If you think Arkansas is all Walmart and hot springs, think again. Nestled amid the Ozark Mountains in the state’s northwest region, Eureka Springs is a picturesque, alpine-style resort village boasting cliff-side-hugging Victorian houses and a progressive arts community.
More than 20 art galleries reside along Eureka Springs’ historic downtown 5-mile loop. Plan your trip around one of the town’s numerous annual festivals, including the three-week-long CICA Summer Music Festival, May Festival of the Arts, Eureka Springs Food & Wine Festival, and the Eureka Gras Mardi Gras Extravaganza.
Though the town features numerous bed-and-breakfasts, it’s hard to pass up the grandeur of The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, with its luxury suites and private cottages, fine dining, and New Moon Spa & Salon. It’s known as one of the country’s most haunted hotels, so fans of the paranormal will want to book one of the Crescent’s ghost tours. For a more casual dining experience, locals flock to Mud Street Cafe for made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch in what’s called “Underground Eureka” because of the restaurant’s subterranean setting amid old limestone walls.
Though Mud Street’s coconut cream pie is heavenly, have a true religious experience at Thorncrown Chapel. Designed by renowned architect E. Fay Jones (a student of Frank Lloyd Wright), the towering, 48-foot-tall wood-and-glass structure features 425 windows and more than 6,000 square feet of glass. Ranked fourth on the American Institute of Architects’ list of the top buildings of the 20th century, the chapel is tucked amid Eureka Springs’ woodlands.
On your way back home, don’t miss Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in nearby Bentonville. Founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton, the museum boasts a permanent collection that spans five centuries of American art, including works by such masters as Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein. Crystal Bridges’ 120-acre grounds also offer sculptures, gardens, and one last chance to take in Arkansas’ rugged natural beauty.
Distance From Dallas: 380 Miles // 6 Hours 12 Minutes