The Underrated American Destination Everyone Overlooks

Published On 06/03/2016 Published On 06/03/2016
DeGray Lake State Park | Flickr/Amy the Nurse
Eden Falls | Flickr/AR Nature Gal
Eureka Springs | Flickr/meltedplastic
Courtesy of 21c Museum Hotels
King Biscuit Blues Festival | Flickr/Sam/Denny Lawton
Clinton House Museum | Flickr/Eric Langhorst
Pea Ridge National Military Park | Flickr/NPS CulturalLandscapes
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1. Cotham's in the City 1401 W 3rd St, Little Rock, AR 72201

Home of the "Hubcap burger," Cotham's is a Southern diner and grill that's and Little Rock must-visit institution. Get the signature dish: a generously sized burger on a super squishy potato roll, topped with melted cheese and the fixings of your choice. With Cotham's signature crispy onion rings and you've got a meal worth savoring.

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2. One Eleven at the Capital 111 W Markham St, Little Rock, AR 72201

This sophisticated, French-American restaurant in the Capital Hotel in Downtown Little Rock has a bright, modern atmosphere that still maintains a Southern charm. James Beard award-winning Chef Joel Antunes has curated a menu from the finest and freshest ingredients available from regional suppliers, meaning it changes as frequently as new items become available. A beautiful zinc bar greets guests as they enter, where they can choose from excellent cocktails and a carefully curated wine list.

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3. The Hive 200 NE A St, Bentonville, AR 72712

Refined, locally-sourced Arkansas fare is offered at this sophisticated eatery located in Bentonville's 21c Museum Hotel. The menu at The Hive -- which was a James Beard semifinalist-led farm-to-fork establishment -- pays tribute to the "High South" with items such as pan-seared catfish, chickpea panisse, and Berkshire hog chop. Regional microbrews and signature cocktails are also supplied.

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4. Parachute Inn Restaurant 10 Skywatch, Walnut Ridge, AR 72476

This is one tourist trap that's worth making the trip to. Set inside of a decommissioned 737, Walnut Ridge's Parachute Inn (get it?) is known for both it's outrageous decor and for it's Friday night catfish buffet. This place is definitely not fine dining, but the kitschy interior and friendly staff makes it a destination restaurant you'll want to return to every time you're in Arkansas. There's no booze served in this Americana landmark, though, so don't go here trying to drink and fly.

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5. Bentonville Brew Co , Bentonville, AR

This small microbrewery supplies five tap house standard beers (and growlers) -- such as the moderate "City Slicker Amber Ale," slightly sweet "Naked Porter," and hoppy "Homewrecker India Pale Ale" -- in addition to seasonal and limited edition brews. Bentonville Brew Co also holds weekly live music, and outsources its beers to a number of drinking establishments across the city.

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6. Black Apple Crossing 321 E Emma Ave, Springdale, AR 72764

Arkansas' first cider house is Black Apple Crossing in Springdale. Offering a rotating selection of ciders made in-house, this homey bar offers a neighborhood feel with a huge backyard patio. There's no food served at this cidery, but the friendly staff and owners allow customers to bring food in from any of the nearby quick-serves.

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7. Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery 329 Central Ave, Hot Springs, AR 71901

No Arkansas hot spring experience should end without a visit to Superior Bathhouse Brewery and Distillery, the first of its kind to make brews and liquors from thermal spring water. Equipped with a full kitchen serving lunch and dinner 7 days a week, this all-in-one brewery will give you the chance to taste local craft beers alongside a plate of peppered Arkansas beef pastrami and Arkansas goat gouda.

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8. Johnny Cash Boyhood Home 110 Center Dr, Dyess, AR 72330

The preserved Depression-era community Dyess Colony boasts the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home, restored, and refurnished to look just as it did when the Cash family took residence there. The home is part of the greater Dyess Colony, a housing project built during the New Deal era resurrected here through restoration of several historic buildings that opened to visitors in August 2014.

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9. Clinton House Museum 930 W Clinton Dr, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Go back to where it all started for Bubba with a tour of the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville, the first home of Bill and Hillary, stocked with mementos from their life together. Once a home for the former presidential couple, guests can now pop in for a view of Hillary's wedding dress and as well as memorabilia from Bill's pre-presidential election runs.

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10. William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park 1200 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR 72201

The Clinton Presidential Center and Park commemorates the former president and takes up a scenic, sprawling corner of Little Rock and features a replica of the Oval Office. And how's this for a modern touch: the Center is one of three sites where you can find "Wish You Were Here" -- a series of life-size outlines of postcards that you can drop yourself into for picture-perfect selfies.

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11. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712

Hidden in Bentonville (the birthplace of Walmart), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art houses an impressive permanent collection of American art and also draws in nationally touring exhibitions; plus, the facility itself is futuristic and jaw-droppingly beautiful, with trails and lush grounds on which you can picnic. Admission to the permanent collection is always free, thanks to Walmart. No, seriously.