31 Budget-Friendly Things To Do In North Arkansas

Some of the best things in life are free and they’re in Arkansas. The Natural State has unique locations that can be enjoyed for nothing but the time it takes to get there.

  1. In the Ozarks, the Buffalo National River with its towering limestone bluffs is America’s first national river. Hiking trails traverse historic farmsteads, quiet stream valleys, wooded mountainsides, and offer bluff-top vistas.
  2. Free folk music on the Stone County Courthouse Square in Mountain View have been a local tradition since 1963. Professionals and amateurs join together in laid-back, impromptu performances on Friday and Saturday evenings during warmer months.
  3. Norfork National Fish Hatchery, located at the base of Norfork Dam east of Mountain Home, offers tours of facilities that produce millions of trout for Ozark streams. Children may try their luck at landing a trout from the waters of nearby Dry Run Creek.
  4. The last public ferryboat operating in the state, Peel Ferry transports vehicles and passengers across a section of Bull Shoals Lake.
  5. Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs was named one of the top four buildings of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects. The chapel uses 425 large panels of glass to showcase the natural beauty of the Ozarks. Designed by noted Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones, the non-denominational chapel is open from March through December.
  6. Take Altus exit 41 off Interstate 40 to AR 186 for a drive over St. Mary’s Mountain and past vineyards, wineries and St. Mary’s historic church. Several Arkansas wineries offer tours and wine tastings. Also, visit the Arkansas Historic Wine Museum in Paris.
  7. Drive the Boston Mountain Scenic Loop, the only scenic loop in the state. From Fayetteville, take curve-hugging U.S. 71 over Mount Gayler past small gift shops and mountaintop lodging to Alma. From Alma, take Interstate 49 north through the rolling hills of a pastoral countryside and a tunnel through a mountain back to Fayetteville.
  8. At Devil’s Den State Park hiking and backpacking trails lead to backcountry areas where you can explore rock formations, natural bridges, bluff overlooks, original CCC construction, diversified plant life and more.
  9. Cradled by the bluffs of the War Eagle River in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Withrow Springs State Park near Huntsville is a peaceful setting for exploring nature.
  10. For grand vistas, travel to the highest point in Arkansas (2,753 feet) at Mount Magazine State Park near Paris.
  11. Enjoy a self-guided driving tour or walk the one-mile Battlefield Trail at Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park in Prairie Grove.
  12. Established in 1878 as a Benedictine Monastery, Subiaco Abbey now serves as a college preparatory school for boys. Pick up a brochure on-site for a self-guided walking tour to view the dramatic stone architecture and manicured grounds. It also has a brewery.
  13. A rare example of a suspension bridge in Arkansas, Beaver Bridge was built in 1943 and is still in use today on AR 187, east of the town of Beaver.
  14. The twin towers of Old Main, completed in 1875, preside over the scenic campus of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Former President Bill Clinton once taught law on this campus. Stroll the grounds and view all the names of graduates carved into the sidewalks.
  15. The entire downtown of Calico Rock Historic District is on the National Historic register and has served as a movie set. See several antique shops, museums, and restaurants.
  16. Overlooking the Arkansas River Valley, 14 miles of hiking and biking trails encircle Mount Nebo, home to the state park of the same name.
  17. Watch the working water-powered grist mill at War Eagle Mill, established in 1832. An 18-foot waterwheel splashes as millstones grind cornmeal daily from organically grown grain. It’s located in a pastoral setting that includes the War Eagle River and bridge.
  18. White Rock Mountain Recreation Area near Mulberry offers some of the most scenic views in the state from its bluff; plus, it has hiking trails and a lake.
  19. In the Ozark Mountains, the 165-mile Ozark Highlands Trail has been rated one of the most scenic trails in the U.S. It’s great for day hiking, weekend adventures or extended backpacking.
  20. A herd of about 500 elk range in the north-central portion of the state along the Buffalo National River. Catch a view of the magnificent beasts and other watchable wildlife in the pastoral setting of Boxley Valley.
  21. In Bentonville, The Walmart Museum contains exhibits tracing the formation and growth of Walmart stores and includes founder Sam Walton’s office and truck.
  22. Located 10 miles east of Rogers on AR 12, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area covers 12,054 acres along the southern shore of Beaver Lake. It has a Visitor Center and undeveloped access to a diverse, 52-mile trail system with hiking, ADA, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails, five primitive campsites and two bike-in/hike-in campsites.
  23. View Arkansas’s largest spring with an hourly flow of nine million gallons of water at Mammoth Spring State Park on U.S. 63 in Mammoth Spring.
  24. The Jacob Wolf House is believed to be the oldest standing structure in Arkansas. Overlooking the White River in Norfork on AR 5, the Jacob Wolf home was built in the early 1800s.
  25. Scenic AR 23, a National Scenic Byway connecting from U.S. 71 south of Booneville northward from Ozark to its junction with AR 16, is known as “The Pig Trail” to Razorback sports enthusiasts.
  26. Virtually unchanged since the 1920s, the downtown district of Hardy has been transformed into a destination for enjoying the Spring River, artisans, cultural heritage and music. Old Hardy Town boasts several buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
  27. Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, designed by famed Arkansas architect E. Fay Jones, is another awe-inspiring structure built of steel, glass and wood.
  28. Holla Bend National Wildlife Refuge is located along the Arkansas River in Dardanelle. It protects more than 7,000 acres of waterfowl, eagle and migratory songbird habitat and offers a wildlife driving tour with information panels.
  29. More than 30 large murals showcasing internationally acclaimed and local artists can be seen in downtown Fort Smith.
  30. Lake Dardanelle State Park in Russellville facilities include a campground, swim beach, playground, lakeside visitor center with four aquariums, interpretive exhibits and more.
  31. Built-in 1930, the Rainbow Bridge in Cotter is a rainbow-arched bridge (five arches) over the White River that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Don’t forget your fishing pole, there’s plenty of trout in the river.

To start planning your trip, visit Arkansas.com.


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