22 Best Things to Do in Russellville, AR

Russellville, AR

Living in the heart of the Arkansas River Valley, the charm of Russellville is ever present in my daily life.

The city is a wonderful blend of natural beauty, rich history, and small-town charm that never fails to amaze me.

It's the kind of place that welcomes you with open arms, making you feel right at home.

With a myriad of attractions and activities, there's always something to do in this delightful corner of Arkansas.

As I invite you on this journey through the best things to do in Russellville, Arkansas, prepare to immerse yourself in the captivating allure of this hidden gem.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Go Camping at Lake Dardanelle State Park

The waters of Lake Dardanelle State Park
ANNAMALAI RAJENDRAN / Shutterstock.com

I still remember vividly the day I discovered the gem that is Lake Dardanelle State Park, and it's safe to say life has never been the same since.

This little slice of heaven, tucked away in Arkansas, has been my go-to spot for years.

Whether it’s the stunning sunsets that paint the sky in a thousand shades of red and orange, or the calmness of the clear water that soothes my soul, everything about this place is absolutely breathtaking.

Beyond the beautiful surroundings, the park offers a visitor center with aquatic exhibits that make it an educational experience as well.

The exhibits boast some of the most fascinating aquatic life, and I've spent many an afternoon marveling at the wonders of the underwater world.

I do appreciate a good fishing spot, and the Park does not disappoint.

I often take advantage of their loaner fishing pole program and even participate in the fishing tournaments hosted at the pavilion.

The thrill of the catch amidst the serenity of the lake is an experience I would not trade for anything.

In addition to this, the park houses campgrounds that are always well-maintained and facilitated.

My friends and I often have weekend camping trips here, and each visit feels like a new adventure.

The staff is another reason why Lake Dardanelle State Park is such a magical place to be.

They're not just employees; they're passionate and kind-hearted individuals who go out of their way to ensure that your time at the park is worth it.

One of my favorite features of the park is the boat rental service.

Paddling out into the lake with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face is an experience I look forward to every summer.

The pier, with its breathtaking views, is another highlight that adds to the charm of the location.

It's a perfect spot for a little quiet time with my thoughts or a picnic with my loved ones.

And the best part? Major shopping outlets and restaurants are conveniently located nearby, making it a comprehensive recreational spot.

I’ve been lucky to spend countless evenings in the company of a mesmerizing sunset and the calming rustle of leaves at Lake Dardanelle State Park.

Go Hiking at Mt. Nebo

If you're a fan of the great outdoors, you'd love spending time at Mt Nebo.

It's one of my favorite spots to recharge and reconnect with nature.

The mountain presents a magnificent view, and the trails provide a satisfyingly challenging hike.

It's a splendid sight, especially during sunrise or sunset, where you can see how the colors blend into a breathtaking view.

Plus, the park is lovely, perfect for a picnic or a day out with the family.

Solve Mysteries at Hourglass Escape Rooms

Let me tell you about this incredible place right in our city that adds a thrilling spin to your regular hangout sessions - Hourglass Escape Rooms.

I recently went there with my family, and it was an exhilarating experience, to say the least.

The adrenaline pumping through us as we cracked code after code to solve the puzzles in the Camelot Room was something else!

We were given an hour to unlock the secrets of the room, each clue leading us closer to our main task – to pull the sword out of the stone.

There's something uniquely satisfying about the team effort it required, about the collective gasp as we figured out a particularly challenging clue.

The staff at Hourglass Escape Rooms, oh boy, they were absolutely amazeballs!

Whether it was the hints they provided when we were stuck or just their overall encouraging demeanor, they added so much to our experience.

The Alien room is next on our list, and my gang is already buzzing with excitement for it.

Take a Step Back in Time at Potts Inn Museum

Every now and then, I find myself wandering through the Potts Inn Museum, a majestic building that's been standing tall in our city since the 1800s.

It's not every day you come across a structure that has survived the test of time, still sitting perfectly on its original foundation.

You can feel the old-world charm as you approach the building, with its grandeur enhanced by the towering tree nearby, estimated to be a whopping 230 years old.

Walking through the museum is like stepping into a time capsule.

The house is well-preserved, and the rooms are brimming with period furniture, providing an authentic glimpse into the past.

The tour guides at the museum are simply brilliant, passionately sharing tales and trivia about our local heritage.

You will learn a lot, trust me!

And then there are the community events.

These gatherings are a fantastic way to get to know more about our history and culture while also meeting some of the wonderful people who call this place home. I always keep an eye out for these special occasions, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to participate.

The grounds of the museum are another wonder to behold.

