The Best Things to Do in Arkansas

The 25 Best Things to Do in Arkansas

With high-profile neighbors like Tennessee and Louisiana, Arkansas doesn’t always get all the love it deserves. But pay a visit to this incredible US State, and you won’t be disappointed!

With a nickname like “The Natural State,” you better believe that Arkansas is bursting with opportunities for outdoor adventure. Only here can you go digging for real diamonds (and take them home!) at a state park, go scuba diving in one of the most pristine lakes in the US, and hike to a spectacular sinkhole waterfall hidden away in the Ozark National Forest.

From epic hikes to unique natural attractions, Arkansas is a dream come true for nature enthusiasts. But if you prefer something a bit less action-packed, Arkansas’ cities are equally as impressive.

Located right on the rushing Arkansas River, the capital city of Little Rock is brimming with artsy museums, buzzing breweries, and fun annual festivals. Explore further afield, and you’ll love soaking in the healing waters in Hot Springs and exploring this historic downtown of Eureka Springs.

Whether you’re embarking on an epic road trip to Arkansas’ state parks or you just want a carefree friends’ getaway, you’ll love exploring this one-of-a-kind US destination. 

With so many amazing things to see and do, it can be tricky to know where to begin. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the absolute best things to do in Arkansas. Add these activities and attractions to your Arkansas bucket list, and you’re guaranteed to have a fantastic time exploring The Natural State!

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25 Fun and Unique Things to Do in Arkansas

1. Shop, Wine & Dine in Little Rock’s River Market District 

Cool Things to do in Arkansas: Little Rock’s River Market District

No trip to Arkansas is complete without spending some time exploring its surprisingly cool capital city. And the best place to get a feel for everything Little Rock has to offer is a trip to the historic River Market District.

This part of town is perched right on the Arkansas River, and it’s where you’ll find some of the best shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions in Little Rock. You can easily spend hours strolling around Riverfront Park, perusing art in Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden, or setting off on a hike or biking trip on the Arkansas River Trail.

Whenever you get peckish, be sure to stop off at the Ottenheimer Market Hall. Whether you’re in the mood for fragrant Thai curries, Southern BBQ sandwiches, or gourmet pizzas, you’ll find something to suit all tastes at this trendy food hall. Or, if you want to sample locally sourced fare, visit on a Saturday morning, and pick up farm-fresh goodies at the Little Rock Farmers’ Market!

In the summer months, there are always fun pop-up events going on in the River Market District, too. Think outdoor movies, food festivals, concert series, and so much more!

2. Check Out the ESSE Purse Museum

Fun Things to do in Arkansas:  ESSE Purse Museum

When it comes to unique Arkansas attractions, it doesn’t get much better than the ESSE Purse Museum. Located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, this place just happens to be one of only two purse museums in the world!

While it may sound frivolous, the ESSE Purse Museum actually offers a sophisticated insight into the history of women and their role in the workplace during the 1900s. ESSE was carefully curated around founder Anita Davis’ massive collection of purses. Davis believed that a purse is more than just utilitarian – it actually represents the “essence” of its owner. 

Explore the “What’s Inside: A Century of Women and Handbags 1900-1999” exhibit, and you’ll find a wide range of purses displayed with their contents in a thoughtful meditation on the evolution of fashion, femininity, and women in the workplace.

After you’ve perused the museum, be sure to pay a visit to the surprisingly cool museum store, where you can purchase a unique handbag of your own!  

3. Have a Fairytale Picnic at Old Mill

Best Things to do in Arkansas: Old Mill

If you feel like you’ve seen Old Mill before, you probably recognize it from the opening scene of Gone with the Wind. You’ll find this hidden gem tucked away in T. R. Pugh Memorial Park, just 15 minutes from downtown Little Rock. 

If you’re searching for an idyllic picnic spot, you really can’t beat Old Mill, or Pugh’s Mill as it is officially called. Built in 1933, this picture-perfect mill and pond were built to look like an 1880s water-powered grist mill by local property developer Justin Matthews. 

