20 Best Things to Do in Hope, AR

Hope, AR
Brett Welcher / shutterstock.com

Hope is a beautiful town in Arkansas with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and a strong sense of community.

This remarkable city is well-known for its friendly residents and welcoming atmosphere.

Established in 1873, the town sprouted from the railroad constructed in the area.

The town gets its name from Hope Loughborough, the daughter of a railroad executive who had become president of the Union Pacific Railroad.

Many of the town's historic structures date back to the early 1900s, a testament to its rich history.

Hope is also the birthplace of former Arkansas governors Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee.

Many people worldwide hold Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee in high regard because of their public service, humanity, and sense of humor.

Here are the best things to do in Hope, AR:

Visit President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site

Side view of President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

The most pressing attraction to visit in Hope is undoubtedly Bill Clinton's childhood home.

He spent the first four years of his childhood in Hope, together with his widowed mother and grandparents.

Clinton grew up in a humble house.

Today, it's a unique spot because he began his journey to becoming president of the United States here.

A portrait in President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home
daveynin from United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you've heard people refer to Bill Clinton as "The Man from Hope," it's because he was born there.

Now that you know his birthplace, why not visit his childhood home?

The park's visitor center features displays about President Clinton's early life in Hope.

It also has a bookstore containing books written by those who knew him at the time.

In 1994, the National Register of Historic Places added this house to its record.

Front view of President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Learn History at the Southwest Proving Ground Museum

The Southwestern Proving Ground Airport Historic District was an important site at the height of World War II.

Here you can get a glimpse of how the United States fought during the war.

The soldiers at the district spent the whole war testing bombs, artillery shells, and various types of ordnance.

Work on the SWPG Airport Historic District began in June 1941 and finished in November 1942.

The Armed Forces used the place as a bomber airfield, artillery shell, and air bomb testing range.

The proving ground at Hope employed numerous people, including Hempstead County citizens, inhabitants of Howard and Clark counties, and residents of Howard and Lafayette counties.

Many individuals worked at the proving site during World War II, including pilots, mechanics, carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, engineers, etc.

Drop by the Visitors Information Center

Where do you go to get away from a fast-paced lifestyle and busy streets?

If you're looking for a city with many things to do and places to go, look no further than Hope, Arkansas.

This is a city that offers the tranquility of the countryside.

The city built the visitor center in a train station in 1912, so you can feel its authentic vintage appeal.

There are local displays on the life and legacy of President William Jefferson Clinton.

Likewise, you can find artifacts from his time as Arkansas's governor.

In addition to its historical exhibits, the visitor center features a gift shop that sells regional artwork and souvenirs.

If you need it, you can also obtain maps and directions to local locations.

Get a Glimpse of Klipsch Museum of Audio History

The Klipsch Museum of Audio History is worth a little journey up Hempstead Road in Hope.

Despite its small size, the museum has a lot to show you.

Standing on the grounds of a former military base, the antique telephone exchange currently occupies the space.

For his contributions to the design of loudspeakers and the measurement of distortion, Paul W. Klipsch received an award from the Audio Engineering Society.

You'll find more information about Mr. Klipsch's life and profession as an audio engineer from the museum's displays.

See photographs and listen to accounts from his wife and daughter.

Likewise, you can check out the equipment he used while working for RCA Victor and Altec Lansing.

Notably, you can even find a copy of his 1957 resume.

Enjoy Outdoor Fun at Fair Park

The Fair Park is the perfect spot to unwind after a day of seeing the city's attractions.

The park dedicated a couple of ponds to the former governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, and his wife, Janet.

This beautiful park is one of the most popular spots in town for picnics, sports, and camping because of its large grassy spaces and city views.

Fair Park is the largest City of Hope park, spanning nearly 80 acres.

It's an oasis in the city's heart.

The park has numerous activities, including a petting zoo, a carousel, and a splash pad.

Additionally, there are several fish swimming close to the lake's shore.

Buy Fresh Goods at Hope Farmers Market

The Hope Farmers Market has the biggest watermelons in the world.

You can buy fresh farm-to-table produce from the back of the farmers' trucks.

Local produce, meats, and baked goods such as artisan bread, cheeses, and pastries, are all popular among tourists.

Plants from around the world will surround you at the Pavilion Park Hub in downtown Hope.

You can walk around the neighborhood or stop by one of the local shops to see all the featured local products of Hope.

