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Clousie Apr 11th, 2017 07:21 PM

Western Arkansas/Eastern Oklahoma
Trying to plan about a 10 day trip to western AR and eastern OK during foliage time--thinking that is probably late October. This will complete our visitation to 50 states.

Although I've been looking on line and just got a large packet from each state, I'm not sure how we should best plan this trip. Probably will cover the area roughly from Little Rock to Bentonville to Tulsa.

Looking for scenic spots with light hiking. Some of the AR state parks sound really nice, but think it's too late to make lodge reservations. There seem to be many historic sites, but not a real interest unless quite special.

We like to stay in places several days and explore out from there. Where would be several good places to use as a base? Any reason to expand the area we plan to visit? How do NE and SE OK compare for scenery and things to see?

We'll probably use either Tulsa or Little Rock for airports. May go into one and out of other if car drop off isn't too crazy or perhaps someone may suggest a large circular route to make.

Any suggestions welcome.

tomfuller Apr 11th, 2017 08:08 PM

Circle route - Land in Little Rock and see Clinton Presidential library.
West on I-40 through Fort Smith. Turn off I-40 onto the Muskogee Turnpike. See the Five Civilized Tribes museum.
Go onward to Tulsa. NE of Tulsa you can visit the Will Rogers museum and travel a section of the old Rt. 66. Get onto I-44 at Vinita OK and go to Joplin MO.
South on I-49 to Bentonville Arkansas. See the WalMart visitor center and Bull Shoals.
See what you can of the Buffalo National River before heading back to Little Rock.

happytourist Apr 12th, 2017 06:34 AM

Ten days is a long time for this area. Also, late October may be a little early for fall color. Here in Hot Springs the color has been arriving closer to Thanksgiving although Fayetteville is about 200 miles further north.

1. Hiking in state parks: Petit Jean and Mt. Magazine State Parks and Buffalo National River. See if you can get a room at Mt. Magazine. It's a relatively new and beautiful facility.
2. Little Rock: Clinton Presidential Museum and the Central High Civil Rights Museum
3. Hot Springs National Park (downtown HS)
4. Eureka Springs for a quaint B and B experience in the Ozarks and an interesting mountain town
5. Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Bentonville
6. Scenic highway drive on Highway 7 north from Hot Springs to Jasper (Buffalo River).

Clousie Apr 12th, 2017 02:28 PM

If 10 days is too long (wondered about that) is there anything that we could tack on to it?

See that TomFuller mentioned Joplin MO. Would that part of MO be a scenic spot?

Thanks for advice on color. It may be easier to go in November.

tomfuller Apr 12th, 2017 03:18 PM

With extra time, go to St. Louis and see the arch and then head down the river through the boot heel into Arkansas.
Hop across the river into Memphis if you want to see Graceland.

williamscb13 Apr 12th, 2017 04:14 PM

absolutely do not skip Crystal Bridges Museum and you could easily spend quite a bit of time hiking around the grounds. There also seems to be enough to do to spend the day in Bentonville.

travelottie Apr 13th, 2017 04:41 AM

September 2014 Trip Report:
Flew into Little Rock, picked up rental car (easy walk to car center), stayed one night at beginning and end of trip at Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown.

1) Hotel is a few blocks from River Market District. Walked part of lovely river trail, went over pedestrian bridge, and enjoyed being close to this lively area. On Friday evening, many people out at numerous bars and restaurants which made it very pleasant. Loved Flying Fish restaurant:

Toured Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. Impressive building and approach. Admission is good for re-entry which worked out well for us. I especially enjoyed the orientation film and presidential gift displays.

Return stay in Little Rock saw Central High School, State Capitol & Old State House in early AM before anything was open as had to catch flight home that day.

2) Left for Petit Jean State Park. View from Petit Jean's grave is spectacular. The turn-off is well before the information building. I might have missed it if I hadn't been advised to watch for it. In parks I usually go to ranger station first for information, would have been a mistake here, as we did not leave on the same road.

