Cliff House Inn, Jasper, Arkansas. Image credit Tammy Chesney via

8 Most Underrated Towns In Arkansas To Take A Trip To

Arkansas is nicknamed "Natural State" appropriately due to its abundant rivers, mountains, forests, lakes, and wildlife. In 2021, over 40 million tourists visited the state. While the state's larger cities, like Little Rock, gain much of the spotlight, numerous small towns seem to fly under the radar. Heber Springs, Paris, and Searcy are a few of the small towns off the beaten path in Arkansas that are worth taking a trip to. From the gateway to the Buffalo National River to mineral spring resort towns, you'll want to take your next trip to one of Arkansas's underrated small towns.

Eureka Springs

Historic downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas, with boutique shops and famous buildings.
Historic downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Image credit Rachael Martin via

Eureka Springs is a small town in Carroll County with a population of about 2,159. This small town is surrounded by the Ozark Mountains, with its lush, dense forests and towering trees. Eureka Springs and the entire state of Arkansas are an outdoor enthusiast's playground. However, this popular tourist area is excellent for exploring the arts and culture scene, with over ten galleries with incredible artwork ranging from folk art to modern masterpieces.

The Historic District contains many Victorian-era homes and buildings built on steep hillsides with unique adaptions to the surrounding terrain, including the Elmwood House. Another prime example of unique and incredible architecture in Eureka Springs is the Thorncrown Chapel. The structure reaches 48 feet from the ground up, with its lovely wooden structure and over 400 windows. This church or sanctuary is often the site for many romantic weddings.

Quigley's Castle is a quirky and unique place that some consider to be one of the state's strangest dwellings. This historic site is a museum and garden once home to the Quigley family. Another must-visit attraction is the Blue Spring Heritage Center, an incredible botanical garden on the White River. If it is the entertaining arts you fancy, the Intrigue Theater is worth visiting. The theater is a hot spot for tourists who enjoy the art of illusion and magic acts.


Misty November morning on the Buffalo River in Jasper, Arkansas.
Buffalo River in Jasper, Arkansas.

Jasper, Arkansas, is the ultimate gateway to the Buffalo National River. The river flows through the Ozark Mountains in the northwest region of Arkansas. While many people are familiar with the Grand Canyon in Arizona, you can find the Arkansas Grand Canyon near the small town of Jasper. Initially named Vendor Valley, the site was renamed "Arkansas Grand Canyon" in the 1970s, hoping to kick up tourism to the Cliff House Inn. So far, it seems as though that plan has worked. The Inn and Canyon are a little under ten miles from the Buffalo National River, where thrill-seekers can partake in wild zipline rides, relaxing floating trips, and incredible hiking opportunities.

The Indian River Creek Trail on the Buffalo River is home to the famous "Eye of the Needle" hiking trail. This scenic and diverse area has beautiful waterfalls, caves, and unique rock formations. The Horseshoe Canyon Ranch is a desirable destination for rock climbing and zipline trails. You can enjoy a scenic ride on horseback here as well. The ranch's proximity (12 miles) to the Buffalo National River puts you in an ideal location for stargazing. In 2019, the Buffalo National River gained the title of an International Dark-Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. Back in town, you'll also want to check out the Bradley House Museum, once home to Dr. and Mrs. W.A. Bradley.


Eiffel Tower of Paris, Arkansas.
Eiffel Tower of Paris, Arkansas. Image credit: Granger Meador via

Located in Logan County, the unique town of Arkansas, Paris has a small population of less than 4,000. In the late 1800s, one of the commissioners deeply admired Paris, France, suggesting the town be named Paris. Nobody was in disagreement, and thus, the city was named. Many tourists make their way to Paris, Arkansas, to visit Eiffel Tower Park, where there is a 25-foot replica of France's Eiffel Tower.

Just south of town, Mount Magazine State Park is an exceptional location for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts and holds the distinction of being the highest point in Arkansas. The park has incredible trails suitable for year-round hiking, but the area offers some of the best fall hikes in the state. Schluterman 's ATV Tour and Guide Service area allows visitors to hit the trails and see the sights from a different perspective. Afterward, head to Cove Lake Recreation Area for a day on the water. This location is ideal for summer trips with camping, hiking, and a beautiful lake.

Mountain Home

Norfork Lake and Cranfield Marina on a beautiful day in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
Norfork Lake and Cranfield Marina on a beautiful day in Mountain Home, Arkansas.

Mountain Home is the country seat of Baxter County and home to 12,825 residents. The town rests within the Ozark Mountains and is surrounded by Bull Shoals and Norfolk Lakes. You will also find the White and North Fork Rivers here, meaning there is a wealth of water activities for locals and tourists to enjoy.

After spending time outdoors, Driftwood Lanes is a great place to spend an evening bowling or playing billiards. Next up, Sharp Edges Axe Throwing is a unique establishment where visitors can practice (or learn) their axe-throwing skills. Mountain Mystery Escapes is a popular place for anyone interested in escape rooms and solving mysteries. Little T's Mini Golf & More is an excellent place for the family. Not only do they have mini golf, but visitors can play cornhole, horseshoes, ladder ball, yard games, and Jenga.