Buy Unique Souvenirs at Elm Street Antiques

Are you looking for a place to purchase home decor and presents in Hope?

Elm Street Antiques is the place to go if you're seeking something unique but can't bring it home with you.

This well-known antique business has served local travelers for years, enriching their travel experiences.

The store's motto is "all things vintage," indicating that they carry a variety of affordable and distinctive furniture, decorations, etc.

Consequently, if you want to see old but gold pieces of stuff, you are welcome to drop by this place.

Celebrate at Hempstead Hall

Celebrate your birthday or wedding anniversary at the beautiful Hempstead Hall.

Hempstead Hall creates an ideal atmosphere for a special occasion, whether you're organizing a concert or a family reunion.

Hempstead Hall has two meeting rooms, a 1,600-seat theater, four contemporary conference suites, and three changing rooms.

Also included in the 65,000-square-foot building is a full-size catering kitchen.

Hempstead Hall is the most adaptable building in Hempstead County.

It spans 65,000 square feet, which makes it the ideal location for conventions, reunions, concerts, and various other events.

Hope makes it possible to bring together all of your loved ones while you travel.

Shop Local at Martin’s

Do you want to discover where people grow the biggest watermelons?

Would you like to stand where former President Bill Clinton was born?

Perhaps all you want is to have an excellent time shopping.

Then, you must visit Martin's!

Martin's is one of the most renowned clothing stores you will come across in Hope.

It's also the largest specialty store of its sort in South Arkansas.

Visitors from all over the world stop by this third-generation family-owned company.

It has operated since 1959.

Check out the newest unusual home & gift goods and fashion options.

Inside Martin's 25,000-square-foot store are the newest top brand names and boutique labels in junior, women's, and men's clothing.

Take your pick from the wide range of home and gift options, including the Hallmark Gold Crown section.

Martin's extensive footwear selection showcases its owner's 50-plus-year history in the shoe industry.

Try the Famous Big Jake’s BAR-B-Q

Big Jake's Bar-B-Q serves the finest meats and seasonings to create mouthwatering meals that will make you mop up your plate.

The 16-year-old Matthew Palmer began his profession as a pit boss in high school.

Since then, he has learned everything from the best pitmasters in East Texas, including how to prepare the perfect brisket, smoke the ideal pork shoulder, and fry the perfect egg.

At the age of 21, Matthew opened his first business on Texas Highway 82 in Texarkana, Texas.

He later moved to Texarkana and Nash, Arkansas, and opened establishments in Texarkana and Hope.

This restaurant tells a tale that every traveler will enjoy retelling.

Go Boating at Janet & Mike Huckabee Lake

The Janet & Mike Huckabee lake complex is ideal for a getaway in Hope.

A concrete walking path surrounds the 11-acre lake.

The complex also has three fishing piers accessible to those with disabilities, concrete-lined sides, and a boat ramp.

The lake is separated into two parts.

The more significant portion spans 10.2 acres, while the smaller part is a one-acre derby pond.

During fishing derbies, people separate this pond from the enormous lake.

The facility provides a serene environment where you can appreciate nature and calm.

On one end of the lake, the city has built a log cottage with a dock going into the water.

Guests can canoe or kayak through the tranquil waters.

The city also planted numerous rose types and other flowers throughout the grounds as part of a redesign.

Camp Out at Hope Village Inn & RV Park

Hope Village Inn & RV Park is a pet-friendly campsite with full hookups and a dump station.

Hope Village Inn & RV Park near Hope, Arkansas, is a cheap but elegant place to stay.

The park is renowned for its welcoming environment and cleanliness.

You can enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing throughout your stay.

If you're looking for a quiet time away from home, check out the Hope Village Inn & RV Park's calendar of activities.

There's always something going on!

Take a Short Trail Walk at Logoly State Park

The unique geological history of Arkansas can be discovered in Logoly State Park, apart from the beautiful city of Hope.

In addition to serving as a state park, as usual, Logoly State Park in southwest Arkansas has been recognized as an educational facility.

As a result, various unique educational and instructive activities are available there.

The park has a brand-new visitor center with educational tools, exhibits, and displays, many of which were created with kids in mind.

There are many accessible trails across the park that you can enjoy while enjoying the different sceneries.

Try Bass Fishing at Lake Columbia

An avid angler tells you nothing more fulfilling than capturing a giant bass.

A day spent on Lake Columbia near the city of Hope would be unforgettable if you wished to test your luck against the state's largemouth bass.

