Despite its stunning architecture (we’ll get to that in a bit), it’s the inside that counts at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Here, in Bentonville, the world-class collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from the Colonial era to present day. Founded by the Walton Family Foundation in 2005, the museum attracts millions of visitors from near and far, but if visitors aren’t there for the art, we can’t blame them: the museum’s drop-dead gorgeous buildings are reason enough to visit. Designed by architect Moshe Safdie and consisted of glass-enclosed bridges and a series of interconnected pavilions, the museum’s windows frame remarkable views of the surrounding Ozark forest and landscape. Best of all? The permanent collections are free to visit.
They don’t call it the “Natural State” for nothing: the best things to do in Arkansas tend to be showstoppers thanks to the state’s endless landscape of wilderness. With 2.5 million acres of national forest, natural splendor soars from the famous Ozark Mountains to the Ouachitas, where you’ll find anything from hot springs to caves, rivers, waterfalls, and exceptionally-preserved parks everywhere you turn.
But don’t let the natural wonders fool you, because there’s plenty of culture to explore, too. Cities like Hot Springs, Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Little Rock all offer an assortment of noteworthy excursions from must-visit museums and landmarks to historic streets with centuries-old architecture.
Ready to see it for yourself? Check out our guide for the best things to do in Arkansas, and prepare for nature in all its beauty.