Matthews went on to gift the property to the city of North Little Rock in 1976, and Old Mill was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Not only is this a prime place for a picnic lunch, but be sure to bring your camera because chances are you’ll want to do a mini photo shoot while you’re here! 

4. Take a Sunset Paddle Down the Arkansas River 

Unique Things to do in Arkansas: Arkansas River

The mighty Arkansas River snakes a whopping 1,469 miles through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas and meanders right past the city of Little Rock. If you find yourself in Arkansas’ capital city and you’re looking for urban outdoor activities, why not go kayaking down the Arkansas River?

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own gear. You can easily rent kayaks from Rock Town River Outfitters, which is located right across the street from Julius Breckling Riverfront Park. Feel free to get paddling on your own, or sign up for a number of tours, including the popular Sunset Kayak Tour along the Arkansas River. 

On this tour, you’ll be shuttled to Rockwater Marina in North Little Rock, where you’ll embark on the 2-hour kayaking tour. Along the way, your guide will regale you with stories and historical facts about the capital city. Before you know it, you’ll be watching the sunset over the river while the city skyline is washed in hues of pink and gold.

If you’re looking for Arkansas bucket list adventures, a paddle down the Arkansas River is always a good idea!

5. Hike to the Top of Pinnacle Mountain

Arkansas Bucket List: Pinnacle Mountain

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is a nature-filled reprieve, perfect if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Little Rock. Set just 15 miles up the Arkansas River from downtown, this 2,356-acre state park boasts 14 miles of mountain biking trails, over 20 miles of hiking trails, and a 71-acre botanical garden.

But the star attraction is easily the park’s namesake, Pinnacle Mountain, which towers high above the Arkansas River Valley at 1,011 feet. Hiking to the summit via the short but steep 1.5-mile West Summit Trail is easily one of the coolest things to do in Arkansas. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Arkansas River and Lake Maumelle. 

For more outdoor adventure, there are plenty of scenic riverside hikes to choose from. Plus, the park offers access to the Little Maumelle River, where you can get out on the water and kayak past beautiful forests and landscapes. 

6. Chase Waterfalls in Petit Jean State Park

Arkansas Bucket List: Petit Jean State Park

Tucked away in Conway County in the center of the state, making a detour to Petit Jean State Park is one of the coolest Arkansas activities if you want to get outside. This is Arkansas’ first state park – and for good reason! This 3,471-acre park is dotted with excellent hiking trails, scenic overlooks, otherworldly geological formations, and even archaeological attractions.

You’ll have all sorts of hiking trails to choose from, but Cedar Falls Trail is arguably the best. This strenuous 2-mile hike takes you into Cedar Creek Canyon all the way to the beautiful 95-foot cascade of Cedar Falls. However, if you’d rather take it easy, you can also view the waterfall from above on the Cedar Falls Overlook Trail, which features an easy-to-reach boardwalk.

Rock House Cave is another popular hike that will lead you to a massive cavern with beautiful rock formations. Look up, and you’ll find ancient drawings by the people who once took shelter in the cave over 500 years ago!

Other attractions in Petit Jean State Park include Lake Bailey, the Museum of Automobiles, and Petit Jean Coffeehouse, where you can grab lunch whenever you need to refuel.  

7. Get Your Nature Fix in Hot Springs National Park

What to do in Arkansas: Hot Springs National Park

When it comes to things to do in Arkansas, a visit to Hot Springs National Park is easily one of the coolest. Located about an hour west of Little Rock, this tiny town was put on the map in 1832 for its abundance of healing thermal waters.

A popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, Hot Springs National Park is home to 5,500 acres of land and 26 miles of trails. For one of the best hikes in the park, the epic 10-mile-long Sunset Trail will lead you from Gulpha Gorge Campground to West Mountain Summit, the park’s highest point, where you’ll get stunning vistas. 

