10 facts you need to know before visiting Arkansas
There are many unique places to visit in Arkansas; something 36 million people enjoyed when they visited it in 2019. Its tourism sector was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but when restrictions eased it was also among the destinations flocked to by vengeful travellers. Why not? It’s a mix of urban paradise and overflowing wilderness.
Although there is only one national park, it is home to many natural sites, from streams and waterfalls to caverns and mountains. It’s called the natural state, after all. Arkansas is the perfect playground for outdoor enthusiasts and travel junkies, and the best way to explore the state is to first experience the many things it has to offer.
ten Why the name and nickname?
Foreigners often pronounce Arkansas the same way they say Kansas. Although the two names have similar origins, Arkansas is pronounced in French, thus “Arkansaw”. The names were derived from the Kansa tribe, with the English pronunciation sticking true to Kansas. The French pronunciation comes from the “Arkansas” people, believed to be related to the Kansa tribe. Even so, it is not illegal to mispronounce Arkansas. Also, why is it called the natural state? It goes without saying: it is full of natural wonders, from its waterways and landscapes to wildlife.
9 Arkansas Blues
Blues music originated in the fields of the Mississippi River Delta, where “field hands” sing and sing while working. Their “field hollers”, alongside minstrels and religious songs, evolved into blues music. During the 1930s, the town of Helena, Arkansas was dubbed the “capital of the blues” because its cafes, juke joints, and streets were frequented by performers. Among those who visited the city were musicians Robert Johnson, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin’ Wolf, David “Honeyboy” Edwards and many others. The music sounds good in Arkansas, indeed.
8 A remote national park
Arkansas only has one national park, but it’s not a must-see park because it’s literally hot. Hot Springs National Park has been around since the early 1830s, at the service of weary travelers who want to enjoy its welcoming waters. Besides enjoying the bathhouses and checking out the fountains, the park is also frequented by hikers, campers, picnickers, fishermen, and cyclists. The area is perfect for outdoor activities as tourists can end their day with a dip in the pools. From wilderness to Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs National Park is a place to relax.
seven It is the home of some pioneer artifacts
Another interesting destination in Arkansas is Historic Washington State Park, a place where history buffs can view pioneer artifacts. It’s like a theme park, but for history buffs like it has more than 30 buildings when the city of Washington was a major settlement along the Southwest Trail. Exploring this park means entering historic buildings such as courthouses, a school, a blacksmith shop, a candle shop, a kitchen, and various houses. Washington State Historic Park is like a big city back.
6 It has a stock exchange museum and a diamond park
Other interesting landmarks in Arkansas are ESSE Purse Museum & Store and Crater of Diamonds State Park. The former is one of only two handbag museums in the world and features items such as bags and baskets. The latter, meanwhile, is one of the few places in the world where real diamonds can be mined by tourists, alongside minerals, rocks and gemstones. This brilliant destination in Murfreesboro offers unique experiences for families and friends. The ladies would probably like to explore both of these places.
5 It has the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World”
The city of Stuttgart is close to the Arkansas Grand Prairie, the place where commercial rice production in the United States began in 1904. This made Arkansas the top rice producing state in the United States. With vast fields and immaculate irrigation reservoirs, ducks and geese slowly flocked to the area during the migration season, making the area famous for hunters. Now dubbed the “Rice and Duck Capital of the World,” Stuttgart is packed with attractions, activities, and events related to both. It’s primarily a paradise for waterfowl hunters, but everyone is welcome, from rice-lovers to birdwatchers.
4 There are weird laws
Arkansas is not spared from having bizarre laws. There is a supposed law always associated with the state: that the woman can be beaten once a month. Fact check: This is not true. However, there are other strange laws in the state. Their constitution states that atheists are not allowed to hold political office or be witnesses in court. In Fayetteville, the killing any wild animal is illegal. In Little Rock, meanwhile, it is illegal to honk your horn in a drive-through restaurant. These laws may be weird, but Arkansas isn’t scary anyway.
3 He has the most haunted hotel in America
Arkansas is home to America’s most haunted hotel, the Crescent Hotel and Spa. The hotel is believed to be haunted, and even its management encourages guests to share all the ghostly experiences they have had during their stay. They even offer a ghost tour where visitors will hear stories of ghost sightings in the main lobby, jacuzzi suite, staircase, windows, garden, and in front of the building. It’s like they’re everywhere, a tantalizing prospect for fans of the paranormal and the unknown.
2 Little Rock is big on surprises
Little Rock is the capital of Arkansas, and it’s a must-see urban jungle for tourists. As the main hub of the state, it is packed with attractions such as museums, parks, cultural centers and historical sites. It even has the William J. Clinton Library and Museum, dedicated to famous former Arkansan President Bill Clinton. It’s not just about educational and cultural tours in Little Rock, as it also offers outdoor venues for the more active tourist. Little Rock is indeed big on adventures.
1 Cheese dip was born here
Another important Arkansas contribution to the world is cheese dip. It is believed to be an original product from Mexico Chiquito, a restaurant in North Little Rock. The pioneer cafe started serving customers in 1935 and closed shop in 2019, although some of its branches remain operational. Tourists shouldn’t miss trying their cheese dip, something other restaurants have tried to copy but can’t perfect. Arkansas is proud of Mexico Chiquito because even though he is a pioneer, he has remained humble and true to his roots.