25 Famous Landmarks in Arkansas to See

10 min read
Aerial view of a city skyline with buildings surrounded by greenery at dawn
Arkansas is known for its parks, museums, historic sites, and natural attractions

Native Americans have occupied the land known today as Arkansas since 11,650 BC. Now, three million people live in the state, and many more visit it yearly. But...

What is Arkansas known for?

Arkansas is known for its parks like Hot Springs National Park, Crater of Diamonds State Park, and Blanchard Springs Caverns. Bathhouse Row, the Arkansas State Capitol Building, and Fort Smith National Historic Site are also famous landmarks in Arkansas.

Continue reading to learn about 25 famous attractions in Arkansas that you should see. Below, you will find information like what makes each landmark special or how a landmark impacted the country's history and made the United States what it is today.

  • 25 Arkansas landmarks

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25 Famous Arkansas Landmarks

Arkansas Landmarks Map

A map of Arkansas landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

The first of many famous places to visit in Arkansas is the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. The museum in North Little Rock is home to two Naval vessels from World War II.

The Hoga is a National Historic Landmark from Pearl Harbor. The USS Razorback is a submarine that was part of the fight in Japan just before Japan surrendered. You can tour the ships, learn about the Arkansas River, and see many other exhibits.

View from below of a wooden cross surrounded by greenery and a lake in the background
The Arkansas Post National Memorial is one of the most famous landmarks in Arkansas

Arkansas Post National Memorial

The Arkansas Post National Memorial was where Europeans first settled in Arkansas in 1686. Today, the land is a National Memorial and a National Historic Landmark.

At the memorial site, you can tour more than three miles of trails and the site of the original town. And there are also areas to fish. They have occasional events like demonstrations of muskets and cannons used at the site in the past.

A path leading to a white neoclassical building with 3 flags in front on a clear day
Built in 1915, the Arkansas State Capitol Building took 15 years to finish

Arkansas State Capitol Building

The Arkansas State Capitol Building is in the state's capital of Little Rock. The building took fifteen years to complete and was finished in 1915. As of 1974, it has been on the US National Register of Historic Places.

You can tour the capital either on your own or with a guide. There are exhibits about the construction of the building, the importance of Arkansas throughout the history of the US, and more.

A brick building with striped blue awnings, a flag on top, and grassy lawn in front
Bathhouse Row, a National Historic Landmark, is a line of 8 bathhouses

Bathhouse Row

Bathhouse Row is a series of eight bathhouses built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The row was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1987.

Each of the eight bathhouses is unique, and the row is a popular place to walk. Today, you can visit Buckstaff Bathhouse, which is still fully operational. The other bathhouses consist of a brewery, a spa, a cultural center, and a visitor's center.

Big River Crossing

Big River Crossing is one of the famous tourist attractions in Arkansas. It is nearly a mile long and runs across the Mississippi River in West Memphis, Arkansas. The bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge on the Mississippi River and the longest bike-pedestrian rail bridge in the US.

You can go across the bridge for free every day of the year. And over one hundred thousand LED lights on the bridge to create a light show for holidays and events.

Blanchard Springs Caverns

Blanchard Springs Caverns is a three-level cave system that you can tour. As you explore the caverns, you will see stalactites, columns, flowstones, and other shiny formations.

A Forest Service interpreter will guide you through the caverns to keep you safe and answer any questions you may have. You can also tour an exhibit hall and watch a short film before you explore the caverns to learn more about them.

Top view of a river running across a lush forest with mountains in the background
Buffalo River, the first national river in the US, stretches 153 miles

Buffalo National River

Buffalo National River was the first National River established in America in 1972. The river runs for 153 miles through the Ozarks and the Springfield Plateau.

The area surrounding the river is a park managed by the National Park Service. In the park, you can hike along the trails surrounding the river, camp, learn about the park's history, or paddle down the river.

Confederate State Capitol Building

The Confederate State Capitol Building was the home to the Confederate army from 1863-1865. The government was based in Little Rock until the Union overtook the city at the end of the Civil War.