Several old outbuildings have been relocated here from around the county, each with its own story to tell.

There's no rush to explore.

You're free to wander around, taking 60 to 90 minutes or as long as you need to soak it all in.

While there's no admission fee to visit the Potts Inn Museum, freewill donations are welcome.

My Charming Finds at Dog Ear Books

Let me tell you about my usual Saturday afternoon routine.

I usually head out for my favorite local bookstore, Dog Ear Books.

What I particularly love about this store is its charming display.

It's like walking into a storybook!

They have a wonderful selection of children's books, which makes it my go-to spot for gifts.

Just last month, I picked up a beautifully illustrated storybook for my niece's 4th birthday, and it was a hit!

The staff at Dog Ear Books are the loveliest people. They're always ready to help and guide you through a range of books.

This one time, I was searching for a specific title that wasn't readily available.

But the staff went out of their way to find it for me.

That's the level of commitment they have.

While I did wish they had a larger used book section, I wouldn't trade the cozy and quiet atmosphere for anything.

It's my little weekend sanctuary, the perfect spot for a book-lover like me to lose track of time.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a new book waiting for me!

Get Your Caffeine Fix at Retro Roasts

Every city has a place that feels like home; for us in Russellville, it's Retro Roasts.

This little coffee shop is a remnant of a bygone era that manages to offer a refreshing blend of the old and the new.

My mornings usually start with a trip to Retro Roasts for my daily caffeine fix.

One thing that sets it apart from other coffee shops is the staff.

The baristas are always welcoming and great at what they do.

If you're not a coffee person, their impressive range of hot teas and hot chocolate offerings will leave you pleasantly surprised.

My personal favorite is dark chocolate with half and half, topped with whipped cream.

It's a little indulgence I treat myself to, especially during the winter months.

The taste is so unique that it outshines even the likes of Starbucks and at a lower price at that!

And it's not just about beverages; Retro Roasts also has a selection of delightful desserts.

Their scones are a must-try. And if you're feeling adventurous, explore their gift section.

Their coffee-scented candles are a hit and make for perfect items for Christmas shopping.

The shop also has an upstairs area that you can check out.

It's a nice, quiet place to get some work done or simply enjoy your coffee.

However, I just wish they had more food options.

As much as I love their cakes, having something warm to munch on would be a great addition.

Cycle the Old Post Mountain Bike Trail

From the break of dawn to dusk, the Old Post Mountain Bike Trail is my go-to spot for a dose of adrenaline and tranquility.

You know, there’s something undeniably enticing about this place, it’s where the serene beauty of nature meets the thrill of adventure.

From the moment you set foot on the Old Post Mountain Bike trail, you can feel the refreshing solitude that only an outdoor park can provide.

Now, don’t get me wrong, solitude doesn’t mean there’s a lack of things to do here.

The park offers an array of activities suitable for just about everyone.

My personal favorite?

The mountain bike trails.

I’ve navigated through a number of trails in my life, but the ones here, with their varying skill levels, are something else.

They are a perfect blend of challenge and thrill, ideal for both beginners and experienced riders like me.

But it's not just about biking.

You can also hike, play soccer, or simply take a leisurely walk down to the riverside, where rocky shores serve as the perfect spot for some peace and quiet.

And if you're patient, you can even catch sight of a barge making its way through the lock, a sight that always leaves me in awe.

And let's not forget about our little ones.

The playground in the park is a dream come true for them, and it's well-maintained, making a day out with family an absolute joy.

Also, the disc golf course is a great place to unwind with friends - believe me, it’s a ton of fun.

And if you fancy a spot of fishing, you can try your hand at catching some catfish by the river.

Take a Savory Stop at Pasta Grill Restaurant

Picture this, it's a typical Saturday night in Russellville, and I'm craving some good Italian food.

Naturally, my mind drifts to my old favorite, Pasta Grill Restaurant, where the ambiance is as warm as the food is delicious.

Making my way there, I find that my expectations are not just met but surpassed.

The service is nothing short of fast and exceptional.

I find myself immediately drawn to the Cajun shrimp wrap.

Let me tell you, it packs quite a flavorful punch with just the right amount of spice to tingle the tastebuds.

On the side, I had the baked ravioli, a classic done just right.

The portions are also generous.

Don't even get me started on Drew's Hash.

Simply put, it's the best dish on the menu.

A quick glance at the other satisfied customers around me, and it's clear they share the sentiment.

Not to forget, there are times when the place is bustling, especially on weekends.

But the fantastic service never wavers, even on the busiest of nights.

I fondly remember enjoying the Toney Special & Chicken Parm sandwich amidst the hustle and bustle, truly adding to the vibrant dining experience at Pasta Grill.

