One of the great things about visiting or traveling Arkansas is that a family or an individual can get a lot done in a day! One weekend trip to the state can fill you up with memories to last a lifetime. The best thing about visiting Arkansas is there’s always something new (or an old place you’ve yet to hear about) for your sight-seeing or adventurous pleasure.
16. Lake Ouachita State Park: Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Ouachita is known for its scenic natural beauty and the clarity of its waters. These pristine waters form the largest manmade lake within Arkansas's borders.
Named one of the cleanest lakes in America, 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita is a water sports mecca for swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, and fishing.
15. Mount Nebo State Park: Rising 1,350 feet, Mount Nebo offers sweeping views of the Arkansas River Valley. In 1933, a portion of the mountain was chosen as a park site. Native stone and logs from Mount Nebo were used by the Civilian Conservation Corps to construct many of the park's bridges, trails, rustic-style cabins, and pavilions.
The park offers 34 campsites (24 Class B; 10 Hike-in Tent sites) [no dump station] and 14 fully-equipped cabins with kitchens. Fourteen miles of trails encircle Mount Nebo.
14. Mount Magazine State Park: The mountain offers sweeping vistas of broad river valleys, deep canyons, and distant mountains. Here the altitude, geography, and climate combine to create unique habitats for rare plants and animals. The elevation makes the mountaintop a cool place to be on hot summer days.
Located atop 2,753-foot Mount Magazine, the state's highest mountain, this scenic Arkansas state park was developed by Arkansas State Parks in the Mount Magazine Ranger District of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests through a special use permit from the USDA Forest Service.
13. Moro Bay State Park: Take a tour of one of the most popular fishing and water sport areas in south central Arkansas where Moro Bay and Raymond Lake join the Ouachita River at Moro Bay State Park.
Park facilities include campsites, picnic sites, a store, marina with boat rentals and gas pump, a standard pavilion, playground, trails, and the Moro Bay Ferry exhibit featuring a historic tugboat and barge.
12. Lake Dardanelle State Park: Surrounded by the natural beauty for which the Arkansas River Valley is known, Lake Dardanelle is a sprawling 34,300-acre reservoir on the Arkansas River.
Lake Dardanelle State Park offers two areas on the lake: one park site is at Russellville, and the other is located at nearby Dardanelle. Both the Russellville and Dardanelle locations offer camping, launch ramps, standard pavilions, picnic sites, restrooms, and bathhouses with hot showers.
11. Lake Catherine State Park: Lake Catherine State Park features CCC/Rustic Style facilities constructed of native stone and wood by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s.
This park is nestled in the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains on 1,940-acre Lake Catherine, one of the five popular Diamond Lakes in the Hot Springs area.
10. Jenkins' Ferry Battleground State Park: Three Civil War battles took place in south central Arkansas that were part of the Union Army's "Red River Campaign." Jenkins' Ferry is the most visited of the three sites.
Arkansas has three state historic parks that commemorate Civil War battles--Poison Springs Battleground State Park, Marks' Mills Battleground State Park and Jenkins Ferry Battleground State Park.
9. Jacksonport State Park: During the Civil War, Jacksonport was occupied by both Confederate and Union forces because of its crucial locale. Jacksonport became county seat in 1854, and construction of a stately, two-story brick courthouse began in 1869. The town began to decline in the 1880s when bypassed by the railroad.
Today, exhibits in the park's 1872 courthouse and programs by park interpreters share the story of this historic river port.
8. Historic Washington State Park: This popular family destination is a conserved 19th-century village interpreted by Arkansas State Parks in conjunction with the Pioneer Washington Restoration Foundation.
From its establishment in 1824, Washington was an important stop on the rugged Southwest Trail for pioneers traveling to Texas.
7. Delta Heritage Trail State Park: This rail-to-trail conversion in southeast Arkansas is located near the former Union Pacific Railroad and stretches from one mile south of Lexa, Arkansas to Rohwer, Arkansas and extends via the Mississippi River levee to Arkansas City.
Trailheads for this park are located at Helena junction near Barton, Walnut Corner at the U.S. 49 overpass, Lick Creek (Ark. 85 just south of Barton), Lake View, and Elaine.
6. Degray Lake Resort Stake Park: Arkansas's resort state park rests on the north shore of DeGray Lake, a large fishing and water sportsman's paradise in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains.
DeGray offers a lodge and convention center, over 100 Class B campsites, swimming, tennis, golf, hiking, bicycling and guided horseback trail rides.
5. Daisy State Park: Seated among the scenic foothills of the Ouachita Mountain, Lake Greeson, the Little Missouri River, this park makes a winning combination for hikers and day trippers.
Lake Greeson, 7,000 acres of clear water and mountain scenery, delights water enthusiasts. Catches of black and white bass, stripers, crappie, catfish, and bluegill account for its popularity with anglers.
4. Crater of Diamonds State Park: This is the eighth largest diamond-bearing deposit in surface area in the world. Here you can enjoy the one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure of prospecting for real diamonds.
Occurring naturally here along with the diamonds are garnet, amethyst, jasper, agate, quartz, and other rocks and minerals that make this site a great find...and what you dig up is yours to keep!
3. Cane Creek State Park:This park offers you the opportunity to explore two of Arkansas's distinct natural settings in one visit. Hike or bike the park's 2,053 acres of woodlands in the Coastal Plain.
Cane Creek Park is located where the rolling terrain of the West Gulf Coastal Plain and the alluvial lands of east Arkansas's Mississippi Delta meet.
2. Arkansas Post Museum: Visitors learn here about life on, and the history of, Arkansas's Grand Prairie and Delta.
Two buildings on the museum grounds are original to the Grand Prairie. The 1877 Refeld-Hinman Loghouse is an example of how houses were built on the prairie and throughout the Delta.
1. Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources: This facility has state-of-the-art indoor exhibits as well as working equipment on display outside in its adjacent Oil Field Park.
The museum also tells the stories of Arkansas's natural resources, with emphasis on petroleum and brine recovered for bromine extraction.
As they say, this is only the top of the morning – the rest of your time in Arkansas can be spent at a charming local restaurant for a great evening meal and then you can be back on the road in almost no time! Plan a trip to visit Arkansas or one of its incredibly scenic parks – you’ll be surprised at what can get done in a day!