You’ll have to allot at least a day for this hike because it can take up to 8 hours to complete. Or, If you’re looking for something a little less ambitious, you can always just opt for one of the 3-mile sections of the trail. 

For even more incredible views, be sure to head to the top of Hot Springs Mountain Tower. There’s an observation deck perched 216 feet high. From up here, you’ll get panoramic views over the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs Mountain, and the Diamond Lakes area.    

8. Go Scuba Diving in Crystal-Clear Lake Ouachita

Cool Things to do in Arkansas: Lake Ouachita

When you think of things to do in Arkansas, scuba diving is probably the last thing to enter your mind. But it turns out Lake Ouachita – one of the cleanest lakes in the US – boasts quite a few excellent diving spots! 

Lake Ouachita is located a short drive from Hot Springs, and it’s a great place to spend a few days. As Arkansas’ largest lake, this beautiful natural attraction is 40 miles long and features 975 miles of shoreline. You might also be surprised to learn that there are 30 excellent dive spots in Lake Ouachita!

Follow the 16-mile “Geo-Float Trail,” and you’ll have the chance to check out the ultra-popular Zebra Rock, Whirlpool, and Checkerboard Point dive spots. While you’re exploring these underwater gems, you’ll spot everything from bream, crappie, and catfish to striped bass, largemouth bass, and non-stinging freshwater jellyfish.

If scuba diving isn’t your thing, you’ll still find plenty to keep you busy here. Lake Ouachita features two swimming beaches and 10 different swimming areas. Plus, you can rent canoes and boats and go fishing for a fish dinner!

9. Have a Fun-Filled Day at Magic Springs Theme & Water Park

Fun Things to do in Arkansas: Magic Springs Theme and Water Park

If you’re searching for family-friendly Arkansas activities, spend the day at Magic Springs Theme and Water Park! This sprawling amusement park is set less than 3 miles from downtown Hot Springs, so it’s a must if you plan on visiting Hot Springs National Park.

During the scorching summers, the water park is the perfect place to cool off. You can easily while away the hours floating down the lazy river, hanging ten in the Crystal Cove Wave Pool, zipping down the High Sierra Slide Tower, and so much more.

Once you dry off, make your way to the amusement park for thrilling roller coasters and kid-friendly alternatives. If you want to get your heart pumping, pay a visit to Brain Drain, which will drop you 13 stories to the ground below. 

Arkansas Bucket List: Magic Springs Theme and Water Park

Then there are the Arkansas Twister and The Gauntlet roller coasters. For something a bit more tame, you can take the little ones on the Razorback Roundup Bumper Cars and the Rum Runner Pirate Ship.

Once you work up an appetite, you’ll have all manner of delicious foods to choose from. Think deep-fried corn dogs at Big Kahuna Fry Shack, mix and match ICEE flavors at ICEE Mix-It UP, fresh funnel cakes at Terrace Treats, and hand-scooped ice cream at Lakeside Ice Cream, to name a few!

Get Your Magic Springs Theme and Water Park Ticket here!

10. Take an Old-School Soak at Hot Springs’ Historic Bathhouse Row

Arkansas Things to do: Bathhouse Row

Located inside Hot Springs National Park in downtown Hot Springs, a visit to Bathhouse Row is easily one of the most unique things to do in Arkansas. This whole area is now a National Historic Landmark District and is made up of eight historic buildings that were constructed over the city’s natural hot springs between 1892 and 1923.

These beautiful buildings are prime examples of a variety of architectural styles – from neoclassical to renaissance-revival. It’s well worth visiting them all, but Buckstaff Bathhouse is the only bathhouse where you can experience a traditional bathing experience. 

After you’re done getting pampered, pop over to Fordyce Bathhouse and Museum to check out the most lavish bathhouse of the bunch. Built in 1915, this bathhouse-turned-museum will give you a better understanding of the city’s early bathhouse culture.

And then there’s the former Hale Bathhouse, which dates back to 1892 and is the oldest surviving structure on Bathhouse Row. It has now been transformed into the luxurious Hotel Hale, which is a cool option if you want to stay the night! 

