The Ozark Mountains offer breathtaking views and a variety of outdoor activities for you to enjoy. Hike the numerous trails, go fishing, or simply relax and take in the stunning scenery with your family.

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Venture deep into the Blanchard Springs Caverns and witness the awe-inspiring underground formations. Take a guided tour to explore the living caverns and learn about their fascinating history.

Hot Springs National Park

Soak in the therapeutic hot springs of Hot Springs National Park. Discover the historic bathhouses and soak in the warm waters that have been enjoyed for centuries.

Buffalo National River

Float down the Buffalo National River and witness the towering bluffs lining the crystal-clear waters. Perfect for canoeing, kayaking, or just enjoying a peaceful swim, this area is a top destination for nature lovers.

Petit Jean State Park

Uncover the natural beauty of Petit Jean State Park, with its stunning overlooks, waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Hike the trails or explore the park’s unique geology and landscape through interpretive programs.

Mount Magazine State Park

Standing as the highest peak in Arkansas, Mount Magazine State Park offers breathtaking vistas, excellent hiking, and even hang gliding. It’s a fantastic spot for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Devil’s Den State Park

Discover the unique rock formations and geological wonders at Devil’s Den State Park. Perfect for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, this park is filled with outdoor activities to suit every adventurer.

Hawksbill Crag

Hike to the famous Hawksbill Crag, a stunning rock formation that juts out over the picturesque landscape. Capture incredible photographs of the panoramic views from the top.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Find yourself in awe of the unique cone-shaped peak of Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Take a challenging hike to the summit or explore the surrounding natural beauty along the park’s many trails.

The Big Dam Bridge

As the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in North America, The Big Dam Bridge offers an unmatched view of the Arkansas River. Walk, jog, or bike across this impressive structure and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Concluding Your Epic Arkansas RV Journey

As you wrap up your unforgettable Arkansas RV adventure, be sure to take some time to reflect on the cherished memories you’ve made. From the majestic Ozark Mountains to the mighty Mississippi River, this exceptional state has treated you to awe-inspiring landscapes and remarkable experiences.

Before you leave, pay a visit to one of the numerous visitor centers throughout the state. Here, you can gather information about other attractions you might have missed and plan your next venture. Arkansas is brimming with fascinating landmarks, so you’ll undoubtedly want to return for another expedition.

To truly cap off your epic journey, consider a relaxing stroll along the banks of the Mississippi River, soaking in the natural beauty that Arkansas has to offer. As you look back on your travels, the incredible sights, thrilling activities, and the warm hospitality of Arkansans will undoubtedly make you feel grateful for choosing this magnificent state as your RV destination.

With all that you’ve seen and done, it’s clear that Arkansas has provided you with an unforgettable experience. As you continue exploring other locales in your RV, remember that the Natural State will always welcome you back with open arms, ready to reveal even more hidden gems and remarkable adventures.

Charley Waters

I've traveled to 49 states and 3 provinces in Canada living in my RV full-time over many years. I've stayed just about everywhere possible. National parks, state parks, parking lots, BLM land, Independent RV parks and friends and family's driveways. I lived through a crazy Derecho windstorm in Iowa. I got stuck in a winter freeze in Texas.

Living on the road in your RV can be challenging at times. But the good times make up for the bad. I'm here to share my experience and help fellow RVers good decisions while enjoying the great outdoors and vast camping opportunities this country has to offer.

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