(BPT) - Thanks to its natural beauty and multitude of attractions, Arkansas tourism is thriving, recently breaking a record by drawing 19.6 million overnight guests in just a year.
Not only is tourism thriving in Arkansas, but the state’s commitment to investing in and creating fun, compelling experiences continues to grow. Public-private partnerships have led to the development of world-class mountain biking trails throughout the state, with more to come. And Arkansas state parks, which feature access to mountains, lakes and rivers, make great week or weekend vacation destinations.
Arkansans have a goal: Making your trip to their state memorable and well worth repeating.
"I’m always pleased when visitors tell me what a wonderful time they had in The Natural State,” notes Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “They’ve invariably enjoyed our outstanding array of parks, explored our fascinating landscapes, experienced our diverse communities and met some of the friendliest people on the planet.”
Consider how visits to some of the state’s best attractions might fit into your travel plans.
Buffalo National River: One of the few undammed rivers left in the continental U.S., this national treasure is a dream for hikers, horseback riders and canoeists, offering everything from calm pools to running rapids to natural wilderness to massive limestone bluffs. The Buffalo meanders through the heart of the Ozarks for 150 miles before joining the White River, prized by fly fishermen for its bounteous brown trout. Book one of the area’s many cabin rentals or campsites to take advantage of all the recreation.
Clinton Presidential Library & Museum: At this Little Rock attraction, you can learn more about the presidency of our nation’s 42nd president by visiting a full-sized replica of the Oval Office and viewing artifacts gifted by foreign leaders, as well as memorabilia from his childhood, campaigns and family.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art: This free-admission multi-exhibit treasure and the nearby Amazeum children’s museum represent two of the best-kept secrets in the South. Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and bridge incorporated into the building to make it a work of art itself. Sculptures and nature trails link the site’s 120-acre park to downtown Bentonville.
Crater of Diamonds State Park: This highly unusual Murfreesboro attraction features a 37-acre plowed field that tops the world’s largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater. Treasure hunters are enchanted by the chance to find and keep loose diamonds found on-site; recent take-homes have included raw 7.4-carat and 8.52-carat specimens.
Johnny Cash Boyhood Home: Johnny Cash fans and other music enthusiasts can explore an 11-mile stretch of music culture on Highway 67 where Cash and other artists such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis launched their careers. Don’t miss Cash's restored childhood home in Dyess, which you may recognize from his 2005 biopic “Walk the Line.”
Mountain biking mecca: Arkansas is tied with Colorado for holding the second-highest number of International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) EPIC Rides. Three cities — Bentonville, Fayetteville and Hot Springs — are designated IMBA Ride Centers because of their world-class facilities and hospitality. And five different teams are tasked with keeping area trails beautiful and accessible for riders ranging from beginner to pro.
Check out a full listing of the state's other many attractions at Arkansas.com.