15 Best Things to Do in Arkadelphia, AR

Arkadelphia, AR
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Arkadelphia is a charming Arkansas city serving as the county seat of Clark County.

It has a prime locale near the Caddo and Ouachita Rivers and sits in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains.

It is a quaint city popular for travelers looking for some tranquility.

The rivers are popular destinations for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing, and other nearby attractions are DeGray Lake, DeGray Lake Resort State Park, and the DeSoto Bluff Trail.

Also nearby is the Iron Mountain Trail System, a network of mountain bike trails on DeGray Lake’s shore just south of the city.

In the city, you can visit Feaster Park and have a picnic in between games of softball and basketball, and make a splash with your family at Arkadelphia Aquatic Park.

The city is also home to two universities, Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University.

Arkadelphia is a great tourist draw if you’re looking for solace and recreation in scenic landscapes.

For the best things to do in Arkadelphia, check out the curated list below.

Walk through the DeSoto Bluff Trail

The DeSoto Bluff Trail is a long, flat quarter-mile trail that journeys trekkers through a beautiful path with abundant scenic beauty.

It ends at a famous overlook where one can see a mesmerizing panorama of the Ouachita River.

The bluff is a pleasant spot for history buffs, as it takes its name from Hernando de Soto, the Spaniard explorer who headed a southern United States expedition.

De Soto and his company were the first Europeans to step into the land now called Arkansas.

Some locals are convinced he and his men camped on DeSoto Bluff, though historians contest this.

Other famous explorers, William Dunbar and George Hunter, walked to the bluff in the early 1800s as part of the Grand Expedition of Discovery overseen by Thomas Jefferson.

At the bluff, you can see interpretive panels with information about this grand expedition.

There are also panels giving information on the history of the Caddo Indians who resided in the area.

Watch a Game at Carpenter-Haygood Stadium

The Carpenter-Haygood Stadium is an American football stadium in Arkadelphia that serves as the Henderson State Reddies’ home field.

It was first named Haygood Stadium to honor Jimmy Haygood, the university’s head football coach, from 1907 to 1924.

“Carpenter” was added to the name in 1990 to honor Ralph “Sporty” Carpenter, who died on February 16, 1990, after being the head coach for 19 years.

The stadium hosts local high school football games throughout the season and other sporting events throughout the year, and there can be much ado over the bigger rivalry games.

In 2015, the stadium went through some overhauls: an improved design and modern features, a newly paved and lighted parking lot, new ticket booths, and a new main gate entrance.

Since its opening, the stadium has hosted the Special Olympics, state high school playoffs, state track meets, five NAIA national track and field meets, and the NAIA football national playoffs.

Have a Great Meal at 67 Grill

If you’re looking for casual yet delicious dining and want to kick back with drinks, visit 67 Grill.

67 Grill is a popular eatery in Arkadelphia which has local cuisine that is fantastically delicious in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.

They make their appetizers to order and deliver larger-than-life flavors, and their wings and barbecues burst with tangy, appetizing tastes.

They serve delicious burgers with flavors such as O-Bacon, Hawaii, Smoke House, and well-made sandwiches like Hot Ham and Cheese, Catfish, and Pulled Pork.

They serve satisfying dishes straight from the grill and farm-raised catfish fillets that are battered, hand-trimmed, and golden fried.

They prepare their salads with fresh meats, cheeses, and vegetables, with add-ons like grilled shrimp, sirloin steak, salmon, and catfish.

67 Grill also serves incredible cocktails that contribute to its reputation as a favorite tourist and local spot.

Open Your Eyes to Space Wonders at Donald Reynolds Science Center and Planetarium

Located at Henderson State University, the Donald Reynolds Science Center and Planetarium is a fantastic place to learn about the cosmos and deep space.

It is a one-of-a-kind teaching, learning, and special events place in Arkadelphia, open to the public for stargazing events, field trips, shows, and private services.

