The landscapes of Arkansas range from lush mountains, lakes, rivers and dusty plains, earning its nickname ‘The Natural State’. The third-smallest state west of the Mississippi and home state of US President Bill Clinton, Arkansas became a US state in 1836 after the United States acquired the land known today as Arkansas via the Louisiana Purchase.
Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Bentonville, later becoming a retail giant known worldwide. In Little Rock, major Civil Rights movements saw desegregation become a reality. Arkansas might be small, but the state makes up for what it lacks in size with its rich history. These are the Arkansas landmarks to see.
- 21 Arkansas Landmarks
- Natural Landmarks In Arkansas
- Historic Landmarks In Arkansas
- 11- Fort Smith National Historic Site
- 12- Little Rock Central High School
- 13- Thorncrown Chapel
- 14- Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
- 15- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
- 16- The Arlington Hotel
- 17- The Walmart Museum
- 18- Clinton Presidential Center
- 19- Clinton House Museum
- 20- Christ of the Ozarks
- 21- Arkansas State Capitol
21 Arkansas Landmarks
Natural Landmarks In Arkansas
1- Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park has been the state’s premier natural attraction since the park opened in 1832.
Predating Yellowstone as America’s oldest national park by 40 years, Hot Springs National Park and its 47 natural thermal springs and over 30 miles (48 km) of stunning hiking trails are Arkansas’ best natural attractions.
Scenic picnicking, hiking trails throughout the Ouachita Mountains and touring the park’s many hot springs are some of the great family-friendly activities within this stunning 5,500-acre (2,226 ha) park.
The park has a unique geologic structure, and its nonvolcanic geothermal springs produce high-quality water that has attracted bathers since the mid-19th century.
Bathhouse Row is home to eight bathhouse buildings built between 1892 and 1923.
Highlights include Buckstaff Baths, which has operated for more than a century, while Quapaw Bathhouse has indoor and outdoor spring water pools.
The Grand Promenade and Bathhouse Row joined the National Historic Landmark District list in 1987.
Hot Springs National Park is at 369 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901.
2- Garvan Woodland Gardens
The vision of native Arkansas philanthropist and industrialist Verna Cook Garvan, Garvan Woodland Gardens is one of the best areas in Arkansas to experience and enjoy the outdoors.
The lush 210-acre (85 ha) gardens feature over 128 species of shrubs and wildflowers, 160 types of Azaleas and a four-acre (1.6 ha) Asian garden on the shore of Lake Hamilton.
While the Garvan Woodland Gardens are perfect for visiting year-round, it’s truly an incredible experience to visit the gardens during winter when the annual holiday lights display transforms 18 acres (7.3 ha) of the park into a twinkling fairyland with over 5 million lights.
Donated to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture in 1985, the Garvan Woodland Gardens is a tranquil refuge surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains.
Garvan Woodland Gardens is at 550 Arkridge Rd, Hot Springs, AR 71913.
3- Blanchard Springs Caverns
Blanchard Springs Caverns is in northern Arkansas within the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests and a natural cave system deep under the ground.
Shaped over thousands of years through constant erosion, Blanchard Springs Caverns is still transforming.
You can get a sense of this by seeing the water rushing through the caverns.
While you can only explore the caverns by joining one of three ranger-led tours, the surrounding landscape, such as the 1.2-mile (1.9 km) Discovery Trail and the Blanchard Springs waterfall, are also great.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is at 704 Blanchard Springs Road, Fifty-Six, AR 72533.
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4- Crater of Diamonds
Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only source of natural diamonds open to the public in the United States.
The park has been attracting droves of visitors hoping to strike it rich since the area became a state park in 1972.
Even better is that the park allows visitors to keep any gems they unearth inside the park for themselves.
With over 75,000 diamonds uncovered since 1906, including the largest diamond found in the USA, the Uncle Sam diamond (40.23 carat), the Amarillo Starlight (16.37 carat) and the Star of Arkansas (15.33 carat), making this a unique landmark in Arkansas worth trying your luck at.
Crater of Diamonds is at 209 State Park Rd, Murfreesboro, AR 71958.
5- Mount Magazine
Mount Magazine is Arkansas’ tallest peak, offering outdoor and indoor activities.
Popular for its scenic overlooks, excellent hiking trails and Skycrest Restaurant, a swanky eatery perched high atop the mountain, the views from the mountain are the best in Arkansas.
