Take This Road Trip Through Arkansas’s Most Picturesque Small Towns For A Charming Experience
If you want to have some laid back road time and slow-paced exploration, you’ve come to the right place. You’re not going to find a more scenic drive or more picturesque, slow-paced small towns anywhere else – these are all Natural State originals. Visiting these nine Arkansas gems is going to take about nine and a half hours of drive time, but I want to reassure you that the roads you’ll be taking are incredibly scenic, so not a single minute of that car time is going to waste. This road trip is about taking it slow and enjoying the view, so pack your bags and let’s get on the road, there are nine adorable small towns just waiting to charm us.
For a complete itinerary,
Please note, Blanchard Springs Caverns is temporarily closed.
Hardy’s downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it’s for good reason. This little town of 768 souls began as a railroad camp in 1884, and its downtown has maintained that turn-of-the-century feel all this time. You’ll want to explore the historic buildings in the area and the adorable little shops that inhabit them.
2. Mountain View
Mountain View is the Folk Music Capital of the World and home to Ozark Folk Center State Park, where different aspects of Ozark tradition are taught and displayed. Mountain View is incredible all on its own - a place full of music and tradition and plain old nice folks, but it’s also a must-see town because of its proximity to Mirror Lake and Blanchard Springs Caverns.
Jasper is a gateway to the Buffalo National River. It isn’t all canoes and scenic forest, though. Jasper’s downtown area is positively adorable. You’ll find shops and gorgeous little mountain cafes there, along with an old courthouse and gazebos in the downtown square.
4. Eureka Springs
I very nearly didn’t include Eureka Springs, because of the drive time from Jasper and to Oark, but then I thought the drive is pretty incredible anyway, and I’d be seriously remiss to leave out a little town that many places have called one of the coolest small towns in America. If you’ve never been to Eureka Springs, let me tell you what you’ll find there: incredible shopping, food, and hotels, all set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Ozarks, in a town in which the entire city limits is on the list of National Register of Historic Places. You’re not going to find a small town more picturesque than this one.
The Oark General Store is the lynchpin of this little unincorporated community. It’s not only the oldest restaurant in Arkansas, it’s the oldest continually running business. I’m taking you through Oark so you’ll get to experience the drive, too, but mostly because you’ve never met a restaurant more full of charm and deliciousness.
Who’s ready for some wine now? Well, they’ve got acres and acres of grapes in Altus, and they use them to make wine. Including the picturesque charm of touring the wineries, you’ll also want to eat at Weiderkehr’s Weinkeller restaurant. Here’s where I’ll admit to being a foodie, guys. I’m a foodie, and Weinkeller is hands down one of the best restaurants I’ve ever experienced.
In the shadow of Mount Magazine, you’ll find the most glorious little town. It’s called Paris, and they’re so excited about their name that they built themselves a scale model of the Eiffel Tower. I can’t say enough about Paris’s charms, its proximity to Mount Magazine and Cove Lake, its incredibly friendly population, and its beautifully developed downtown area make this one of Arkansas’s most picturesque small towns.
Subiaco is quaint and tiny, and what’s most impressive about this small town isn’t its setting, which is breathtaking. It’s the architecture and history there that are truly extraordinary. If you’re into the picturesque, you won’t find a better place to spend a relaxing afternoon exploring gorgeous structures like the Subiaco Abbey and Academy, which have somewhat of an Old World feel to them.
9. Mount Ida
Now that you’ve seen the Folk Music Capital of the World, you’ll need to see another world capital as well. Mount Ida is the Quartz Crystal Capital of the World, and you’ll find tons of opportunities to hunt for gorgeous quartz crystals, as well as opportunities to buy them from several family-run rock shops. Mount Ida is located in the scenic Ouachita National Forest, and it’s in the same county as Lake Ouachita, too.
If you’re interested in towns with tons of history,
check out these little guys.
If long, relaxing drives are your thing,
you’re going to love this one.
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