The planetarium reflects the University’s educational engagement with the community.

It has an 8.2-meter dome and a stellar Digitalis Epsilon Digital Projection system that can project galaxies, planets, stars, and other space wonders onto the dome.

The planetarium shows can transport the audience in a full-dome animation experience, merging breathtaking visual effects with transportive surround sound and taking them to all reaches of the universe.

Explore 3000 years of stargazing from our ancient people’s Stonehenge to Machu Picchu, discover the other side of infinity in massive black holes, and take a cosmic journey to see what forms a star.

Visit frozen planets and rocky worlds caught in a cosmic dance, journey through the heavens on the electromagnetic spectrum, and know the ancient barrage of comets and asteroids.

Indulge in the Arts at the Arkadelphia Arts Center

Arkadelphia Arts Center is on Main Street in Downtown Arkadelphia and offers a variety of educational and instructional activities, serving as the county’s center for the arts.

Throughout the year, it hosts facilities for several local arts organizations and holds many diverse arts and crafts shows which feature local creations.

It provides a platform for artists, writers, and poets to hold their work, playing host to art clubs like the Arkadelphia Little Theatre, Arkadelphia Philharmonic Club, and Writers Guild.

Other clubs it hosts are the Caddo River Art Guild, Poets and Writers Guild, Clark County Historical Association, and Henderson State University.

The Clark County Arts and Humanities Council uses the center as a meeting place.

It has a mission of ‘bringing the arts to the community and the community to the arts.’

They aim to reach out to diverse communities through arts education, art events, and the presentation of literary, visual and performing arts.

Explore the Past with the Clark County Historical Association

Clark County Historical Association dedicates itself to presenting and preserving the region’s historical past, from the prehistoric era to the present.

Its Museum contains five separate rooms with displays showcasing Clark County’s history since the dawn of the first American settlement.

It focuses on personas, events, and activities that shaped the life and soul of the county.

Here you can see an interactive display of the local Native American tribe, the Caddo, and their artifacts.

You can also see displays that emphasize the culture and heritage of the land, with important showcases of country life.

You can read the Clark County Chronicles, which contain snippets of the county’s history, such as information about the cotton mills, the train station, and the roads & trails.

At their Archives and Special Collections, see many official Clark County records such as probate, civil, chancery, criminal, and tax records.

Make a Splash at the Arkadelphia Aquatic Park

If you find yourself in the city during the sweltering summer days, beat the heat at Arkadelphia Aquatic Park.

It is one of the city’s best tourist attractions, featuring an 8-lane, 25-meter swimming area, a dedicated diving area with a 1-meter springboard, and three different water slides.

The open slide is a closed tunnel plunging for maximum impact, the open flume water slide is full of topsy-turvy turns, and the frog slide is for kids’ entertainment.

The park also offers awesome water features such as three floating play pieces, an umbrella-style water fountain, and four arching sprays.

If you want to stay cool and comfy in the water but avoid the sun, go to the shaded bench area in the zero-depth section.

The park also gives swimming lessons to the community with instructions from Henderson University coach, Coak Matthews and his team of teachers.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at Juanita’s Candy Kitchen

If you love sweet things, don’t miss out on the best nut brittle in Arkadelphia at Juanita’s Candy Kitchen.

Juanita’s produces three main varieties of brittle: pecan, cashew, and peanut.

Today there are other more elaborate flavors like white chocolate peanut and chocolate cashew.

The brittle is thin and deliciously crisp, with an aroma of sweet caramelized sugar and roasted nuts and a buttery sweet flavor.

Juanita’s Candy Kitchen has plenty of other goodies, such as fudge in flavors of watermelon, coffee espresso, cinnamon roll, maple walnut, and even orange.

Juanita started cooking up sweets and treats in 1974, giving customers a taste of the amazing homemade peanut brittle from her kitchen.

