Nestled between America’s Midwest and Deep South, Arkansas is one of the country’s hidden treasures. Known as ‘The Natural State,’ Arkansas offers a spectacular array of mountains and valleys within its north and west reaches. The state is punctuated by the stunning Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, winding rivers and sweeping hillside pastures. When the Spanish explorers arrived in the 1500s, the Caddo, Osage and Quapaw Native American tribes had long established settlements in the area. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, Arkansas was added to the U.S. territories and was promptly inhabited by agricultural and frontier pioneers. Arkansas was a pivotal battleground during the Civil War—its northern reaches were occupied by Union soldiers while the Confederates held its southern reaches. After a long and difficult reconstruction, the state’s redevelopment occurred slowly after the expansion of railroads across its boundaries.
The state’s capital, Little Rock, sits in the center of Arkansas. This major city still retains its small-town feel, and is a multicultural epicenter for the state. Visitors can stroll through this city’s historic Quapaw Quarter district or stop by the modern city center to experience the town’s lively nightlife. Travelers with families in tow can choose from a number of guided tours that educate visitors about the city’s storied history. Guests can also stroll along the famous river walk, stop by Civil War sites or explore William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park.
Arkansas’ small city of Hot Springs is located on the cusp of Hot Springs National Park. The city features elaborate bathhouses at popular Bathhouse Row, and historic nineteenth century buildings that can capture the imagination of the history-seeking traveler. Visitors can stroll through one of the town’s many shops, art galleries or local restaurants, or catch a horse race at the Oaklawn race track. Nearby Hot Springs National Park offers spectacular forests of pine, oak and hickory, leaden with intertwining trails. The park hosts thermal water springs, cold water springs, historic quarries and bathhouses within a 5,400 acre area. Visitors can also tour the town’s neighboring Lake Hamilton on the Belle of Hot Springs, and view the stunning Ouachita Mountains from the deck of a stunning riverboat. Travelers with children in tow can catch lunch on one of the Belle’s family lunch cruises. Couples can enjoy a romantic sunset dinner cruise and enjoy music and dancing on the riverboat’s numerous decks.
Located in the stunning Ozark Mountains, the town of Eureka Springs offers visitors a plethora of outdoor and cultural experiences. Local myth states that the town’s cold spring waters can heal a variety of ailments. The small town’s main streets are home to a plethora of day spas, Victorian houses and locally-owned stores. Visitors who would like to see the natural sights can take a scenic eco-tour of beautiful Beaver Lake. The Belle of the Ozarks takes passengers on a 12 mile cruise through some of the area’s most scenic vistas. This open-air vessel passes beside a 200-acre game preserve that allows glimpses of the area’s local wildlife. Travelers can also catch a round of golf at nearby Holiday Island’s golf 18-hole course.
Northern Arkansas is home to more than 2, 000 caves, offering the prospective spelunker a variety of caving adventures to choose from. Many of the caves are located in the Arkansas Ozarks, eight of which are privately owned and offer guided tours. Visitors can explore the subterranean wonders of these limestone caves and gaze at the underground lakes, rivers, crystals and fossils abound. Visitors can choose to go on a guided tour through one of the many living caves, or go on a solo adventure after obtaining a permit from a local caving office.
The Raveable guide to Arkansas Hotels was created by analyzing the millions of traveler reviews found all over the internet.
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