House on the lake in Northwest Arkansas, beautiful landscape view in Bella Vista. Image credit shuttersv via Shutterstock.

The Most Picturesque Small Towns in Arkansas

Famed as the birthplace of former US President Bill Clinton, Arkansas is more than just a part of presidential history. Nicknamed The Natural State, Arkansas is also famed for its vast natural beauty that includes everything from the dramatic mountain scenery of the Ozarks to its picturesque waterways and hot springs throughout the state. Cities like Little Rock and Fayetteville are popular destinations. However, Arkansas' smallest communities offer visitors some of the state's most beautiful sights. From exciting outdoor activities and historic sites to welcoming hospitality and quirky attractions, these picturesque small towns have something for everyone.

Bella Vista

A bike trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas.
A bike trail in Bella Vista, Arkansas.

Bella Vista is known for its outstanding recreational activities and natural scenery. Located in northwest Arkansas amid the picturesque Ozark Mountains, Bella Vista has numerous lakes, golf courses, and 100+ miles of hiking and biking trails perfect for outdoor adventurers. Some popular local trails include the Lake Bella Vista Walking Trail, which loops around Lake Bella Vista; the Tanyard Creek Nature Trail, complete with beach, waterfall, and creek; and The Back 40, great for mountain biking and hiking. The Lake Vista Walking Trail also connects to Razorback Regional Greenway, a 40-mile paved trail linking local parks, breweries, and even more local trails. Bella Vista’s seven lakes are known for their variety of watersports, including swimming and kayaking at Lake Avalon, fishing and waterskiing at Loch Lomond, beautiful Ozarks scenery at Lake Ann, and picnicking at Lake Norwood.

Despite its secluded location and diverse natural landscapes, Bella Vista’s relatively large population (30,000+ residents) also means there is plenty to see and do after exploring the great outdoors. History buffs should visit the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel and the Bella Vista Historical Museum, while museum fans can take a trip to nearby Bentonville, home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Momentary Museum, and the Museum of Native American History.

Eureka Springs

Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Editorial credit: shuttersv /
Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Editorial credit: shuttersv /

Eureka Springs is a quaint small town centrally located in Arkansas’ Ozark Mountain region. The mountain town originally rose to popularity because of its sixty natural springs, and today, it honors that heritage with plenty of spa options such as the historic Palace Bath House and hotel. There is plenty of history here, too. Eureka Springs' entire downtown area is on the National Register of Historic Places, while its craft emporiums, museums, and funky shops like Silly Chile lend it an eclectic, artsy feel. Tour the lovely downtown on the Eureka Springs Tram Tour, or hit the water with a cruise on the Belle of the Ozarks for some stunning views of Beaver Lake.

Eureka Springs’ Ozarks location also makes for exciting outdoor adventures, from biking on the OZ Trails of Northwest Arkansas to fishing and canoeing on the Kings River. Nearby Beaver Lake is also popular for camping, hiking, and watersports. For more hiking opportunities, check out the Parks, Trails, and Springs trail, which includes many of the town’s famed springs; Lake Leatherwood City Park, with over 25 miles of hiking and biking trails; and the Black Bass Lake and Trails, with its picturesque backdrop.

Mountain View

Folk Music Capital of the World, Mountain View, Arkansas. Editorial credit: Travel Bug /
Folk Music Capital of the World, Mountain View, Arkansas. Editorial credit: Travel Bug /

Mountain View, a small, idyllic town with less than 3,000 residents, is ideal for city-dwellers looking for the perfect rural escape. Famed for its passion for folk music and its dedication to preserving its traditions, Mountain View is home to the Arkansas Folk Festival and the Ozark Center State Park, founded to honor the town’s musical heritage and culture. Mountain View’s “official” music season is from April through November, and during this time, there is a parade of events, concerts, and celebrations, including the Mountain View Bluegrass Festival. The Mountain View Iris Festival is another popular annual event featuring beautiful spring blooms, a car show, and music from the Carousel Association of America.

Mountain View also has its share of outdoor adventures. The Syllamo Mountain Hiking and Biking Trails, the Ozark National Forest (Sylamore District), and the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area are all nearby and offer hiking, biking, swimming, caving, and more. Visitors can also explore the scenic White River, a beautiful spot famous for its world-class fishing.


