Are you looking for a fun getaway in the south? Visiting small towns in Arkansas is a great way to spend a vacation. They offer a variety of activities, amenities, and venues.
From downtowns lined with Victorian homes to vast wilderness landscapes, there’s something for any type of traveler. You could focus your getaway on one Arkansas small town or visit several on a road trip. Let’s take a closer look at small towns in Arkansas!
Arkansas’ eastern border lies on the Mississippi River. And the Ozarks are in the northeast of the state. Arkansas is known for its forests, mountainous regions, rivers, caves, and hot springs. Hot Springs National Park is a popular destination for visitors.
Small towns in Arkansas range from unique to magical. While the state might be off the radar for some since it’s not on a major coast, it offers a lot of character and outdoor activities. You’ll find southern hospitality in its towns and residents ready to give you helpful tips to get the most out of your visit.
7 Best Small Towns in Arkansas
To maximize your time in the state, we’ve narrowed the small towns in Arkansas down to seven of the best. We hope you have the opportunity to visit one or all of these gems.
#1. Eureka Springs
About Eureka Springs: Eureka Springs is in the Ozark National Forest in northeast Arkansas. The quiet town is nestled in the mountains and has streets lined with Victorian homes. Eureka Springs’ entire downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Things to Do in Eureka Springs: Walking around downtown is a top activity in Eureka Springs. You can take in the view of all the historic buildings. And there are all kinds of unique shops, art galleries, spas, and restaurants to choose from. Outside of downtown, you’ll find endless outdoor activities. Fishing, water sports, hiking, and camping are some of the most popular.
What Makes Eureka Springs Special: The mountainous backdrop and quintessential downtown streets lined with beautiful architecture are what make Eureka Springs special. You can stay in town or venture out and have a great time.
Traveler’s Tip: We’ve compiled a list of the top 12 things to do in Eureka Springs.
#2. Mountain Home
About Mountain Home: Mountain Home is a small town in north-central Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains. Lakes and rivers surround it. Visitors enjoy outdoor activities in the area as well as the town’s restaurants, shopping, museums, historical sites, and annual festivals.
Things to Do in Mountain Home: Visit Bull Shoals Caverns, about fifteen miles from downtown Mountain Home. The caverns are one of the world’s oldest limestone caverns. You can go on a guided tour of the caves from the spring through the fall season. Mountain Home is home to fishing resorts along the White River. Canoeing, hiking, and camping are also popular activities in and around the town.
What Makes Mountain Home Special: Mountain Home is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. Whether you like to fish, hike, or paddle, there are miles of wilderness to experience.
#3. Siloam Springs
About Siloam Springs: Siloam Springs is on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The small town boasts community spirit and downtown events, including outdoor concerts. It’s a vibrant place to visit and live.
Things to Do in Siloam Springs: Start by taking a stroll down Main Street. You can go to the Farmers’ Market or local small businesses for shopping. The preserved historic district is also fun to walk or drive through. Be sure also to check out Sager Creek. It’s a 13.4-mile-long creek that runs through downtown Siloam Springs and features a waterfall.
What Makes Siloam Springs Special: Siloam Springs has character, and there’s always some type of event happening downtown. A visit to this small town in Arkansas will make you feel like part of the community.
#4. Heber Springs
About Heber Springs: Heber Springs sits on the shores of Greers Ferry Lake in central Arkansas. The U.S. Corps of Engineers completed the 31,500-acre lake in 1963. It’s now a national model for environmental cleanliness. Heber Springs downtown district boasts of a stately county courthouse on a traditional square from the mid-19th century.
Things to Do in Heber Springs: Water recreation and fishing are the most sought-after activities in Heber Springs. You can participate in all kinds of water sports on Greers Ferry Lake, and there are restaurants and resorts along the shores.
For fishing, the Little Red River is the place to go. It’s gained international recognition for its brown trout. The Ozark Country Market is a fun stop. It offers a variety of produce, local artisan food and wares, and more. It’s open seven days a week.
What Makes Heber Springs Special: Heber Springs is a lake and river town. Access to these two water sources makes it a special place for those who enjoy water recreation.
About Jasper: Jasper is an Ozark Mountain town in north-central Arkansas. It has a quaint downtown square with a gazebo and a beautiful courthouse. Jasper also hosts a herd of about 450 elk in the area of the Buffalo River corridor. There’s even an annual Buffalo River Elk Festival.
Things to Do in Jasper: You can learn about the elk in the area by visiting the Hilary Jones Wildlife Museum & Elk Information Center. It has exhibits about the elk and other wildlife in the area, video presentations, maps of the area, and more. After the museum, grab a bite to eat at the Ozark Cafe. It’s the second oldest restaurant in Arkansas and opened in 1909.
Arkansas Scenic Byway 7 runs through Jasper. It offers stunning views and connects the small town to the city of Harrison to the north. It’s a great afternoon drive. And you can stop off along the way for short hikes or a picnic. Or visit Mystic Caverns to view what’s under the hills.
What Makes Jasper Special: The herd of elk is one of the unique things about Jasper. But it’s also a special small town in Arkansas because of its forests and opportunities for outdoor adventures.
#6. El Dorado
About El Dorado: El Dorado is in south-central Arkansas. It’s a great place to golf, attend a cultural event, or watch a football game. Community is the central focus of this small town. In fact, it won first place in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice poll for Best Small Town Cultural Scene in 2021.
Things to Do in El Dorado: Visit El Dorado’s historic downtown district to view the architecture and culture. You can check the events calendar to see what cultural or musical events are coming up. There’s always something going on for all ages.
Shopping and dining are also a big part of this small town in Arkansas. The downtown district has dozens of shops positioned around the stately Union County Courthouse. You’ll also find numerous spas and salons for some pampering. There’s farm-to-table, southern, and soul food, Cajun cuisine, and more for dining options.
What Makes El Dorado Special: El Dorado brings in visitors for the number of events and festivals it puts on. These include symphony performances, the Southern Food & Wine Festival, Music Fest, the Mayhaw Festival, and more.
#7. Elm Springs
About Elm Springs: Elm Springs is in the northeast corner of Arkansas within the Ozarks. It has a rich history, as the Thomas McClain family was one of the first settlers in 1831. The small town also has one of the oldest U.S. post offices, which was first built in 1848.
Things to Do in Elm Springs: Stop by the Elm Springs Heritage Center to learn more about the historic town. You’ll be transported back in time when you learn how the town survived through the Civil War. And you’ll learn about the water mill and the springs that gave the town its name.
Explore the outdoors when in town at Elm Springs City Park. You can walk the paved path or enjoy a picnic. It’s a great place to take kids and just enjoy a relaxing afternoon.
What Makes Elm Springs Special: Elm Springs is a special place for history buffs. The small town has a unique past and insight into the state’s northeastern region during the Civil War.
Arkansas: Small Towns, Big Scenery
Small towns in Arkansas are unique and beautiful. They’re surrounded by big scenery of mountains, greenery, and lakes. Spending time in any one of these towns will give you a taste of southern culture and hospitality that you may not have known you were looking for. We highly recommend checking out any of the small towns on this list. Which will you visit first?