From its crystal clear rivers and majestic forests to its quaint mountain towns and secluded outdoor spaces, the Ozarks is a traveler’s haven.
Forest in the Ozarks, Arkansas
Located in the southern region of the United States, Arkansas is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the US, welcoming more than 41 million visitors in 2021. Lush green forests, romantic hot springs getaways, and stunning beaches in Arkansas make the region irresistible to adventure seekers worldwide. But perhaps the best-kept secret in Arkansas is the Ozarks.
Originally known as the “Aux Arks,” the Ozarks is a stunningly beautiful mountain range that stretches across northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. The region has a long and storied history, with its earliest inhabitants being indigenous people who have lived in the area for a long time. Visitors to the area can expect plenty of unforgettable experiences in the Aux Arks; here’s how.
Getting Around: How To See What Ozarks Offers
There’s no shortage of ways to explore the vast expanse of the Ozarks. For those seeking a more leisurely way to explore, there are plenty of scenic highways and byways where travelers can take in the beauty of the region. But for a more active approach, visitors can consider:
Floating Down The Buffalo National River
From the crystal clear waters of its headwaters in the Ozarks to its confluence with the White River, a float down the Buffalo National River offers tourists a unique experience and spectacular views.
There are multiple outfitters in the region that offer rafting and canoe trips down the river.
Hiking The Ozark National Forest
The Ozark National Forest is a stunningly scenic area filled with vast forests, rolling hills, and limestone bluffs.
There are many beautiful hikes to take for tourists who want to explore the area, with plenty of options ranging from short and easy nature walks to strenuous and challenging hikes.
Cycling The Ozarks
The Ozarks offer some of the best cycling trails in the United States, with over 100 miles of bicycle routes to explore.
Cyclists can take advantage of the many mountain bike parks and scenic trails which provide a great way to explore the region’s breathtaking beauty without doing so on foot.
What To See In The Ozarks
While there are plenty of attractions in the Ozarks, certain areas are particularly popular with tourists. Here are some of them:
Eureka Springs: The Quaint Mountain Town
A visit to the Ozarks is not complete without a trip to the charming mountain town of Eureka Springs. This historic town is filled with old-fashioned charm and has plenty of things to see, from its beautiful architecture and galleries to a variety of unique shops.
With a population of around 2,200, Eureka Springs is one of the most secluded and peaceful places in Arkansas. That makes it a haven for people looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
Devil’s Den State Park: A Majestic Natural Setting
Devil’s Den State Park is a stunning natural setting located in the Ozarks, with acres of rolling hills, forests, and canyons. The area has plenty of trails for hikers and horseback riders to explore, as well as camping spots and fishing opportunities.
There’s also an old-fashioned swimming pool fed by a natural spring — perfect for cooling off on hot summer days.
- Open Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Entrance Fee: Free
Blanchard Springs Caverns: The Underground Adventure
The Blanchard Springs Caverns are a unique underground experience located in the Ozarks, with a series of breathtakingly beautiful caves and passageways to explore.
Visitors can take guided tours of the caverns and learn more about the region’s fascinating geological formations, as well as witness some of the area’s stunning natural formations.
- Open Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m (Thursday to Monday)
- Entrance Fees: Between $1 and $16 for a regular tour
The Crystal Bridges Museum Of American Art: An Unforgettable Experience
This world-renowned museum features an impressive collection of American artwork from different eras, as well as interactive exhibits and educational programs.
Built on 120 acres of pristine Ozark forest, the museum is an absolute must-visit for people who have a passion for art.
There are pavilions for outdoor events and activities, as well as dining options for visitors who want to enjoy the museum’s stunning setting.
- Open Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 18:00 p.m. (Monday, Friday, and Saturday), 11:00 am – 20:00 (Thursday and Friday), 10:00 a.m. – 18:00 P.m. (Sunday)
- Entrance Fee: Free
Where To Stay In The Ozarks
As one of the most sought-after destinations in Arkansas, the Ozarks offer plenty of options for accommodation. From rustic cabin rentals to luxurious resorts, visitors can find the perfect place to rest their heads after a long day of exploring the region.
Note that popular resorts and the best cabin rentals in the Ozarks tend to book up quickly, so advance reservations are recommended. It’s also worth noting that prices tend to be higher during peak season.
In addition to hotels and resorts, visitors can also stay in campsites or rent a camping trailer or RV, which are great options for those who want to explore the area without breaking the bank.