Arkansas is a place full of fantastic towns and we’ve spent time discussing many of them. Below you’ll find a list of greatest hits; the Arkansas towns you need to make plans to visit sometime this year. From ghost towns to relaxing little cities to the perfect town for nature lovers, these are places that deserve your attention. These 15 Arkansas cities are unique, full of wonder, and exactly the kind of places where you’ll want to spend your time in 2017.
Eureka Springs is our favorite quirky little town.
Located in Carroll County, Eureka Springs is a delight. Born from the idea that people would enjoy the healing waters of Ozark Mountain Springs and sustained by the beauty of those Ozarks and its own quirky flare, Eureka Springs has become a favorite destination for out-of-state visitors and native Arkansans alike. More than just the historic look of this Victorian village, folks love that Eureka Springs is incredibly unique. Its character, devotion to the arts, natural beauty, adorable shops, and historic appeal make it well worth a visit.
Calico Rock is the only town in the nation with a ghost town entirely inside its city limits.
Calico Rock is a quaint little mountain town, but even all its cozy wonder isn’t what makes it so unusual. What gives it that little extra something is its eastern district. East Calico Rock, also called the Peppersauce Ghost Town, is the only ghost town in the United States located entirely within the city limits of another town. The twenty remaining buildings there are true wonders that will play on your imagination, allowing you to imagine the ghosts who roam the streets where they once lived.
Walnut Ridge is anything but ordinary.
You might be surprised to find a monument of the Beatles’ iconic Abbey Road album cover in a small Arkansas Delta town, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in Walnut Ridge. You see, in Walnut Ridge, they really like the Beatles. If you’re planning to go to Walnut Ridge, and you should be planning to go there, go on September 15th and 16th this year, because that’s when they’ll have their Beatles at the Ridge festival and it is truly unique and awesome.
El Dorado is so perfectly southern.
The south Arkansas town of El Dorado is a delightful place where you can wander through the downtown area and never forget you’re in the proper South. El Dorado is a place surrounded by natural beauty and brimming with charm and friendly people. It’s definitely the quintessential southern city you need to visit.
Jasper is a nature lover’s dream.
Jasper is the gateway to the Buffalo National River, located only six miles from the Arkansas Grand Canyon. It's also right near Twin Falls, close to Mystic Caverns, and less than an hour from Hawksbill Crag. It’s pretty amazing that this little town can be that close to so many natural wonders, actually, but it totally is. With a population of under five hundred, Jasper is a glorious tiny town with lots of outfitters, one of the oldest restaurants in the state, and so much natural wonder you won’t know what to do with yourself.
Cotter is a quiet little fishing town.
Cotter is a quiet little town with a glorious old bridge and tons of history primarily centered around one activity: fishing. Its position on the banks of the White River makes it Trout Capital, USA, which means you can have a great time reeling in the big ones there. They’ve got outfitters, guided fishing tours, and charming places to stay, and you’d be wise to spend a little time fishing there this year.
Hot Springs is one of the best barbecue cities in America.
As if you needed another reason to visit
the most relaxing city in Arkansas, I know, but Thrillist has named Hot Springs one of the best barbecue cities in America and I’m pretty sure they’re not wrong. Hot Springs has more rockin’ little barbecue joints per capita than anywhere else in the Natural State, and you should definitely check them all out.
Batesville is one of the oldest cities in Arkansas.
Batesville is one of the oldest cities in Arkansas, the second oldest still in existence if you exclude all the communities that formed and then withered away. They’ve done a lot to revitalize their downtown area, and the history you’ll find there just can’t be matched. You should especially try to visit the newly updated Melba Theater, which began as an opera house way back in the 1800s.
You’ll never run out of things to do in Heber Springs.
If you’re looking for a place to spend some time this summer, you can’t do much better than Heber Springs. It’s next to absolutely fantastic Greers Ferry Lake, and it’s a veritable wonderland full of resorts, events, and a gorgeous downtown area to match its gorgeous natural spaces. You’re going to love all the charming little places to stay, and of course the lovely beaches.
Rush is a ghost town you don’t want to miss.
Back in its heyday, Rush was the second biggest town in Arkansas. Even that couldn’t save it from the collapse of the zinc industry, which left its citizens to flee in search of greener pastures. What remains today is series of structures dating from 1880 that are fading into the forest. It’s an eerie reminder of the consequences of what happens when time opportunity pass a community by.
Fort Smith is the most underrated town in Arkansas.
In 2013, Fort Smith, Arkansas’s second largest city, was named one of the most miserable cities in the U.S. The people who said that, however, missed one important feature of that town: its awesomeness. Fort Smith is full of history, some truly incredible locally-owned restaurants and businesses, and is doing unexpected things in their downtown with their Unexpected Festival of Murals. I’m not overestimating the awesomeness, either. Fort Smith really is a delight.
Mountain View is Arkansas’s best kept secret.
The town of Mountain View is a small place, but it’s full of big fun. This surprising little town is practically paradise and there are tons of things to do there. It’s close to Blanchard Springs Caverns, Mirror Lake and its fantastic dam that forms a two-tiered waterfall. The downtown area is as quaint as they come, and it’s also home to Ozark Folk Center State Park, where you can learn all about Ozarks culture. You definitely need to visit this Folk Music Capital of the World, because there are about a million things you need to see and do there.
Ozark is the little town with the best restaurant.
Ozark is a great place to visit, and you’re going to love the little barbecue place there. The town is located on the banks of the Arkansas River, and Rivertowne Barbecue is right near the river in the adorable little downtown district. People from all over drive to eat there, and you'll definitely want to see why.
Paris is perfect for a fall day trip.
This fall you’re going to want to get away from it all, and there’s no better place to do that than in the picturesque little town of Paris. Paris is in the shadow of Mount Magazine, which has overlooks that really can’t be beat. More than just that breathtakingly beautiful scenic mountain, Paris has a downtown area you’ll love exploring. It’s full of history, charm, and even has its own scale model of the Eiffel Tower.
Fayetteville turns into a winter wonderland each year.
When December rolls around again, you’re going to want to visit Fayetteville. Every year the Fayetteville Square transforms into a gorgeous winter wonderland, and you don’t want to miss the thousands upon thousands of lights there. You also won’t want to miss the carriage rides, the camels, the hot chocolate, or the delightful reindeer they invite to Lights of the Ozarks each year.