The Ozark Mountain region, also known as the Ozark Plateau, is an extensive, heavily forested highland in Arkansas, coming with many meandering rivers and lakes dotting the region. Spreading in the southwest direction from Louis in Missouri, all the way to the Arkansas River, many beautiful towns have been established there in the last two centuries. Some of the most notable ones are on the following list.
The oldest town in Arkansas, Batesville, dating back to the early 1800s, started with the Trimble and Lafferty families' settlement in the area, making it the perfect, history-rich getaway, with the oldest downtown and the first urban farmstead to explore. Moreover, to celebrate the Scottish beginning of the town, The Arkansas Scottish Festival gets held each year at the Lyon College.
The homey atmosphere in Batesville also includes a picturesque Pocket Park, right on the Main Street of the town, displaying intricate mosaics and hosting the get-together spot for the community. An array of cafes, souvenir stores, and craft shops can also be found in its spacious downtown area. The fall time is incredibly fantastic, with the autumn colors of the deciduous trees firing up the town even further.
Only an hour and a half out of Fort Smith, Bentonville is full of places to eat and shop in one of its numerous stores, cafes, and restaurants. Other attractions of the town include a walkable downtown, a captivating story of an early Wal-Mart, opened by Sam Walton, and the Walton Museum, with a dime store and a 1950-style soda fountain as some of its most-visited highlights.
Another museum, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, lets one get lost for hours exploring the wonderful collection of American Art, featuring works by Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keeffe, as well as Norman Rockwell. There's a colorful and well-developed culinary scene in Bentonville, including the restaurant, The Preacher's Son, which is based in a former Gothic Revival Church. Serving dishes with ingredients gathered at a local farm, the chefs professionally prepare unforgettable smoked chicken paella and the "A and A Farm Peach Salad."
El Dorado, Arkansas
Known for its history as an oil boom town in the 1920s, El Dorado, the south-of-the-state town, sits in the Arkansas Timberlands. Its downtown area is an especially revitalized district, and despite an ongoing revival, the town has been named America's Best Downtown by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2009. Home to the South Arkansas Arboretum with the botanical gardens spread over 13 rolling acres, they highlight the walking trails in their bloom.
Located only a few miles from Louisiana, the town exudes the famous southern charm. With regional arts and culture and the Southern Folk Festival and the Southern Food & Wine Festival annual events, one can learn a significant amount about the town while tasting some of its best dishes while being surrounded by a celebratory atmosphere. The South Arkansas Arts Center makes for another lovely addition for art fanatics to stop by on their cultural expedition.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs, undoubtedly one of the most famous towns of the Ozark Mountain region, is abuzz with a unique atmosphere and local color. Void of chain stores, the town boasts shops and restaurants as part of its energetic downtown that one won't find anywhere else. The beloved by locals and tourists alike, the Main Street's Mud Street Cafe with an award-winning espresso, the Two Dumb Dames, is known for its decadent dessert options, including a whole array of homemade varieties of fudge.
Staying a night at the historic Crescent Hotel dating back to 1886 will leave one with unforgettable memories. The town's name is also not for nothing. Countless springs dotting the parks and the town's gardens are a major attraction. The Magnetic Spring Park with a "magical" spring that magnetizes any metal that comes into contact with its waters also needs special mention.
Heber Springs, Arkansas
Sitting next to the Greers Ferry Lake, Heber Springs, a northern town of the state, is thoroughly enjoyed by the nature fanatics and the fishers, known for the record-setting catches on the aforementioned lake as in the nearby Little Red River. The World Championship Cardboard Boat Races are held yearly. The Annual Heber Springs Fireworks Extravaganza, showcasing one of Arkansas' largest fireworks, comes along with many other activities to engage in, especially during the tourist season in summer.
The downtown area is also home to many art galleries and antique stores. The town's heart makes for a shopper's heaven as well as a site for history fans to have a blast, while the sporty types enjoy the local water holes. Today, as a former health resort, Heber Springs is an atmospheric little town with a population short of 10,000, a stunning lake, and a full range of recreational opportunities.
