Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Five Great Arkansas Spring Break Roadtrips.

Spring Break is an opportunity to explore The Natural State in depth with your family.  Here are some excellent vacation spots and ideas for traveling Arkansas's highways during that precious week off from school.

As you may already know, Hunter and I have already conducted some exhaustive research on some of our better known highways (you can read about our Scenic Arkansas Highway Seven trip here, or catch up on our Spring Break on 71 here).  So we can both tell you first-hand about the joys of traveling a highway and enjoying the great things each one has to offer.

But in case you're new to this concept, here are five highways you can take for adventure and fun in Arkansas.

US Highway 270, White Hall to Acorn. Jump on this highway north of Pine Bluff and let it take you places, such as Sheridan, where you can spend an entire day enjoying the Grant County Museum.  Follow it into Malvern for a great lunch of steak at Keeney's. Head into Hot Springs and enjoy the splendor of the tulips at Garvan Woodland Gardens and plenty of fun at Mid America Science Museum.  Head further west and spend time on a bike or on foot exploring the LOViT Trail along the south side of Lake Ouachita.  Dig for crystals in and around Mt. Ida, oggle the splendor of the heart of the Ouachita Mountains and then at the end of your trip ride an ATV in the Wolf Pen Gap.  A trip for adventure lovers.

US Highway 22, Fort Smith to Dardanelle.  This route will take you through the southern portion of the Arkansas River Valley, from Fort Smith's famed Rogers Avenue with its shopping and dining experiences, to Paris and its route south to Arkansas's tallest point at Mount Magazine, straight by the abbey at Subiaco and on down to Mount Nebo just south of Dardanelle.  Schedule a few nights at each mountaintop state park and enjoy traveling and visiting the points in-between.

The Great River Road.  Learn more about Arkansas's place on the Mississippi with visits all along the Arkansas section of the eleven-state trail.  Start with a stay at Lake Chicot State Park and Rhoda's Famous Hot Tamales in Lake Village; visit McGehee and the Rohwer Relocation Center site; cross the Arkansas at Pendleton; pass through Gillette, home of the world famous coon supper; visit Arkansas Post State Park and the Arkansas Post National Historic Site, which has a history dating back to Revolutionary times; roll into Helena-West Helena and learn about the blues; try some world-class James Beard Award-winning barbecue at Jones Barbecue Diner in Marianna; enjoy the dog races at West Memphis; visit the newly restored and expanding community of Wilson and dine a bevy of barbecue greats at Blytheville.   This end-to-end route along the eastern border isn't just an education, it's tasty, too.

Scenic Arkansas Highway Seven.  The longest Arkansas state highway, this route takes you through almost every sort of terrain you can experience in the state (except the Delta).  Start in El Dorado and enjoy its remarkable expanding downtown.  Head north to Camden and catch the daffodils.  At Caddo Valley, stop in for fresh baked hand pies at Front Porch Bakery.  Spend a night in a yurt or at the lodge at DeGray Lake Resort State Park.  Relax in Hot Springs and schedule a bath on Bathhouse Row.  Drive through the Ouachita Mountains and up through Russellville into the Ozarks.  Spend time in Jasper and head east to view elk in Boxley Valley.  Wrap it up with time on Bull Shoals Lake.

US Highway 71.  This route along Arkansas's western border is splendid for a longer trip.  Start on the south end and learn about the Fouke Monster, then overnight in Texarkana and visit the Four States Auto Museum.  Enjoy the views from Arkansas's second highest peak at Queen Wilhelmina State Park.  Try a fried pie at The Rock Cafe in Waldron.  Visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site and the courtroom of Judge Isaac C. Parker.  Overnight at the great new cabins at Lake Fort Smith State Park and dine on a pie buffet at Grandma's House Cafe in Winslow.  Explore Dickson Street in Fayetteville, visit the Shiloh Museum for a history of Springdale, spend hours exploring the antique malls and flea markets of Rogers and make a pilgrimage to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding your article about the Great River Road, you may want to revise it. You mention that you will travel from McGhee to Gillett, from Gillett to crossing the Arkansas River..... In order to get to Gillett from McGhee, you must cross the river first. Also, between crossing the river at Pendleton and Gillett, travelers may enjoy stopping at Arkansas Post State park and National Memorial there off of the highway. They could see alligators in the wild and learn about the History of Arkansas Post.


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