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.

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Countless cities are credited with a burgeoning food scene – but Denver, the Wild West capital of Colorado, stands out from the crowd. In 2016, a stagger…

19 Sep 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
Where to stay in Las Vegas: a first-timer’s guide

Where to stay in Las Vegas: a first-timer’s guide

Shimmering from the desert haze of Nevada like a latter-day El Dorado, Las Vegas is the most dynamic, spectacular city on Earth. At the start of the 20th centu…

01 Sep 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
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