Even in the Natural State, it can be nice to get away. Take a drive out to a new place with friends and family, or alone for a coveted moment of solitude.
Book a romantic hotel for a couple of nights of luxury, or stay in an Airbnb for a more authentic experience (and one that won’t break the bank). There are so many options for weekend getaways in Arkansas that there is something for everyone.
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The Best Weekend Getaways in Arkansas
Step away from your emails for the weekend and immerse yourself in the beauty of Arkansas. Whether you’re looking to leave the hustle and bustle of the city or plunge yourself into the middle of it all, the state contains an abundance of settings for your picture-perfect Arkansas weekend getaway!
History buffs, outdoor adventurers, Instagrammers, and luxury vacationers alike will enjoy a weekend trip to the Western Arkansas town of Fort Smith!
Visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site to learn about the city’s Wild West past. Fort Smith is in the foothills of the Ozarks Mountains and is situated along the Arkansas River.
There are many beautiful parks to explore, and exciting events that take place at the Fort Smith Riverfront Park such as the Peacemaker Music and Arts Fest and the Riverfront BluesFest. Fort Smith’s historic downtown offers weekenders a variety of charming shops and restaurants to visit.
For an exciting weekend in the city, visit Little Rock, Arkansas, the state’s capital! Stay at the Capital Hotel downtown for a bit of luxury. Tour the glorious Arkansas State Capitol building or visit the Old State House – the oldest surviving state capitol west of the Mississippi!
The Little Rock River Market hosts a bountiful farmer’s market on the weekends, and after working up an appetite perusing produce, stop in and sample food from all over the world in the River Market Food Court. Little Rock offers some of the best shopping in the state and boasts an active nightlife.
Echoes of hog calls can be heard across Fayetteville on any given Saturday during football season. Take the scenic drive up into the Ozarks to visit this booming college town!
With darling shops, eateries, and events, the Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens will be the lush epicenter for your weekend of exploration. Once you’ve spent your day wandering the hills of this iconic Northwest town, head down to Dickson Street to grab a drink and let loose.
Hot Springs is one of my family’s go-to weekend getaway destinations! A beautiful national park in the Ouachitas and an absolutely endearing town, Hot Springs is perfect for a weekend of fun.
Stay at the famed Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa, see the Arkansas Derby horse race, try your luck at the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, tour the historic Bathhouse Row, grab an ice cream and visit the assortment of cool shops downtown, or just relax and breathe in the fresh air that drifts through this beautiful town.
Nestled in the Ozarks, Eureka Springs is the perfect spot for a cozy mountain weekend!
Eureka Springs has one of the absolute loveliest downtown areas, bursting with eclectic local shops, restaurants, nightlife destinations, and an assortment of exciting special events.
After surveying the historic downtown, settle down for a relaxing night in a cabin or cottage. If you’re looking for a more chilling experience, book a stay (and a ghost tour) at the Crescent Hotel. The Victorian resort is famous for being one of the country’s most haunted haunts.
Conway, Arkansas is the City of Colleges, which I can personally attest to, as I spent four years here while attending Hendrix College. Conway is in Central Arkansas and only about 30 miles from Little Rock.
Though I’m biased to Hendrix College’s campus, with its lush, mature trees and abundance of red brick, Conway has two other colleges within its limits! Catch a University of Central Arkansas football of basketball game, or explore Central Baptist College’s quaint campus.
Grab a juicy burger and bottomless fries from David’s Burgers and stay at one of Conway’s many comfortable hotels, and enjoy a weekend in Conway!
Another Northwest gem, Rogers, Arkansas is an ever-growing town that is always ready to receive. Get ready for a weekend of sun and shopping!
Visit the Hobbs State Park and Conservation Area for some beautiful Ozark views, or make a splash at Beaver Lake. Get into town, where you’ll find amazing shopping at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade, or stroll along the streets of Historic Downtown Rogers.
See the state’s very own Eiffel Tour in Paris, Arkansas! An adorable Ozark town at the base of Mount Magazine, Paris is the perfect place for a relaxing weekend away from it all.
Live your small town dreams by shopping at the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, strolling historic downtown, rummaging through antique stores, and snapping pictures at the little Eiffel Tower. Visit during one of the town’s special events, such as the beloved Springtime in Paris Festival, and settle in at one of the town’s cabins or bed and breakfasts.
Mount Magazine State Park
The highest point in the state and the site of my own mountaintop wedding ceremony, Mount Magazine is a picturesque weekend destination.
Stay at the stunning lodge which is perched high on the mountain and overlooks the glistening Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake. For a more rustic stay, curl up by the fireplace at one of the cozy cabins on the bluff of this breathtaking mountain. Go hiking on one of the many trails around the park, and savor a moment at one of the stunning overlooks.
Petit Jean State Park
Head out to Central Arkansas for a few days of pure natural goodness at Petit Jean State Park.
At Petit Jean you can choose your own adventure. If you’re feeling wild, the park offers horseback riding, hiking, swimming, a state-favorite waterfall, golfing, climbing, fishing – you name it!
Keep the adventure going after dark with camping, or if you’re looking for a little less National Geographic and a little more Southern Living, book a couple of nights at one of the park’s cabins or reserve a room at the park’s enchanting lodge!
Pull off of Interstate 40 and pull into Russellville, Arkansas – home of the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys and Golden Suns!
