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The Natural State™
Arkansas is known as The Natural State for a good reason. Arkansas has been blessed with beautiful and bountiful natural resources.
Good things are happening across the state - from the Lakeport Plantation project in the southeast corner to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. In central Arkansas, there is so much to see and do, including the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, historic Central High School, the green building that houses Heifer International's headquarters, and the revitalized River Market area of downtown Little Rock. Many enjoy walking the Big Dam Bridge, the world's largest pedestrian bridge, or catching a ball game in the newly completed Dickey-Stephens Park.
Arkansas's spectacular vistas; pristine lakes, rivers and streams; and bountiful wildlife areas have helped to make the state an outdoor recreation stop for sports enthusiasts who love to fish, hunt, hike, boat, bike, play golf or canoe. Arkansas communities offer symphony orchestras, art museums, theaters, fine dining and fascinating historic sites.
From the beautiful Ozark Mountains to the peaceful lakes of the Ouachitas, you will find warm hospitality and a variety of satisfying opportunities in every part of the state.
Arkansas annually attracts visitors from across the nation and abroad. Many are drawn to its abundant opportunities for outdoor adventures and to its natural beauty, as seen in the state's waterfalls, tour caverns and wild caving experiences, forested mountain trails and scenic drives. Some come to dig for keeper diamonds and quartz crystals.
But there are numerous attractions that make The Natural State a must see vacation destination.
Did you know that forestland covers more than half of Arkansas? Three national forests - the Ozarks, Ouachita, and St. Francis - make up over 2.5 million acres.
Amenities such as art galleries, live theater, professional sporting events, irresistible restaurants, microbreweries and a variety of lodging options can be found in the larger Arkansas cities. Meanwhile, Arkansas boasts charming small towns that lure travelers seeking a restful reprieve from the hurried pace of modern life.
Live entertainment can be found at numerous music festivals and in clubs, bistros and performance theaters. Arkansas spas include the thermal waters of Hot Springs National Park. Across the state, delightful boutiques, specialty shops, antique stores and quilt shops make finding one-of-a-kind souvenirs and treasures effortless.
Take a deep breath of cool Ozark or Ouachita mountain air. Revel in the breeze crossing one of Arkansas’s great lakes. Enjoy a relaxed family float trip or the thrill of a whitewater or rock climbing adventure. Journey one of 250 hiking trails that collectively stretch more than 1,500 miles. Get away from it all in more than 2.9 million acres in three national forests.
With some 9,000 miles of pristine streams and rivers and more than 600,000 acres of lakes, Arkansas is renowned for fishing and hunting and water sports of all sorts, including sailing and scuba diving. Marinas, boat docks and fishing guide services are plentiful across the state.
Other fun outdoor activities to enjoy in Arkansas include on- and off-road biking, golfing on designer courses, mining for keeper quartz crystals and diamonds, and bird watching. For the more adventurous, there’s wild carving in underground limestone caverns.
For those interested in a round of golf, the Natural State's offerings include world-class, scenic courses. And, in Arkansas, "an afternoon at the track" can have any of several meanings: thoroughbred horse racing, greyhound dog racing, or dirt track and drag racing.
Arkansas's varied geography and its location in the U.S. heartland have contributed to make the state's history an intriguing slice of America's story. Arkansas history museums, Civil War battlefields, National Park Service sites and special exhibits across the state relate the history of Arkansas's diverse cultures and history.
In eastern Arkansas, the Mississippi River shaped a land where Delta blues music thrived. Traditional Ozark Mountain folk music, dance and crafts are kept alive in north central Arkansas.
The state's wine country serves its best in the Arkansas River Valley, which is also home to Fort Smith, the “Wild West” town that bordered the Indian Territory until 1907. An oil boom that began in 1921 brought wealth and wild times to towns like El Dorado in southern Arkansas. The Clinton Presidential Library honors the legacy of state native Bill Clinton, who served as U.S. President from 1993-2001. Clinton’s boyhood home is open for tours in his birthplace town of Hope.
Travelers seeking a romantic getaway will find cozy cottages stocked to meet every need. Often tucked in the Ozark and Ouachita mountains, rustic but fully furnished Arkansas cabin rentals also offer great escapes. Bed and breakfasts can be found in communities both large and small, and can be housed in modern structures or restored Victorian mansions. The call of the great outdoors can be answered in a fully equipped, public or private campsite suitable for tent or RV camping.
Many of Arkansas’s State Parks offer camping and Arkansas cabin rentals, for the individual and for groups, and Lodges are available at four parks.
Arkansas parks are scattered across the state, from its highest peaks to the shores of lakes and streams. Overnight accommodations available in recreational parks include lodges, cabins, campgrounds with modern conveniences and even rental teepees and yurts. Many of the recreational parks also offer restaurants, snack bars, hiking trails, pavilions, picnic areas, playgrounds and numerous interpretive programs. Some also feature marinas, swimming pools, tennis courts and boat ramps. One even features the world's only site where members of the public can search for keeper diamonds where the gems naturally occur.
Photos and some wording courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism