This is the best time to see beautiful fall colors in Arkansas

Here is the truth. Arkansas has outstanding natural beauty that is almost hypnotic to explore or experience. The Ouachita Mountains and the Ozarks, which majestically dot the state’s varied landscape, are some of the highlights of the “Natural State.” But there are many other attractions that nature has, perhaps unfairly, bequeathed to this beautiful state which, over time, has become identified with the diamond mines. Many clear streams meander casually through Arkansas’ varied terrain, giving its valleys a green, lush, verdant look. But there are also limestone caves, numerous parks, several steaming springs, as well as beautiful cities – which one would never have imagined to be in Arkansas. And, of course, the oldest national park in the country.

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And while summer is, for many destinations, the perfect time to travel, that’s not quite the case in Arkansas. Here’s why fall might just be the perfect time to see Arkansas at its best.

Here’s Why Fall Might Be the Best Time to Visit Arkansas

Of course, summer is the holiday season par excellence. With the warm weather, it is possible to swim, camp in a forest and travel light. But in Arkansas, that’s not just the case. Summers in Arkansas can be hot. Sometimes extremely hot. And it’s not just in Arkansas. For those who have been to the southern states, this is usually the case. While the the average high summer temperature in Arkansas is around 93°F (33.9°C), sometimes it can even fire up to 110°F (43.3°C). Many will find these temperature levels uncomfortable, although bearable. On the other side of the spectrum, winters in Arkansas are cold. For warm-weather travelers or those looking to partake in outdoor activities, these chilly conditions can put a damper on vacation. That leaves us with the shoulder seasons of fall and spring.


Here’s the truth: while spring can be a great time to visit Arkansas — with the dogwood trees literally coming to life in their natural vibrancy — the weather is still often fickle. Admittedly, these will be hot days, sometimes cool, but travelers should not rule out rains, storms and even tornadoes. That’s why we’ll stick to the fall.

Related: Arkansas is a truly underrated state, and these gorgeous cities prove it.

This is the best time in fall to visit Arkansas

It’s not just a pun. Autumn does not fall uniformly in the “natural state”. The northern regions are usually the first to adorn themselves with the shimmering fall colors of orange, gold or red. Usually these are the areas in and around the Ozarks and include the town of Russellville as well as eclectic Ozark Mountain towns such as Forth Smith, Bentonville and Eureka Springs, a shopper’s paradise that is also a famous paradise for lovers of nature. This dramatic change in the northern regions begins around the second week of October. After that, it sweeps through the southern states – spreading color and beauty – all the way. By the third week, sometimes the last week of October, the northern regions were joyfully adorned with peak fall colors.


While the brilliant fall colors will delight the eye — and likely cause little Instagram buzz — the beauty of the fall holidays goes beyond the color or breathtaking scenery. It revolves around the many outdoor activities that visitors can indulge in. The reason for this is that unlike summer or winter, autumn weather is a bit milder. Thus, activities such as hiking, climbing, camping or cycling will be practiced in pleasantly cool air and under a mild sun. For central regions in the heart of the state, for example, around the Arkansas River Valley and Ouachita State Park, fall begins mid-October through late October and peaks the first week of November. In the southern states, however, nature’s glowing robe traditionally appears around the second week of November.


Related: These luxury cabins in Arkansas have us looking forward to cooler weather.

Here are some beautiful places to experience the fall beauty of Arkansas

Things seem good or bad, depending on where you are. And for fall travelers who want to experience the best of Arkansas, this fact should guide their vacation plans. For starters, lodging near the Ozark National Forest will give you a laid back natural setting with some of the best views. The same goes for the Ouachita National Forest. For example, the secluded Queen Wilhelmina State Park has a spectacular mountaintop setting and offers comfortable accommodations as well as a clean, peaceful campground.


For those wanting to establish a base in the Ozarks, Big Cedar Lodge, nestled in the middle of the woods, is one of the best lodging establishments in the area. And located in the famous 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, The Beehive is a pretty cool place to meet friends, eat or rest.

That’s it. Fall is the perfect time to land in the “natural state”. However, as we have seen, it does not fall evenly across the state.

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