The year 2016 is finally coming to an end, and that means we have a brand new year to look forward to. We can make plans, write out resolutions, and have hope for a better year. Below you’re going to find both a greatest hits of places featured on this website in 2016 and a list of all the things you absolutely have to do in 2017. These 23 places are the perfect 2017 Arkansas bucket list items and they’re a fantastic way to plan out your new year. Your very first resolution should be to make it all the way through this amazing list of Arkansas experiences.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Eureka Springs Treehouses
They have treehouses, hobbit caves, and castles where you can stay. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THERE ARE HOBBIT CAVES AND CASTLES THERE.
This place is located at 526 West Van Buren in Eureka Springs.
2. Blanchard Springs Caverns (Fifty-Six)
This one made the list because it’s an incredible living cave full of wonders, and because the Dripstone Trail there is the one tour you absolutely have to take in Arkansas.
You can get there by driving to NF 54 Forest Rd 1110-A in Fifty-Six.
3. El Dorado
El Dorado is a perfectly delightful town. It is also Arkansas’s most perfectly Southern town. Their downtown has been beautifully restored, the people are super nice, and it’s a place you definitely need to visit this year.
4. Terra Studios (Fayetteville)
If you’re looking for one of the most unique places in the Natural State and a place that will make you feel like a kid again, you can’t do better than Terra Studios. This Arkansas art park is full of whimsy and wonder.
Terra Studios is located at 12103 Hazel Valley Road in Fayetteville.
5. Walnut Ridge
This little Delta town has a gorgeous tribute to the Beatles and a Beatles-themed festival each fall. There’s also a really cool restaurant there called the Parachute Inn where you can eat in a retired airplane.
Parachute Inn is located at 10 Sky Watch in Walnut Ridge.
6. The Arkansas Grand Canyon
The Arkansas Grand Canyon might not be as deep as the one out west, but it’s spectacular and something you definitely need to see to believe.
7. Longbow Resort (Edgemont)
When things get exhausting, there’s one place you really need to stay. Longbow Resort is practically paradise, a place where you can truly get away from it all. Bonus: they have waterfalls!
Longbow Resort is located at 4349 Prim Road in Edgemont.
8. Fort Smith
Fort Smith is one of the most underrated cities in the Natural State, and if you don’t visit, you’ll be missing out on the incredible history of Arkansas’s hanging city, a delightful downtown area complete with beautiful murals and great shopping, and some of the most delicious food in Arkansas.
9. Whitaker Point
You really do have to visit Arkansas’s most photographed rock, and it’s because the views are incredible. It’s also called Hawksbill Crag, but no matter what you call it, this place is breathtaking.
You’ll find Whitaker Point Trail on Highway 21 near Ponca.
10. Livingston Junction Cabooses (Eureka Springs)
Another place where you need to stay is in one of the lovely cabooses of Livingston Junction. These quaint little cabins are the perfect place to jump on board and have a relaxing little adventure.
Livingston Junction Cabooses are located at 1 Stonehaven Lane in Eureka Springs.
11. The Castle on Stagecoach (Little Rock)
If you’re looking for a fairy tale experience, you need to head to the Castle on Stagecoach. This Little Rock dreamscape was built in 1935, and it truly does offer a fairy tale experience.
The Castle on Stagecoach is located at 6601 Stagecoach Road in Little Rock.
12. Devil’s Den State Park
Devil’s Den State Park should go on your annual bucket list because it’s like experiencing a dream. The trails there offer chances to see caves, gorgeous overlooks, waterfalls, and all the beauty of the dense Ozark forest.
This state park is located at 11333 AR-74 in West Fork.
13. Weinkeller Restaurant (Altus)
This restaurant might be miles and miles away from major population centers, but it’s totally worth the drive. Located in the town of Altus, the heart of Arkansas wine country, Weinkeller Restaurant offers European cuisine with charming old world flare.
Weinkeller is located at 3324 Swiss Family Drive, on the grounds of Wierderkehr Wine Cellars, a delightful Arkansas winery.
14. Oark General Store (Oark)
The Oark General Store is the longest continually operational business in Arkansas, and it’s become a restaurant that people drive from all over to enjoy. Located in tiny little Oark, this general store is full of awesome that deserves to be enjoyed.
You can get there by driving to 10360 County Road 5440 in Ozone.
15. Mountain View
Welcome to the Folk Music Capital of the World. Mountain View is close to some truly gorgeous natural wonders like Blanchard Springs Caverns and Mirror Lake. In addition to all that nature, you’ll also find Ozark Folk Center State Park, where you can learn all about Ozarks culture.
16. Hot Springs
Hot Springs is a great place to go for a spa experience because of the incredible spas there, but it’s also a fantastic place for barbecue enthusiasts. With a row full of bathhouses, incredible shopping, and tons of delicious barbecue restaurants, a trip to Hot Springs definitely needs to go on your bucket list.
17. White Rock Mountain
If you’re wondering about the one place in Arkansas that looks like something from Middle Earth, that place is White Rock Mountain. You can gaze off the top of the mountain to the thickly forested land below, and feel like a real elf while you do it.
18. Lakeport Plantation (Lake Village)
The Lakeport Plantation is alive with history. It fell into disrepair, but was donated to Arkansas State University and beautifully restored. You can visit this old plantation to learn more about the history of the Arkansas Delta.
Lakeport Plantation is located at 601 Highway 142 in Lake Village.
19. East Calico Rock
East Calico Rock, also known as the Peppersauce Ghost Town, is the only ghost town in America located entirely within the city limits of a living town, which definitely makes it worth a visit.
20. The Buffalo National River
The Buffalo River was the first river in the United States to be federally protected for recreation, and that happened because it’s a truly spectacular place to spend your recreation time.
21. Beckham Cave Lodge
Okay, this lodge is pretty expensive, so gather up your friends and pool your tax returns, folks, because it’s worth it. At this extraordinary lodge, you can sleep in an actual cave. It’s absolutely stunning.
You can make arrangements or inquire about pricing, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
22. Jones Bar-B-Q Diner (Marianna)
Jones Bar-B-Q Diner has been given a prestigious James Beard award as one of America’s Classics. That’s because this little barbecue joint has been serving the Arkansas Delta for a long time, and their food is absolutely to die for.
Jones Barbecue Diner is located at 219 West Louisiana Street in Marianna.
23. Mammoth Spring
Mammoth Spring is the largest spring in Arkansas. Your trip there comes complete with a fish hatchery, a visitor center made from an old train depot, a cool old dam, and super fun paddle boats. This spring also becomes Spring Lake and the mighty Spring River.