And once you’re done exploring Bathhouse Row, stop off for a local craft brew at Superior Bathhouse Brewery. This trendy brewery is set in the same 100-year-old building that once housed the Superior Bathhouse! 

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11. Hike to the Highest Point in Arkansas 

Cool Things to do in Arkansas: Mount Magazine State Park

Mount Magazine State Park has everything you need for endless outdoor adventure. You’ll find this 2,234-acre park in Logan County, roughly two hours northwest of Little Rock, so it’s a great pit stop if you’re road-tripping around Arkansas!

Mount Magazine State Park is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts who flock here for all of the hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, backpacking, and ATV riding opportunities. If that’s not enough, the park also offers incredible technical rock climbing routes and two hang gliding launch sites. 

As the name implies, Mount Magazine State Park is home to Mount Magazine. Towering at 2,753 feet, this is the highest point in the state of Arkansas. If you’re looking for unique things to do in Arkansas, hike to the top via the 1.5-mile Signal Hill Trail, where you’ll find a 400-square-foot stone map of Arkansas.

It’s worth mentioning that the views from here aren’t the best. But it’s well worth tackling Signal Hill Trail for bragging rights. If you’re looking for views, you’ll get plenty on the park’s 2.7-mile North Rim Trail!

12. Cool Off in Buffalo River

Arkansas Bucket List: Buffalo River

If you’re looking for things to do in Arkansas in the sultry summer months, make your way to Buffalo River. This rushing river winds for 153 miles through the Ozark Mountains and offers tons of outdoor activities perfect for the whole family.

Starting in the spring, the most popular activities on Buffalo River are kayaking, canoeing, and even whitewater rafting. However, because Buffalo River is largely dependent on rainfall, it’s best to check on the water levels before your trip.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more mellow, you can spend your days floating in the river’s crystal clear swimming holes, taking scenic riverside hikes, and marveling at the wild Rocky Mountain elk as they graze in Boxley Valley. 

The region offers plenty of opportunities for mountain biking, horseback riding, and zip-lining. And if you really want to make the most of your time in this beautiful corner of Arkansas, you’ll find plenty of scenic camping spots scattered around the upper Buffalo National River.

13. Go Back in Time at the Walmart Museum

What to do in Arkansas: Walmart Museum

If you find yourself in Bentonville, a visit to the Walmart Museum is easily one of the most unique things to do in Arkansas. This retro museum is like stepping back in time and offers a fascinating glimpse into the humble origins of this massive American corporation.

The museum is also home to the original Walton’s five-and-dime store that was founded by Sam Walton (the founder of Walmart) in Bentonville in 1951. This retro museum is totally free to visit on a self-guided tour. Explore the space, and you’ll find all sorts of interactive exhibitions and old-school artifacts, including Walton’s original office space and his 1979 pickup truck.   

The museum will give you an excellent insight into what drove Walton to become one of the most successful American businessmen of his time. After you’re done perusing, be sure to stop off at the on-site Spark Café Soda Fountain, a tribute to Walton’s love of ice cream! You can choose from 10 flavors, including the Spark Cream, which is blue and yellow, of course!

14. Visit the Stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 

Best Things to do in Arkansas: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Art lovers won’t want to miss out on a visit to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Nestled on 120 acres in Bentonville, this unique Arkansas attraction offers the perfect blend of art and nature. Even if you’re not into art, it’s well worth visiting just to check out the grounds!

Step inside this architectural gem, and you’ll find artwork spanning from the colonial era to the present. Be sure to admire Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter and Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola before checking out works from the likes of Georgia O’Keeffe and James Turrell.

Depending on when you visit, you’ll also have the chance to check out different exhibitions like Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour or We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy.

Arkansas Things to do: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

But the coolest thing about this museum is that the art continues outside, where you’ll find 5 miles of lush walking trails dotted with sculptures and other works of art. And then there’s Architecture at Home, a fascinating outdoor architectural exhibition that offers a contemplative look at contemporary housing issues.