After a day on the town, head over to Rapp's Barren Brewing Company for supper and brews. If you have little ones or are a fan of sweet treats, Hansel and Gretel's Candy House is the place to go.


Morrilton, Arkansas, Big Boy 4014 Union Pacific Steam Engine.
Morrilton, Arkansas, Big Boy 4014 Union Pacific Steam Engine. Image credit Findaview via Shutterstock

Morrilton is among the many best small towns in the Ozarks. Morrilton's slogan is "Small Town. No Limits," and it lives up to it in every way. Located just minutes from Petit Jean Mountain, visitors will find astonishing scenic vistas overlooking the Arkansas River Valley.

Outdoor activities are abundant in Petit Jean State Park, just west of town, with Cedar Falls Trail being a popular hiking location that is considered moderately challenging but can also be strenuous. It offers about a 2-hour (roundtrip) hike with incredible scenery. Seven Hollows Trail is a moderate loop trail with unique natural features, including rock shelters and a natural stone arch. Not far from the state park, find the Museum of Automobiles, showcasing vintage cars from 1904 to 1967. 

Also nearby is Barnyard Friends and Stables, an excellent place for the entire family. Here, you will find a barnyard petting zoo with all sorts of farm animals, from chickens and goats to llamas and peacocks. You can even enjoy a guided horseback riding adventure through the trails.


The Historic Greene County Courthouse, Paragould, Arkansas.
The Historic Greene County Courthouse, Paragould, Arkansas. Image credit Roberto Galan via

Paragould is in Greene County and has a population of 29,543. This quaint small town sits atop Crowley's Ridge, along the Crowley's Ridge National Scenic Byway. Crowley's Ridge is a gorgeous state park only 11 miles away from the town of Paragould. It is an excellent place to camp, picnic, hike, swim, and fish.

If you have an appreciation for history and those who serve in the military, the Paragould War Memorial is an interesting site. It is a seven-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty. This memorial site is to honor the 40 Green County soldiers who perished in World War I. The Greene County Museum offers 14 treasure-filled rooms for history lovers to explore.

Just outside of town, Crowley's Ridge Raceway hosts races every Saturday night during the summer. If you miss the races on Saturday, you can head over to George Ray's Wildcat Dragstrip, which is the place to be for Sunday drag races. This historic track opened in 1961 and has been running ever since.


Street view of Searcy, Arkansas, via Sabrina Janelle Gordon /
Street view of Searcy, Arkansas. Image credit Sabrina Janelle Gordon via

Searcy is the largest city in White County, Arkansas. This scenic small town is an ideal place for art lovers to visit. Art Alley is a unique attraction in downtown Searcy, displaying various murals throughout the alley. One Saturday a month, you can find local musicians and artists in the alley, adding to the artistic atmosphere. In addition, Searcy Art Gallery is in the Historic Benjamin Clayton Black House, built in 1874.

Berryhill Park and Spring Park are beautiful areas in which to spend an afternoon. Spring Park has a pavilion perfect for shaded picnics, a playground for the kids, a walking trail, and a holiday light show. Berry Hill Park offers similar amenities; in addition, there are various areas for sports and picnics with grills.

Fans of history will appreciate Pioneer Village, which is open for self-guided tours of the grounds. This 19th-century village has a log house, school, and a barn full of artifacts and old equipment.

Heber Springs

Fall foliage in the beautiful Arkansas State University-Heber Springs Campus in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Fall foliage in the beautiful Arkansas State University-Heber Springs Campus in Heber Springs, Arkansas. Image credit Melissa Tate via Shutterstock

Located in Cleburne County, Heber Springs is a beautiful and quaint small town. Before becoming the town it is today, Heber Springs was a health resort prized for its seven mineral springs. Sandy Beach, on the great Greers Ferry Lake, is a beautiful place to spend hot summer days. This day-use beach offers shady spots for picnics, a pavilion for events and gatherings, and swimming. The annual fireworks show and cardboard boat races are two popular events hosted at the beach. On the far eastern reaches of the lake, Collins Creek Cascade is a serene location to relax and get away from it all. Additionally, Eden Isle Marina is a popular place for boaters. Rent a boat, order a meal, and spend the day on the open water.

After all the outdoor adventure, head inside for more at the Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum, which is fun for kids or anyone who likes trains. Ellen Hobgood Gallery displays incredible artwork created by local artists and hosts painting parties and art lessons. Ozark Country Market is an adorable little market offering fresh foods, plants, pottery, local artisan wares, and more.

These underrated towns in Arkansas deserve more. They are five-star locations off the beaten path that are ideal for a weekend getaway. The abundance of natural beauty and outdoor experiences are calling. Whether relaxing on the shores of Greers Ferry Lake or taking pictures at the replica Eiffel Tower in Paris, these towns in Arkansas are worth taking a trip to.


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