There's no shortage of things to do in Arkansas. From natural wonders to fantastical journeys of imagination, visitors to the Natural State will discover a long list of things to do. There is no U.S. state quite like Arkansas, from the rugged terrain to the rushing river waters that wander through the gorges and valleys. Arkansas is a place where hiking and biking beckon year-round. North Central and Northwest Arkansas cover a vast portion the Ozarks. The Ozark Mountains is the largest area of rugged topography between the Appalachians and the Rockies. The Boston Mountains in Northwest Arkansas feature the highest peaks of the Ozark Mountains, many of them exceed 2,000 feet.
Northwest Arkansas is rich in culture, food, music, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, lakes, rivers, history and much more. This region of the Ozarks is rapidly becoming America's new outdoor playground.
Below is a list of outdoor adventures and popular things to do in beautiful Northwest Arkansas.
Altus/ Wine Country
Northwest Arkansas is the state’s top wine making region. The small rural town of Altus proudly touts several of the top wineries in the state. The wineries that operate in this small town are Mount Bethel, Post, Chateaux Aux Arc, Dionysus Wine & Brew, Wiederkehr Wine Cellar & Restaurant, and Neumeler. Visitors also enjoy unique dining and shopping experiences in the historic Downtown square of Altus.
Amazeum is a 50,000-SF discovery and creativity museum located in Bentonville, Arkansas. This "hub of fun" is aimed at children and families, emphasizing hands-on learning spaces of interactive art and science exhibits, including a fun climbable canopy structure, a "tinkering studio" for young inventors and a full acre of outdoor space.
Arkansas & Missouri Railroad
Travel through the Boston Mountains on vintage rail cars. The first excursion takes you from Springdale to Van Buren. This is a day-long (134 miles) round trip through the scenic Ozarks. Enjoy a 3 hour layover for lunch and shopping in Van Buren, Arkansas. The second excursion is from Van Buren to Winslow. This excursion is a three-hour (70-mile) round trip and it takes you through the rugged beautiful Boston Mountains, over three valley trestles, and through the 1700-foot-long Winslow tunnel. The third excursion is from Fort Smith to Winslow. It is also a three-hour (70 mile) round trip excursion that takes you through the rugged beautiful Boston Mountains, over three valley trestles and through the 1700-foot-long Winslow tunnel for breathtaking views of the Ozarks. They offer specials events throughout the year. One of the most popular is the Christmas Train event.
Arkansas Scenic 7
One of the most scenic drives in the nation, Scenic Highway 7 runs from the Louisiana border to Bull Shoals Lake near the Missouri state-line, passing through both the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains. Numerous restaurants, resorts, attractions and scenic overlooks are found along the route. Scenic 7 is considered one of the top 10 driving experiences in the United States.
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Game and Fish Commission nature center was built on former Fort Chaffee land in Fort Smith near the Wells Lake (popular spot for fishing and picnics). It includes a gift shop, classroom, multipurpose room, a wildlife workshop and a 1,200-gallon aquarium containing species relevant to the Arkansas River.
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Northwest Arkansas has the only botanical garden in the state. The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks features 12 gardens and a butterfly house, with landscaped grounds where four seasons of native flora and fauna thrive beautifully. The garden is magnificently different and quite enchanting. The Garden offers event opportunities of all kinds throughout the year, including weddings, corporate meetings, private gatherings and birthday parties. Other garden events include: free summer concerts, the popular Firefly Fling family festival, the International Festival, Little Sprouts and Garden Buds educational programs for children.
Beaver Lake is nestled in the Ozark Mountains and is the birthplace of the White River. This large 28,000 acre lake is a wonderful lake to be enjoyed all year. Campsites available for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages. Year-round marinas provide boat rentals, fishing guides, groceries, supplies and services.
Bull Shoals Lake
Bull Shoals Lake has more than 45,000 surface acres of water and a 1,000-mile shoreline, is a popular destination for anglers and outdoor enthusiasts. Largemouth bass and big stripers (in the 50-pound class). Many locals and visitors enjoy the pristine lake waters for skiing, swimming and boating as well. Many accommodations and guide services are available.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
The Crystal Bridges Museum is situated on 120 wooded acres in Bentonville Arkansas. This permanent collection tells the story of America and features American masterworks dating back to the Colonial era. Crystal Bridges also contains art and education classrooms & studios, an art reference library, a restaurant, and a store.
Thorncrown Chapel/ Eureka Springs
Thorncrown Chapel is located in the hills near Eureka Springs, Arkansas. This magnificent structure rises an impressive forty-eight feet and remarkably contains 425 windows, over 6,000 square feet of glass and sits on 100 tons of native stone and colored flagstone. It is simply majestic and critics have called it "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times”.
Eureka Springs is a city in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Visitors from all parts of the country enjoy the beauty of delicately preserved Victorian buildings of its Historic District year-round. Built around the city’s natural springs, the Palace Bath House, Basin Park Hotel and the Crescent Hotel are some of the favorites. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is home to big cats and bears.