Free, inexpensive, budget friendly, low-cost, economical, bargain – no matter how you describe it, everyone is looking for a great vacation destination without a big price tag. Look no further than Arkansas, the perfect place to spend a thrifty vacation with family or friends, offering a variety of free and inexpensive things to do any time of the year, both indoors and outdoors. Arkansas not only provides a great vacation for a little money, it also has many, many attractions that are free. Read through our suggestions for more than 100 simple but fun things to do for free and places to play in Arkansas while you’re here.
Fort Smith, Arkansas is a city of convergence. Its first fort was built at Belle Point, where the Arkansas and Poteau rivers unite. At one time, Federal marshals used to ride out of the United States and into Indian Territory at this juncture. Outlaws collided with Hanging Judge Parker. During the Civil War, the North met the South here with devastating results. The Butterfield Overland Mail Company maintained a division center at Fort Smith, a junction point for its southbound coaches from Tipton, Missouri, and its west bound coaches from Memphis, Tennessee. This colorful American background is the reason True West magazine selected Fort Smith, Arkansas as the Top True Western Town for 2013. The publication also named Fort Smith as one of the top five of the Top Western Towns for 2014. True West also honored the town with its “best promotion of a historical place” award for 2014.
It has many sites commemorating and preserving Trail of Tears, Civil War and Butterfield Overland Mail Company route history that are now part of the Arkansas Heritage Trails System.
Things to do in Fort Smith Arkansas
Arkansas’s Eden: Hike to Eden Falls. The water cascades from tall, moss-lined rocks and boulders in a narrow canyon in the Buffalo National River Park.
Free for Families: Enjoy ice skating, swimming, the gymnasium and other activities at the Jones Center in Springdale.
Oasis: Climb, hike, picnic and play at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock; walk through the Arkansas Arboretum, which exhibits native flora from Arkansas’s six natural divisions.
Free Fishing for Kids: Children may fish free if they are under the age of 16 at any of the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission Family and Community Ponds. They are stocked with catfish and trout
Child Ingenuity: Designed from suggestions made by area children, Little Rock’s Peabody Splash Pad includes outdoor and underground rooms, large native stones and water spray area.
Mind Clearing: Walk the Turtle Moon labyrinth, located in a natural setting by Cedar Creek in a native bird sanctuary, it is a classic 7-circuit labyrinth open free to the public daily.
Music, Music, Music: The Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts showcases local area artists. The Li’l Opry, is every Monday night through late September from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. 1015 Central Avenue, Bull Shoals.
Back to the Sixties: In Walnut Ridge, experience the fateful 1964 visit from The Beatles. Check out The Beatles Sculpture and the Guitar Walk, which honors musicians who played along the nearby Rock ‘N’ Roll Highway 67
Guiding Light: The local landmark, Christ of the Ozarks Statue, can be seen for miles or you can visit it up-close. The seven-story statue is lighted for night viewing. Created by Emmett Sullivan, one of Mount Rushmore’s creators.
German Heritage: The Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie in Stuttgart explains the German settlers who gave the town its name and how rice farming came to the state.
World’s Largest:Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge, at 65,000 acres,is the world’s largest green-tree reservoir.
Old Man (Arkansas) River: Exhibits tell the story of the River Valley at the Arkansas River Visitors Center. It also offers wildlife exhibits, an audio visual presentation, and a great location for watching barges pass through the locks.
Small but Proud: Surrounding the monument to Private Herman Davis, an Arkansas farm boy and WWI hero, is Herman Davis State Park in Manila.
Watch the Birdie: The predominately wooded path of Bell Slough Nature Trail covers 2.25 miles south of Conway and is great for birding.
Cache In: Geocaching is a treasure hunt using a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) device to hide and seek containers along with others taking part in the activity
Drawings Extraordinaire: Be dazzled by the masters, one of the country’s finest collections of drawings, and traveling exhibits at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock.
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