Located in the south-central United States, Arkansas is a transitional point between the Deep South and the Midwest. Bordering Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee, Arkansas oozes Americana in the truest sense. With its rolling plains of soybeans, wheat and corn, and the mighty Mississippi River flanking its eastern border, the "Natural State" certainly lives up to its name. With Arkansas campgrounds scattered throughout the state, there's plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventure during your vacation.
Some of the state's signature attractions and unique cultural opportunities include:
- The hot springs: No trip to Arkansas is complete without a visit to Hot Springs National Park. The thermal waters that jet from the 47 natural springs are accented by charming spas and bathhouses that are tucked away in the woods.
- Little Rock: The "little town that could" has blossomed into a bustling hub of commercial and cultural activity. It is the home of Bill Clinton's Presidential Library as well as the Wal-Mart headquarters and some of the state's best museums and galleries.
- Buffalo National River: Flowing from the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Buffalo National River is a 132-mile stretch of pristine, unpolluted water that offers excellent rafting and the perfect way to enjoy a calm, tranquil day away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
- The Ozarks: If you are in northwestern Arkansas, you're in the scenic Ozark Mountains. This region of the state is home to some of its most spectacular scenery, natural attractions and Arkansas National Parks. The Ozarks offer some of the best Arkansas wedding locations, if you're looking to get hitched in the Natural State.
- Gastronomic delights: Fried catfish, traditional African-American "soul food" and Arkansas barbecue are among the most tempting ways to delight your palate during your visit.
The climate in Arkansas tends to be very humid, so plan accordingly if you are visiting during the summer. Water parks in Arkansas are common, and offer a great way to beat the heat. Temperatures remain fairly mild throughout the winter, with spring and autumn being the most popular times to visit the state.
For your accommodations, consider a condo or cabin-style vacation rental. These hotel alternatives offer more privacy and convenience, and are available throughout the state, whether you're staying in Little Rock or roughing it in the Ozark Mountains.
As a gateway to both the Deep South and the Midwest, there is plenty to see and do if you want to expand your travels. For a stronger dose of southern hospitality, head into neighboring Texas, Mississippi or Louisiana. Oklahoma, Missouri and Tennessee also border Arkansas and are easily accessible with the Interstate highway system.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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