Arkansas is a hidden gem in the heart of America that has so much to offer. This state has something for every traveler, from incredible natural beauty to cultural attractions and fantastic cuisine. If you’re planning a road trip, you won’t regret adding Arkansas to your itinerary. In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to five perfect Arkansas road trip cities that will leave you with lasting memories.
Bentonville is a must-visit for anyone on an Arkansas road trip who loves art, architecture, and history. It is home to the famous Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which houses an impressive collection of American art, including works by Warhol, Chihuly, Wiley (my fave!), and Rockwell.
Crystal Bridges is set on a sprawling 120-acre park with stunning walking trails. There is a Frank Lloyd Wright house available for tours.
I recommend staying at the 21c Museum Hotel, an art museum hotel with nearly 100 contemporary art installations, which you’ll encounter as you explore the property. For breakfast, I would eat at The Hive inside the hotel.
Try the Hive Breakfast, with two eggs, sorghum sausage, grits, and toast. Yum!
For dinner, check out The Preacher’s Son every night but Sunday. It is an excellent restaurant serving delicious food inside a former Gothic Revival church. Start your meal with creamy burrata, and finish with panna cotta.
The do-not-miss in Bentonville is the one-of-a-kind Walmart Museum. It gives visitors a look back in time and through the corporate history of the largest retailer in the world. I loved seeing Sam Walton’s office, his beloved old truck, and the Walmart ads and campaign buttons.
Please note: The Walmart Museum is under renovation from Nov. 1, 2022, through spring 2024.
If you have time, have a dip of ice cream from The Spark Cafe. F-150 and Spark Cream are the exclusive flavors.
2. Little Rock
Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas and home to some of the state’s most iconic landmarks. Start your visit at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, a world-class facility dedicated to the 42nd president of the US.
The museum is very well done. Expect to spend 2-3 hours, depending on how much time you spend reading the placards. Pay a visit to the gift shop, which is chock full of fabulous finds, books, scarves, and souvenirs.
Outside, the Clinton Presidential Park Bridge is a thing of beauty. This pedestrian-only (one of four in Little Rock), also known as the Rock Island Bridge, is part of the 14-mile Arkansas River Trail. Consider riding your bike across it.
If you’re into history and social justice, visit Little Rock Central High School, a National Historic Site – this was the scene of forced desegregation that you read about in history books. It is a small but mighty museum, but the outside was stunning.
Be prepared to shed a few tears if you take the time to learn about the Little Rock Nine.
Make time for the delicious local cuisine, such as Camp Taco at Lost Forty Brewing, and the outstanding burgers and hand-dipped shakes at Big Orange. At Camp Taco, start your meal with the delicious white poblano cheese dip.
For your main course, dive into the Big Shell Taco Salad with Adobo ‘Shrooms.
At Big Orange, the Delta Blue Burger, with blue cheese, red pepper jelly, butter leaf lettuce, tomato, red onion, and garlic mayo, is finger-lickin’ good!
The Little Rock North Jct. I-40 KOA Journey campground is great for camping and exploring the city. Expect free Wifi, 72-channel cable, bike rentals, a fitness center, and an ice cream parlor.
3. Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is a charming Victorian-era town full of culture and traditions. Visitors can stay in the historic and haunted Crescent Hotel or explore downtown’s many quirky shops and intriguing art galleries. I could spend hours exploring this fun and funky Victorian village.
Pro Tip: Remember the staircase murals and the interactive Eureka Springs Art Wall.
Be prepared for strenuous walking, as the mountain town is staggered on multiple levels. Word to the wise, walk down from your hotel (if staying in town at the Crescent), then pay for a taxi to get back up. It’s under $5.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa is a darling landmark property with a cozy lobby, onsite restaurants, and occasional hauntings. It has been voted America’s Most Haunted Hotel by Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures. It also boasts a Historic Hotels of America partnership.
My room was huge, filled with antique furnishings, and had a fantastic balcony. The views alone were worth the room rate. Is there anywhere better to indulge yourself in the Ozark Mountains than this picturesque spot?
The Christ of the Ozarks statue glistens in the sunlight and pays homage to the area’s history. It is a fascinating place to visit; the figure is way bigger than I had imagined. You are sure to see people from all over the world sightseeing at this beautiful property while you are there.
Stop by Eureka Springs Coffee House for a coffee or latte before eating a romantic dinner at Ermilio’s Italian Restaurant. Eggs Benedict is on point at the coffee house, and you can’t go wrong with any of the coffee drinks.
Ermilio’s truly has all your favorite classic pasta dishes, and the two I tried were delicious. Save room for a slice of Italian wedding cake.
Texarkana is the city that straddles the Texas-Arkansas state line. Be sure to explore the Texarkana Main Street District downtown and take some photo ops with the state line. If you are familiar with ghost signs, many are in downtown Texarkana.
Dubbed the “King of Ragtime,” Scott Joplin, an American pianist and composer (The Entertainer was one of his most famous), was from Texarkana. Look for the cool mural depicting his works in town. Fun fact, he also won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize.
Visit Naaman’s BBQ, a spiffy joint that will make your road trip worth it! The meat plates with cheesy corn and green beans are excellent. Pulled pork and brisket are musts! My hubby liked the mac & cheese.
If I recall correctly, banana pudding was the dessert that followed our meal.
If you are camping or RVing, I recommend overnighting at the Texarkana KOA Journey. I was a fan of the super-fast Wifi and inviting swimming pool.
Check out the deluxe cabins for those who want to experience the property but are not campers.
Bonus, the KOA is only about a minute from a travel plaza that houses a Denny’s. Moons over My Hammy are so close!
Murfreesboro is a tiny town (population 1621) full of southern charm, friendly people, and great food. We stopped there to do some shopping as we were RVing through the state of Arkansas. Caddo Antiques Gifts was what lured us in.
This place is a treasure trove! You could spend hours browsing the unique items.
We were referred to Southern Dine restaurant for lunch and loved chatting with the locals. My Fried Bologna on Texas Toast was so good. I also had sides of green beans and mac & Cheese. Southern Dine now has a salad bar option on the menu, too.
Most people come to Murfreesboro to dig for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park. It is “one of the only diamond-producing sites in the world where the public can search for diamonds in their original volcanic source.”
It was fun but exceptionally backbreaking. We rented a wagon and digging utensils, then went to town scooping up the earth bit by bit in search of glitzy, sparkly, pretty shiny things. Their policy, in case you were wondering, is finders, keepers.
We didn’t land any diamonds, but it was fun, and I would do it again. Price of admission to the diamond search area is $13 per adult and $6 for children.
Are You Ready for an Arkansas Road Trip?
Arkansas is full of memorable and unique cities to explore on a road trip. From the charming Victorian-era town of Eureka Springs to the cultural icon of Little Rock, these Arkansas road trip cities have no shortage of attractions.
Go at your own pace and explore what interests you the most. The beauty and diversity of Arkansas will make your road trip unforgettable.
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