Bump This State to the Top of Your Post-Pandemic Wishlist

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Arkansas is one of my favorite states in the country.

Brooklyn, named after the author, is named after the person, named as Cassandra.

His is the latest in our series on undiscovered destinations. It’s still a big world..

I was eaten alive by swamp-water mosquitos, chased by dogs, and killed by snakes, turtles, and animals on my first day in Arkansas. I arrived in a town named after a Confederate general who was the original Grand Wizard of the KKK after traveling for four hours without a single gas station, supermarket, or restaurant. I was out of water and the leftover BBQ tofu wings I brought from Memphis were gone so I stopped for lunch.

I decided to bike from Memphis to Little Rock in two days. During a heat wave. By myself. My transportation was for the occasion. TheTurbo Creo is a specialized car. I picked up a gravel bike from a shop in Memphis the day before. I didn’t know how much luggage would drain the battery, leaving the main battery and the battery extension dead after only 50 miles, instead of the 120 miles the bike would last on a lighter load. I was able to take over the ordering station at the restaurant in Forrest City, Arkansas.

I usually pack light for a hot, humid bike tour but I had to bring important items like my laptop, hiking boots, yoga mat, tea strainer, and loose leaf because I wasn’t going to return to New York City for a few months. I stuffed an insulated lunch bag with ice pack, sauerkraut, ground flax seed, and wheatgrass powder in order to balance out the lack of plant-based food I expected to find in rural Arkansas. I was a walking stereotype.

I didn’t know anything about Arkansas until recently. I decided last year that I would like to visit all 50 states before my 40th birthday, which is irrelevant and undisclosed, thank you very much, I hadn’t thought about visiting until last year. I knew President Bill Clinton was from Arkansas but what? He established an incredible. The presidential library is located in the White House. That is the top attraction in the state? I arrived in Little Rock and didn’t learn that until then. I decided to add Arkansas to my travel list after friends told me about some of the best hikes in the state, and I discovered the state has some of the best biking in the country.

I thoroughly enjoyed my journey through eastern Arkansas, even though my first morning proved challenging and I got stuck in a thunderstorm the second day. I rode dozens of miles without seeing anyone but when I did see someone, they smiled and waved. An older man slowed his truck down to alert me to an eagle’s nest with three baby birds in it. Cars were courteous, giving me far more space than I have received while riding elsewhere in the country, and I did find enough veggies, mostly at Mexican and Chinese restaurants.

I arrived in Little Rock after riding 180 miles in two days. My shoulders, wrists, arms, and butt hurt. Really. The city was lovely and the temperature finally made it pleasant. I had to ride a few more miles around town.

Little Rock is a small but dense city that is easy to explore without a car. Most of the city. Guided tours. If you don’t rent a car, you can do history, culture, civil rights, art, and gastronomy on foot or by bike, but you can also do those on a scooter or ride a bike.

My favorite activity was the one I did. Little Rock Central High School is a national historic site., The Little Rock Nine, a group of young and brave high school students, tried to integrate the all-white Central High School in 1957, despite extreme racial hatred and violence. You know the picture of a young black girl in a white dress and sunglasses carrying her books while a white mob screams at her from behind? That happened here. The museum inside the visitor center is fascinating and should be visited, but you should also sign up for the twice- daily ranger talks. The ranger told us about the integration day and how the city responded to it, but she also showed us how the racists shut down the entire high school.

I stayed in downtown Little Rock since I wanted to be near the waterfront park and bike path and I spent most of my time in the SoMA neighborhoods. Both areas have lots of fun bars, restaurants, and shops. I kept my stereotype of being an East Coast person by stocking up on fruit and vegetables at the farmers markets in both neighborhoods. Also, be sure to stop by in So Ma. The ESSE Purse Museum is located in the city.The museum is a historical retrospective on women’s rights, struggles, and accomplishments over the past 120 years, all viewed through the lens of women’s handbags.


The building of Little Rock Central High School is famous for its role in the integration of public schools in the US.

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Little Rock is a big city with many attractions and conveniences, but it is also very accessible to nature and outdoors experiences. Little Rock has assembled. themed cycling routes Within the city. The guides are cycling Outside of the city, there are many riders of all levels of experience. . People should check out the place. The Arkansas River Trail leads to the Arkansas River.You can ride the trails, rent kayaks, or picnic at Two Rivers Park, which is a 16-mile waterfront trail loop. If you don’t own a bike, you can catch an ride with an app and then rent bikes and kayaks at the park.


