Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Editorial credit doug_wertman via Creative Commons

Most Underrated Towns In Arkansas

Arkansas itself is an underrated state, bordering the Mississippi River with Little Rock as its capital. It is most loved for its natural beauty, with an abundance of mountains, lakes, and forests to visit, but the local culture makes it even more attractive.

With so much to do and see in Arkansas, you may be wondering which small town you should consider visiting first. Learn all about the top must-see, but underrated, small towns in Arkansas, each full of its own beauty and amenities.


Quaint Covered Bridge Over Cascading Waterfall in Autumn in Ponca Arkansas
Quaint-covered bridge over a cascading waterfall in autumn in Ponca, Arkansas. Image credit Bonnie Taylor Barry via Shutterstock

Ponca boasts some of Arkansas's best hiking trails with the Ozark Mountains surrounding it. Located in the Buffalo National River wilderness, it is the perfect spot to visit if you want to enjoy the fall foliage. Also, there are many rental cabins to stay in if you would like to extend your visit.

The miles of scenic mountain roads will turn a regular car ride into a beautiful, magical road trip, and you may even spot an elk herd if you are lucky. Ponca is the perfect spot for a getaway, especially if you want to unplug and immerse yourself in the beauty of the world around you.

Eureka Springs

Beautiful landscape and blue water of a natural spring near Blue Spring Heritage Center, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Beautiful landscape and blue water of a natural spring near Blue Spring Heritage Center, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Image credit Khairil Azhar Junos via Shutterstock

Eureka Springs earns the title of one of the prettiest towns in America and is also located in the Ozark Mountains. The town seamlessly combines beauty and history in its victorian village, with an abundance of unique shops and restaurants to pique your interest. The architecture is unique and filled with character, along with history and eclectic charm. You will find hotels and inns with the same beauty, perfect if you want to stay a little longer and check out one of the many festivals and events.

Those with an adventurous personality will enjoy the two-hour zipline tour through the Ozark Mountains. There are also plenty of natural springs, hiking trails, and caves you can explore, as well.


Historical building in Paris, Arkansas during autumn
Historical building in Paris, Arkansas during autumn. Image credit NicholasGeraldinePhotos via Shutterstock

At the base of Mount Magazine, you will find Paris, Arkansas, a town of about 3,700 people. As the name suggests, you will find a 25-foot-tall replica of the Eiffel tower, perfect for a photo op. There are also many restaurants and boutiques in the historic downtown that make this spot worth the visit.

While there are Farmer's Markets held all throughout the spring and summer, the Spring in Paris festival is the most popular attraction. The Trail of Holiday Lights during the winter season is another sight to behold. For an ideal place to stay, the Paris Inn is in Mount Magazine State Park with easy access to a few nearby wineries and the rest of the town's amenities.

Calico Rock

White River and Ozark National Forest outside of Calico Rock, Arkansas
Rock formation with an amazing view of the White River and Ozark National Forest in Calico Rock, Arkansas. Image credit Bonita R. Cheshier via Shutterstock

Located on the White River in Izard County, Calico Rock gets its name from the blue, black, gray, red, and orange markings on its bluffs, which resemble calico cloth. Though it was the largest town in Izard County in the 1900s when the railroad opened for service, it has since become a small town of about 1,500 people.

The old-fashioned downtown district with antique stores and museums draws in visitors as does the small-town charm. You will find Calico Rock's Ghost Town a few steps away from the core area, with a pool hall, barber, and other amenities. There are also hiking and biking trails, as well as plenty of fishing, perfect for an outdoorsy and unique trip.


Historic Arkansas Missouri Railroad bridge over Frog Bayou in Mountainburg Arkansas near Lake Fort Smith State Park
Historic Arkansas Missouri Railroad bridge over Frog Bayou in Mountainburg, Arkansas. Image credit Jonathan C Wear via Shutterstock

Mountainburg is a scenic location, chock full of valleys and lakes that will take your breath away. It offers access to the western terminus of the Ozark Highlands Trail as well as the Lake Fort Smith State Park. The park is the ideal location for a camping trip, especially if you have an interest in hiking and fishing.

There are also ranches, cabins, and retreats you can venture to if you would prefer a more luxurious adventure. Do not forget to check out the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop during your stay, which is a picturesque drive through the mountains.


Misty November Morning on the Buffalo River in Jasper, Arkansas
Misty November morning on the Buffalo River in Jasper, Arkansas. Image credit Bonnie Taylor Barry via Shutterstock

Jasper, Arkansas, located in the Ozark Mountains, sits right where the Buffalo River begins to flow. The town is another hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, offering everything from hiking and canoeing to rock climbing. It is also a great spot to view wildlife as elk tend to roam the Buffalo River, so be sure to bring your binoculars!

The Arkansas Scenic Byway 7 runs through the small town, so be sure to stop by if you are out for a scenic drive. Check out the breathtaking Boulder Bluffs and stay in a nearby cabin, make your way to the Cliff House Lookout mountain cabins, or peruse along Misty Creek and enjoy the swimming holes.

Towns You Need to Arkan-See

While there are many beautiful cities in Arkansas to choose from, the small towns are ideal if you are looking for a charming, culture-filled experience in nature. Though these towns may go overlooked, their beauty may add them to your list of must-visit small towns in Arkansas. Plus, many of the options boast access to unique hiking trails and parks, not to mention history and architecture, that you may otherwise miss out on.

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