The people of Arkansas like to call it the Natural State, and well they should. If there was ever a state of the Union with an abundance of natural resources and beautiful landscapes, it's Arkansas. The state is laced together with excellent highways, and these are supplemented with scenic byways by the thousands. Both state and federal forestry systems are outstanding, and a diversity of terrain from east to west provides a variety of sights that change every few minutes.
The entire eastern Mississippi River border is Old South, with boats and barges of every size, antebellum mansions, and vast fields of rice, soybeans, and cotton. The Great River Road is the connector between the site of the state's first European settlement at Arkansas Post to old Helena and, further north, a modern greyhound racetrack at West Memphis.
The southern forests would be virtually impenetrable were it not for the famous float-fishing Ouachita, Red, and Saline rivers. The favorite areas for tourists, however, are the highlands, rugged with their deep valleys; the Ozarks, which include the even wilder and more scenic Boston Mountains across most of the northern part of the state; and the Ouachitas, which provide plenty of zig-zag driving in the western area south of the Arkansas River.
The Ozarks area of Arkansas is dotted with interesting little towns. Visitors stroll around public squares, inspect old courthouses, and shop in the quaint stores that sell everything from quilts to hand-thrown pottery. Of special interest is Eureka Springs, on US 62, the lively town built on hillsides with more than 200 streets and not a single intersection. Visitors shouldn't miss the Ozark Folk Center at Mountain View, a large complex of buildings containing exhibits and demonstrations of old Ozark crafts, arts, music, and dance. Here also is held the famous Folk Festival.
The rivers and streams of Arkansas provide fine canoeing waters for beginners as well as white-water buffs. The Buffalo National River is a particularly good spot for a canoe trip. Camping, fishing, and cave exploring are other activities to enjoy on a canoe outing.
All the big-city fun and nightlife is in Little Rock, and nearby Hot Springs is a famous mineral water spa with horse racing of national repute.