Spot the Wildlife at Bona Dea Trails & Sanctuary

Right here in our backyard lies an oasis, untouched and thriving. The Bona Dea Trails & Sanctuary is a delightful 186-acre park that houses a protected wetland habitat crisscrossed with trails.

It's not just a park, it’s a sanctuary for people and wildlife alike.

Imagine starting your day with a morning jog, the dew still fresh on the grass, the sun gently creeping over the horizon, and the birds chirping their morning anthem.

The trails here are diverse, with a variety of distances and directions.

There's no monotony on these paths; with each turn comes a new vista, a new surprise.

But take heed, the maps on the signs can be a bit confusing, and I’ve found myself turned around more than once. So, make sure to carry your phone, it’s a lifesaver!

No matter the time of day, the park provides a comforting shade, thanks to the abundance of trees.

It's like Mother Nature's umbrella, constantly hovering over you, protecting you from the harsh sun.

Trust me, after a hot summer day, the cool shade here is a welcome relief.

Bona Dea Trails & Sanctuary isn’t just about trails and trees; it has various exercise stops scattered around, giving you a chance to mix up your routine.

Yes, a few of these stations might need some attention, but they have stood the test of time and are still standing strong.

Plus, the ponds here are as serene as it gets. They are havens for local wildlife, and if you're lucky, you might spot a few.

What makes this park even more special is the abundance of wildlife.

You're not alone on these trails; rabbits, squirrels, birds, they all call this place home. It's a beautiful dichotomy, being in a park yet so close to nature.

Scale the Heights at Dardanelle Rock

Living in the shadow of the majestic Dardanelle Rock, I've been fortunate enough to climb its face countless times.

While I ventured for the first time out of sheer curiosity, it's the breathtaking views and the challenge of the climb that kept me coming back.

On my first climb, I was taken aback by the unique and intriguing rock formations that I encountered.

Every turn presented a new obstacle, a new puzzle to solve.

But the highlight for me was standing at the summit, breathing in the crisp, fresh air, and taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

It's an exhilarating experience that fills you with a sense of accomplishment and awe at the sheer beauty of nature.

Dardanelle Rock is not for the faint-hearted, though.

The hike up to the top is fairly difficult and demands a certain level of physical fitness.

But, for those who dare to take up the challenge, the rewards are well worth the effort.

Being a seasoned rock climber now, I usually spend my weekends exploring new rappelling routes and testing my endurance against the rock.

What's great about this place is that the rock climbing routes are varied, catering to both beginners and experienced climbers.

And with anchors present, it's possible to tackle the rock face safely.

Join an Art Class at the Arkansas River Valley Arts Center

I've always been a creative soul, so when I visited the Arkansas River Valley Arts Center with my son, it was like coming home.

We decided to attend a pottery class, which turned out to be a delightful experience.

The class was all about creating whimsical wind chimes from clay, which both my son and I thoroughly enjoyed.

Easy to follow instructions were provided, and the instructor was extremely patient, taking the time to answer all our queries.

It was heartwarming to see all the other employees as kind and helpful as the instructor was.

What added to the overall experience was the art and flower show at the center. It was truly a feast for the eyes.

Arkansas River Valley Arts Center is involved in many amazing initiatives which I look forward to experiencing.

The anticipation of picking up our wind chimes post-firing, adds to the charm of this visit, and I can't wait to update everyone when we get them back.

Fly a Plane at the River Valley Radio Control Club Field

I still remember the first day I took my granddaughter to the River Valley Radio Control Club Field.

I was immediately struck by the sheer variety of activities available.

If you're into outdoor pursuits, this is the place to be.

It is fully equipped for radio-controlled planes, providing a sense of thrill for both the pilots and spectators.

My daughter, who aspires to be the first woman on Mars, loves flying her model plane here.

It's not only a great place to enjoy our hobby but also sparks her imagination and feeds her dream.

The vast open space allows her to feel as if she's soaring among the stars, which is just fantastic.

Of course, flying planes is not the only thing to do here.

River Valley Radio Control Club Field also incorporates a long walking trail for those who prefer a slower pace.

You can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the 2-mile paved path, taking in the serene surroundings and the fresh air.

It's a perfect way to unwind after a long week.

Opposite the walkway is a disc golf course which adds another layer of fun to this versatile place.

And if you're passionate about fishing, there are multiple spots to set up your rod and reel.

I have spent countless hours fishing here, enjoying the peace and tranquility it offers.

Have a Tranquil Retreat at Washburn Park

I've always found solace at Washburn Park.

