Hi everyone. I am Amy with Simply Magical Vacations. Welcome to 50 by 50 where I highlight one state each week and what to do when visiting. This week is ARKANSAS, the 25th state to join the union on June 15, 1836. It is nicknamed The Natural State for all of the state's mountains, forests, lakes, streams, hot springs, and wildlife.
There are three main cities in Arkansas in which to base your travels. Little Rock is the capitol and rich in activities and history including Central High School which was pivotal in the civil rights movement. Fayetteville is the “Athens of the Ozarks” with the University of Arkansas and is a great town for book lovers or for those who want a home base near the mountains. Bentonville is know for its arts and includes the beautiful Crystal Bridges museum.
Other places to visit include the Ozark Mountains where you can rock climb, canoe, kayak, hike, or go mountain biking or zip lining. Eureka Springs in the Ozark Mountains is truly unique with its entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also popular for trout fishing on the White River. And Hots Springs is where you will find … you guessed it hot springs! But they also host music festals and a documentary film festival that brings people in every year.
Are the kids looking for some fun? Ride the city Trolly as you take your tour of Little Rock. Visit Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo in Hot Springs to interact with cougars, turkeys, chickens, wild boars, turtles, goats, emus, deer, and pigs! End your day with a Purple Milkshake from the Purple Cow. Or try one of their other flavors like PB and J, Non-dairy Vanilla, or the Elvis with bananas and Peanut butter all shook up!
For all you Foodies out there, Jones BBQ Diner is the only James beard award winner in Arkansas and may be the oldest restaurant owned by an African American family. It is open from 7am until the bbq runs out, which is within a few hours typically. PJs Rainbow Cafe has the small town feel with down home comfort food but its uniqueness is not to be missed. Looking for a more formal atmosphere? Table 28 at the Burgundy Hotel has organic southern-inspired comfort fare offered at a stylish bistro and even has a private chef's table. Or the romantic Eleven at Crystal Bridges that offers local, sustainable food in a stunning architecture environment. It also has a private Chef Table for an even more memorable experience.
Looking for more romance? Head to Eureka Spring’s Historic District where there are are dozen of enchanting places. One of which is the Crescent Hotel and Spa near the train station. Located on an Ozark mountaintop, this landmark has been the “Symbol of Hospitality” since the 19th century. You can also dine in the romantic Crystal Dining Room. Pets are welcomed and if you dare, take one other nightly ghost tours!
Do you have your favorite places to visit in Arkansas? Let me know below. Also subscribe to my YouTube channel for ideas on vacations to other destinations. https://youtu.be/oJtFN9UPVUg