Mount Magazine’s impressive visitor centre offers programs detailing the variety of fauna and flora found on and around the mountain.
The mountain is also a fun destination for extreme sports such as rock climbing, mountain biking and hang gliding.
Mount Magazine is at 16878 Hwy 309 South, Paris, AR 72855.
6- Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge
With over a hundred endangered and exotic wildlife animals under its care, including lions, tigers and bears, the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge provides an opportunity to see many of the world’s apex predators up close.
A non-profit sanctuary, Turpentine Creek prides itself in being a haven for endangered and abused animals whose mission is to protect these animals and teach future generations the importance of conservation.
The refuge hosts kids camps, tours and events to entertain and educate.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is at 239 Turpentine Creek Ln, Eureka Springs, AR 72632.
7- Mammoth Spring
Pumping over 9 million gallons of water every hour, the Mammoth Spring feeds the Spring River and the Spring Lake, supporting an entire ecosystem of trout and other freshwater animal species.
It’s one of the largest natural springs in the United States and an Arkansas treasure drawing thousands of visitors annually.
Mammoth Springs State Park protects the spring and has other attractions, such as hiking trails, picnic areas, a fully-restored 1886 Frisco train depot, and a museum that houses an early 1900s train caboose.
Mammoth Spring State Park is at 17 US Hwy 63, Mammoth Spring, AR 72554.
8- Pinnacle Mountain
Pinnacle Mountain State Park is the perfect getaway to escape from the city.
Its hiking trails, rivers and stunning views will show you why Arkansas is called ‘The Natural State’.
Pinnacle Mountain is a natural landmark of Arkansas and the main reason thousands of visitors flock to the park yearly.
This 1,011 ft (308 m) cone-shaped peak is great to hike and provides 360-degree views of the lovely Arkansas River Valley below.
Pinnacle Mountain is at 11901 Pinnacle Valley Rd, Roland, AR 72135.
9- Buffalo National River
Buffalo National River is a clean, free-flowing river with three wilderness areas within its borders.
Running through the Ozark Mountains, Buffalo National River is a protected area home to deer, bobcats and other wildlife.
Hiking and horseback riding are popular around the lake, while kayaking, canoeing and tubing are fun activities in summer.
The Tyler Bend Visitor Center provides useful information about the Buffalo National River and the surrounding area.
Tyler Bend Visitor Center is at 170 Ranger Rd, St Joe, AR 72675, United States.
10- Roark Bluff
Roark Bluff towers 100 feet (30 m) above Steel Creek and the Buffalo River.
The longest bluff line along the river is an impressive natural landmark of Arkansas.
The Roark Bluff Overlook Trail is a 1.4-mile (2.25 km) winding trail and an easy hike to see excellent views of the Buffalo River and the surrounding landscape of the Ozarks.
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Historic Landmarks In Arkansas
11- Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith was established on Christmas Day in 1817 when Arkansas was an isolated edge of the American Frontier under the command of Major William Bradford and his men.
Initially constructed to ensure peace between the Osage and the Cherokee tribes, Fort Smith also became the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas in 1872, presiding over the Indian Territories in western Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Preserving over 80 years of bloody and tragic history, including the Civil War, the Trail of Tears and the many executions, Fort Smith is one of the best places in Arkansas to learn about the region’s war history.
Designated a National Historic Site in 1961, Fort Smith and its visitor centre is an excellent destination for history buffs, offering tours of the site’s Trail of Tears Overlook, the Commissary building and the reconstructed gallows.
Fort Smith is at 301 Parker Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72901.
12- Little Rock Central High School
The events that unfolded at Little Rock Central High School in 1957 are a landmark moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Nine black teenagers were escorted to the school for their first day of school by the US military without incident, marking the start of desegregation in the United States.
Despite being an active and operational high school, the Little Rock Central High School is an Arkansas landmark that you can explore on a ranger-led tour.
Now a National Historic Site, visiting this school is worth a step back into a momentous time in history while in Little Rock.
Little Rock Central High School is at 1500 S Park St, Little Rock, AR 72202.
13- Thorncrown Chapel
Designed by architect E. Fay Jones, a former apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright, the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs was commissioned by retired teacher Jim Reed as a space for meditation and relaxation.
Surrounded by lush forest, the 48 ft(14.6 m), 425-window chapel is included on the National Register of Historic Places and free to visit.
