Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Editorial credit: Rachael Martin /

7 Cozy Towns To Visit In Arkansas

An incredibly beautiful landlocked state in the American South’s south-central region, Arkansas is esteemed for its varied geography. From the awe-inspiring Ozark and Ouachita Mountains to the densely forested Arkansas Timberlands and the low-lying areas along the Arkansas Delta and Mississippi River, there is no doubt that Arkansas aptly justifies its nickname: “The Natural State.” Although a significant amount of tourist attention is garnered by the bustling urban cities, including Little Rock, Springdale, Fort Smith, and Fayetteville, those longing to experience the true essence of this captivating state must head to any of the innumerable cozy small towns scattered all over Arkansas’s breathtaking 52,035 sq. mi terrain.

Bella Vista

Family with kids biking on bike trail in Bella Vista, Northwest Arkansas
Family with kids biking on a bike trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

A serene haven for nature lovers and outdoorsy types, Bella Vista sits on the Springfield Plateau of the Ozark Highlands in Benton County’s northern part. Originally established as a summer resort destination in 1917, the town slowly transformed from a retirement community to an outstanding tourist retreat. Conscientiously concealed amidst Bella Vista’s luxuriant woods are seven crystal-clear lakes: Lake Ann, Lake Avalon, Lake Brittany, Lake Rayburn, Lake Norwood, Loch Lomond, and Lake Windsor, where community members and their guests are exclusively allowed to fish, water ski, and take a refreshing swim. Sightseers must tour the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, Bella Vista Museum, Veterans Wall of Honor, and Museum of Native American History; traverse the extensive trails like the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail, Back40 Trails, and Little Sugar Trail system cutting across the area, and play a round of golf at any of the town’s two 9-hole and five 18-hole golf courses.

Eureka Springs

Historic downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Historic downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Historic downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

One of the two seats for Carroll County, Eureka Springs, is in the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas, not far from the state boundary with Missouri. Originally referred to as “Little Switzerland of the Ozarks” due to its mountainous terrain and zigzagging paths of the walkways, the heart of the town occupies a narrow valley at the source of Leatherwood Creek. Eureka Springs’s old commercial downtown is chock-a-full of meticulously maintained Victorian-era properties, quirky shops, fine art galleries, boutiques, diners, and top-tier accommodations like Basin Park Hotel, where vintage charm and modern-day conveniences uniquely amalgamate. The Blue Spring Heritage Center, Christ of the Ozarks statue, Intrigue Theater, Lake Leatherwood Park, Eureka Springs Historical Museum, Thorncrown Chapel, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, and Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway are some noteworthy attractions. Merrymakers look forward to participating in the yearly celebrations hosted by the town, including the May Festival of the Arts, Eureka Springs Food & Wine Festival, Eureka Gras Mardi Gras Extravaganza, and the Eureka Springs Zombie Crawl on the weekend before Halloween.


A beautiful park in Batesville, Arkansas
A beautiful park in Batesville, Arkansas.

Arkansas’s second-oldest municipality, Batesville, is situated along the banks of the White River at the base of the Ozark Mountains, approximately 90 miles northeast of Little Rock. Christened in honor of James Woodson Bates, this seat of north-central Arkansas’s Independence County is the regional manufacturing and distribution mecca for Northeast Arkansas and the Ozark Mountain region. The Old Independence Regional Museum, Mark Martin Museum, Melba Theater, Cook-Morrow House, and Garrott House attract heritage and cultural enthusiasts alike. Batesville’s City Park, Riverside Park, Kennedy Park, Maxfield Park, and Batesville Community Center & Aquatics Park provide amazing views of the White River, as well as plenty of outdoor recreation. Annually, the town hosts the Arkansas Scottish Festival & Homecoming, White River Wonderland, Ozark Foothills Film Festival, and Artoberfest by the Batesville Area Arts Council.

Mountain View

Mountain View Courthouse in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Mountain View Courthouse in Mountain View, Arkansas. Image credit: Sgerbic via Wikimedia Commons.