She produced it in a small building behind her home and traveled around the state to sell it out of her car.

She soon added pecan and cashew to her product line and began cooking in a new larger building, and the rest was history.

Juanita passed away in 2001, but her legacy lives on in her wonderful business.

Have Fairground Fun at the Clark County Fair

The Clark County Fair's mission is to host an annual family-oriented event offering a variety of educational opportunities and entertainment for all ages.

The fair showcases the community with a focus on livestock, agriculture, technology, and the arts, as well as youth development.

At their livestock showing, see some of the best animals around: beef & dairy cattle, swine, sheep & goats, poultry, and rabbits.

At the Clark County Championship Rodeo, watch action-packed events such as broncs, barrel racing, bull riding, mutton busting, and cheer on your favorite cowboys.

Join their Creative Arts competitions celebrating arts & crafts, furniture and woodworking, food presentation, baked goods, clothing, needlework, quilting, horticulture, and ornamental plants & flowers.

Enter their Cutest Kids Photo Contest and their Perfect Pet Photo Contest, and join the Fair Pageant, Fair Parade, and Fair Talent Contest.

Take Your Kids to Camp Winnamocka

Camp Winnamocka offers an imagination-fueled adventure for the young and young-at-heart, giving your kids the ultimate frontier experience.

At their Summer Camp adventure, they can spend their days like Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn, engaging in jungle cruises, treasure hunts, dances, campfires, ropes, and more.

They will spend their vacation squaring off against Blackbeard in a full-size pirate ship, hanging out in the Swiss Family Treehouse, and heading off an attack against Fort Crown Point.

They can go blobbing and engage in fun and games at Tom’s Swimming Hole, the Bermuda Triangle, or the Tropical Pool.

Your child will take on wall-climbing, a 450-foot zipline, funyak river journeys, and one of the top high ropes courses in the state.

The Low Element Ropes Course will give them challenges that involve problem-solving, communication, and teamwork.

The High Element Ropes Course will let them set their routes and limits while traversing logs, wires, cargo ropes, nets, and ziplines.

Stop Over at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

For an all-American experience, have a country-style comfort meal at this Southern country-themed restaurant.

Cracker Barrel is a familiar sight on America’s Interstate highways, serving up mouthwatering favorites to locals and tourists alike.

Founder Dan Evins wanted to create a home-like stopover that preserved the fundamentals of country life for the community.

Feel at home in Cracker Barrel with its front porch scattered with rocking chairs, local decorative artifacts, a peg solitaire game, a stone fireplace, and country music performers.

The restaurant serves traditional Southern comfort food such as biscuits, fried chicken, and catfish.

Cracker Barrel also sells homey items reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s, such as wood crafts, puzzles, and toy vehicles.

Other wares are country music CDs, DVDs of early classics, classic snack food, kitchen novelty décor, cookbooks, and baking mixes.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See Living Things Growing at Garvan Woodland Gardens

The children's garden treehouse at Garvan Woodland Gardens
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Garvan Woodland Gardens is the University of Arkansas’ botanical gardens, a wonderful community gift from industrialist and philanthropist Verna C. Garvan.

Garvan started the gardens in 1956, plotting out plant locations and variations and paths, then gifting the 201-acre gardens to the university.

Interior of children's garden treehouse at Garvan Woodland Gardens
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

The gardens feature rocky inclines reminiscent of the embracing Ouachita Mountains; waterfalls, landscapes, and streams in a woodland setting; and hundreds of rare shrubs and trees like camellias, magnolias, roses, and azaleas.

View the stunning interiors of the Anthony Chapel Complex with its meditation garden and unique structures.

Let your kids have fun at the Evans Children’s Adventure Garden as they explore a cascading waterfall, a maze of rocks, a series of wading pools, and a 450-foot-long elevated walkway.

A short waterfall at Garvan Woodland Gardens' Japanese garden
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Climb up the Bob and Sunny Evans Treehouse suspended within oak and pine trees and featuring an interior dedicated to dendrology.