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is totally free to visit, and you can even sign up for a free one-hour guided tour to make the most of your visit. 

15. Spend the Day in the Charming Town of Fayetteville

Cool Things to do in Arkansas: Fayetteville

If you’re looking for small town charm, pay a visit to Fayetteville. Tucked away in the northwest corner of Arkansas, this tiny town is brimming with fun things to see and do!

Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, so not only will you find plenty of events going on all year long, but the students help to give the city its youthful and buzzing atmosphere. Sports fans will definitely want to catch a football game at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Head downtown, and you’ll find a charming square lined with historic buildings, boutique shops, and cute restaurants. Visit on a Tuesday or Saturday morning, and you’ll have the chance to shop for farm-fresh goods at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market.

If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city center, head over to the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, which is chock full of beautiful plants, trees, and flowers, as well as a spectacular butterfly pavilion. Downtown Fayetteville also boasts the 23-acre Wilson Park, which is the perfect place to go for a stroll or enjoy a leisurely picnic. 

16. Explore the Adorable & Artsy Town of Eureka Springs

Must do things in Arkansas: Eureka Springs

When it comes to must-do things in Arkansas, a visit to Eureka Springs should be at the top of your list. This tiny town in the northwest corner of the state just oozes charm, history, and character, and it’s the perfect addition to an Arkansas road trip.

What makes this city so unique is that the entire downtown area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is brimming with Victorian-era buildings and homes. You can easily spend an entire day shopping in Eureka Springs’ unique boutiques and dining at its quaint restaurants. 

Eureka Springs may be a tiny hamlet, but it’s actually known for having one of the best small town arts scenes in the US. That’s probably because 300 of the city’s 2,000 residents are working artists! 

So, not only is this place lined with galleries, but you’ll find plenty of murals, public art installations, and pop-up art events happening around town year-round. If you find yourself cruising through Eureka Springs on the second Saturday of the month, you’ll find that tons of downtown art galleries stay open late and host wine and cheese socials, live music, art talks, and more.

17. Get Your Architecture Fix at Thorncrown Chapel

Arkansas Things to do: Thorncrown Chapel

When it comes to cool Arkansas attractions, it doesn’t get much better than Thorncrown Chapel. This spectacular chapel is tucked away among the trees, just three miles from downtown Eureka Springs. This place is considered to be one of the most beautiful chapels in the world, so it is well worth taking a detour to visit this architectural marvel.

Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Thorncrown Chapel was built in 1980 by E. Fay Jones, a renowned architect and former apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright. The chapel is totally free to visit (though donations are welcome). 

Step inside, and you’ll still feel like you’re standing among the trees, thanks to the chapel’s 425 windows, 6,000 square feet of glass, and symmetrical Southern pine beams. Be sure to bring your camera because you’ll find endless photo ops. 

You should check to see whether or not the chapel is open before you make the journey here. While Thorncrown Chapel is usually open to the public from March to December, it is often closed in January and February. That being said, it is possible to reserve the chapel for weddings and other private events during these months!

18. Spend a Spooky Night at 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa

Unique Things to do in Arkansas 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa

If you’re obsessed with paranormal activity, spending the night at the historic Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs should be at the top of your Arkansas bucket list! Built in 1886, this place is widely considered to be “America’s most haunted hotel” and has been featured on TV shows like Ghost Hunters, Paranormal Witness, and Ghost Adventures.

There have been tons of sightings and unexplained events at the hotel over the years, but if you really want to test your limits, head up to Michael’s Room (Room 218). 

Room 218 is rumored to be the most active room at the hotel. It was here that Michael, an Irish stonemason, fell to his death when the hotel was being built. His spirit lingered around, though, and he often makes his presence known to visitors, females especially. If you feel a tap on your shoulder, it’s probably Michael!

