7 Ways to Do Dardanelle, AR, Like a Local

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Docks at sunset over Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas (AR).

Situated between the Ozark National Forest and the Ouachita National Forest is the small city of Dardanelle, AR. You might have never heard of it until now, but it’s located in a beautiful scenic location in Arkansas.

When you visit here, you’ll realize why Arkansas is called the Natural State. You might think a small city with less than four square miles of land can’t have that much to offer travelers, but you’d be wrong. 

Let’s look at why you should visit Dardanelle, AR, the next time you drive down Interstate 40. In fact, you can visit and experience the city just like a local!

Where Is Dardanelle, AR?

Located along the Arkansas River just south of Interstate 40 is the small city of Dardanelle, AR.

From Fort Smith, drive about 73 miles east on Interstate 40 and get off on exit 81 for Highway 7, which takes you into Dardanelle. From Little Rock, drive about 65 miles west on Interstate 40 and get off exit 88 for Highway 247, which takes you into Dardanelle.

What Is Dardanelle, AR, Known For?

Officially incorporated in 1855, Dardanelle, AR, was a river port for the early settlers long before that. It continues to offer outdoor recreational activities today along the Arkansas River and at Lake Dardanelle, and on Mount Nebo. Beautiful oak trees are situated throughout the city and have welcomed early settlers and present-day travelers.

Looking over the river, lakes and bridges in Darnadelle, AR.

Traveler’s Tip: Just an hour’s drive from Dardanelle, check out the town of Booneville and visit the tallest mountain peak in Arkansas on the way there.

7 Best Things to Do in Dardanelle, AR

There’s a little something for everyone in this small city. Even though only about 4,500 people call Dardanelle, AR, home, there are lots of activities to entertain guests. Relax, golf, eat, hike, camp, and learn during your stay here.

1. Relax at Riverview Recreation Area

Address: 1021 Dam Rd, Dardanelle, AR 72843

Why You Should Visit: With almost 40,000 acres of water, Lake Dardanelle offers plenty of boating and fishing opportunities. There’s also an abundance of wildlife, including the bald eagle.

Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day in the outdoors at Riverview Recreation Area. It’s also only a short drive from Bocadilloas, so after eating a picnic lunch, head over and try the churro sundae for an afternoon treat.

Docks in Lake Darnadelle in Arkansas.

2. Tee Off at Lion’s Den Golf Course

Address: 11044 Bay Ridge Dr, Dardanelle, AR 72834

Why You Should Visit: At Lion’s Den, you can enjoy a round of golf at a reasonable price. It’s $25 per round and $12 for a cart rental.

Owned by John Daly, this course is over 6,000 yards. Par is 72. Open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Lion’s Den is a place to hang out with friends and enjoy the outdoors.

3. Try the Churro Sundae at Bocadillos

Address: 505 Union St, Dardanelle, AR 72834

Why You Should Visit: Only about a six-minute drive from Riverview Recreation Area, Bocadillos offers plenty of sweet treats for the family. Order up a churro sundae, a mangonada, or fried Oreos. They also serve lunch and dinner with operating hours between 11:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. daily. 

Bocadillos is open an extra hour later on Friday and Saturday nights. If you’re coming in from just playing a round of golf at Lion’s Den, sit down for a meal of chimichangas or enchiladas at this local favorite in Dardanelle, AR. 

Three churro sundaes with caramel and chocolate sauce.

4. Visit the Bona Dea Trails & Sanctuary

Address: Ark. 326 Scenic 7 Byway, Russellville, AR 72801

Why You Should Visit: This outdoor area is very different from the Riverview Recreation Area. Here, 186 acres include wetland and low woods. Six miles of trails meander through the sanctuary that provides habitats to various wildlife.

After eating lunch or grabbing a treat at Bocadillos, drive north about 12 minutes in Russellville. Bona Dea Trails & Sanctuary is located along the Illinois Bayou.

5. Camp at Lake Dardanelle State Park

Address: 2428 Marina Rd, Russellville, AR 72802

Why You Should Visit: Another great outdoor recreational area is Lake Dardanelle State Park. It’s open year-round except for major holidays and provides ample opportunities for guests to enjoy the beauty of the Natural State. There’s something for everyone here, including fishing, hiking, and birding. 

The Meadowbrook Self-Guided Trail is suitable for all levels and features the varied plant life in the area. It’s about three-quarters of a mile long.

Also a certified Trail of Tears National Historic Site, the Visitors Center showcases the story of the removal of the Native Americans from the area. There are also five aquariums inside.

Wooden dock running along the lake at Dardanelle State Park in Arkansas.

6. Try Some Local Fare at Fowler’s

Address: 512 N 2nd St, Dardanelle, AR 72834

Why You Should Visit: Another local favorite is Fowler’s, a family-owned and operated restaurant located on the outskirts of Dardanelle, AR, near the Ouachita National Forest. It’s a great family-friendly option that serves home cooking.

Daily specials include entrees like chicken fried steak, fish, salads, and more. They also serve up some delicious desserts. Try a slice of cheesecake before you leave!

7. Take Visitors to the Potts Inn Museum

Address: 15 E Ash St, Pottsville, AR 72858

Why You Should Visit: Just northeast of Dardanelle, AR, is Pottsville. Take a drive and visit the Potts Inn Museum, where you’ll see antebellum architecture, Indian artifacts, a one-room pioneer cabin, and more.

Managed by the Pope County Historical Foundation, the Potts Inn Museum on Saturdays only from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You’ll learn the story of the Potts family and the rich history of the era of the Butterfield Stagecoach Line.

Is Dardanelle, AR, Worth a Visit?

When planning a road trip along Interstate 40 through Arkansas, make plans to stop for a day or two and explore Dardanelle, AR. It’s not too far off your route and will offer plenty of fun for travelers of all ages.

Whether you’re a history buff, a local foodie, or an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll enjoy visiting Dardanelle, AR. Since most places are open year-round, the hardest decision might be when to visit. 

Will you take a trip in the spring, summer, or fall?

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