Arkansans have the odd problem of nearly having too many wonderful attractions to visit in a lifetime. Our bucket lists can get pretty lengthy and that’s just with the well-known attractions. There’s no doubt that Devil’s Den and Hawksbill Crag are must-visits, but the Natural State also has some overlooked gems that just as deserving. We’ve gathered 14 of our favorite destinations that tend to get overlooked. Whether it’s because of more well-known attractions stealing the spotlight or they’re simply out of the way, these great destinations deserve a visit.
1. Daisy State Park - Kirby
Daisy tends to get overlooked since it's in the middle of three of the state's most popular parks. Most folks head to Cossatot, Crater of Diamonds, or DeGray Lake Resort without realizing they've missed this treasure. Enjoy camping alongside Lake Greeson and float along the Little Missouri River. The park is located at 103 E Park Rd., Kirby, AR 71950.
2. Arkansas Trail - Roland
There's no doubt that Pinnacle Hills State Park is a treasured gem but there's one trail that many folks unknowingly skip over. Besides the wide variety of activities throughout the park, the area also houses the Arkansas Arboretum. The main trail through the Arboretum, the Arkansas Trail, takes hikers through all six of Arkansas' diverse regions. Be sure to take the hike at 11901 Pinnacle Valley Rd., Roland, AR 72135.
3. Moro Bay State Park - Jersey
This relaxing lakeside getaway is less frequented than other lake-featuring parks like Bull Shoals. Check out the Moro Bay Ferry exhibit to see the historic tugboat before taking a rented pedal boat out on Raymond Lake. Moro Bay is located at 6071 Hwy 600 S., Jersey, AR 71651.
4. Mt. Sequoyah Woods - Fayetteville
It may not have the state park status of some of the other mountains but Mt. Sequoyah Woods is a lovely spot that Fayetteville folks keep to themselves. Mt. Sequoyah Woods Trail is a perfect escape for that "lost in the woods" feeling while being in a safe environment. One of the access points for the trail is located at 5 N Happy Hollow Rd., Fayetteville, AR 72701.
5. Illinois River Watershed Sanctuary - Cave Springs
Cave Springs is definitely a hidden gem in the cluster of NWA cities. The town's Illinois River Watershed Sanctuary is a preserved natural area that protects Cave Springs’ cave spring. The serenity of this picnic spot can beat out the busy city parks any day. You can find this little park at 219 S Main St., Cave Springs, AR 72718.
6. Wilderness Rider Buffalo Ranch & Adventure Park - Kingston
Arkansans know and love the Boxley Valley elk herd but many don't realize a buffalo herd isn't too far away. The Wilderness Rider Buffalo Ranch & Adventure Park offers a unique blend of activities from off-roading trails, camping, to just sitting back and watching the buffalo roam. The park is located at HC 65, Box 232, Kingston, AR 72742.
7. Strawberry Bluff - Clarksville
Arkansas is filled with scenic overlooks but Strawberry Bluff is one that's well, overlooked. The gorgeous views can be reached with just a bit of backroad driving and a pleasantly short jaunt to the bluff. From Hwy. 21 take Hwy. 292 for 3.7 miles. On your left will be County Road 3631, take that for 4 miles. Another left onto County Road 4631 will take you uphill, follow that for a mile. The trail to the bluff will be on the right side of the road.
8. H.E. Flanagan Prairie Natural Area - Charleston
Frolic through the fields of this lovely tallgrass prairie. The liatris and forb wildflowers are thriving in a picture-perfect fashion. This is one of the remaining remnants of what used to be 135,000 acres of prairie land. For directions, use these
9. Wildwood Park for the Arts - Little Rock
Undoubtedly some specific names come to mind when thinking about gardens to visit in Arkansas. Unless you already live around Little Rock, you may be missing out on one of the most gorgeous, yet underrated gardens in the state. The park is located at 20919 Denny Rd, Little Rock, AR 72223.
10. Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary - Quitman
We all know and love the big cats at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge but there's another animal sanctuary in the state. Riddle's provides a haven for retired and rescue elephants. On the first Saturday of each month they host a Visitors Day so the public can take a peek at the pachyderm residents for a small donation. Riddle's is located at 233 Pumpkin Center Circle in Quitman.
11. Flatside Pinnacle — Jessieville
Mount Magazine is a must but don't skip over Flatside Pinnacle. The jaw-dropping views are easily reached after a short .7-mile hike. For directions, use these
12. Old Spanish Treasure Cave - Sulphur Springs
Blanchard Springs is must visit but by no means is it the only cave to see. The Old Spanish Treasure Cave in Sulphur Springs has a history dating back a whopping 350 years. According to legend it houses gold from the Seven Cities of Cibola, hidden by Conquistador Coronado’s men. Blocked off passages of the cave have recently been uncovered so the chances at finding some sort of treasure are still promising. The cave is located at 14290 N Highway 59, Sulphur Springs, AR 72768.
13. Black Bass Lake Park - Eureka Springs
We all know and love Eureka Springs but this particular park often gets out-shined by Basin Spring Park or Lake Leatherwood. Black Bass Lake is nine acres and is surrounded by a mile-long trail. The underrated park is located at 1303 County Road 204 near Eureka Springs.
14. Emerald Park - North Little Rock
Encompassing 135 acres in North Little Rock, Emerald Park has bluffs and views of the Arkansas River that are simply spectacular. Whether you’re out for a hike or a stroll, this underrated park is a great place to find scenic beauty just minutes away from Arkansas’s largest city. Emerald Park is located on West Scenic Drive in North Little Rock.
Of course, you wouldn’t be a real Arkansan unless you’ve already visited at least one of these spots. How many can you already cross off your list? Is there a place you would add? Share with us in the comments below!