Columbia Lake is relatively shallow and dense with submerged vegetation, making fishing difficult; yet, it is home to some of the region's most prominent bass, weighing seven to nine pounds.

These are large bass by any measure.

If you want to spend some time on-site, numerous campsites, full RV hookups, and restrooms are available.

Enjoy the Burgers at Tailgater’s Burger Company

It's the best in town, as locals and tourists suggest!

At Tailgaters Burger Company, you'll be treated to an excellent selection of burgers with different varieties to choose from.

Among the customer favorites are the Mushroom Swiss Burger, Avocado Cheeseburger, Applewood Bacon, and even its Classic Burger is to die for.

Also, don't miss out on its delicious fried green beans, fried pickles, and mushrooms, as well as its popular Reuben Sandwich.

Don't forget to pair your burgers with its delicious milkshake too.

When Tailgater’s Burger Company throws you a burger, eat it!

Visit the restaurant at South Main Street.

Have a Good Read at Hempstead County Library

Reading a new book is a breeze in Hope; thanks to Hempstead County Library on South Elm Street.

Founded in 1948, the library holds more than 40,000 titles, including magazines, audiobooks, e-books, DVDs, and many other materials for kids, teens, and adults.

If you have little kids, they'll love the kid's section, which features plenty of children's classics and newer ones.

Hempstead County Library also hosts meetings and events for the community, and its computers are available to use for research and study.

If you need something to scan, print, or fax, you only have to pay a small fee, and the staff will get it done for you.

Go Mexican at Amigo Juan Mexican Cafe

Everyone needs good food, and that also means authentic Mexican fare, which you can get at Amigo Juan Mexican Cafe in Hope.

This charming, award-winning Mexican restaurant that Juan Rivera and his family established serves delectable Mexican offerings that make you feel you're being transported to beautiful Mexico!

Its popular enchiladas, fajitas, nachos, and many other Mexican dishes are a must-try alongside its famous salsas like the spicy salsa if you love one.

Also, boiled shrimp and catfish are to be had!

You can find Amigo Juan Mexican Cafe at North Hervey Street.

Get Your Coffee Fix at HeBrews 11&1

Whether you're having your usual morning coffee, or on the run while in Hope, HeBrews 11&1 can fix you a great cup of coffee.

The coffee shop serves locally sourced coffee in a warm atmosphere with a Christian vibe and decor, which only goes with its name.

What makes it a favorite spot for many visitors is that it used fresh ingredients for its food to ensure top quality.

If you're seeking solemnity and a great cup of coffee, look no further than HeBrews 11&1.

It's located on South Main Street.

Get Your Loved One a Beautiful Bouquet of Flowers at Hope Floral & Gift Shop

Whether or not you're traveling to Hope for a special occasion, Hope Floral & Gift Shop can arrange a gorgeous bouquet of flowers for your loved one.

May it be your close friend, partner, parents, or siblings, the flower shop has a bit of everything you need for any occasion.

From sunflowers, lilies, orchids, and roses, to fruit baskets, chocolates, and more, the choice is yours!

Hope Floral & Gift Shop was founded by Wendel and Kay McCorkle, and has been featured in Arkansas Bride Magazine.

You can visit the flower shop on South Main Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Get Spooked at the Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk

Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk is just around Hope and is home to numerous ghostly tales.

You'll find it in Texarkana, Arkansas, 34 minutes from Hope.

The title of the "most haunted town in Arkansas" has changed hands through centuries and generations of residents.

What makes Texarkana such a paranormal hotspot?

Signing up for the Haunted Texarkana Ghost Walk is a fantastic way to spend your nights if you're not highly squeamish or easily frightened.

Your guide will astonish you with his knowledge of gruesome local tales that frequently end in murder or disappearance.

You might even be surprised to hear that these tales are factual.

On Saturday evening, participants meet their guide at the Lindsey Railroad Museum in the city.

Consider arriving an hour early for a free tour of the museum to obtain background information on Texarkana's history.

It doesn't hurt to prepare before hearing ghost stories.

Final Thoughts

While visiting Hope, Arkansas, you can feel confident that you're in the right place.

It's a warm, hospitable city, rich in culture and entertainment.

Its Museum of History has everything you need to know if you're interested in learning more information.

Learn about the folks who are still making a difference now and the local heroes who made a difference in their neighborhood.

You won't regret it, so get on over to Hope!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.