Arkansas Discovery Guide

Overview

The beautiful natural world of Arkansas, United States, provides many things for you to see and enjoy. Since half the State is covered with mountains, there is plenty of places to go. There are the Ozark Mountains in the north, and the Ouachitas in the south part of Arkansas. This means there are plenty of peaks from which you can see for miles, Mt. Nebo being one of the best, hiking trails, wilderness, camping, beautiful rivers and lakes, and caves. The Queen Wilhelmina State Park offers a 54 mile scenic road along the peaks of the Ouachita Mountains.

One of the great events that take place in Arkansas each year is the magnificent Passion Play in Eureka Springs. This play focuses on the life, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and has hundreds of cast members to bring the Bible to life in drama. While the play is outdoors, you view it from comfortable seats in a multi-level amphitheater. That is not all there is to see here, though, there are many other good things to see, too. You will find a Museum of Earth History that presents history from a Creation viewpoint and has models of dinosaurs and fossils on display. A Holy Land Tour and a Tabernacle Tour provides you with many accurate and interactive exhibits. Take a guided teaching tour through a life-size model of the Tabernacle accurately presenting the meaning of it and why each action of the priests was necessary. A buffet supper is also available to complete your tour.

There is no other place in the United States quite like the Arkansas Diamond Mine - since it is the only diamond mine in this country. Even better, though, is that you get to keep any diamonds you find. A number of people in just the past few months have found some rather large diamonds. In a field of 37 acres that has been plowed for easier digging, you can walk around, dig, and keep what you find. Many different colors are available - along with up to 40 other different rocks and minerals including garnets, amethyst, jasper and more.

Various outdoor tours are available with many activities in the mountains, too. At Devil's Den State Park, you can take a guided tour exploring the deepest crevices in the Park. Each Friday, you have this opportunity - come dressed for a good and strenuous hike. Then, on Fridays, you can take a guided hike to the end of the Devil's Cave. You will get dirty on this tour, since there will be crawling, strenuous hiking, etc. The nearby Cane Creek State Park has a presentation with some live Arkansas wild animals that you can see.

Experience some of the historic lifestyles of the Ozark people by visiting the Ozark Folk Center at Mountain View - in the north. Here you will find opportunities to listen to the music of traditional instruments such as the dulcimer, the autoharp and the banjo, and see the crafts of crafted artisans making things for everyday life. There is a special crafts school, too, for those wanting to immerse themselves more into the culture and crafts of the Ozark people. Special classes are offered which teach you how to make gourd banjos, quilting, blacksmithing, stained glass, weaving, and primitive rug hooking.

Numerous lake tours are available that will enable you to see much of the beautiful geography of the mountains from the lake. One of these boat tours (on DeGray Lake) takes you to an island where you will see amazing sunsets and you can enjoy a steak dinner with it. Other tours provide you with unique opportunities to see wildlife and birds. Lake Chicot tours include boat and car tours enabling you to see such wildlife as alligators, mink, armadillo, and deer.

Other water activities are easy to find in this state that has lots of streams and rivers - more than 9,000 miles of them! If you are looking for serious whitewater rafting or kayaking, then you have found it at the Cossatot River. Here you will find 12 miles of river that provides some of the best whitewater experiences in the country - it consists of Class IV and Class V - when the water is high.

Then there is that place that everyone has heard about - Hot Springs, Arkansas. Because of the minerals in the water, this special place provides a therapeutic effect for those who bathe in it. Hot Springs actually became the first national park in the US because of its value. Many places in Hot Springs provide you with opportunities to both bathe and to drink from the Hot Springs. In addition to the water, there are many trails in the park - with a lot of dense growth, beauty, and animals, too.

Take a tour of the Civil War battlefields in Arkansas. There are three of them in the state. Two of them are in the northwest corner - the Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, in which one of the most decisive battles ever to take place in Arkansas helped to turn the tide against the Confederate state. Here you will find a state-of-the-art visitor's center, and you have opportunity to take a walking and a driving tour of this historic park, too. You can also see the Morrow house and other features in the park, too. Not far from there you will find the Pea Ridge Battlefield. This was the battle that prevented Confederate forces from taking over Missouri and kept it a Union State for the rest of the war.

Arkansas keeps a number of events going throughout the year. This means that you can plan your vacation around them, or take some of them in while you are in the area. Music festivals are big in Arkansas – here are a few of them: the Crawdad Days Music Festival in May; the Annual Bluegrass Festival in Eureka Springs in August; the Hot Springs Jazz Fest in September; and the MusicFest in El Dorado in October. Also in October, you can enjoy the Annual Bella Vista Arts & Crafts Festival; and don’t forget about the - The Enchanted Land of Lights and Legends in November and December, which has a mile long display of lights for the season.
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