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The #1 tourist attraction is. The Clinton Presidential Library and Museum is located in Clinton’s hometown of Chappaqua.? I am not sure, I didn’t go. I would have loved to have been able to visit it but it was closed for COVID. The city had a few attractions that I loved. The Mosaic Templars Cultural Center is located in the city of Mosaic. An African American history museum. The River Market District is located in the city. There are lots of shops and eateries. The garden named after her is called the Bernice Garden. The place has a sculpture garden, a Sunday farmers market, and special events such as yoga and drum circles.

Many national parks require a significant drive from the capital cities. Hot Springs National Park is a national park. It is southwest of Little Rock. You can visit the park as a day trip from Little Rock, but Hot Springs deserves more time. The city of Hot Springs is an adorable place where you can find bars, restaurants, wax figure and gangster museums, and souvenir and soap shops.


The Town of the same name is located in South West Arkansas.

Jacob Boomsma is a photographer.

The national park has a lot of hiking trails that are easy to navigate, but you need to combine several of them to hike a 12-mile route in the midday sun. If you stay in Hot Springs, you can walk to the park and trails. Anyone looking for less crowded and more remote hiking options should head to that area. The trail system in the north woods.A network of city and county parks are covered with wooded trails. These trails are mostly for mountain bikers, but they are also used for hiking. Before you head in, take a picture of the trail map to make sure you don’t get lost.


The overhead banner is hanging from a lamp post.

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The national park’s visitor center is located on the fourth floor of the historic bathhouses, which have been converted into gift shops, art galleries, and other businesses. Though there is no shortage of good restaurants in the city, be advised that many are closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, and/or Wednesdays, and be sure to check out the bathhouse turned brewpub. Superior Brewery.. The only brewery in the national park is located inside the pub, which uses the local thermal water to make beer.

Have you gotten your fill of thermal waters? Natural spring water is available at one of the two public springs in town. The National Park Visitor Center can show you the springs, or you can look for a line of locals filling up jugs.

If you were like me, you were interested in the series on the streaming service and wondered if you could visit the lake region yourself. The Ozarks are in Missouri, but they are pretty incredible and should be on your Arkansas itinerary. The first National River in the country is located in the northwest part of the state. In addition to that, there are also hiking, rafting, kayaking, biking, and camping. The Buffalo National River International Dark Sky Park is located in the state of Buffalo. It is a great place for astronomy.


The Hemmed-In-Hollow Falls area is in the Ozark National Forest Park.

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There are lots of cabins, campgrounds, hotels and B. The Buffalo outdoor center is open. Since you have a great view of the stars from your cabin and the center arranges land and river trips that are easy to join without much pre-planning. They have a vehicle valet program that will drop you off at one end of the river or trail and then take your car to the other end. I was able to kayak a 7-mile stretch of the river without having to hitch a ride because of this service. You should plan your visit between the high water months of March and June. The water will be too low to float after June, but you can still go swimming, hiking, biking, or watching wildlife.

Northwest Arkansas is home to several unique artistic and architectural destinations. The Buffalo National River area is about an hour north. The Thorncrown Chapel is a church.Arkansas native E. Fay Jones designed the architectural marvel. Bentovnille is an hour west of the chapel. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is located in Crystal Bridges, Arkansas.. The art museum is one of the main attractions that were funded by the Walton family and has a Wal-Mart theme. The museum is at the Wal-mart..

Most Americans have no idea that Arkansans have a wonderful, diverse, adventurous, beautiful state. I like to ask locals what they would like the rest of the country to know about their home, if I could. The person who blurted out “Arkansas is not as bad as people think” was the first person I asked. Interesting. That made sense. I ran the description by a number of locals I met and they all agreed it was an accurate description of their state’s problems.

So you are going. Arkansas is one of my favorite states in the country. I hope you get to visit soon and, unless you like to sweat, why not plan your trip between September and May?

A group tour leader, Brooklyn is a writer. She runs.


An off-the-beaten-path travel company. And. The author is the guidebook’s author.

Cuba by bike.


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