Downtown Paris, Arkansas, US, Facing South on Highway 309. By Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
Downtown Paris, Arkansas, US, Facing South on Highway 309.

Though Paris, Arkansas, shares its name with the cosmopolitan French city, the small, rural spot could not be more different. However, the town with less than 4,000 residents still has plenty to offer. Situated at the base of Mount Magazine, the picturesque Paris offers plenty of outdoor recreation, including epic hiking and biking and stunning views. Nature lovers will also enjoy the Cove Lake Recreation Area’s scenic views and outdoor fun. At the same time, adventure seekers will find the Paris to Lake Sylvia dual-sport route, a fun yet challenging ride that ends at lovely Lake Sylvia (perfect for fishing, camping, and swimming).

With many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, Paris’s small (yet bustling) downtown area is also worth exploring. Take a Parisian photo at the town’s 25-foot Eiffel Tower replica and visit the Love Lock Fence; stop at the Farmer’s Market in spring and summer; or visit the Paris-Logan County Coal Miners Memorial. Visitors can also drive to nearby Subiaco Abbey to enjoy its lovely landscapes, history, and architecture.


Grandview Apartments Rental Office, Jasper, Arkansas, USA. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /
Grandview Apartments Rental Office, Jasper, Arkansas, USA. Editorial credit: Victoria Ditkovsky /

Located in Northwest Arkansas’ Newton County, aka “The Elk Capital of Arkansas,” Jasper is a tiny town of less than 1,000 residents. However, what Jasper lacks in population, it makes up for in spectacular mountain scenery. Surrounded by the beauty of the Ozarks, Jasper has plenty of outdoor opportunities, including hiking and canoeing on the nearby Buffalo National River, hiking and enjoying the panoramic views on Round Top Mountain, and spending the day at Bradley Park while fishing on the Little Buffalo River. Jasper is also known as a popular stop on the Arkansas Scenic Byway 7, which includes plenty of breathtaking stops along the way, including nearby Scenic Point, the Arkansas Grand Canyon, and the lovely town of Harrison, just 20 miles away.

Jasper’s historic town square is also small but picture-perfect. With the Ozarks as its backdrop, the downtown area has its share of striking buildings, such as the Newton County Courthouse, the Bradley House Museum, the Arkansas House, and the Newton County Library. Jasper also hosts several community events throughout the year, including the Westbrook Music Series (summer) and the Jasper/Newton County Trail of Holiday Lights during the holiday season.


Fall colors in Batesville, Arkansas. Editorial credit: Melissa Tate /
Fall colors in Batesville, Arkansas. Editorial credit: Melissa Tate /

Located in North Central Arkansas, the cozy community of Batesville has an eclectic blend of scenic natural beauty and historic charm. The bustling downtown area is home to many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Melba Theater, The Maxfield-Garrott House, and the Wade Building. More can’t-miss attractions include the Mark Martin NASCAR Museum, where racing fans can learn about Batesville native Mark Martin and have a night at the local speedway afterward. Additionally, history buffs will find the Old Independence Regional Museum a worthy stop. The small town also hosts the Arkansas Scottish Festival at Lyon College and various events during the Ozark Foothills Film Festival.

Situated along the beautiful White River, Batesville has its share of recreation and adventure. Some of Batesville’s top outdoor activities include scenic Riverside Park, home to wildlife watching, fishing, parades, and community events; kayaking and canoeing at Polk Bayou; strolling the new Batesville Greenway; and taking a road trip to the nearby Blanchard Springs Caverns to explore Mirror Lake and its surrounding caves. Visitors can also take a scenic Arkansas road trip to the small town of Mountain View, which is less than an hour away.

The Southern state of Arkansas has no shortage of spectacular scenic beauty. From the majesty of the Ozarks to pristine waterways like the Buffalo National River, The Natural State has nearly endless outdoor opportunities to enjoy. However, what makes Arkansas special is its hospitality. Evident throughout its lovely small towns bustling with welcoming energy, Arkansas's hidden gems are exciting vacation destinations filled with fun, history, culture, and charm.

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