The hotel also offers popular ghost tours, where you’ll learn all about the hotel’s haunted history and its creepy former owner and imposter doctor Norman Baker, who transformed this place into a “cancer-curing” hospital in the 1930s.

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19. See Big Cats at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge 

Arkansas Bucket List: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Located on the outskirts of Eureka Springs, visiting the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is one of the coolest things to do in Arkansas if you’re an animal lover. Unlike a traditional zoo, this place is a haven for big cats that have been abandoned and abused. Over the years, the team has rescued over 500 big cats!

Explore the 460-acre wildlife refuge, and you’ll find over 100 tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, bobcats, and bears roaming the grounds. Be sure to time your visit with one of the guided tours, which take place on the hour from 9 am to 4 pm. It’s worth making a reservation online to ensure you can snag a spot, as space is limited.

Depending on when you visit, you may also get the chance to see an animal feeding. Or, if you want to make a night of it, it’s possible to stay overnight in an adults-only safari lodge or a kid-friendly treehouse!

20. Camp Under the Stars in Devil’s Den State Park

Best Things to do in Arkansas: Devil’s Den State Park

If it’s not obvious by now, Arkansas is brimming with outdoor attractions, and Devil’s Den State Park is one of the best of the bunch. You’ll find Devil’s Den in the northwest corner of Arkansas, just 60 miles south of the border with Missouri. 

With so many things to see and do, it’s well worth camping out for at least a few days to make the most of your time. From traditional campsites to full-service cabins, there’s something to suit all needs. 

When you’re not stargazing and munching on s’mores at night, you can spend your days hiking and mountain biking on scenic trails or exploring the tree-studded park on the back of a horse. You can also rent a canoe and try your luck fishing on beautiful Lake Devil before marveling at the 100 different species of butterflies and 170 species of birds in Devil’s Den State Park.

If that’s not enough, the park hosts all kinds of cool events. From boating and kayak tours to living history demonstrations and wildflower walks, be sure to check the events calendar to see what’s happening during your visit!

21. Marvel at the Otherworldly Glory Hole Falls

Best Things to do in Arkansas: Glory Hole Falls

If you’re looking for unique things to do in Arkansas and you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, you’ll love hiking Glory Hole Falls Trail. Glory Hole Falls is a beautiful sinkhole waterfall created from Dismal Creek as it plunges 30 feet through a massive hole in a rocky bluff. Bring your camera because you’ll want to take endless photos!

This hidden gem is located in the Ozark National Forest, 14 miles east of the town of Deer. To reach this unique natural wonder, it’s a moderate 2-mile hike (there and back) that takes roughly one to two hours. 

One of the coolest things about this hike is that it leads you right to the base of the falls. You can even stand under the cascade! It’s best to hike the Glory Hole Falls Trail in the spring and early summer (ideally after it’s rained) to see the waterfall in all its glory. 

But hike here in the winter, and you’ll still see a gentle stream, and you may even have the place all to yourself!

22. Unearth Diamonds in the Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park

Cool Things to do in Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park

If you’re looking for unique Arkansas activities, take a trip to Murfreesboro. Located in the southwestern corner of the state, this is where you’ll find the spectacular Arkansas Crater of Diamonds State Park, where you can hunt for real diamonds to take home!

The first diamonds were discovered at this volcanic crater in 1906, resulting in a boomtown around Murfreesboro. Fast-forward to today, and this place is the only diamond site in the world that’s open to the public. 

More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by park visitors since this place opened to the public. You’re welcome to search the 37-acre field to see if you can find a diamond or gemstone of your own. Believe it or not, an average of two diamonds are still found here every day!

A wide variety of semi-precious gems and minerals are also common, from amethyst, agate, and jasper to garnet, quartz, and calcite. Once you’re done hunting for diamonds, you can take a stroll on one of the many scenic walking trails or splash around in the on-site Diamond Springs Water Park, which is open during the summer months. 

