Arkansas might not be your first choice for places to visit when you are planning a vacation, but there are plenty of great outdoor activities to do in this southern state. Arkansas is home to mountain ranges, rivers, and hot springs. The state might still have the reputation of being “backwoods,” but the state has been home to many successful people and it continues to be a place full of culture and enterprise.
Hot Springs: America’s First Resort
One of the most beautiful parts of the state is the area near Hot Springs. This area is named for the hot springs that make this city unique. This part of Arkansas is home to Hot Springs Mountain which feeds the hot water springs. This area has been a popular with tourists because of the hot baths that were built over the springs, where tourists would rest in the healing water of the hot baths. The baths are now closed and have become a part of the Hot Springs National Park where the buildings along Bathhouse Row from the 1800s and early 1900s have been preserved for history.
If you are interested in more than history, the Hot Springs area is also home to beautiful lakes that provide opportunity for water sports and activities. Lakes Hamilton, Catherine, and Ouachita have plenty of room for boating, waterskiing, fishing, and swimming. There are many relaxing resorts with lush green golf courses, horseback riding, and more. Along the lakes there are also plenty of areas with hiking trails that allow you to get safely lost in the woods for the day.
Dig for Diamonds
One of the most unique features of Arkansas is that it contains one of the largest diamond mines in the world. Crater of Diamonds State Park is in the middle of an extinct volcanic crater. Visitors can literally dig for diamonds in the huge plowed field. What sets this park apart from other diamond excavation sites is that visitors get to keep whatever they find. You are not guaranteed to find any diamonds, but people do find them every day. There is a small fee to begin digging and the park does rent a full digging kit for a low price.
Visiting Little Rock
If you prefer spending time in the city, Little Rock is a nice city with plenty of things to do. Those who love shopping for antiques have plenty of great shops to visit. There are also plenty of historic sites to visit, especially since Little Rock had a prominent role in the Civil War and in the Civil Rights movement. The city is home to the Clinton Presidential Center which holds the library, foundation, and school of public service. The Clinton Presidential Center has regular daily activities and many special events for visitors of all ages and political inclinations.
The state also has other areas that provide opportunities to explore. Fayetteville is home to two theaters that tourists and locals enjoy visiting: TheaterSquared and the Walton Arts Center. Blanchard Springs Caverns provides a unique place to visit underground caves and the nearby Blanchard Springs Recreational Area has several outdoor activities available for visitors, too.
Who knew Arkansas would be a top vacation destination?