We put together a list of the very best Ozark Mountain attractions to make your planning a little bit easier.
Ozark Mountain Attractions
- Arkansas Air Museum Airplane enthusiasts will enjoy the Arkansas Air Museum, which is home to vintage aircraft, including pre-World War II racing planes in flying condition, aeronautical memorabilia, and a gift shop housed in a historic hangar at Fayetteville’s Drake Field.
- Arkansas Grand Canyon Located about 5 miles south of Jasper on scenic Highway 7. Stop at the famous Cliff House Inn and enjoy the scenic views of the Big Creek valley while you enjoy a wonderful meal. They also have rooms available. Just what this has in common with the “real” Grand Canyon is beyond me, but it is definitely worth the visit and is one of the most stunning Ozark Mountain attractions.
- Blanchard Springs Caverns Ranked as one of the more stunning underground discoveries of the 20th century, this limestone cavern is located deep in the Ozark National Forest, 15 miles north of Mountain View. What makes this cave system singularly unique is it that it is the only one in the nation operated by the U.S. Forest Service and is open all-year-round. Well lit walkways take the viewer to spectacular formations and massively impressive rooms, one as large as six football fields. For those more adventurous participants the offer the “Wild Cave Tours”. Best be in excellent shape for this one! The Blanchard Springs Recreational Use Area provides scenic campgrounds, picnic areas, an abundance of trails for those interested in hiking, a natural spring and a lake stocked with trout for the fishing enthusiast.
- Buffalo National River America’s first national river (dedicated in1972), the picturesque Buffalo National River flows roughly 140 miles and offers water sport enthusiast’s fantastic whitewater floating through the Arkansas Ozarks. The river is bordered by rugged limestone bluffs, gorgeous vistas and wilderness areas. Within its 95,000 acres of public land along its corridor, hikers can discover caves, waterfalls, hidden springs, natural bridges and canyons. Hunting, fishing, rock climbing and wildlife watching are also top attractions. The nature scenes that abound in Arkansas like the spectacular fall foliage and country landscapes attracts artists and photographers from around the world. Visitors can find numerous campgrounds that offer cabins, boating rentals, and can provide gear for fishing, canoeing and kayaking, and some can hook you up with horseback riding as well. Motels can also be found along the river.
- Bull Shoals Lake In north central Arkansas amidst the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains, Bull Shoals-White River State Park stretches along the riverside and lake shore where the White River and Bull Shoals Lake join at the Bull Shoals dam. Collectively they combine as one of America’s finest fishing and boating areas. The White River is famous as mid-America’s premier trout stream and for its record rainbow and brown trout. Bull Shoals Dam forms Bull Shoals Lake, Arkansas’s largest lake with 45,440 acres of waters stretching along Arkansas’s northern border and into southern Missouri. Water sports enthusiasts get pleasure from boating and swimming in these crystalline waters. The park offers workshops, and nature camps throughout the year. Facilities include picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, and 102 campground sites on or near the White River. You can rent boats, motors, canoes and kayaks as well. Make sure to visit the park visitor center located above the dam. From here you have a magnificent view of the White River, Bull Shoals Dam, and Bull Shoals Lake. This 15,744-square-foot visitor/education center is named in honor of Jim Gaston of Lakeview, owner of Arkansas’s renowned Gaston’s White River Resort. The center serves as the major visitor contact point at Bull Shoals-White River State Park. Many exhibits are featured throughout the lobby, gift shop, John-boat Theater, and 1,720-square-foot Exhibit Hall filled with images of the river, lake and dam. There is also a video explaining the history of the area and the building of Bull Shoals Dam.
- Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Located in downtown Bentonville, the museum is the pet project of Walmart heiress Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a LEED project that debuted November 11, 2011, in Bentonville. The museum is a leading art institution devoted to American art and artists, learning and community gatherings. The main exhibition areas are home to a permanent collection of American art masterworks dating from the early colonial era to today’s modern art, and showcasing touring collections from national art institutions. Visitors can view the collection inside the modern, state-of-the-art galleries and throughout the surrounding 120 acre park lined with walking trails, gardens and sculptures. A vibrant temporary exhibitions program harmonizes with the permanent collection and demonstrates the range of American artists. Free admission.
- Daisy Airgun Museum A rather unique Ozark Mountain attraction, the museum is located in historic downtown Rogers in the old Rexall building you can see exhibits on display that depict the company’s history, vintage airguns (BB guns to most), advertising and other memorabilia.
- Eureka Springs Referred to as “America’s Victorian Village” Eureka Springs was a boom town in the 1870’s as Victorian travelers discovered the healing properties of the natural springs. Tucked away in the heart of the Ozark Mountains the town takes its preservation seriously, which becomes apparent as soon as you enter the town and see the turn-of-the-century architecture. Artists flourish here as well as art galleries. There are a wide variety of shops to visit, historic hotels to stay in, restaurants that offer dining, and of course the spas to soak away all those aches and pains. Other attractions such as gardens, caves, an exotic wildlife ranch, a doll museum, live music and magic shows, and dinner train excursion rides will keep you busy. It has the honor of being named one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and in 1970 the entire downtown was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Greers Ferry Lake Tucked away in the foothills of Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains near Heber Springs, Greers Ferry Lake has 40,000 surface acres, making it the third largest lake in the Ozarks Region. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake is noted for its pristine waters enjoyed by all water sport enthusiasts and world class fishing. Campgrounds, superlative lodging, resorts and championship golf courses are available in the area. The Little Red River runs out from Greers Ferry Dam and is stocked from a fishery near the dam and provides some of the best trout fishing in the world. Resorts and outfitters are available.
