In addition to the down-home Southern hospitality the state of Arkansas is known for, it is more currently being praised for its astonishing variety of scenery and year-round sports and recreational activities. From such a vast assortment of attractive destinations, explore Arkansas bed and breakfasts for the perfect retreat.
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Even the most discerning traveler will find a multitude of bed and breakfast Arkansas options guaranteed to delight.
Intriguing and diverse as the landscape itself, B&B choices range from those in the center of the action in big-city Little Rock to intimate inns secluded in out-of-the-way smaller towns such as Eureka Springs in the sultry, mysterious Ozark Mountains.
Classic, century-old Victorian-style architecture lines the streets of many of these smaller locations. More rural locations offer rustic and relaxed retreats that may have gotten their start as a barn, a farmhouse, or humble roadside diner.
Spend a few days sampling the rich history of the Lower Delta on the Mississippi River, action-packed nights of West Memphis, or the peace and quiet of the Ouachita (pronounced wash-ee-tah) National Forest in the western part of the state.
Regardless of your taste for style or amenity, you’ll find the perfect destination for that short break to re-charge, a fun girls’ getaway, a long-awaited family reunion, or that romantic spot for a wedding.
Much of the 19th-century American interior was wild frontier land and Arkansas’ early days were no different. Inhabited by few people when it was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, trappers, hunters, and the Native American tribe of Quapaw forged a living from the abundant wildlife across the region. The state name was derived from the term Akansea, a phonetic spelling of the Quapaw word for Illinois, where the tribe had migrated from.
Becoming a separate territory in 1819, it achieved statehood in 1836. It quickly embraced the plantation economy supported by slave labor as its primary method of commerce. The Civil War decimated the entire region culturally, socially, and financially. It would take the better part of the next century for the state to regain stability. But that it did, even to the point of producing the 42nd president of the United States. And Bentonville in the northwest is home to Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.
Arkansas has drawn visitors to its healing waters for centuries. That people of different nationalities would choose to settle here is no surprise. And with them come their culinary habits. The result is an eclectic amalgam of menus, tastes, and treats across a broad spectrum of offerings versus a more consistent regional style of food.
Strolling the vibrant downtown historic areas of towns and cities across the state, local residents and visitors alike will have challenging choices between Tex-Mex, Bavarian, Chinese, classic Southern cooking, Cajun, Indian, and gourmet pizza. Specialty shops benignly seduce passersby with their sweet delicacies, offering treats as hors d’oeuvres rather than dessert!
A sandwich of locally-sourced Arkansas BBQ washed down with an excellent craft beer at one of the breweries is a lunchtime favorite. And there are several wineries close by where you can sample the local grape and intriguing wine accessories.
Although the hot, humid summers can make outdoor activities challenging, the remaining eight months of the year in the state of Arkansas are a sportsman’s oyster. Hunters vie for the perfect trophy, or stock up on meat for the winter. While lakes are busy with motorboats, water skiers, and jet skis, the rivers offer a quieter, more scenic experience for those who love canoeing and kayaking. Both lakes and rivers support numerous anglers, swimmers, and campers. Mountain trails and the endless forests seem to sprout ever more hikers, bikers, backpackers, and trail runners.
Of note for cyclists, mountain biking athletes and casual cyclists from all over Mid-America come to Eureka Springs to test themselves on the many mountain bike trails that snake through the area. The Oz Trails system of Northwest Arkansas is famous for its variety to riders of all levels, from an easy spin to check out the scenery to those who want to challenge the courses designed for professional riders on the Eureka Springs Downhill.
Caves, caverns, natural springs, and waterfalls offer respite from the summer heat as well as points of exploration for those not familiar with such natural curiosities. Options abound across this beautiful state for outdoor activities all year round.
Arkansas, the Natural State. It might be a toss-up between two of Arkansas’ most famous claims to fame – BBQ and hot springs. While mouth-watering BBQ can be found just about anywhere, we’re talking about another kind of water - the kind with therapeutic elements that draws thousands of visitors each year to the state and even has a city named after it!