The building is a small two-floor wooden structure. The bottom floor was used as a courtroom, and the top floor was where the Masonic societies would meet. Today the site is one of Arkansas' many National Historic Landmarks.

Trees in the background of a wide barren field filled with markers
The Craters of Diamond State Park is a 37-acre public park established in 1972

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Another one of the popular Arkansas state attractions is Crater of Diamonds State Park. The 37-acre park, as the name suggests, is home to real diamonds. You can learn about the park's history and see some of the real diamonds found at the park in the visitors center.

And, you are allowed to search for and keep anything you find at the park. And, you can bring your own mining equipment or rent some from the park. More than 33 thousand diamonds have been found at the park since it was established in 1972.

© CJHPhotography via Depositphotos
A pond filled with colorful balls in front of a modern concrete and glass structure
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art houses art worth hundreds of millions

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a 120-acre, free-to-visit art museum. The building itself is a glass and wood building surrounded by two ponds.

The museum's permanent collection has nearly five hundred million dollars worth of art, featuring colonial to modern art. All the art at the museum is by United States citizens.

A black and green field cannon on a grassy lawn and a brick building in the back
Fort Smith National Historic Site is part of Indian territory before it was a fort

Fort Smith National Historic Site

Fort Smith National Historic Site is another site that has significance in the history of the US. The area was an Indian Territory until 1817 when the US built a fort here. The fort was the original site of the US District Court for Western Arkansas.

You can learn about the site's military history in the 19th century at the visitors center. And, you can learn about the impact the fort had on Native Americans who lived here before settlers overtook the land.

View from the top of a mountain of the surrounding area with houses and buildings
At 216 feet tall, Hot Springs Mountain Tower shows views of the park and countryside

Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Hot Springs Mountain Tower is a 216-foot-tall observation deck in Hot Springs, AR. You can see Diamond Lakes, Ouachita Mountains, and Hot Springs Mountain from the tower.

You can drive to the tower, which has a parking lot for easy access. Or, you can hike a mile and a half to the tower for even more natural views. And don't worry, there is an elevator to the top of the tower!

One of the famous landmarks in Arkansas is Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park is one of the famous landmarks in Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park is another one of the natural, famous places in Arkansas. The park's highlight is the ancient thermal springs that date back nearly 4,000 years. You cannot relax in the springs at the park, but the water from the springs is used at two of the buildings on Bathhouse Row.

You will also find mountain views, creeks, and campsites at Hot Springs National Park. There are also 26 miles worth of hiking trails to explore at this famous East Coast national park.

A massive brick building with an artificial pond and manicured lawn in front
Little Rock Central High School Historic Site is connected to the Little Rock Nine

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site was the school where desegregation happened in 1957. The Little Rock Nine were the nine African American Students who enrolled in the school.

Visit the site to learn more about its history and the impact the desegregation of the school had on the civil rights movement. There are guided tours, educational exhibits, and a visitors center.

Mammoth Spring State Park

Mammoth Spring State Park highlights Mammoth Spring, one of the largest springs in the world. It forms a 10-acre lake that runs into Spring River, with more than nine million gallons of water running through the spring every hour.

There are also remnants of a mill and hydroelectric plant, an 1886 Frisco train depot, and a museum at the park. Along the walking trail, you can admire the spring and the park.

Museum of Native American History

The Museum of Native American History, or MONAH, covers 14,000 years of history with its collections. At the museum, you will find art, history, and cultural items that teach you about the lives of the people who first lived on the country's land.

As you move through the museum, you will move from 12,000 BC to 1900 AD and see how the lives of Native Americans changed over time. The museum was opened in 2006 by David Bogle, a Cherokee who had a personal collection of Native American artifacts and wanted to use them to educate others.

Old State House Museum

The Old State House Museum is another famous landmark in Arkansas. The house was the first state capitol building in Arkansas, and today it is the oldest standing one west of the Mississippi River.