Mountain View, the biggest town and Stone County’s administrative center has been named after its location in a breathtaking valley ringed by the Ozark Mountains’ Blue Mountain Range. Famed for its friendly ambiance, distinctiveness, local festivals, tourist attractions, laid-back lifestyle, and well-preservation of the region’s music traditions, Mountain View rightfully upholds its moniker, the “Folk Music Capital of the World.” Apart from antique shops and music stores, the countless restaurants and bed & breakfasts also cater to holidayers visiting the town. Travelers must tour the neighboring Blanchard Springs Caverns, Stone County Museum, and Ozark Folk Center State Park, engage in hiking, camping, and mountain biking activities at Ozark National Forest and excellent trout fishing at the White River, and enjoy live music shows such as ‘White River Hoedown’ and unrehearsed jam sessions around the Courthouse Square. To soak in the Ozark Mountain culture, make sure to attend the town’s annual celebrations like the Arkansas Folk Festival, Great Championship Outhouse Races, Mountains Music & Motorcycles, Arkansas Bean Fest, and Mountain View Bluegrass Festival.


 City courthouse building in Paris, Arkansas.
City courthouse building in Paris, Arkansas. Editorial credit: NicholasGeraldinePhotos /

The seat of government of the northern district of Logan County, Paris, occupies a valley just a short distance from the Arkansas River in Northwest Arkansas’s Ozark Mountains region. This idyllic town, dubbed “Gateway to Mount Magazine,” is widely known for its rich history and spectacular surroundings, offering a perfect blend of small-town allure and outdoor recreation. When in Paris, browse the downtown trendy shops and home-like cafes, the state’s only Eiffel Tower with Love Lock Fence, and interesting sites like the Cove Lake Recreation Area, County Line Auction House & Flea Market, Cowie Wine Cellars, and Logan County Museum. Nature enthusiasts should head straight to Mount Magazine State Park to witness the beauty of the highest point in the entire state.

Siloam Springs

Highway passing through Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Highway passing through Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Editorial credit: RaksyBH /

This adorable Benton County town sits atop a plateau in the Ozark region on the western brink of the Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Area. Initially founded as a resort town in 1882, Siloam Springs is renowned for its community spirit, pristine natural settings, the beautiful campus of John Brown University, and the perpetual Sager Creek that flows via an artificial channel through the downtown. Myriad coffee shops, art galleries, boutiques, antique stores, hotels, and top-class restaurants like Callahan Steak House, and Fratelli’s Wood-Fired Pizzeria fill the downtown. Additionally, stop by the Siloam Springs Museum, Siloam Springs Kayak Park, and Siloam Springs Farmers Market. Find time to partake in various yearly events such as Dogwood Festival, Siloam Springs Rodeo, Light Up Siloam Christmas Parade, City Fireworks Presentation on Fourth of July, Homegrown Festival, and Siloam Springs Music Games.


First Baptist Church of Magnolia, Arkansas
First Baptist Church of Magnolia, Arkansas. Image credit: Billy Hathorn via Wikimedia Commons.

Magnolia, the administrative center of southwestern Arkansas’s Columbia County, sits on the West Gulf Coastal Plain approximately 75 miles northeast of Shreveport, Louisiana. Christened after the local southern Magnolia tree, Magnolia developed progressively from an agricultural and a regional cotton marketing town to being home to the main campus of the prestigious Southern Arkansas University. As a tranquil retreat away from noisy urban metropolises, the town invites travelers to check out the South Arkansas Heritage Museum and the Columbia County Courthouse Square, in addition to the scores of retail outlets, eateries, and hotels in the downtown and the eye-catching murals on many buildings around the courthouse square. For adventure seekers, the adjacent Logoly State Park, Lake Columbia, and Lafayette Wildlife Management Area are must-visits, while every May, thousands of revelers flock to the town to participate in the Magnolia Blossom Festival and World Championship Steak Cookoff.

From the vibrant folk music of Mountain View to the peaceful refuge of Magnolia, the welcoming towns in the country’s 29th largest and 34th most populous state have something special to offer for travelers of every taste. Each town entices vacationers with its unparalleled natural surroundings, buzzing downtowns, abundant antique shopping opportunities, flawless settings for outdoor adventures, and the warm Southern hospitality of the inviting locals. So, next time you are on the lookout for locales in the Natural State to tour on your vacation, look no further than these lesser-known communities that will make you feel at home.

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