The state parks in Arkansas are amazing and absolute must-see locations for nature lovers and photographers. The towns surrounding these great parks are worthy of mention as well. These are the little spots where you stop and grab a bite to eat before you head off to tour the caverns or relax by the lake. Places like these are fun to visit–and when you’re there, you’re so far removed from the city that you’re able find that certain peace that comes from being in a small town.
15. Mammoth Spring
The town of Mammoth Spring, located in Fulton County, is home to Mammoth Spring State Park. The park surrounds the actual Mammoth Spring itself, the largest spring in the state. The large outlet pool of Mammoth Springs is easily spotted by travelers on US 63.
14. De Valls Bluff
The county seat of the southern district of Prairie County, De Valls Bluff is located within the Grand Prairie section of the county. The area was historically known as a flat grassland between the Arkansas River and White River. De Valls Bluff is now known for duck hunting, cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and rice farming.
Arkansas towns such as Bauxite and El Dorado give insight into the state's wealth of mineral resources. Other towns like Lead Hill, Coal Hill, and the ghost town of Zinc are even more proof of the Natural State's pride in its resources. The little town of Onyx in Yell County (about an hour's drive from popular Lake Ouachita and the Ouachita National Forest) was named for the valuable deposits of onyx found in the area and remains a nice little drive-through area on your way to your next destination.
12. Big Flat
Big Flat is located in both Baxter and Searcy County and is another fine stop in your travels through the Ozarks. Whether you're going to the Buffalo National River or the Blanchard Springs Caverns, Big Flat is a nice midway point to stop, stretch your legs, and maybe get a few pictures of how rural life in Arkansas really looks.
Located north of Clarksville in the hills of the Ozarks, the small town of Ozone is noted for its unusual name as well as its proximity to popular camping spots and hiking areas.
The city of Norfork, located in Baxter County, is notable for its scenic beauty and wealth of historic locations for visitors to explore. Speaking of explorers, the late Google executive and mountain climber Dan Fredinburg grew up in Norfork. Doubtless to say the magnificent yet simple surroundings he was raised around inspired him to travel the world to see other marvelous sights.
9. St. Joe
Located in Searcy County a few miles north of the Buffalo National River, St. Joe was founded circa 1860. In its heyday, St. Joe was one of the many Arkansas towns that boomed thanks to its wealth of mineral resources. A longstanding legend holds that the town still has an untapped silver mine just waiting to be discovered. The little town still holds plenty of wealth, however; as one of the stops on the mighty Buffalo, St. Joe has its share of awesome campsites by the river as well as historic places downtown to tour.
Walcott, Arkansas is approximately 10 miles west of Paragould and minutes away from Crowley's Ridge State Park. Nearby Lake Walcott is an excellent place for anglers to get in a nice fishing trip.
Fifty-Six (not to be confused with Fourty-Four), located in Stone County, is near Blanchard Springs Caverns and gets a lot of attention from tourists as a result. Despite being located near one of the most popular attractions in the Ozarks, the population of Fifty-Six has always remained at less than 100 residents.
The small town of Washington, Arkansas was established in 1826 and thanks to the residents, much of the old-world charm has remained over the ages. Home to Historic Washington State Park, the town is proud of its history and its role as a stop on the pioneer trail, as well as being the former state capital of Arkansas from 1863-1865.
Newton County is home to so many fascinating small towns. The town of Ponca itself is one great Ozark getaway--and an entire weekend spent here wouldn't be enough to catch all of what's here to be seen. Visitors will be more than happy to take all the photos they can of the elk and other wildlife in the area.
Another small town that's popular with tourists visiting the Buffalo National River, Gilbert has an extremely small population of 28 residents. Noted along with Calico Rock as one of Arkansas's coldest towns, Gilbert has a number of guest houses, cabins, and even a café ready to serve those looking for small town charm on their camping trip.
3. Greers Ferry
The town of Greers Ferry is located on the east side of the magnificent Greers Ferry Lake. There's a magic about both the lake and this little town that charms all that visit. Crossing Greers Ferry Lake via the Edgemont Bridge will lead you into the larger and oft visited tourist town of lovely Fairfield Bay.
2. Calico Rock
Along with Gilbert, Calico Rock is credited as being Arkansas's coldest location. That doesn't stop an influx of visitors from touring the area regularly, though. Calico Rock, located along the upper White River, is situated in a beautiful Ozark location where photographers and nature enthusiasts can spend a few days getting away from it all and marveling at the scenery.
Jasper was established as a village along the scenic Buffalo River back in 1840. The town is still an excellent place today for travelers who are attracted to the beauty of what we now know as the majestic Buffalo National River. Jasper's downtown area, much like the Buffalo, is now recognized as a historic site.
There really is a delight and magic to these little towns that make their way through life here in the Natural State. These towns that we see as “pass-through” spots actually have qualities to them that make people on various journeys want to stop and see what’s going on. There’s good reason too; before you can really understand the highest acclaimed parts of Arkansas, you’ve got to go through the small towns to get there and mingle with the locals for a little while. What delights you about these small mountain and valley locations?