Today you can tour the museum to learn about the history of the building and the state. There are a lot of artifacts to see, and you can see the 1836 House of Representatives Chamber. The Department of Arkansas Heritage preserves the building.

Parkin Archeological State Park

Parkin Archeological State Park, also called Parkin Indian Mound, is a preservation of a 17-acre American Indian Village. Evidence shows that the site was occupied between the 11th and 16th centuries.

You can take a self-guided tour of the site and learn about the site's history in the visitors center exhibits. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

Pea Ridge National Military Park

Pea Ridge National Military Park was the site of a two-day battle in March 1862. The Civil War battle consisted of more than 23,000 soldiers fighting on 4,300 acres of land.

The park has a seven-mile driving tour with ten different stops of significant sites from the battle. You can also hike through the park and see it on your own.

A grassy field at the foot of a mountain in autumn colors against a clear sky
The 2,356-acre Pinnacle Mountain State Park offers hiking and bike trails

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is a 2,356-acre state park surrounding Pinnacle Mountain new Little Rock. There are 22 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails in the park.

The park is also a Trail of Tears National Historic Site. The Cherokees and parts of four other Indian Tribes were removed from the site and faced many challenges as a result.

Pivot Rock

Pivot Rock is one of the unique natural landmarks in Arkansas. The rock is a naturally stacked rock formation in the Ozarks. It looks like an upside-down pyramid. The rock is in Pivot Rock Park, which has many other natural rock formations. One of them is the Natural Bridge which is a stone bridge.

Lush foliage on top and at the bottom of a rocky cliff on a foggy morning
Roark Bluff, a cliff in Arkansas, offers a hiking trail and is home to waterfalls

Roark Bluff Overlook Trail

Roark Bluff Overlook Trail is a hiking trail in the Ozarks. The trail is home to Roark Bluff Falls. The waterfall flows more than 100 feet, but only after heavy rain. Otherwise, Roark Bluff is dry. Another waterfall that also only flows after rain is V-Notch Falls, which is just past Roark Bluff Falls on the overlook trail.

Rohwer Relocation Center Memorial Cemetery

Rohwer Relocation Center Memorial Cemetery is one of the three Japanese American confinement site cemeteries in the US. It was originally a Japanese American confinement camp during World War II.

It was redesigned and designated as a memorial and cemetery. One of the monuments is a remembrance of the Japanese American soldiers who fought and died in the war.

A structure made of wood and glass in the middle of a forest bordered by trees
The famous Thorncrown Chapel, built in 1980, is covered with 425 glass windows

Thorncrown Chapel

Thorncrown Chapel opened in 1980 as a woodland sanctuary in the Ozarks. The tall glass building has 425 windows and sits on top of over 100 tons of stone in the middle of the forest.

The building is a popular architectural landmark, as it has won many awards for its design. Although it is in the forest, it is easy to access from the highway and Eureka Springs.

A rocky cliff overlooking nearby mountains and a forest below
Whitaker Point, also known as Hawksbill Crag, is a 2.9-mile trail in Arkansas

Whitaker Point

The final Arkansas landmark is Whitaker Point. It is a trail in the Ozark Forest that brings you to Hawksbill Crag, which is a rocky viewpoint overlooking the forest.

The hike to the rock takes about two hours on a 2.9-mile out and back trail. It is a challenging hike but well worth it to see one of Arkansas' most unique spots.

Conclusion

Arkansas has many famous landmarks worth traveling around the state to see. Some are natural landmarks such as the state parks, Whitaker Point, Pivot Rock, and Roark Bluff Overlook.

Others have historical significance for the United States, like the Confederate State Capitol Building and Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

And some landmarks are just remarkable to see, like Thorncrown Chapel and Bathhouse Row. Arkansas is an underrated state with many fantastic places to visit, regardless of which landmarks you enjoy learning about or want to see.

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Sarah Hartness

Sarah_Hartness WRITER I am a Chicago-based travel writer who loves to explore the Midwest and beyond. I have traveled all over the US and Europe. I look forward to going to Latin America and Asia next!


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