10 (Cheap) Places to Visit in Arkansas This Summer

  1. Thorncrown Chapel

Designed by architect E. Fay Jones—an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright—Thorncrown Chapel has been awarded the Twenty-five Year Award by the American Institute of Architects as well as the AIA’s Design of the Year Award for 1981. The chapel is nestled in the woods just outside of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and admission is free.

  1. Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park is, according to its website, “the world’s only ‘keep what you find’ diamond site.” Essentially, it is a 37 ½-acre plowed field atop a diamond-bearing volcanic crater, where visitors sift through the soil in search of diamond, amethyst, garnet, jasper, agate, and quartz. Admission is $10 per person, and if you do happen to find a diamond, it’s yours forever.

  1. Little Rock Farmer’s Market

The Little Rock Farmer’s Market has been offering locally made and locally grown products since it opened in 1974. Currently located in the River Market’s open-air pavilions, the market is open every Saturday from May 6 to September 30.

  1. Hot Springs

A staple of Arkansas tourism, Hot Springs offers more than Bathhouse Row. Visit the Hot Springs Mountain Tower for panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains, stop by the Gangster Museum of America to learn about Hot Springs’ historic mobster history, take a hike through Garvan Woodland Gardens, or tour the Arlington Hotel, where Al Capone allegedly used to rent out an entire floor.

  1. The Arkansas Arts Center

If you’ve already visited Crystal Bridges, you should check on the lesser-known Arkansas Arts Center. Established in 1960, the AAC houses its own permanent collection of visual art, as well as temporary exhibitions. Summer exhibitions include Drawing on History: The National Drawing Invitational: A Retrospective Exhibition, The Creativity Phenomenon: Acrylic Paintings by Deborah Poe, the 56th Young Arkansas Artists Exhibition and the 59th Annual Delta Exhibition.

  1. Blanchard Springs Caverns

Looking to get away from the summer heat? Journey underground! Blanchard Springs offers a variety of tours, including the Dripstone Trail, the Discovery Trail and the Wild Cave Tour, a three to four hour tour that allows visitors to venture into undeveloped sections of the cavern.

  1. Ouachita National Recreation Trail

192 miles length-wise, the Ouachita Trail is the longest backpacking trail in the Ouachita National Forest. The trail begins near Talihina, Oklahoma and ends south of Perryville, Arkansas. Ideal for the dedicated backpacker, the trail passes through mountains, valleys, and streams.

  1. Devil’s Den State Park

Located in the Ozark Valley, Devil’s Den was built in the 1930s by the CCC. The park offers hiking, backpacking, mountain bike and horse-riding trails, as well as campsites, cabins, a café, and a swimming pool.

  1. Mount Magazine State Park

At 2,753 feet high, Mount Magazine is the tallest mountain in the state. The park offers opportunities for a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling, and hand gliding. Don’t want to camp? Rent a cabin or a room at the Lodge.

  1. Glory Hole Falls

Despite its questionable name, Glory Hole Falls is one of Arkansas’ most unique and beautiful waterfalls. Located in the Ozark National Forest, it can be reached by a 1.8 mile trail.

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