Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Batesville, AR

  • Published 2022/08/22

Batesville is the largest city in Independence County, Arkansas, and the second oldest municipality in the state.

Batesville is undeniably rich in culture and history.

Located along the shores of the White River, Batesville has a recorded history from as early as 1804.

It’s also home to the oldest existing main street in Arkansas.

With beautiful landscapes, historic homes and churches, antique stores, and historic movie theaters, Batesville is indeed an excellent tourist destination.

The 200-year-old city of Batesville won’t disappoint you with its incredible stories and places to visit.

Here are the best things to do in Batesville, Arkansas:

Walk around Lyon College

Lyon College during fall

Melissa Tate /

Founded in September 1872, the 136-acre Lyon College is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Arkansas.

Likewise, the private Lyon College is one of the best liberal arts colleges in the South.

Ducks swimming in a pond at Lyon College

Melissa Tate /

The small undergraduate college in Highland Road is rich in history.

Visiting the area and looking around will fill your time and, most significantly, your mind.

Stretch your legs and have a quiet time exploring the oldest independent college in Arkansas.

Lyon College also enjoys affiliation with the Presbyterian Church.

Scenic pathway at Lyon College

Melissa Tate /

Check Out NASCAR Cars at Mark Martin Museum

The Mark Martin Museum opened in 2006 along the southern part of Batesville.

It’s the place for NASCAR enthusiasts where they can spend hours just admiring the collection for free.

If you don’t know the name, Mark Martin is one of the biggest personalities in the auto sports world.

Mark Anthony Martin is a retired American racing driver, and the second to take home the most wins in the NASCAR Cup Series.

ESPN once described Mark Martin as “the best driver never to win a championship.”

Today, Mark Martin owns a Ford dealership on Batesville Road, where he also established his museum.

The Mark Martin Museum features original equipment, photos, first-hand accounts of his racing career, and more.

Enjoy the Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park

The Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park is a 100,000-square-foot facility for recreational activities such as basketball, walking, and swimming.

Located on 20th Street, the Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park are popular among locals and tourists.

All its amenities are ideal for both kids and adults.

It also has an outdoor aquatic park of more than 12,000 square feet, which is a big hit with the young ones.

The aquatic park gets most of its visitors during June, July, and August when the temperature and humidity rise to nearly intolerable levels.

The Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park are open daily from early afternoon to early evening.

Beat the heat and explore all of Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park’s amenities.

Visit the Old Independence Regional Museum

If you want to learn more about the rich history and culture of the region, the Old Independence Regional Museum should be your next destination.

The museum is one of the most visited in Batesville.

It has a collection of artifacts, exhibits, and displays of materials contributing to the significant history of Arkansas and the surrounding counties.

The museum is rich in history and culture, now serving as outstanding research and educational facility.

Since 1998, the Old Independence Regional Museum has served a great purpose in Independence County.

To discover a rare historical gem, visit Old Independence Regional Museum now.

Wander the Streets of Batesville Commercial Historic District

Street view of Batesville Commercial Historic District

Kennethrorie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you want to spend an afternoon walking around blocks, visit Batesville Commercial Historic District.

The historic district comprises four city blocks of downtown Batesville, Arkansas.

Strolling around the historic district will surely enrich your mind.

The whole Batesville Commercial Historic District gives off an old village vibe, because the city has left the district as it looked between the 1880s and 1940s.

In 1982, the National Register of Historic Places added the district to its record.

Every corner from Main Street to Central Avenue has a historic establishment, totaling 25 landmark properties.

All those properties have a rich history, so a stroll within Batesville Commercial Historic District will be worthwhile.

See a Film at Melba Theater

The Melba Theater is Batesville’s premier movie theater and entertainment venue, which opened in 1947.

Back then, it went by Collins Theater, residing in a building on West Main Street constructed in 1875.

The newly renovated theater caters for concerts, theater productions, and live shows.

Like other cinemas, it also has concession stands that sell popcorns, sodas, pretzels, and more.

The Melba Theater is a family-friendly cinema with the most comfortable seats.

Moreover, this theater will likely screen movies you might have missed.

The cinema still screens movies a few months old at a reasonable price.

Bring Your Family to Riverside Park

Riverside Park is the most visited in Batesville, Arkansas.

The well-maintained park is completely safe and warm.

Riverside Park has two playgrounds in different locations for families with children.

Whether you’re on one part of the park or the other, your children will still have a place to explore.

Five pavilions are open for rentals if you plan to go with your extended family.

It’s perfect for any occasion and has water and electrical supplies.

You can rent each pavilion for as low as $20.00.

Enjoy the Christmas Lights Display at White River Wonderland

Christmas decorations at Riverside Park

Melissa Tate /

The Christmas spirit comes alive at Batesville every winter with its light display that gives life-long happiness and warmth.

People have recognized Batesville as the Christmas Capital of Arkansas, thanks to the Christmas lights display called the White River Wonderland.