Relax and meditate in the 4-acre rock and stream Garden of the Pine Wind, and enjoy over 300 Asian Ornamental plants and trees, three cascades, the sunrise bridge, and a 12-foot waterfall.

Vibrant tulips at Garvan Woodland Gardens
Kit Leong / Shutterstock.com

Have an Adrenaline Rush at Funtrackers Family Fun Park

For a fun-filled day that will give your whole crew thrills and adrenaline, visit Funtrackers Family Fun Park.

Located 44 minutes from Arkadelphia, it has been tourists’ and locals’ number 1 entertainment choice for 19 years.

Compete with your friends at their Arcade, which has over 60 of the most popular games, such as Willy Crash, Space Invaders, and The Giant providing nonstop entertainment.

Make a wave, have a splash, or take a relaxing ride at their bumper boats and watch out for soaking squirt guns!

Get ready for some heart-racing fun as you put the pedal to the metal on their Go-Karts, take twists and turns, and race towards the finish line.

Battle it out on their black light, interactive laser tag arena, tag your opponents, attack each others’ home base, and watch out for the erupting volcano!

Have a Family Getaway at DeGray Resort Lake State Park

The waters of DeGray Resort Lake State Park
Warren Price Photography / Shutterstock.com

Sitting on the north shore of DeGray Lake and nestled in Ouachita Mountains’ foothills, DeGray is Arkansas’ only resort lake state park.

Here you will find top-tier amenities and lodging with outdoor fun and adventure for the entire crew all year long.

The resort is home to a 90-room lodge with a conference center, three rent-a-Yurts, 81 Class B campsites, and swimming, tennis, and hiking trails.

A lovely feature is its 18-hole championship golf course with practice green, driving range, pro shop, and disc golf course.

The grounds of DeGray Resort Lake State Park
Brandonrush, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It also has guided horseback riding available in the park, along with world-class mountain bike trails.

It has a full-service marina with fuel, bait, tackle, and boat rentals of pedal boats, kayaks, and party barges.

The lodge has lovely views of DeGray Lake with an indoor hot tub, heated swimming pool, fitness room, and restaurant.

The resort is known for its interpretive programs, including guided hikes, birding tours, outdoor workshops, sunset cruises, snorkeling trips, and more.

Yurt camp site at DeGray Resort Lake State Park
Warren Price Photography / Shutterstock.com

Have Fun with Your Friends at Adventureworks

Located 45 minutes from Arkadelphia, Adventureworks in nearby Hot Springs is very popular with thrill-seekers.

Adventureworks started in 1987, creating team-building adventures and programs to inspire and connect teams.

It has grown to become a renowned leader in experience-based development and training, providing adventures for everybody.

Its Canopy Zip Tours includes 10 zip lines that take you on a thrilling chase with a bird’s-eye view as you soar through the trees.

Aerial Adventure has a 16-element challenge course, including a series of hanging vines, swinging bridges, cargo nets, and more, taking you high into the treetops.

Haunted Forest Zip Tour is a spooky experience centered on the spirits of the afflicted who found a miraculous cure in the water from Hot Springs.

Moonlight Zip Tour gives a nighttime zip tour around the time of the full moon, where you will experience the thrill of soaring through the evening forest.

The Polar Bear zip tour includes a full zip tour with hot beverages and writing your New Year's Resolution on the Wall of Resolve.

And the Sweetheart Zip Tour takes you to see the old-growth forest’s thrilling beauty side-by-side with your significant other.

Final Thoughts

Undergo amazing natural, historical, and recreational experiences in this Arkansas city tucked in the Ouachita Mountain foothills.

Arkadelphia is a perfect place for visitors to visit some of the state’s scenic and thrill-fueled locations.

Take this list when holidaying, and don’t miss out on sheer excitement at Arkadelphia.

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