5 Reasons to Make Booneville, AR, Your Next Getaway

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Overlook in Mount Magazine State Park, Arkansas (AR) on a sunny day

One of the most fun parts of planning a road trip is picking your destinations. But it can also be the most stressful.

With so many little towns scattered throughout the United States, how do you know which ones are worth visiting? Choosing metropolitan locations is pretty easy, but those hidden gems can be challenging to find.

Let’s take a closer look at Booneville, AR, a small town in the western part of the state. It’s in a great location to explore other areas and offers its own charm. Let’s dive in!

Where Is Booneville, AR? 

Just north of the Ouachita National Forest, Booneville is located at the intersection of Highway 23 and Highway 10 in western Arkansas. A trip northwest along Highway 10 to Highway 71, then to Fort Smith, is less than an hour.

Little Rock is a bit farther, over a two-hour drive east. Even though Booneville, AR, is only about four square miles, it’s nestled in a beautiful part of the Natural State.

Traveler’s Tip: Plan to take your road trip northwest after Booneville. You’ll find the town of Van Buren, AR, waiting for you on the beautiful Arkansas River.

What Is Booneville Arkansas Known For?

Established in 1828, Booneville was founded by Walter Cauthron, who built a log cabin and store in the area. In the early 1900s, the Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium began treating residents with tuberculosis. By its closing in 1973, over 70,000 patients had walked through its doors.

One news-worthy event happened in 2008 when a meat-packing plant exploded. The Cargill Meat Solutions plant employed 800 people and was Booneville’s leading employer. Anhydrous ammonia reacted with carbon dioxide and was ignited by sparks from a welder.

Although it wasn’t fatal, it dramatically influenced life in Booneville, AR, as 800 of the 4,000 residents were now without jobs. The town never really fully covered after the explosion. 

According to the 2020 census, about 3,800 people call Booneville home, continuing a downward trend since 2000.

How Did Booneville, AR, Get Its Name?

There are two stories about how Booneville, AR, got its name. When Walter Cauthron settled in the area, it’s said that he called it Bonneville, named after a friend, William Bonneville. The spelling was changed over time.

Another story claims that the town was named after Daniel Boone, a friend of the Logan family. Logan County is the location of Booneville, AR.

Two friends walking down a small town main street during the daytime.

5 Reasons to Make Booneville AR Your Next Getaway

Although you might not expect to spend several days in Booneville, AR, there are five reasons you should add this small town to your Arkansas road trip destination list.

The local cuisine and outdoor recreational activities make this town a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

1. Sweet South Coffee

Sweet South Coffee is located on Main Street in Booneville, AR, and is open every day except Sundays. Start your day with a cup of Diamond of the South, a latte with vanilla, cinnamon, and honey.

Add a delicious blueberry scone or muffin, and you’ll be set to start your day visiting the area. Or if you need an afternoon pick-me-up, the coffee shop is open until 1:00 p.m., from Mondays to Fridays.

Top down view of three friends holding their coffees and lattes at a coffee shop.

2. Cherokee Creek Golf Course

Break out your clubs with a round of golf at Cherokee Creek Golf Course. You’ll enjoy beautiful mountain views while you hang out with a few friends.

If you visit in April or May, check out the benefit tournament for the Boys and Girls Club. This two-person scramble has been happening for 20 years.

The course is less than two miles from Sweet South Coffee and is a straight shot down Main Street.

3. Waveland Park Recreation Area

Located on Blue Mountain Lake, Waveland Park Recreation Area is in Waveland, AR, about a 25-minute drive east of Booneville. Spend the day here hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and more.

There are campsites available with water and electric hookups, and there’s a boat ramp and fish cleaning station for the anglers visiting the area. After playing for the day, head back into town and grab dinner at Reid’s Hometown BBQ.

A father and daughter sick on a dock looking into the lake with ducks swimming by them.

4. Reid’s Hometown BBQ

Another restaurant located on Main Street in Booneville, AR, Reid’s Hometown BBQ joint is a local favorite. Start with an order of pulled pork nachos or fries and then savor the delicious cuisine of brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken breast, smoked sausage, or pork ribs.

Order meat by the pound or choose a few to create your own plate. Don’t leave without satisfying your sweet tooth. Reid’s has apple, coconut, blueberry, and blackberry pies with more on the dessert menu.

5. Mount Magazine State Park

Did you know Mount Magazine is not only the tallest mountain in Arkansas but the tallest peak between the Rockies and Alleghenies at 2,753 feet? The State Park, located in Paris, AR, is about a 40-minute drive northeast of Booneville.

There are numerous hiking and biking trails throughout the park. Rock climbing, birding, hang gliding, and horseback riding are also popular activities. The Skycrest Restaurant offers beautiful views and a variety of menu options if you’d like to grab dinner while in the park.

Overlooking tree covered hills and a rocky cliff in Mount Magazine State Park in Arkansas (AR).

Where to Stay in Booneville AR

You can camp in Waveland Park Recreation Area and Mount Magazine State Park. There are also cabin rentals available.

But if you’re looking for a more “homey” stay, check out these two Airbnbs located in Booneville, AR. They’ll provide everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

Antler Oaks Lakeside Cabin

This peaceful retreat sleeps four guests in its two-bedroom, one-bathroom accommodations. The lake provides catch and release fishing opportunities.

Standing on the patio of a cabin on the lake as the sun sets behind the trees.

Inside, you’ll find a washer and dryer if you need to do some laundry while taking your Arkansas road trip. You’ll also enjoy a full kitchen stocked with everything you need, from pots and pans to silverware and dishes.

Outside, you’ll enjoy relaxing by the fire pit in the evenings.

The Cottage At Stone Oak

Another great option is this one-bedroom, one-bathroom studio cottage. Although it’s a bit more expensive than the lakeside cabin above, it offers a more rustic, camping feel outside and a more modern feel inside.

This custom-built cottage features a Sonos sound system, two flat-screen TVs, and a cozy front porch. You’ll also have lake access. The living area has a king bed, and the kitchen has a refrigerator, coffee maker, dishes, and silverware.

If you want to stay closer to the Fort Smith area, this is a great option.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Visit Booneville, AR? 

The temperatures in Booneville, AR, are pretty mild. In the winter months, the average low stays around freezing or a bit below. But the days are a comfortable 50 degrees.

The average high will get up above 90 degrees in July and August. The rest of the year, you’ll enjoy average temperatures in the 60s and 70s.

For the most part, you can visit Booneville, AR, any time of the year and enjoy all that this town has to offer. It might be a bit cold trying to play golf in January, so if you’re looking to explore the outdoors, you might want to visit in the spring or fall when the temperatures are more comfortable.

Booneville is in a great location to enjoy the beauty of Arkansas. Don’t miss your chance to relax and soak up the natural scenery in an area without lots of traffic or the hustle and bustle of city life. 

When will you visit Booneville, AR?

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