Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA - Historic downtown with boutique shops and famous buildings. Editorial credit: Rachael Martin /

8 Cutest Small Towns In The Ozarks To Visit In 2024

"Cute" and "Ozarks" are two words you might not readily put together. Cute evokes small, colorful, bubbly things, while Ozarks evokes a dark and jagged range of mountains in the south-central United States. However, clinging to that perilous plateau are communities that, owing to their small populations, quaint shops, cozy inns, quirky festivals, fluffy animals, and bright blue springs, can truly be called cute. Here are eight of the cutest Ozark communities to visit in 2024.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Bikers riding through downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA. Man playing guitar at stop sign. Vintage small-town Americana scene.

Bikers riding through downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas, USA. Editorial credit: shuttersv /

You might say, "Eureka!" after entering this tiny Arkansas city. Limited in space by the rugged Ozarks, Eureka Springs has unlimited charm thanks to attractions like Thorncrown Chapel, a middle-of-nowhere postmodern church; Quigley's Castle, an inside-out abode dubbed the "Ozarks' strangest dwelling"; Christ of the Ozarks, which is Eureka Springs' answer to Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer; Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a sanctuary for exotic animals; and the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, which is considered one of the most gorgeous and haunted hotels in America. Such sites have drawn an eclectic mix of visitors and helped forge many eccentric festivals. You can check out the Eureka Springs Blues Party in May, Eureka Springs Pride in June, and Summer Diversity in August.

Camdenton, Missouri

Camdenton, Missouri - The famous Ozarkland gift shop.
Camdenton, Missouri - The famous Ozarkland gift shop. Editorial credit: melissamn /

Most "cute" Ozark communities still have a bit of edge. Case in point: Camdenton, a 4,000ish-person "city" on the luxurious Lake of the Ozarks harboring several imposing attractions. On a cliff overlooking the lake sits Ha Ha Tonka Castle, a European-style mansion half-built by a Kansas City businessman before his vehicular death and left in ruins by a catastrophic fire. Just north of Ha Ha Tonka is Bridal Cave & Thunder Mountain Park, which contains a near-mile-long cave system. Yet you can take charming Instagram photos and even professional wedding shots (it is called Bridal Cave for a reason) within the ruins and caverns. Even Camdenton's colorful corner store, Ozarkland, brings out the weird and wonderful by advertising everything from chocolate to knives.

Mountain View, Arkansas

Downtown Mountain View, Arkansas - Washington Street Park with gazebos.

Downtown Mountain View, Arkansas - Washington Street Park with gazebos. By Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

True to its name, Mountain View sits 751 feet in the stunning Arkansas Ozarks. In addition to beautiful vistas, this 3,000ish-person "city" (if you have not already noticed, many small towns in Arkansas and Missouri are classified as cities) has elegant historic haunts like the Stone County Courthouse and charming shops like Mellon's Country Store. Moreover, as the "Folk Music Capital of the World," Mountain View hosts a disproportionate number of music stores, venues, and festivals. A massive, multi-season celebration is the Mountain View Bluegrass Festival, which runs twice a year in March and November and features dozens of artists at the Ozark Folk Center State Park.

Beaver, Arkansas

Sunset over Beaver Lake near Rogers, Arkansas.
Sunset over Beaver Lake near Rogers, Arkansas.

Gnaw on Beaver is a teensy town located just north of Eureka Springs and with similar unOzarklike attractions. Another "castle" on a lakeside bluff, Castle Rogue's Manor is a storybook-style estate across 20 forested acres. Also overlooking the Beaver-chewed arm of Table Rock Lake is the Little Golden Gate Bridge, which is a suspension bridge about 8,500 feet shorter but almost as scenic as its San Francisco-based namesake. You can continue along the lake's arm to the idyllic Blue Spring Heritage Center, theatrical Opera in the Ozarks, and enigmatic Dinosaur World. The last of those is an abandoned 65-acre theme park populated by sculpted prehistoric creatures. If you look closely, you might see one.

