There are some things you can do in Arkansas that you really can’t do anywhere else. No, I don’t mean things like standing out in a garden with a pocket knife and a salt shaker. You can do that anywhere they grow tomatoes..of course those tomatoes won’t be as good as
Arkansas tomatoes, but still. I’m talking about places you can go in Arkansas that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet. From the nation’s legit first national park to a unique monster hunting adventure, here are 13 things you can do in Arkansas that you legitimately can’t do anywhere else.
13. Unwind at the nation’s
real first national park.
You probably thought you knew that Yellowstone was the first national park, right? You’re not entirely wrong. It was the first national park to be called a national park, yes. Hot Springs National Park, however, is so old it predates the National Park Service by several years. If you go there today, you’ll find bathhouse galore, and healing hot springs as well.
12. Enjoy the nation’s first national river.
That’s right, the Buffalo National River was the first river to be federally protected for recreation. This gorgeous river is characterized by its incredible painted bluffs and its unobstructed path through the Ozarks. The Buffalo is popular for float trips, but there’s no wrong way to experience it.
11. Gaze out at the Arkansas Grand Canyon.
There’s only one Grand Canyon, right? Well, not exactly. Arkansas has its own Grand Canyon hiding up in the Ozarks, and though its more green than gold, it’s something you absolutely have to see. And you really can’t see the Arkansas Grand Canyon anywhere but in the Natural State.
You can find the Arkansas Grand Canyon just south of Jasper on Highway 7.
10. Wander through a park full of dragons, trolls...and bluebirds?
Terra Studios has been around for decades, and in all that time they’ve added a whole bunch of whimsical sculptures you don’t want to miss. From dragons to trolls to fairies, you’ll find a whole world of wonder at this art park. Plus, it’s the home of the original bluebird of happiness, so you can watch a glass blowing demonstration and take your own happy home.
Terra Studios is located at 12103 Hazel Valley Road in Fayetteville.
9. Explore the longest bayou in the world.
Bayou Bartholomew winds 364 miles from central Arkansas all the way into Louisiana. It really is the longest bayou in the entire world, and lucky you if you drive down to Pine Bluff, you can start exploring the bayou right away. If you’re interested in ecology, you’ll be glad to hear that Bayou Bartholomew is the second most diverse stream in North America.
8. Visit the Walmart Museum.
One of the largest corporations in the world is headquartered in Bentonville, and it wouldn’t do if that huge corporation forgot its roots. In downtown Bentonville, you can find an old school rendition of Walmart, from back when Sam Walton was just a small town store owner.
The Walmart Museum is located at 105 North Main Street in Bentonville.
7. Eat world-class possum pie.
It’s not made out of possums or even opossums, it’s made out of all the goodness in the world. It’s light, refreshing . . . it’s just about the perfect pie. You can get some at several of Arkansas’s diners and restaurants, but I’m recommended Stoby’s in Russellville.
Stoby’s is located at 405 West Parkway Drive in Russellville.
6. Admire the nation’s tallest uncrucified Christ.
The Christ of the Ozarks is seven-stories tall, and he’s one of the tallest uncrucified Jesuses in the world. Though his art deco style does lend itself to less-than-appealing nicknames, like "Our Milk Carton of the Ozarks," this Christ truly is something to behold.
Christ of the Ozarks is located at 937 Passion Play Road in Eureka Springs.
5. Pet an alligator in the home of a merman.
Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo was one of the first tourist attractions in Arkansas, and it certainly lives up to the hype. You really can pet a baby alligator there, and they’ve got a real (fake) merman there, too. You’ll also see a bunch of other animals there, but that big bunch of alligators sure does steal the show.
Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo is located at 847 Whittington Avenue in Hot Springs.
4. Hunt for a unique monster.
In the small town of Fouke, something has been prowling. That something is called the Fouke Monster, though some folks call him the Boggy Creek Monster. You might not spot hide nor hair of him, but you can learn all about the legendary beast at Fouke’s Monster Mart. It pulls double duty as a convenience store and a monster-themed museum and souvenir purveyor, so you can learn, pick up a cool tee shirt and eat a candy bar all in the same spot.
Monster Mart is located at 104 US-71 in Fouke.
3. Sleep in America’s most haunted hotel.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa calls itself the most haunted hotel in America, and they might just be right about that. The Crescent’s history of hauntings date back to before the construction was even finished. Its long history has been marked by tragedies and evidence of paranormal activity.
The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is located at 75 Prospect Avenue in Eureka Springs.
2. Eat fish under fish, in a fish adoption center.
Yeah, you’re right, that is a lot of fish. Part of the fishy experience at Little Rock’s Flying Fish is the delicious fish you can eat there. And it is delicious, let me just say. However, there’s something unique about Flying Fish, and it was the very first Billy Bass adoption center, and all those discarded novelty fish now line the walls.
You can find Flying Fish at 511 President Clinton Avenue in Little Rock.
1. Dig for diamonds.
There’s only one place in the world where you can dig for diamonds in a real diamond mine, and that place is at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro. While it’s true that you might not find an enormous, life-changing gem, I wouldn’t discount the possibility completely. After all, a teenager found a giant gem there just this year.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is located at 209 State Park Road in Murfreesboro.