Hiked easy Bear Cave Trail around huge boulders. I had an injury prior to this trip that forced me to hike on easy trails.

Traveled scenic Rt. 7:… to Azalea Falls Lodge & Cabin: for 2 nights. Lovely, fully equipped and decorated cabin in isolated setting near Buffalo River area. Hiked on the property into the hollow and next day did Ponca to Steel Creek Trial with views into the Buffalo River.

3) Fayetteville, overnight, The Chancelor Hotel. Great city to walk around, central square, many restaurants.

4) Bentonville, overnight 21C Hotel. Walking distance to amazing Crystal Bridges Museum - the art work and setting make a memorable and unique experience.

Drinks at hotel bar, The Hive and dinner at Crystal Bridges restaurant (again setting is inspirational).

Museum of Native American History. Extensive displays, artifacts and comprehensive audio guide.

5) Natural Falls State Park, OK. Made it to our 50th state! Easy access from highway to a 77 foot spring fed waterfall that runs year round.

doug_stallings Apr 13th, 2017 06:58 AM

While northeastern Oklahoma has a lot of lakes, northwestern Arkansas is better for hiking and scenic beauty. I disagree that 10 days is too much time to spend in this area. You could easily spend 10 days in the Ozarks alone and not see everything. But I think the point about not having much fall foliage in late October is well taken. The area may not hit peak until several weeks after you visit.

You may not appreciate the commercial nature of Branson, which is further north in southern Missouri (though you may), but Eureka Springs is very quaint (though still touristy). It's not far west of Bentonville. I'm not sure if you've ever seen the movie Shepherd of the Hills, but they still do a theatrical adaptation in an outdoor theater in Branson for a few nights in mid- to late October but I think it stops before Halloween.

If you want to fly into our out of Tulsa, it's definitely worth a few days of your time. I'm from that area, and there's a lot to see. However, you don't have a lot of interest in history. There's a Frank Lloyd Wright "skyscraper" about an hour from Tulsa in Bartlesville; also near Bartlesville is the former Frank Phillips ranch, now called "Woolaroc". It's got a collection of animals, some historic buildings, and a great museum that has a lot of interesting western art and other things. Tulsa has two particularly excellent museums, the Gilcrease and the Philbrook (again, with connections to the Phillips oil family). And Tulsa has good restaurants

If you are a fan of Pioneer Woman, her store and deli are in Pawhuska, about an hour northeast of Tulsa. You could easily do a circle up to Bartlesville and Pawhuska and back in a day, stopping at Woolaroc as well.

The drive north of Tulsa to the Will Rogers Museum takes less than an hour, and it's worth a trip if that interests you, but there is almost nothing left of old Route 66, so don't have high expectations of that.

I'm not fully convinced a trip to Joplin is worth your time, but a trip to the Ozarks is.

Clousie Apr 16th, 2017 07:43 PM

Met some folks from Oklahoma City today and they said if we're in Tulsa, we should definitely drive another 90 miles to OC because there's so much to see. Would appreciate your thoughts on this. Don't want to just put my toe into OK to say I was there, but want to find interesting things to do and see, too.

You've given some good suggestions already and will try to incorporate them. Sure there will be enough to fill 10 days or more as we do like to hike and just spend time in the mountains.

doug_stallings Apr 17th, 2017 06:42 AM

I have a feeling that only someone from Oklahoma City would say that. It is not, in my opinion, true. I'd stick with Tulsa and Bartlesville, which offer plenty for a couple of days, which is all the time you're going to have. You just waste too much time driving otherwise.

The one unique thing OKC offers is the memorial dedicated to the Murrah building bombing, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. While it's moving, I'm not much of a disaster tourist and wouldn't drive 2-1/2 hours just to see that.

I would devote more time to Fayetteville or stop in Fort Smith for more than a few hours if I had an extra day to spend in the region.

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