It's nestled quietly alongside the Illinois Bayou, providing a perfect spot for me to disconnect from the daily grind.

The charm of this park lies in its waterfront recreation.

From boating to fishing, there's something for everyone, whether you're a seasoned adventurer or just looking for a peaceful picnic spot.

One sunny afternoon, I decided to pack a picnic and head to the park with my family.

The picturesque view of the bayou was the perfect backdrop for our lunch.

Afterward, we took a leisurely walk among the towering trees and rugged rocky outcroppings.

A serenity washed over us as we navigated the paved trails, occasionally stopping to appreciate the birds chirping or a squirrel scurrying by.

The park also has a well-maintained playground that is a hit with my little ones. They can easily spend hours swinging, sliding, and climbing under the watchful eyes of friendly local parents.

It's quite a blessing to have such a facility in our neighborhood.

For those who prefer a more active retreat, Washburn Park also offers a connection to the Bona Dea Trail.

I often find myself lacing up my running shoes and hitting the trail, soaking in the lush greenery and tranquility.

And the best part? The park offers free wifi, allowing me to stream my favorite music as I jog.

Exercise at Pleasant View Park

Pleasant View Park has always been my go-to for a breath of fresh air and a break from the humdrum of daily life.

This park offers a perfect blend of activities for everyone.

The varied terrain makes it a magnificent spot for my morning runs.

The routes meandering through the woods are sheer joy, a veritable retreat into the arms of nature.

For those who are fans of disc golf like my partner, Pleasant View Park is a paradise!

What sets this park apart is the peace and quiet it offers.

Quite often, it's just you and the park, making it the ideal space for some quality time with the kids.

The play area is encased within a fence, making it safe and secure for the little ones.

They've also installed fake grass that's soft and pleasant to play on.

In the back corner of the park sits a fenced-in dog park.

Although I don't own a dog, I've often seen other families making the most of this feature.

The dogs seem to love having enough space to run around unleashed, exploring the two water spots - a small pond and a bayou.

As an observer, it's a joyous sight to see the canine happiness radiating from these furry friends.

The park is well-equipped with a multitude of sticks, providing ample joy for our four-legged friends.

Bring Your Kids for a Splash at Russellville City Park

Every time I step into Russellville City Park, it feels like a breath of fresh air.

The extensive recent updates have breathed new life into this old favorite, making it a place that fills me with joy every time I visit.

The most exciting part of the park's transformation has to be the new splash pad.

I've seen countless kids (and a few adults, too, I must admit) reveling in the cool water, their laughter ringing out and adding to the park's vibrant atmosphere.

The splash pad isn't just a fun addition; it's a lifesaver during the hot Arkansas summers.

Russellville City Park now also boasts a modern play area that’s become a focal point of activity.

The upgraded equipment is a hit among the younger crowd, keeping them entertained for hours.

I must confess, I've even tried a few of the structures myself!

Yet, despite the new additions, the park has preserved its natural charm.

The lake still holds a special place in my heart.

There's something calming about the placid waters, and the beautiful view of Mount Nebo in the distance is always a sight to behold.

Russellville City Park is not just a park; it's a part of my history.

Given that my family hails from this area, the park, and its surroundings are peppered with familiar and nostalgic sites.

These historic locations make each trip to the park a walk down memory lane.

Spend a Day or Two at Old Post Road Campground

This place holds a special place in my heart, it's where I retreat to when the bustle of daily life gets too much.

Located amidst a quiet park filled with trees, the Old Post Road Campground is my oasis of calm.

Each camping spot is well-equipped with a picnic table - some even have coverings for those rainy days.

You'll also find a fire pit at each site, a perfect place to roast marshmallows on a cool evening.

It's true, there's no sewer hookup available, but a dump station is available to cater to your sanitation needs.

Old Post Road Campground has also undergone recent renovations, and the bathroom and shower facilities are pretty up-to-date.

Interestingly, it's located right next to a public park, a fantastic place to let loose with your kids or even your inner child.

It's equipped with playgrounds, pavilions, tennis courts, basketball courts, and even a disc golf course.

One thing to note, though, is that parts of the park are under construction due to recent flood damage in the River valley.

The park rangers and volunteers here work tirelessly to ensure you have an enjoyable stay.

Grab a Bite at Feltner's Whatta-Burger

It's hard to imagine a trip downtown without making a stop at Feltner's Whatta-Burger.

This 1950's style fast-food chain is a gem that has held its charm throughout the years.

Quick and efficient, the staff behind the counter serves up some of the juiciest, most mouthwatering burgers you'll ever taste.

If you're feeling particularly famished, why not stack up a couple of patties?