The White River Wonderland does not charge a single penny, so visit the famous Christmas Wonderland, open from November to January.

Christmas light decorations at Riverside Park

Melissa Tate /

Thousands of tourists visit the White River Wonderland every year.

The show features millions of lights that dance to different holiday tunes.

To appreciate the dancing Christmas lights, you can ride a custom-built White River Express train with your whole family.

Otherwise, ride a 70-foot tall Ferris wheel with your partner.

Experience a magical holiday at Batesville and book your Christmas stay with your family now.

Smiling christmas tree lights at Riverside Park

Melissa Tate /

Shop at Dean Baker Wholesale

Dean Baker Wholesale has become an iconic one-stop shop in Batesville.

This shop is the best place to buy everything from grocery items to furniture and hardware.

You’ll never know what you’ll find inside, but once you enter, you will take home something.

All items are cheap, so you will leave with a thing or two in your arms.

Visit Dean Baker Wholesale, a famous shop for low prices and remarkable value.

Take a Dip at Buffalo National River

Established in 1972, the Buffalo National River is a 1335-mile free-flowing river.

Unlike the other rivers in the other lower 48 states, this one remains untouched.

Get ready to marvel at its serene beauty once you get to the river.

Surrounded by massive mountains, you’d stay amid the quiet and relaxing sound of the water.

The place is perfect for those wanting a renewed perspective of life.

The calmness of the Buffalo River will give you a renewed and healthy state of mind.

You can rent kayaks and other floaters on the Buffalo National River.

Rent one to reach the farthest part possible of the undammed river.

Swim at Polk Bayou

Polk Bayou during snowfall

jkgravesx /

The Polk Bayou, or Poke, is one of Batesville’s most important waterways because of its rich history.

Batesville’s most popular summertime swimming venue feeds into the magnificent White River.

Situated on the corner of White Drive and Barnett Drive, Batesville’s top tourism spot will take your breath away with its marvelous sight.

The famous waterway allows tourists to experience natural beauty through recreational activities such as fishing, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, and more.

If you prefer not to do anything at Polk Bayou, you can also have fun chilling in the park, enjoying its scenic beauty from afar.

Watch a Car Race at Batesville Motor Speedway

Batesville Motor Speedway is a 3.8-mile car racing track in Batesville, Arkansas.

Allow yourselves to enjoy thrilling car racing at Batesville’s great track that hosts seasonal or even weekly car races.

Batesville Motor Speedway has a stadium and lawn seating.

Enjoy your time at the motor speedway and let the speeding cars relax you.

You won’t only appreciate the thrilling sport.

Prepare to feast your eyes on the beautiful lineup of handsome race cars you won’t see anywhere else.

Call your friends now, book seats, and cheer on the racers at Batesville Motor Speedway.

Hike Jamestown Crag

Located in Jamestown Loop is the famous and one of the largest exposed Akota sandstone in the whole region, a top recreation area among adventurous tourists.

The Jamestown Crag is a local climbing, hiking, and camping destination in Batesville.

If you want to camp at Jamestown Crag, you might like to donate $3.00 per visitor and $5.00 per campsite.

The proceeds fund the maintenance and development of the recreation area.

Through these little contributions, trails, walk paths, authorities keep the whole Jamestown Crag clean and maintained year-round.

Jamestown Crag offers stunning views and fantastic Arkansas sandstones, making it the best destination for climbing tall rocks.

Nomad Investments owns the property, the only sport climbing crag in northeast Arkansas.

The whole climbing route on Jamestown Crag spans nearly 40 acres.

Shop at Clara Jane and Jax Children’s Boutique

To first-time mommies, it’s really a nice and refreshing thing dressing up little cute babies when going out, or even maybe just staying at home.

It’s also become a trend twinning with your baby that’s even better and nice to see.

On the Main Street of Batesville, Clara Jane and Jax Children’s Boutique sells a beautiful selection of clothes for babies and kids, from T-Shirts to dresses.

Here, your kids won’t go out of style.

The clothes and accessories at the children’s boutique go with the trend!

You’d definitely take home a thing or two.

Relax at Maxfield Park

Located between Broad Street and North Central Avenue, Maxfield Park was once an eye-sore spot in Batesville.

In 2019, Maxfield Park opened to the public as another fun spot and destination for families to enjoy.

The once considered to be an unpleasant area in Batesville was constructed and designed using lots of recycled items.

The park also has beautiful stonework using native stones for the landscape design.

The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce aims to make Maxfield Park and its surrounding area an appealing place for tourists.

Final Thoughts

Take your Arkansas trip to the next level and visit the gorgeous and historically relevant city of Batesville.

Batesville is a progressive community and the new favorite destination of thousands of tourists.

From recreational activities to historical sites to thrilling adventures, Batesville has everything you need.

What are you waiting for?

Book your trip today and discover the best things to do in Batesville!

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