Arkansas is full of small towns. Most of us call those places home, and we’re proud of every single one. We’ve talked about small towns here before, and we’re going to keep talking about them because they’re the jewels of the Natural State. Here you’ll find 14 small towns that are mighty when it comes to incredible, unique monuments, restaurants, and legends. You’ll find 14 surprises, and you may even call one of them home.
Gurdon is famous for its light. Not any old light, but a light that mysteriously disappears and reappears. The light has been doing this for generations, long before electricity was common in the region. Legend says it’s the ghost of a railroad worker who lost his life and his head to a railway accident. The light is allegedly the man carrying his lamp around, looking for his missing head.
Beaver used to be home to a theme park called Dinosaur World. Now it’s home to the abandoned dinosaurs that remained after the theme park closed. It’s really an incredible place to drive by, and the photo opportunities are one-of-a-kind.
Probably not best to try to break in and get close ups, though, as the land is privately owned and you'll be chased off.
Only about 745 people live in Altus, and the people are vastly outnumbered by grapes. There are several amazing wineries there. The vineyards are spectacular to look at, and there’s nothing quite like drinking wine made in your home state.
4. Lake Village
Fewer than 3,000 people live in Lake Village, and they’re outnumbered by something too—namely, they’re outnumbered by fish. Lake Village is so named because it’s near gorgeous Lake Chicot, the largest oxbow lake in North America. Lake Chicot is a famous destination for fishermen from all over.
Located at the intersection of I-49 and I-40, you may recognize the small town of Alma from its position as a good place to pick up a meal or fill up on gas between Fayetteville and Little Rock. What you may not know about this town is that it’s also the Spinach Capital of the World. Alma has paid homage to this vegetable by commissioning a statue of Popeye for their downtown area and painting their water tower like a can of spinach.
If you don’t know what Bauxite is, I’ll tell you. It’s two things: it’s an ore used to make aluminum, and it’s a tiny town in Saline County, Arkansas named after that ore. One of the most memorable features of this tiny town is its Bauxite Museum. They’re you’ll find the interesting Bauxite Teeth, which happened when the excess fluoride required to smelt bauxite into aluminum found its way into the water supply. The teeth are truly creepy. They’re ugly, they’re brown, and you’ll want to see them.
The small south Arkansas town of Emerson is very fond of the purple hull pea. Well, you might imagine they would be, as they are Arkansans, but I mean Emerson is
really fond of the purple hull pea. Their park is named for it, and they have a Purple Hull Pea Festival every year.
8. Walnut Ridge
The Beatles stopped over in the small town of Walnut Ridge in 1964. They may have been only changing planes, but it doesn’t matter. Their visit stuck with the citizens of Walnut Ridge. Today you’ll find a statue that shows the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, and a festival called Beatles at the Ridge that’s held every September.
Ozark is a small town located on the Arkansas River. It’s scenic, alright, but the number one draw is the fantastic barbecue place called Rivertowne Barbecue. People come from all over to eat this delicious slow-cooked meat, and it’s well worth the drive.
Paris is a charming little town set in the Ouachita Mountains, and its proximity to the highest point in Arkansas, Mount Magazine, makes it a popular place to visit. An additional draw of Paris is how much fun it’s having with its name. In downtown Paris you’ll find a fountain that features a scale model of the Eiffel Tower.
The north central town of Salem is small, but it’s also the headquarters of North Arkansas Electric Cooperative, and this business is the reason for Salem’s coolest feature. In front of the headquarters you’ll find a larger-than-life statue of a lineman climbing a pole. It’s dedicated to the eight linemen who’ve lost their lives on the job with NAEC.
Carthage is a tiny town, and it’s got the creepiest tree in Arkansas. Though some locals will tell you that the tree was sick and needed to be burned out and bricked up to prevent it disturbing the graves at the cemetery, others will tell you the legend of the tree surgeon. It’s said that if you removed the bricks, you’d find the decomposing corpse of a tree surgeon, buried in the place he loved best.
Berryville is pretty close to the resort town of Eureka Springs, and it’s an adorable little place. One of the biggest draws to this little town is Snake World, which displays snakes from all over the world and serves as an educational center about the serpentine reptiles.
14. Calico Rock
East Calico Rock, also called the Peppersauce Ghost Town, is the only authentic ghost town totally within the city limits of an existing town. The place is undeniably interesting, and maybe just a tad eerie. The tour contains 20 unique old buildings that show what books can’t about the way towns live and die.