Eminence, Missouri

Alley Spring Mill in Eminence, Missouri, during summer.

Alley Spring Mill in Eminence, Missouri, during summer.

Yet another fantasyland that seems out of place in the stereotypically seedy Ozarks, Eminence is seeded by the lush vegetation in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. This 80,000-acre park contains two rivers, several communities, around 1,000 species of plants (including vibrant wildflowers), and . . . wait for it . . . wild horses. Thought to be descendants of livestock let go by Depression-era farmers, dozens of predominantly-white horses are spread across multiple herds. They can be spotted near Eminence at Shawnee Creek Campground and Round Spring Campground. Although you should give the horses plenty of space (they are federally protected), it is easy to imagine taming one of those Ozark unicorns and riding it along the riverways. Better yet, picture yourself riding up to the Alley Spring and Mill, which is a historic bright-red mill on a turquoise mineral spring that as if by magic, stays 57 degrees year-round. It would make the perfect cover for a YA novel.

Hardy, Arkansas

Hardy Downtown Historic District, bounded by Kelly, Front, Church, and 3rd Streets.

Hardy Downtown Historic District, bounded by Kelly, Front, Church, and 3rd Streets. By Skullrik, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Like most deep Ozark haunts, Hardy straddles a large wilderness area that attracts tons of outdoor adventurers. In this case, it is Spring River. But that mineral-rich marvel is not Hardy's crown jewel. Rather, tourists mine memories from the Hardy Downtown Historic District, which comprises colorful character buildings, 43 of which were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Home to only about 750 people, Hardy is considered the smallest Arkansas community with a historic district. Visitors can tour the district and stop at century-old buildings that have been converted into cute shops, such as the Ozark Classic Crafts Mall (formerly the Theater of Hardy) and Memory Lane Mall (formerly the Biggers and Johnston Building).

Arcadia, Missouri

Ursuline Academy-Arcadia College in Arcadia, Missouri.

Ursuline Academy-Arcadia College in Arcadia, Missouri. By Skye Marthaler, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Named for a historic Greek region, Arcadia has several historic, European-inspired buildings. They include the Tudor Revival-style Administration Building and the Romanesque Revival-style St. Joseph Chapel, which are all part of the defunct Arcadia Academy, a sizeable school built in a small community in the 1840s. Today, the buildings of Arcadia Academy serve as a bed & breakfast, event venue, restaurant, bakery, creamery, gift shop, and antique store. Also, like Greece's Arcadia, Missouri's Arcadia is nestled in a verdant mountain valley. Arcadia Valley is flanked by Taum Sauk Mountain State Park, Elephant Rocks State Park, and the Mark Twain National Forest.

Jasper, Arkansas

Jasper, Arkansas, USA - Grandview Apartments rental office.

Jasper, Arkansas, USA - Grandview Apartments rental office. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

Jasper has roughly 550 residents and sits 876 feet above sea level. Simultaneously breathsaving and breathtaking, its high elevation downtown is filled with heritage buildings, some of which are preserved as museums like the Bradley House and Chaney Log Cabin, while others have been turned into splendid eateries like the Ozark Cafe and Jasper Pizza Company. But Jasper's top attraction is not so much cute as it is grand: the Arkansas Grand Canyon. However, you can see this spectacular valley from the incredibly cute Cliff House Inn. It offers views and a snooze, but guests must bring their own booze since Jasper is in a dry county.

Discover the Charm of the Ozarks

If you did not believe that the Ozarks were cute, let this article be proof that even America's most mysterious mountain range has bubbly, cuddly, and cozy wonders. These attractions, from mineral springs to wild horses to heritage inns, can be accessed via small communities that we hope you have marked for a near-future trip. Eureka Springs, Camdenton, Mountain View, Beaver, Eminence, Hardy, Arcadia, and Jasper will turn the Ozarks into Awwwzarks in 2024.

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