The Thorncrown Chapel is an architecturally beautiful and historically significant landmark in Arkansas.
Thorncrown Chapel is at 12968 US-62, Eureka Springs, AR 72632.
14- Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum
When Ernest Hemingway left Paris with his second wife, Pauline Pfeiffer, they moved in with her parents at their home in Piggott, Arkansas.
The up-and-coming author wrote a large portion of his book ‘A Farewell to Arms’ while living here in the writing studio that the Pfeiffers set up for him.
Thankfully for Hemingway fans, the University of Arkansas acquired the home and converted it into a museum.
Visitors can tour the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum today to glimpse the famous writer’s life and explore where he created his famous novels.
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum is at 1021 W Cherry St, Piggott, AR 72454.
15- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in north-western Arkansas is an impressive architectural landmark in Arkansas.
Designed by Moshe Safdie, the futuristic architectural design blends architecture and nature.
The museum has an impressive display of American art spanning more than five decades, with permanent and temporary exhibits including works from Warhol, Rockwell and O’Keeffe.
There’s a 50,000-volume library with art reference books, a restaurant and a store.
You can join one of the museum tours or explore over three miles (4.8 km) of manicured hiking trails throughout the facility’s 120 acres (48.5 ha) of gardens and forests.
Crystal Bridges Museum is at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712.
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16- The Arlington Hotel
The Arlington Hotel was the place to be seen when the hotel opened in 1924.
Sumptuously decked out with a Crystal Ballroom and other rooms, the hotel attracted the 20th century’s most famous celebrities.
Al Capone regularly stayed in the hotel, booking an entire floor during his visits and baseball greats Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio were also spotted regularly at the Arlington during its heyday in the 1920s and 30s.
Still luxurious and elegant, the Arlington Hotel is a historic Arkansas landmark to tick off your to-see list.
The Arlington Hotel is at 239 Central Ave, Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901.
17- The Walmart Museum
The Walmart Museum is in the retail chain’s founder Sam Walton’s hometown of Bentonville and a famous landmark in Arkansas for anyone interested in learning more about the giant global retailer.
The museum’s exhibits explore the roots of how it all started and how Walmart became the mighty company it is today.
Inside the museum, guests can see entertaining displays of the store as it was when it first opened, including the perfectly preserved office of Sam Walton, just as it was when he worked there.
Pop into the retro-themed Spark Café for ice cream floats, soda and coffee, tying in with the museum’s overall yesteryear theme.
The Walmart Museum is at 105 N Main St, Bentonville, AR 72712.
18- Clinton Presidential Center
Straddling the edge of the Arkansas River in Little Rock, the Clinton Presidential Center pays homage to America’s 42nd president and Little Rock native, President William J. Clinton.
It’s where you can learn about the lives of the former president and his wife, Hillary Clinton, before, during and after their time in Washington DC.
Some of the museum’s exhibits include a full-scale replica of the Oval Office found in the White House and over 100,000 pieces of art donated to the Clintons.
The building was designed to symbolise a bridge connecting the past and the future.
Clinton Presidential Center is at 1200 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201.
19- Clinton House Museum
The Clinton House Museum was the marital home of William J. Clinton and Hilary Rodham Clinton.
It tells the tale of the couple’s political rise to fame through various displays of photographs, old campaign posters and other intriguing items.
The National Historic Landmark museum in Arkansas offers the opportunity to tour the house and get a sneak peek at the lives of the Clintons.
The museum’s First Ladies Garden displays collections of every First Lady of the United States’ favourite flower, from Martha Washington to the present First Lady.
Clinton House Museum is at 930 W Clinton Dr, Fayetteville, AR 72701.
20- Christ of the Ozarks
The 65-foot tall (20 m) Christ of the Ozarks statue is an Arkansas landmark that stands out in the lush Ozark landscape in the north.
The statue was erected in 1966 by Gerald L. K. Smith and is modelled after the popular image of Jesus Christ.
Similar in design to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Ozark’s version is free to visit and forms part of Eureka’s outdoor Great Passion Play, which takes place every year.
Quite literally an unmissable sight, a visit to the Christ of the Ozarks can easily be coupled with the nearby Thorncrown Chapel.
Christ of the Ozarks is at 937 Passion Play Rd, Eureka Springs, AR 72632.
21- Arkansas State Capitol
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