These naturally-heated, mineralized waters that flow from deep within the earth are what many people associate with Arkansas, and with good reason. Subterranean streams that reach the surface provide welcome succor to those who place faith in the healing properties of these effervescent waters.
The mighty Mississippi River defines the eastern border, and state and national forests cover large swaths of the state's western part. There are more caves, caverns, mountains, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls than you can explore in a lifetime. The soft limestone that comprises much of the region’s bedrock has been eroded over time by the rivers and sub-surface alluvial channels. No doubt Arkansas is an outdoor enthusiast’s veritable year-round playground.
Another majestic waterway, the White River, originating in northwest Arkansas, loops up into Missouri before arcing back through Arkansas’ Upper Delta on its way to the Mississippi. It is 722 miles of wild and scenic riverscapes.
Located in the western part of the American South, the weather in Arkansas is no different from the rest of the region. Summers are long, hot, and humid as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico continually flows north, keeping the air sticky. The numerous lakes and rivers add to the air's overall moisture content, resulting in sweltering days and sultry nights. With the resident humidity and hot summer temperatures, keep an eye out for those afternoon thunderstorms that can swoop up from the Gulf or pop up for a surprise.
Winters are short and typically mild to cool. With the humidity and dew points maintaining consistently high levels, dampness prevails throughout the year. Visitors who live in other parts of the Southeast US won’t notice anything different. But those traveling from the US's drier parts will want to make sure their B&B air conditioning is in good working order.
This doesn’t mean the weather in Arkansas can’t be delightful. Warm spring days spent sunning on the lake or out taking in the local attractions as the landscape wakes from its short winter nap make for a memorable weekend getaway. Fall colors every bit as captivating as New England’s garner attention along some of the scenic byways across the state.
The state has many destinations worthy of acclaim, but a couple of them are not to be missed in Northwest Arkansas. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge TCWR) is the top-rated big cat sanctuary in the state. Rare, exotic, and endangered species of all types find a home at this outstanding facility. Civil War enthusiasts will want to see the 4300-acre Pea Ridge National Military Park where in March 1862, twenty-three thousand soldiers battled ferociously to hold the state of Missouri for the North.
If you see nothing else during your time in Eureka Springs, Thorncrown Chapel is the one. A stunning piece of design, it was inspired by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students. Come and lift a prayer at the 7-story Christ of the Ozarks monument, a landmark seen for miles around that overlooks downtown. Another must-see is The Great Passion Play, renowned for its moving re-telling of Christ’s last week. Supported by live animals and 150 trained actors, these destinations will surely bring some light to your soul.
Lake Hamilton, just south of Hot Springs, entices visitors with water of their choice – hot or cold! Crater of Diamonds State Park, located in the scenic southwestern part of the state, is the only diamond mine in the world where, wait for it… you can keep what you find! On average, two diamonds per day are discovered. Dig for a week and retire, right?
Pamper versus pragmatic. B&B luxury versus hotel efficiency. Log cabin luxury surrounded by a breathtaking mountain view. A bed and breakfast getaway has a way of winning their guests over like that. Host-friendliness, coupled with a romantic getaway and aesthetically pleasing Victorian architecture, is found in many locations across the state and rounds out the sensory delight.
Arkansas bed and breakfast inns work hard to please their guests and with good reason. Innkeepers are passionate about the service they provide. Additionally, while comfort and extravagance are at the forefront of the guest’s experience while visiting the inn, the hosts are extremely safety-conscious to ensure all rooms and facilities are safe and clean.
This includes precautions about the current state of affairs with Covid-19. Speak with your hosts at check-in or phone ahead to address any questions you may have regarding their health and safety protocols.
Locating the best bed and breakfast in Arkansas will depend on knowing what you’re seeking and having a good idea of where to find it. Looking for something deep in the woods to immerse yourself in silence? A lakeside cottage with an outdoor fireplace to listen for the call of an evening loon? Perhaps a Victorian retreat close to town for the convenience of walking. You’ll find these types and more across the state that possesses a fabulous assortment of inns from which to choose.