- Mammoth Spring State Park Considered as one of the grand natural wonders of mid-America, Mammoth Spring flows at an average hourly rate near ten million gallons of fifty-eight degree water. The Spring River is created by the run-off, and it is a popular year-round canoe and fishing stream. The park can be found at the big spring, and contains a renovated 1886 Frisco Depot with charming exhibits and a “crew” of workmen and waiting passengers from the early 1900’s. Additional amenities at this Ozark Mountain attraction include walking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.
- Ozark Folk Center State Park The Ozark Folk Center located in Mountain View, Arkansas is the country’s only facility dedicated to sharing the heritage and way of life of the Ozark Mountain residents. Workshops in the park instruct guests on pioneer skills like furniture making, quilting, blacksmithing, tintype photography, woodcarving and other crafts. Concerts, performed in a 1,000-seat theater, feature songs and instruments from America’s past. Mountain View is also the home many quaint shops to browse in, restaurants, and lodging is available. If you’re a motorcyclist the famous Push Mountain Road is only about 20 miles from Mountain View and more than worth the ride. During much of the year impromptu jam sessions can found in the square on Friday and Saturday nights making this one of the most musical Ozark Mountain attractions.
Ozark Mountain Attractions – Civil War Battlefields
- Pea Ridge National Military Park The biggest battle fought during the Civil War west of the Mississippi River on March 7 and 8, 1862 saw 26,000 soldiers determine the fate of Missouri and West. The 4,300-acre park honors those who fought for their beliefs. Pea Ridge was one of the most pivotal Civil War battles and is the most intact Civil War battlefield in the United States.
- Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park The 1862 Battle of Prairie Grove was the last Civil War battle in Arkansas where the Union and Confederate armies of near equal strength faced each other for control of the West. When the Confederate Army withdrew, it became apparent Missouri and northwest Arkansas would remain in Federal hands, thus controlling the western United States. Visitors to the park will see historic homes on the 500 acre Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. The park offers a self-guided driving tour and a walking tour for the more adventurous visitors. The park’s visitor center has a gift shop, museum and bookstore. Picnic areas with pavilions and a playground for the kids are also available at this historic Ozark mountain attraction.
- Shiloh Museum of Ozark History This is a regional history museum centering on the Northwest Arkansas Ozarks. The museum derives its name from the old pioneer community of Shiloh, which was later renamed Springdale in the 1870s.
The museum brings to life those folks that carved out the real Ozark history – the everyday men, women, and children who lived in our towns and rural communities. Besides the historical exhibits, visitors can explore six historic buildings on the museum grounds. Also available is a research library with a collection of over 500,000 photographs of Ozark life.
- The New Great Passion Play Brings to life the miracles, trials, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ in a spectacular 4,100 seat panoramic outdoor amphitheater. State-of-the-art sound, lighting and special effects make this a treasured experience you won’t forget. New additions to the play are parables and text from different gospels in the New Testament, focusing on more miracles Christ performed in the days before his crucifixion and resurrection. 90% of the scenes are new. Christ of the Ozarks, gift shops, Parables of the Potter, wedding chapel, the Berlin Wall, Living Bible tour, Top of the Mountain dinner theater, Bible exhibit also on site.
- Thorncrown Chapel This unique Ozark Mountain attraction was designed by Arkansas native E. Fay Jones, a nationally honored and recognized architect, the chapel soars skyward from an Ozark woodland. Combining an extensive use of glass and wood beams the chapel melds into the surrounding nature. The chapel was chosen in 2001 as one of the Top 10 Designs of the 20th Century by The American Institute of Architecture. It has also won the institute’s Design of the Year for 1981 and Design of the Decade for the 1980s.
- Wal-Mart Visitors Center The origin and growth of the nation’s largest corporation is encapsulated at this Bentonville museum housed in the building that gave birth to the retail giant. In 1962, Sam Walton opened his first discount store in Rogers at 8th and Walnut streets and had 25 employees. Wal-Mart is now the world’s biggest company with more than $418 billion in annual sales and more than 2,100,000 employees.
- War Eagle Crafts Fair Each spring and fall the Ozark hills come alive with the sights, sounds and aroma of the War Eagle Mill Craft Fairs in May and October. This is the epicenter of all Arkansas craft fairs. Professional crafters offer original, handmade work such as country decorative items, folk art, watercolor and oil painting, pottery, stoneware, wreaths, potpourris, dried arrangements, quilts, miniatures, country clothing, wearable art, candles, homemade soaps, country furnishings, antique broken china jewelry, white oak baskets, bird houses and feeders, collectables and much more. The mother of all craft fairs.
There is obviously more Ozark Mountain attractions then the ones listed here, but it is our hope that this short guide will help you along the way of discovering this beautiful area of America.