Historically, ARKANSAS belongs firmly to the South. It sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War and its capital, Little Rock, was, in 1957, one of the most notorious flashpoints in the struggle for civil rights. Geographically, however, it marks the beginning of the Great Plains. Unlike the Southern states on the east side of the Mississippi River, Arkansas (the correct pronunciation, following a state law from 1881, is “Arkansaw”) remained sparsely populated until the late nineteenth century. What’s surprising about the eastern Arkansas delta lands is that they are far from totally flat: Crowley’s Ridge, a narrow arc of windblown loess hills, breaks up the uniform smoothness, stretching 150 miles from southern Missouri to the sleepy river town of Helena, which is an important stop for Delta blues enthusiasts. In 1992 local boy Bill Clinton’s accession to the presidency catapulted Arkansas to national prominence.

Though Arkansas encompasses the Mississippi Delta in the east, oil-rich timber lands in the south, and the sweeping Ouachita (“Wash-ih-taw”) Mountains in the west, the cragged and charismatic Ozark Mountains in the north are its most scenic asset, abounding with parks, lakes, rivers and streams, and a couple of alternative little towns that make welcoming places to stay.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Life in the Florida Keys is dominated by the ocean. The simplest trips become postcard-worthy adventures on the Overseas Highway, the link between its countless…

17 Feb 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Standing Rock: a journey to the protests on the Great Plains

Standing Rock: a journey to the protests on the Great Plains

In January 2016, energy company Dakota Access announced plans to run an oil pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. A few months later, members of the Standing …

14 Feb 2017 • Neil McQuillian local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month