Eureka Springs is a hotbed of cool B&Bs. Named as the sixth most romantic inn in the South, the Cliff Cottage Inn is perched atop one of Eureka Springs’ many rocky ledges. Not to worry, being located in the Historic District, there’s a trolley stop at street level to whisk you around town. Evening Shade Inn offers the finest luxury Jacuzzi suites and private cottages perfect for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Heart of the Hills Inn offers three 19th-century cottages on the Historic Loop just three blocks from the heart of the Historic District's action. Private entrances and decks make this a unique lodging experience. Arsenic and Old Lace B&B is a classic Victorian retreat with a wrap-around veranda to view the scenic surroundings and beautiful gardens.
Not to be outdone, the 5 Ojo Inn Bed and Breakfast is a multi-award winning sanctuary located on the highest peak in the city limits. Boasting nine rooms and suites, two cottages, and two Victorian homes, the wooded lot is home to a relaxing garden and wildlife.
Hot Springs is a haven for luxury B&Bs. Since 1905 The Gables Inn is close to shops, restaurants, galleries, spas, and antique shops. Its wrap-around porch is the perfect perch for R&R or just plain old people-watching. The Hilltop Manor Bed and Breakfast hosted some fast company in Jesse James and Al Capone. Recently restored to magnificence, it features five suites and stone fireplaces. If you’re seeking a variety of room types, look no further than 1890 Williams House Inn. They offer rooms, suites, and a private cottage, all within five blocks of Bathhouse Row and the Historic District.
Check out the enchanting Ouachita Mountain in western Arkansas with a visit to Tiffany’s Bed and Breakfast. It’s the ideal location to vanish for a few days, with 60 acres at your disposal and DeGray Lake just minutes away.
With a name like The Empress of Little Rock, it has no choice but to be a AAA Four Diamond luxury inn. Set in the heart of downtown, you have every attraction within minutes of your doorstep.
Options abound across this well-kept secret of Middle America, and you’ll make the right choice whether you’re looking for a wedding venue, a family reunion home base, a girls’ getaway, or simply a retreat for respite. Come to Arkansas for your next Bed & Breakfast experience and return to The Natural State.
Amenities at your favorite bed and breakfast inn can range from the expected to the exquisite. Free wifi, luxury bed with baby-soft linens, the option of a Jacuzzi or hot tub, and organic bath products are often staples today in all guest rooms. Other basics can include free private parking and bicycles for about-town touring. Free cancellation is the norm as well, provided you give your hosts plenty of advance notice.
Many inns will offer a private bath or whirlpool tubs. The height of luxury is a fireplace nearby for added ambiance, especially when booking guesthouses with a private entrance. Farm-to-table freshness can be counted on with any gourmet breakfast enjoyed in the dining room or the comfort of your room to enhance the beautiful view of a great location.
The most convenient large city providing major carrier air service is Little Rock. Located smack in the middle of the state, you are only a few hours' drive from any point on the map. Aside from Little Rock, consider Dallas/Ft. Worth, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, or Memphis as excellent arrival points for more peripheral destinations. You may also look at connecting flights to some of the smaller markets if you want to reduce driving time.
Upper or Lower Delta? Check out airfare into Memphis. Western portion of the state? Basically, any of the other metro areas. It just depends on flight times and airfare that best suits you. Upon airport departure, enjoy a relaxing drive to your destination while catching the scenic beauty of the passing landscapes.
For B&Bs located near the historic districts, a walk or a bike ride is a great way to stretch the legs after traveling. You will have easy access to desired attractions including shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums, many of which are within a short distance of each other. And when you can find a trolley, flirt with an old-fashioned “bus” while making new friends onboard as you check out the town’s attractions. For ventures farther afield, the convenience of a cab or your rental car is best.