20 Things To Do In Fort Smith Arkansas

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Although Fort Smith is the fourth largest and second-most populous city in Arkansas, it isn’t a destination that often appears on most travel plans, much like most of the state. This is a real shame as there are quite a few exciting things to do in Fort Smith, especially for those interested in history.

Its location is conveniently placed right on the border between the north and south during the Civil War and on the eastern edge of the wild west frontier. This allows it to offer plenty of sights and sounds relating to two of America’s most important historical periods. Throw in stunning views of the Arkansas River, and Fort Smith has something for everyone. Here are the best things to do in Fort Smith.

Also read: 21 Arkansas Landmarks

Fort Smith, Arkansas

20 Things To Do In Fort Smith Arkansas

1- Uncover History At Fort Smith National Historic Site

things to do in fort smith arkansas cannon in front of a brick building
Exploring Fort Smith National Historic Site is one of the top things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas.

Fort Smith National Historic Site is the location of the first fort of the United States District Court for Arkansas’ Western District.

Originally built in 1817 and then replaced by the second fort in 1871, the area was designated a United States National Historic Landmark on the 19th of December 1960.

The complex has now been turned into a living museum that chronicles the history of the two forts, law and order in this part of the old west, and Native American culture in the region.

The main bulk of the exhibits is located in a stunning 19th-century building that has served as a barracks, courthouse and jail building.

So, you can enjoy studying its fabulous range of artefacts and exploring the historic buildings and grounds themselves.

Fort Smith National Historic Site is at 301 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith, 72901.

2- Learn About Historical Aviation At The Fort Smith Air Museum

Located inside Fort Smith Regional Airport, the Fort Smith Air Museum is dedicated to the aviation history of the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.

With exhibits including models of historic planes, photographs, diagrams, and accounts from past pilots, it tells the story of the region’s pioneers in both military and civil aviation and is a must-visit for any aircraft enthusiasts during their stay in the city.

Fort Smith Air Museum is at 6700 McKennon Boulevard, Fort Smith, 72903.

3- Admire Art At The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum

The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is an exhibition space that displays the work of prominent and emerging artists from Fort Smith and the surrounding area.

While primarily focused on historical art, modern art is also included, with mediums covering everything from paintings to sculptures.

The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum also offers art classes and workshops to help the next generation hone their skills.

It’s a fabulous stop for anyone who wants to enjoy some beautiful works and show their support for the arts scene in the city.

Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is at 1601 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, 72901.

4- Appreciate Clayton House Museum’s Architecture

Built in 1874, the Clayton House Museum is the former home of the United States Attorney for the United States District Court For The Western District Of Arkansas, William Henry Harrison Clayton.

It was listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places in 1970 as one of the only remaining buildings in Fort Smith to display the city’s historic architectural style.

Admire its wooden frame, Victorian trim, carved columns, brackets and window surrounds, and a panelled porch and bay.

The collection of authentic d├ęcor and furnishings inside is well worth a look, making it an ideal spot for anyone hoping to experience what the city would once have looked like first-hand.

Clayton House Museum is at 514 North 6th Street, Fort Smith, 72901.

5- Discover Hidden Gems At Fort Smith Trolley Museum

The Fort Smith Trolley Museum is an outdoor museum dedicated to the history of the city’s railroad, streetcar, and other public transport systems.

It’s a fabulous destination for fans of historic vehicles or infrastructure.

The museum features an impressive collection of five streetcars, four steam locomotives and three buses.

One streetcar and four locomotives are individually listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places for their historical significance.

The Fort Smith Trolley Museum also boasts its three-quarter-mile streetcar track.

This gives visitors the chance to ride on one of these historic vehicles along a route that passes by four buildings listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places.

Fort Smith Trolley Museum is at 100 South 4th Street, Fort Smith, 72901.

6- Explore Belle Grove Historic District

The Belle Grove Historic District is a 22-block historic district located at the heart of Fort Smith and has been one of the most affluent parts of the city.

Established in 1842, it is also one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the entire state of Arkansas.

With beautiful buildings displaying Greek Revival, Victorian, and 19th and 20th-century architectural styles, it is a great place to take a walk or guided tour to see some of the city’s most historic buildings.

The whole area is listed on the U.S. National Register Of Historic Places.

Belle Grove Historic District is in Belle Grove, Fort Smith, 72901.

7- Pay A Visit To Miss Laura’s Visitor Center

arkansas map
Check out these things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas.

Miss Laura’s Visitor Center is the official visitor centre for Fort Smith.

It’s an iconic site in the former Commercial Hotel building, also listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places.

The building is known for its Second Empire architecture, Mansard roof, dormers, and wrought iron cresting.

Filled with artefacts and information about the town, it’s the perfect place to stop when you arrive in town to get the lay of the land, learn some history, and see one of its most stunning buildings.

Miss Laura’s Visitor Center is at 2 N B Street, Fort Smith, 72901.

8- Examine The Artefacts In The Fort Smith Museum Of History

The Fort Smith Museum Of History is in one of Fort Smith’s oldest commercial buildings, the Atkinson-Williams Warehouse.

Having been listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places since 1979, it details the history and development of Fort Smith and the surrounding area.

It has interesting artefacts, including a 1920s soda fountain and a delightful gift shop.

Fort Smith Museum Of History is at 320 Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, 72901.

9- Combine Education And Exercise At The Massard Prairie Battlefield Park

The Massard Prairie Battlefield Park was the site of the 1864 Battle Of Massard Prairie in the American Civil War.

