There are many unique places to visit in Arkansas; something 36 million enjoyed when they visited it in 2019. Its tourism sector was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but when restrictions eased, it was also among the destinations flocked by revenge travelers. Why not? It’s a mix of urban paradise and brimming wilderness.
Though it only has one national park, it is home to lots of nature spots, from waterways and falls to caverns and mountains. It’s called The Natural State, after all. Arkansas is the perfect playground for outdoor lovers and travel junkies, and the best way to explore the state is by first knowing the many things it offers.
10 Why The Name And Nickname?
Foreigners often pronounce Arkansas the same way they say Kansas. Though both names have similar origins, Arkansas is pronounced in French, thus ‘Arkansaw.’ The names were derived from the Kansa tribe, with the English pronunciation sticking to Kansas. The French pronunciation came from the ‘Arkansas’ people, believed to be related to the Kansa tribe. Even so, it’s not illegal to mispronounce Arkansas. Furthermore, why is it nicknamed The Natural State? That’s self-explanatory: it’s brimming with natural wonders, from its waterways and landscapes to wildlife.
9 Arkansas Blues
The blues music originated in the fields of the Mississippi River Delta, where “field hands” chant and sing as they toil. Their "field hollers," alongside minstrel and religious songs, evolved to become blues music. During the 1930s, the town of Helena in Arkansas was dubbed the “blues capital” because its cafes, juke joints, and streets were frequented by performers. Among those who visited the town were musicians Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin' Wolf, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, and many more. The music sounds good in Arkansas, indeed.
8 A Lone National Park
Arkansas only has one national park, but it’s not one to be missed because it’s hot, literally. Hot Springs National Park has been around since the early 1830s, serving weary travelers who want to enjoy its welcoming waters. Aside from relishing the bathhouses and checking out fountains, the park is also frequented by hikers, campers, picnickers, fishers, and bikers. The area is perfect for outdoor activities because tourists can end their day with a dip in the pools. From the wilderness to Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs National Park is a place of relaxation.
7 It’s Home To Some Pioneer Artifacts
Another interesting destination in Arkansas is the Historic Washington State Park, a place where history buffs can see pioneer artifacts. It’s like a theme park, but for history lovers as it has more than 30 buildings back when the town of Washington was an important settlement along the Southwest Trail. Exploring this park means entering such historic buildings as courthouses, a school, a blacksmith shop, a candle store, a kitchen, and various houses. The Historic Washington State Park is like one big throwback town.
6 It Has A Purse Museum And A Diamond Park
Other interesting Arkansas landmarks are ESSE Purse Museum & Store and Crater of Diamonds State Park. The former is one of only two purse museums in the world, and it features such items as bags and baskets. The latter, meanwhile, is one of the only few places in the world where real diamonds can be dug by tourists, alongside minerals, rocks, and gemstones. This shining destination in Murfreesboro offers one-of-a-kind experiences for families and friends. The ladies would probably love exploring these two places.
5 It Has The ‘Rice And Duck Capital Of The World’
The town of Stuttgart is close to the Arkansas Grand Prairie, the place where commercial production of rice in the United States started in 1904. This resulted in Arkansas being the top rice-producing state in the US. With wide fields and pristine irrigation reservoirs, ducks and geese slowly flocked to the area during migration season, making the area famous for hunters. Now nicknamed the ‘Rice and Duck Capital of the World,’ Stuttgart is teeming with attractions, activities, and events related to the two. Primarily, it’s a paradise for waterfowl hunters, but everyone's welcome, from rice lovers to birders.
4 There Are Weird Laws
Arkansas is not spared from having weird laws. There’s one supposed law always associated with the state: that the wife can be beaten once per month. Fact-check: it’s not true. However, there are other strange laws in the state. Their constitution states that atheists are not allowed to hold political offices or be court witnesses. In Fayetteville, the killing of any wild animal is illegal. In Little Rock, meanwhile, honking in a drive-thru restaurant is prohibited. Those laws might be weird, but Arkansas is not scary, anyway.
3 It Has America's Most Haunted Hotel
Arkansas is home to America's most haunted hotel, the Crescent Hotel and Spa. The hotel is believed to be haunted, and even its management encourages guests to share any ghostly experiences they've had while staying there. They even offer a ghost tour where visitors will hear stories about ghost sightings in the main lobby, jacuzzi suite, staircase, windows, garden, and in front of the building. It’s like they’re everywhere, an enticing prospect for fans of the paranormal and the unknown.
2 Little Rock Is Big On Surprises
Little Rock is the capital city of Arkansas, and it’s one urban jungle that should not be missed by tourists. As the main hub of the state, it is teeming with such attractions as museums, parks, cultural centers, and historic sites. It even has the William J. Clinton Library and Museum, dedicated to renowned Arkansan former president Bill Clinton. It’s not all about educational and cultural tours in Little Rock because it also offers outdoor spots for the more active tourists. Little Rock is indeed big on adventures.
1 The Cheese Dip Was Born Here
Another important contribution of Arkansas to the world is the cheese dip. It is believed to be an original product of Mexico Chiquito, a restaurant in North Little Rock. The pioneering cafe started serving guests in 1935 and closed shop in 2019, though some of its branches remain operational. Tourists should not miss trying their cheese dip, something other eateries tried to copy but can’t perfect. Arkansas is proud of Mexico Chiquito because even as it’s a trailblazer, it remained humble and loyal to its roots.