Road Trip in Arkansas

After endless miles of highway, you might crave some natural scenery on your road trip.

Rightfully dubbed “The Natural State," Arkansas has endless amounts American wilderness to explore. In addition, you'll glimpse into the history of the Civil War and what life was like before modern civilization.

Arkansas Rules of the Road

Before hitting the road, make sure you're familiar with Arkansas' traffic laws and driving customs.

AR Traffic Laws

For full details on the laws you need to follow while driving through Arkansas, read through the AR Driver's Handbook. The following are just a few of the laws you should be aware of:

  • Maximum speeds limits:
    • On rural freeways: 70 MPH.
    • On suburban freeways and highways: 60 MPH.
    • When driving near a school: 25 MPH.
  • When driving in an urban or residential area, you must stop at crosswalks before proceeding.
  • If a school bus is stopped and loading or unloading children, you cannot drive around it; wait until the red lights have stopped flashing and allow the bus to proceed ahead of you.
  • Never drink and drive.
  • It is illegal to use your phone while driving.

For more, check out our page on Arkansas traffic safety laws.

Foreign Drivers Licensing Requirements

If you're visiting Arkansas from another country and plan on driving, you must have an International Driver's License that is valid for no more than 1 year and a valid driver's license from your home country. You can contact your country's licensing agency for an International Driver's license.

If you don't have both forms of driving documentation, Arkansas law enforcement will not recognize you as a legal driver.

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Major Arkansas Roads

The following is a list of major Arkansas interstate highways, the cities they run through, and the states they connect to.

  • I-30: Connects to Texas; runs through Hope, Arkadelphia, Benton, and Little Rock.
  • I-40: Connects to Oklahoma and Tennessee; runs through Van Buren, Russellville, Conway, and Little Rock.
  • I-49.
    • Northern section connects to Missouri; runs through Bentonville, Rogers, Springdale, and Fayetteville, AR.
    • Southern section connects to Louisiana and Texas; runs through Texarkana and Doddridge.
  • I-55: Connects to Missouri and Tennessee; runs through Blytheville, Osceola, and Marion.
  • I-540: Connects to Oklahoma; runs through Van Buren and Fort Smith.

Attractions & Sightseeing Arkansas

Now that you know how to navigate around Arkansas, it's time to explore.

If you're outdoorsy, a state park camping trip might be up your alley. Or maybe you're a history buff, raring to dive into Arkansas' Civil War past. Even if you've made the courageous choice to road trip with the kids, there are a variety of activities for your family to enjoy.

The Natural State

Arkansas' nickname fits well, with a multitude of state parks available to you. Listed below are a fraction of the choices you have when it comes to enjoying Arkansas' great outdoors.

  • Mount Magazine—Paris, AR.
    • Arkansas' tallest mountain with sweeping views of the foliage-covered land below.
    • Hang gliding, hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
    • Campgrounds, cabin rentals, and lodge.
  • Hot Springs National Park—Hot Springs, AR.
    • Great for a romantic getaway or family vacation, with thermal springs and hiking trails.
    • Historic district complete with bathhouses.
    • Arts and cultural events.
    • Hotel lodging and campgrounds.
  • Petit Jean Mountain State Park—Morrilton, AR.
    • Arkansas' first state park.
    • See majestic waterfalls and blooming flora, and explore hiking trails.
    • Fishing, swimming, boating, tennis, and volleyball courts.
    • Cabin rentals.
  • Devil's Den State Park—West Fork, AR.
    • Hiking trails that take you around a lake, by waterfalls, and through the surrounding forests.
    • Caverns and caves for you to explore, plus horse trails to enjoy.
  • Blanchard Spring Caverns—Ozark National Forest.
    • Considered to be amongst America's most beautiful caves.
    • Guided tours.
    • Surrounding campgrounds and hiking trails.
  • Queen Wilhemina State Park—Mena, AR.
    • Considered to be amongst Arkansas' most scenic state parks.
    • Stay at the Queen Wilhemina Lodge, located on the park's highest peak.
    • Miniature train ride tours between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
    • Miniature golf.
  • Toltec Mounds Archaeological State Park—Scott, AR.
    • These historic mounds were built by people who were part of the Plum Bayou culture (predecessors to the Native Americans).
    • Home to America's tallest Native American mounds.
    • Archaeological site where numerous relics have been found.

Experience Arkansas History

As a primary site for early American settlers and Civil War battles, Arkansas has an abundance of opportunities for glimpsing into the past.

  • Parkin Archeological State Park—Parkin, AR.
    • Site of the Casqui Native American village that lasted from 1000 to 1600 C.E.
    • Located on the Saint Frances River.
    • Archaeological research center on site, where visitors can learn about Arkansas' Native American history.
  • Historic Washington State Park—Washington, AR.
    • A historic pioneer town, established in 1824.
    • Popular stop for pioneers including Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, and James Bowie.
    • Restored historic buildings include courthouses, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, candle shop, and residences.
  • Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park—Prairie Grove, AR.
    • Considered amongst the most intact Civil War battlefields.
    • Largest Civil War reenactments in Arkansas.
    • Walking and driving tours of the battlefield.
    • Museum and historic house tours.
    • Geocaching tours.
  • Fort Smith, AR.
    • Marked the divide between United States and Native American land during the times of early settlers.
    • Site of a devastating Civil War battle.
    • Commemoration for the Trail of Tears.
  • Bathhouse Row—Hot Springs, AR.
    • A variety of bathhouses constructed during the late 1800s and early 1900s, which are fueled by the natural hot springs below.
    • Some are still functional and offer spa-like services; others have been restored as museums and visitor centers.

Arkansas Arts & Culture

If you're more inclined to visit art museums and immerse yourself in Arkansas' modern day cultural customs, there are plenty of chances for you to do so.

  • Clinton Presidential Library—Little Rock, AR.
    • Dedicated to native Arkansan Bill Clinton.
    • America's most extensive collection of presidential papers and artifacts.
    • Display of an Oval Office replica.
  • Crystal Bridges Museum—Bentonville, AR.
    • Exhibits on American art dating back to the colonial period.
    • Works by American artists like Andy Warhol, Thomas Eakins, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Mountain View, AR.
    • Known as the “Folk Music Capital of the World," where the Arkansas Folk Festival was founded.
    • Home to the Arkansas Craft Guild, where you can visit their gallery.
    • Music and antique shops.
    • Tree-top ropes course and advanced biking trails.
  • Wine country—Altus, AR.
    • Learn and participate in the winemaking process.
    • Award winning wines and vineyards with free vineyard tours and tasting rooms.
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