For most of us, there comes a time when we just want to “get the heck outta Dodge.” From the planned romantic weekend to the spontaneous road trip or treasure hunt, the Natural State is home to many stress-free getaway destinations. If you’re looking for the just the right place to get away from it all then this list of 15 perfect Arkansas getaways is what you’re looking for.
With an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit, the 47 natural springs coming out of the Hot Springs Mountain make this Arkansas getaway a real hot spot. Folks near and far have long-been attracted by these uncommon geothermal waters that are famous for their therapeutic and healing properties. You won’t need Calgon to take you away while visiting one of the two bathhouses still operating within the Bathhouse Row National Historic Landmark District. The 5,500-acre Hot Springs National Park also features 26 miles of trails, beautiful grounds perfect for camping or picnicking, and scenic mountain roads that are worth the drive.
Come celebrate the American spirit at this one-of-a-kind Arkansas attraction where art and nature collide. Featuring artists like Georgia O’Keefe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Andy Warhol, and Norman Rockwell, a Crystal Bridge’s getaway is more than just eye candy. Designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie and founded by the Walton Family Foundation, Crystal Bridges has been a favorite among locals and travelers since it opened in late 2011. The museum’s 120-acre park is decorated with trails and sculptures that connect the location to downtown Bentonville. General admission is sponsored by Walmart and allows guests to view Crystal Bridge’s permanent collection free of charge.
Great River Road is the oldest and longest National Scenic Byway in America and runs through ten states as it follows the path of the Mississippi River. Of the many things to do along this 3,000-mile road, geocaching is becoming a bucket-list activity for folks of all ages. Geocaching participants experience a collision of nature and technology as they use GPS coordinates to treasure hunt in this environmentally-friendly adventure. While there are no official rules to this first-world version of hide-and-seek, cachers follow general guidelines pertaining to conduct and participation.
Known for its crystal-clear waters, the 13,800-acre DeGray Lake is one of five Diamond Lakes in the Ouachita Mountain region. As Arkansas’ only resort state park, DeGray features an 18-hole championship golf course, a full-service marina, and the perfect settings for water sports, hiking, and many other outdoor adventures. Within the park is a richness of birdlife and wildlife, scenic views and beaches, and an island in the lake.
If you’re looking for a thrilling getaway then experience the world of the underground at this “living cave” located in the Ozark National Forest just outside of Mountain View. The crystalline formations inside of this three-level cave system are still changing today due to minerals deposited by dripping water. Blanchard Springs Cavern is part of the Sylamore Ranger District which offers many recreational opportunities like several campgrounds, a shooting range, and Leatherwood Wilderness, the largest wilderness in Arkansas.
Located on the campus of Arkansas’ only public liberal-arts school, Henderson State University, this Victorian-era home was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Aug. 24, 1998. What began as a small cottage in the late 1800s has grown into a historically designed 9,000 square foot mansion featuring eight guest rooms. Named after Charles Christopher Henderson, this bed & breakfast has an elegant ambiance that is perfect for pampering.
While diamonds come in all the colors of the rainbow, the ones found in this plowed 37-acre field are white, brown, and yellow. Visitors come from all over to dig for diamonds atop the eroded surface of the world’s eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater. Diamonds aren’t the only treasure hiding here though. Several other rocks and minerals have been found here as well, including amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, and quartz. This unique destination also includes multiple campsites, a pavilion, the Kimberlite Café Restaurant, the Diamond Discovery Center, and the Diamond Springs Water Park. As the world’s only “keep what you find” diamond site, Arkansas’s Crater of Diamonds.
The White River Inn an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge that was custom built from coastal Western Red Cedar logs. This full-service lodge-style bed and breakfast features five suites and sits some 300 feet above the White River. The White River Inn is a favorite among fly fishing enthusiasts and is famous for having the world record of brown trout inhabiting its waters.
This award-winning boutique hotel is hidden away on Sassafras Hill just minutes from historic downtown Fayetteville. This beautiful oasis features seven guest rooms where you’ll find a luxurious mix of modern comfort and old world charm. If your getaway requires group reservations, the event venues at Pratt Place are just as breathtaking.
With eight marinas, 10 campsites, and swimming beaches, Greers Ferry Lake is an outdoor lover’s dream getaway. The area is perfect for hiking and is famous for its well-known landmark, Sugar Loaf Mountain, which residents have been climbing for many generations. Formed by Greers Ferry Dam, the lake’s water is deep enough to provide opportunities like scuba diving, skiing, and boating. The dam and lake were dedicated in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, his last public appearance before his assassination in Dallas, Texas.
Outdoor adventures await on the western side of the 1,400-acre Lake Fort Smith. Located in the valley of the Boston Mountain Range, Lake Fort Smith State Park features everything from playground to marina. The Western Terminus of the Ozark Highlands Trail is located at this popular Arkansas destination.
Since 1955 the Barnes family has proudly owned and operated this award-winning getaway destination. Mountain Harbor Resort is on the beautiful Lake Ouachita under the shade of Hickory Nut Mountain. Guests will discover such things as premier luxury cabins, the Mountain Harbor Marina, and the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, as well as many other popular Arkansas attractions.
Devil’s Den State Park, built during the Great Depression, captures the conservation and craftsmanship legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), better known as the “Tree Army” of FDR’s New Deal. Nestled in Lee Creek Valley and surrounded by the Ozark National Forest, this Arkansas icon is a treasure chest of trails, caves, and caverns. A native stone dam spans Lee Creek forming the eight-acre Lake Devil. Cabins and campsites are available as well.
The Victorian era comes alive in this regionally and nationally recognized icon. BedandBreakfast.com names The Empress “one of the top 10 inns in the United States” and you’ll find the only Spa Suites in Arkansas inside the luxurious suites at this AAA Four Diamond B&B. The Empress breathes true Southern hospitality and even features elegant silver service complete with a bow-tied butler.
Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Shelton’s Big Flat Getaway features several fully-furnished cabins, RV hook-ups, and covered horse stables for your horses. Shelton’s is adjacent to the 1.2-million acre Ozark-St. Francis National Forests with multiple horseback riding trailheads on site. Explore the wildlife and wilderness of the Arkansas Ozarks from the comfort of this Big Flat Getaway.