The heart of Newton County, Jasper, is another popular getaway from a metropolis. It offers the Buffalo National River to the nature-lovers, and the Ozark Café, one of the state's oldest restaurants, to the food lovers. To capture some of the best shots of the whole region, one must take a ride to the nearby Hawksbill Crag while lodging or camping in the many available options on the way.
Many herds of wild elk roam in the vicinity, reintroduction of which has been widely celebrated annually through the Jasper's Buffalo River Elk Festival. The exquisitely beautiful Arkansas Grand Canyon is another must-visit highlight of this popular town, as is the quaint downtown area, home to the Arkansas House Inn, a 1934 hotel. Emma's Museum of Junk, a quirky antique store, is a perfect rounding of the trip, calling one in for some unique souvenirs for loved ones and personal memories to treasure forever.
Incorporated as a town in 1955, the quintessential small town of Magnolia is set in picturesque pines of the Arkansas forests. It features a picture-worthy courthouse set on the atmospheric downtown center. There is also the magnificent Logoly State Park on the outskirts to the north of the town. With Columbia being a short drive westward, offering all of the winter- and summer-time activities included in lakeside living, Magnolia's more secluded location guarantees natural scenery, as well.
The Magnolia Blossom Festival and the World Championship Steak Cook-Off add to an annual weekend filled with thoroughfares to engage in for the whole family and a variety of food stands and live music to keep the fun going longer. The lush pine forest blessing the town is for those obsessed with the outdoors, while the downtown area is rich with historical structures, including the stocky but well-maintained building housing the judge's court.
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Just off south from Missouri, Mountain Home is nestled in a close of a sandwich between two gorgeous lakes, the Norfork Lake on the east side and the Bull Shoals Lake on the west. Composing a lovely location for Arkansas retirees, the town comes inclusive with the peaceful small-town atmosphere and the natural beauty of the Arkansas Ozarks, rounded out with a quaint downtown center home to historical buildings of many types. The magnificent Case-Shiras-Dearmore House dating back to the 1870s and constructed in the Plain Traditional style, for instance, is also close to numerous adorable cafes and dining spots, great restaurants, local boutique stores, and fun stores.
Mountain View, Arkansas
Known by many in the region as the folk music capital of the world, Mountain View also takes the Ozark culture very seriously, with impromptu folk concerts typical to be witnessed on the town's Mountain View Music store's porch. The town also comes with a whole array of beautiful northern Arkansas' wild attractions, such as the White River and the Blanchard Springs Caverns, which are a must-see for those seeking to explore the mysterious side of nature and uncover some of its secrets.
Historically rich, Mountain View includes a tale of being home to the legendary musician Jimmy Driftwood. The Ozark Folk Center preserves the traditional Ozark culture, while the downtown contains many of the local craft and gift shops. In this town of 2,862 permanent residents, the Ozark Folk Center State Park and the Blanchard Spring Recreation Area get especially populated by tourists during the season. Last but not least, there is a stunning Mirror Lake, as well as the Loco Ropes, an opportunity to fly through a whole row of trees from the zip line adventure center.
Van Buren, Arkansas
Set on the scenic banks of the Arkansas River and right across the town of Fort Smith, Van Buren served as a significant-to-the-nation river port city, in the pre-Civil War years. The King Opera House located on its main street dates back into the town's rich history, as does the Crawford County Courthouse, established back in 1842, the same year that Van Buren was incorporated. With Italian-inspired architecture, the court poses its attractive facade to the photographers and other tourists, looking to capture memories in a shot.
Although parts of the town have been modernized with new and renovated buildings, there are hip shops, galleries and restaurants dating throughout the two centuries. The Arkansas River provides a gorgeous backdrop of picturesque scenery, drawing the nature photographers to its banks. While strolling along the river offers a nice evening walk, the natural location of this town also provides many opportunities for hikers to take advantage of by tackling the natural and the popularly-tracked trails of various lengths.
Each of these beautiful Ozark Mountain region towns comes with its unique atmosphere, different from each other but equally worthy of experiencing. Natural beauty, an integral part of this region, also spreads all around, whilst the most notable downtown areas are always inclusive with local food and craft places, historical buildings, annual festivals to engage in.