Trust me, it's an indulgence worth every bite.

When it comes to meal deals, the lunch special is the way to go.

And let me tell you, do not skimp out on Feltner's Whatta-Burger's shake.

Pay that little extra and relish the creamy goodness that is their shakes.

I'd suggest pairing it with their crispy fries or onion rings - a combination that has never failed to satisfy my food cravings.

Have a Picnic at the Veteran's Park

There is something curiously relaxing about spending a day at Veteran's Park.

Yes, you heard it right - Veteran's Park.

I'm not sure why it's named so, as there doesn't seem to be any memorabilia honoring our veterans, but the name does have a nice ring to it.

I've always enjoyed my trips to this park, be it for a quick jog or a leisurely picnic.

The playground is a particular favorite for families, with an impressive setup that children are bound to love.

Some locals seem to be confused about the name, thinking it might be Detroit Park or even College Park.

But I've always known it as Veteran's Park.

Interestingly, despite being a city park, it doesn't offer free wifi.

I guess it's a gentle reminder for us to disconnect from our digital lives and enjoy nature's bounty.

Dive into Fun at Russellville Aquatic Center

Sometimes, my sister, nephews, and I can't resist a day of aquatic fun at Russellville Aquatic Center.

We often make it a day trip, spending our hours splashing away in the pools and letting the little ones burn off their energy.

Although some might argue about it being a bit expensive and controlled, in my eyes, it's worth every penny.

I remember one day when we visited on a chilly day, expecting to enjoy the warm, heated pool.

Unfortunately, we found it was a bit too cold for our liking that day.

It was a slight disappointment, especially as we ended up having to hold my two-year-old nephew the entire time to keep him warm.

However, despite this minor setback, we still managed to have a decent time.

What truly makes the Russellville Aquatic Center stand out, though, is its exceptional staff.

One memorable instance was when we visited a church group from Pleasant Grove Community Church.

We arrived an hour early, but the staff was more than accommodating, allowing us to play in the splash pad until the pool opened.

Their politeness and attentiveness toward the kids were truly commendable.

I felt assured knowing the lifeguards were on duty, making sure our kids were safe.

Peruse the Offerings at the Pope County Farmers Market

Strolling down to the Pope County Farmers Market has always been a highlight of my Saturday mornings.

Its size may not be grand, but the offerings more than make up for it.

The moment you enter, you're greeted by a wave of lively chatter and the friendly faces of our local vendors.

Each stall is unique, showcasing a variety of items all wrapped up in an atmosphere that is beyond charming.

On any given day, you can find a selection of fresh vegetables that look like they have been plucked from the earth just that morning.

Don't be surprised if you come across a live beehive at the honey stall - it's not just for show, the bees are actually hard at work!

Despite the market's size, the quality of the available items never disappoints. The baked goods, for example, are a must-try!

They're baked fresh by some of the talented locals, and you can taste the love and care put into each loaf, cookie, and pie.

One of my favorite things about this market is its dedication to authentic farm-to-table options.

It's so impressive that our city in Russellville, Arkansas, can produce such a variety of organic options, from meats and produce to bakeries and honey.

Have a Bone-chilling Gastronomic Adventure at Skeleton Island

You wouldn't believe the kind of adventures you'd find just around the corner at Skeleton Island.

The island's name might sound a little unnerving, but trust me, it's all part of the charm.

Initially, you might feel a bit disappointed, not spotting any skeletons around.

But let me tell you, patience has its rewards here.

The skeletons are just a tad shy.

You have to spend some time on the island, let them get used to your presence.

And when they do, oh boy, you're in for a treat!

I met about half a dozen of these bony buddies during my regular visits.

They're the best company!

We've shared drinks and had hearty conversations about past lives and loves - mostly theirs, of course. We've even belted out sea shanties together. There's something oddly comforting about their camaraderie.

The island has its own pizzeria too, and I must say, the pizza is fantastic!

A delightful surprise in this eerie ambiance.

If you thought this place was all about spooks, the delicious food will definitely change your mind.

If you're up for an adventure that's out of the ordinary and a company that's more than just skin and bones, Skeleton Island is the place to be.

Just be prepared for the friendly wave and the "See you soon!" as you leave.

It's just their way of saying they enjoyed your company.

But who knows?

Maybe you'll enjoy their company so much that you might even consider becoming a permanent resident!

Final Thoughts

Experiencing Russellville has been a joy.

Russellville is truly a place to experience rich history, enjoy outdoor activities, and create lasting memories.

It's a city that encapsulates the charming spirit of Arkansas and is one you'll surely want to visit again and again.

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