23. Go Kayaking & Fishing in Mammoth Spring State Park

Fun Things to do in Arkansas: Mammoth Spring State Park

Tucked away near the border with Missouri, Mammoth Spring State Park is a wonderful place to spend a day outside. This peaceful and pristine state park is home to one of the world’s largest springs – nine million gallons of water flow through here every hour!

Thanks to the gushing springs, the park also boasts a lovely 10-acre lake, which feeds the beautiful Spring River. Between the lake and river, rest assured there are plenty of water-based activities in Mammoth Spring State Park! 

One of the most popular things to do in this Arkansas attraction is to rent a kayak and paddle down Spring River. Spring River is also an excellent place to set up shop and go fishing for Ozark trout, which are abundant in this river.

After you’ve reeled in a few trout, head over to the Grand Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery, which is the oldest hatchery in the United States. If checking out fish isn’t your thing, the park is also home to the 1886 Frisco Train Depot and Museum, which is the oldest train station in the state!

24. Go Underground in Blanchard Springs Caverns

If you’re looking for family-friendly things to do in Arkansas, definitely pay a visit to Blanchard Springs Caverns. You’ll find this natural wonder hidden away in northern Arkansas’ Ozark–St. Francis National Forest.

You can sign up for three different tours, which will take you deep into the Blanchard Springs Caverns. Both the Discovery Trail and the Dripstone Trail tours take about an hour and lead you to beautiful rooms and natural attractions that will not disappoint. The Dripstone Trail is the easiest option if you’re traveling with little ones.

But if you’re looking for real adventure, we highly suggest the Wild Cave Tour. This unique tour takes 3 to 4 hours and leads you to undeveloped sections of the cave. You will get down and dirty on this physically challenging tour, but you’ll be rewarded with attractions most visitors miss out on!

25. Sample Arkansas’ Most Famous Foods

Arkansas Bucket List: Most Famous Foods

No trip to Arkansas is complete without indulging in the state’s most sinfully delicious foods. Cheese dip is arguably the most famous food in Arkansas. This ooey gooey appetizer was first invented by Blackie Donnely, the founder of Arkansas’ Mexico Chiquito restaurants, in the 1930s.

Since then, cheese dip has taken over restaurant menus across the state. From the award-winning cheese dip at Heights Taco & Tamale Co. in Little Rock to the yellow cheese dip at The Flying Burrito Company in Fayetteville, you’ll be able to sample all sorts of creative versions. Time your visit right and you can even attend the annual World Cheese Dip Competition in Little Rock!

Once you’ve had your fill of cheese dip, you’ll have to sweeten things up with some chocolate gravy, another Arkansas favorite. Chocolate gravy is made from butter, flour, milk, cocoa powder, and sugar, and it’s a popular breakfast food in Arkansas. Pay a visit to Ozark Café in Jasper, where they smother their biscuits in chocolate gravy!

Then there are the fried pickles at Sassy’s Red House in Fayetteville, the fried catfish at The Shack in Jessieville, the Arkansas Delta tamales at Rhoda’s Famous Hot Tamales and Pies in Lake Village, and the Possum Pie at Stoby’s in Russellville. 

The list goes on and on. Trust us – you won’t go hungry in Arkansas! 

There you have it! The 25 best things to do in Arkansas. What’s your favorite thing to do in The Natural State?

Planning a trip to Arkansas? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!



  • Justine Lopez

    Justine is a writer and editor who always seems to take the unconventional route in life. She also suffers from a serious case of wanderlust!

    In 2013, she left her hometown in California and set off on a yearlong round-the-world journey with her now-husband – they never looked back. Since then, she’s lived the expat life in Indonesia, Cambodia, China, Vietnam, Mexico, and now Dubai. Along the way, she's written and edited for magazines, newspapers, and websites in Asia and beyond.

    When she's not stoking her wanderlust by working on travel articles for Wandering Wheatleys, Justine is busy caring for her many foster cats in Dubai, seeking out all the delicious vegetarian food, and taking every chance she gets to explore a new corner of the world!

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