The walking trail is filled with historical markers and monuments, making it an excellent place to enjoy the great outdoors and the landscape of Fort Smith while taking in some of its history.

Massard Prairie Battlefield Park is at 4999 Morgans Way, Fort Smith, 72916.

10- Embrace The Great Outdoors In The Harry E. Kelley River Park

The Harry E. Kelley River Park is a great outdoor recreation area on the south bank of the Arkansas River.

With bike and skate parks, fishing spots, picnic tables, walking trails, and an amphitheatre for outdoor performances, all set to a river backdrop, it’s the perfect place to enjoy some fresh air, have fun, catch a show, and enjoy the Fort Smith landscape.

Harry E. Kelley River Park is at 121 Riverfront Drive, Fort Smith, 72901.

11- Walk The Fort Smith Riverfront Trail

things to do in fort smith ar area
The region around Fort Smith has stunning natural beauty.

The Fort Smith Riverfront Trail follows the Arkansas River around the east, north, and west edges of Fort Smith.

Running for 6.25 miles (10 km), it lets visitors walk the boundary of the city, exercising and enjoying views of the river, its wildlife, and the city skyline.

The Fort Smith Riverfront Trail is at Harry E. Kelley River Park, 121 Riverfront Drive, Fort Smith, 72901.

12- See The Fort Smith Confederate Monument

Located on the grounds of the Sebastian County Courthouse, the Fort Smith Confederate Monument is a 30 ft (9.1 m) sculpture of a Confederate soldier atop a pillar.

A beautiful monument built in 1903 to honour the lives of Confederate soldiers lost in the American Civil War, it has been listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places since 1993.

Fort Smith Confederate Monument is at Courthouse Lawn, Junction Of 6th Street & Rogers Avenue, Fort Smith, 72901.

13- Pay Your Respects At Fort Smith National Cemetery

Fort Smith National Cemetery is a 22.3-acre (8.9 ha) military cemetery listed on the United States National Register Of Historic Places since 1999.

Created to house the city’s dead from the American Civil War, it now includes lost souls from other conflicts too.

In addition to the more than 13,000 internments, memorials honour those who died in the Vietnam and American Civil wars.

Fort Smith National Cemetery is at 522 Garland Avenue, Fort Smith, 72901.

14- Make The Most Of The Arkansas River

arkansas river navigation stamp
Enjoying the Arkansas river is one of the things to do in Fort Smith.

The Arkansas River is the sixth-longest river in the U.S. and the 45th longest in the world. It’s also the second-longest tributary in the Mississippi-Missouri system.

With the river running around the outskirts of Fort Smith, the city gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy it.

Go for a walk along its banks, swim its waters, kayak across it, or sit and take in the nature and landscape of this stunning body of water.

The Arkansas River is at Sandy Cove, Fort Smith, 72904.

15- Snap A Photo At The State Line Sign

fort smith arkansas
Looking for things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas? Check out these 20.

While not for everyone, many visitors enjoy taking photos of each state line sign as they travel through the USA.

Fort Smith boasts Arkansas and Oklahoma welcome signs in its metropolitan area, giving you the perfect opportunity to add a photo to your collection without having to go out of your way.

Welcome To Oklahoma Sign, Pocola, Oklahoma, 74902.

16- Have Fun At Parrot Island Waterpark

fun things to do in fort smith
Cooling down at a waterpark is one of the fun things to do in Fort Smith AR.

Parrot Island Waterpark is a fabulous aquatic theme park where visitors of all ages can have fun and enjoy the water.

With attractions including slides, rides, activity pools and kid’s pools, and cabanas, you are free to relax or run wild, whichever you prefer.

A team of lifeguards ensure all of your party remains safe at all times, while special events and the ability to host parties here make it a destination with endless potential for outdoor fun.

Parrot Island Waterpark is at 7300 Zero Street, Fort Smith, 72903.

17- See The Area’s Wildlife

The AGFC Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center is a fabulous place to learn about the region’s wildlife and landscape.

The museum details everything you’re likely to see in the area, while canoe and kayak routes, hiking trails, and fishing spots offer a hands-on experience.

There are toilets, a kids’ play area and an archery range.

AGFC Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center is at 8300 Wells Lake Road, Fort Smith, 72916.

18- Try Your Luck At The Choctaw Casino & Resort-Pocola

The Choctaw Casino & Resort-Pocola is a luxury establishment across the Oklahoma state line.

With a full casino, five eateries, bars, landscaped pools, luxury hotel rooms, and a wild west-themed nightclub, it offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy some luxury.

Choctaw Casino & Resort-Pocola is at 3400 Choctaw Road, Pocola, Oklahoma, 74902.

19- Enjoy The Views From The McClure Amphitheatre

The McClure Amphitheatre is a scenic point on the southeast outskirts of the city.

With stunning views of Fort Smith, a commemorative plaque, and performance artists occasionally setting up to perform a show, it’s a great place to be entertained. At the same time, watch the sunset over the city.

McClure Amphitheatre is at 7201 Massard Road, Fort Smith, 72916.

20- Drink Beer At The Fort Smith Brewing Company

things to do in fort smith mug beer
Drinking beer in the Fort Smith Brewing Company is one of the fun things to do in Fort Smith.

The Fort Smith Brewing Company is a microbrewery serving some of the finest local beers Fort Smith offers.

Sample some of their best brews, eat fabulous food and enjoy one of the live events and musical performances.

Fort Smith Brewing Company is at 7500 Fort Chaffee Boulevard, Fort Smith, 72916.

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.