Tour Arkansas Tech University’s campus, or catch a concert performed by one of the school’s phenomenal music groups. Visit CJ’s Butcher Boy for one of the best hamburgers in the state, and explore the Arkansas River and Lake Dardanelle during your stay in Russellville!
Howl with the Arkansas State Red Wolves in Jonesboro, Arkansas – another college town to relive your glory days exploring!
Support the wolfpack at a college sporting event and a quintessential southern tailgate. If it isn’t a game day, you can meander through some of Jonesboro’s beautiful parks or walk around historic downtown.
Buffalo National River
Escape the stress of everyday life and float down the sparking Buffalo! America’s first National River is the perfect location to pitch your tent for a wild weekend away.
There are plenty of spots along the Buffalo to find a campsite, rent canoes, kayaks, or tubes, and enjoy a weekend full of floating down the river in the Arkansas sunshine. If camping isn’t your idea of a relaxing weekend away, book a dreamy cabin along the river, sit around the fire, and enjoy the stunning serenity of the Buffalo River.
Visit the small town of Greenbrier, Arkansas for a slow weekend full of tranquility and charm.
When I lived in Conway, my friends and I would take a yearly weekend trip out to Woolly Hollow State Park in Greenbrier for convenient camping, beautiful views, and some serious lake swimming. You can also visit the Cadron Creek for some outdoor fun. You can also head out on US 65 and browse the many antique stores and flea markets and hopefully score some treasures.
Devil’s Den State Park
Devil’s Den State Park is a classic Arkansan paradise! Perfect for the whole family, pack your duffle bag and prepare yourself for a rejuvenating weekend.
Bring your sleeping bag or nestle into one of the park’s cozy cabins. Go mountain biking, horseback riding, or hiking around the park’s trails, rent pedal boats and canoes for floating around the lake, or cast your line and relax lakeside. Devil’s Den is a wonderful place for exploring and unwinding!
Mount Nebo State Park
For a mountainous escape, check out Mount Nebo State Park, located in Dardanelle, Arkansas.
Mount Nebo is the perfect place for a weekend of unwinding. Go camping on the bluffs of the 1,350-foot namesake peak, book a few nights in one of the park’s terrific historic cabins, which have all been decked out with modern amenities homed in rustic exteriors.
Take off on a sunrise hike, or enjoy breakfast in bed before heading down to the Arkansas Wine Trail for a day of sipping!
Greers Ferry Lake
Some of my husband’s fondest memories were born from stays at his grandparents’ lake house on Greers Ferry Lake. Pack your swimsuit and get ready for a weekend on the water at Greers Ferry Lake!
The perfect spot for some family fun, the glittering water of Greers Ferry Lake welcomes boaters, anglers, and swimmers alike to let go and make a splash. Bring your camping gear or book a few nights at the charming Redbird Inn or Sugar Maple Inn to enjoy all Greers Ferry Lake has to offer.
Up in the Ozarks of Northwest Arkansas lies Bentonville. For a weekend full of culture, adventure, shopping, and great eats, start planning your trip to Bentonville!
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is an absolute must-see! Situated on a gorgeous landscape and filled to the brim with masterful works of art, promenading around the museum is the perfect way to spend a day! Bentonville is also home to some killer mountain biking, and is even lauded as the “Mountain Biking Capital of the World!”
DeGray Lake Resort State Park
There are few things in life better than a lakeside weekend, and DeGray Lake is among the greatest lakes in the state.
Book your stay at the gorgeous lodge, in a cozy cabin, or bring your tent to enjoy a couple of days of bliss. Visit the marina, cast a line, go snorkeling, enjoy mountain biking or hiking, and end your day with a breathtaking sunset cruise on the lake. DeGray Lake is your destination for some quintessential lake day relaxation.
Blanchard Springs Caverns and Recreation Area
Located in Mountain View, Arkansas, Blanchard Springs is a great place to spelunk the weekend away!
Visit the caves, or if you’re more of an above-ground person you can explore the Old Mill. Take a dip in the swimming hole, see your reflection in Mirror Lake, go for a hike, take in the waterfalls, and enjoy your stay at the Blanchard Springs Caverns and Recreation Area!
Ozark Folk Center
Enjoy a weekend that inspires a sweet nostalgia for simpler times at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas.
The Ozark Folk Center welcomes visitors to stay in one of their cabins and immerse themselves in the art, culture, and spirit of the Ozarks. Learn a craft at one of the center’s workshops, or watchmakers and artisans create works of art, catch some live music, or visit during one of the Ozark Folk Center’s special events for an unforgettable experience.
St. Francis National Forest
Head East to enjoy the forested heaven that is the St. Francis National Forest!
Whether you prefer cabins or camping, staying in the St. Francis National Forest is a beautiful place to see the unique landscape of Crowley’s Ridge – Arkansas’s geologic wonder! Go hiking, swimming, or boating, or rest your bones by a fire and listen to the crickets sing.
An unexpected spot for some serious fun is El Dorado, Arkansas. Enjoy great food, happening nightlife, lovely parks, and amazing events in El Dorado!
There is always something going on in this small town – whether its seasonal festivals, a South Arkansas Symphony concert, or a new gallery at the South Arkansas Arts Center. There is plenty of shopping to be down in El Dorado, and great restaurants to refuel at.
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Kendall Davis is originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and their dog, Scout.