Visitor Centers – Arkansas Travel Information

Visit Arkansas State Parks for exhibits, programs and more

Discover our park visitor centers
Looking for Arkansas travel information at your state park of choice? Visit Arkansas State Park visitor centers. They're more than just places to register to camp or to check into your cabin or lodge room on vacations; these are discovery centers, nature centers, and history centers filled with exhibits, programs and activities where the world of the state park comes to life. They are the perfect spots to introduce the Natural State to a new Arkansas tourist. Here you begin to discover the beauty and history of Arkansas, and you may find that to visit Arkansas is more than just a vacation. It’s an exploration. Read our guide to each state park visitor center and make plans to visit Arkansas soon!

Bull Shoals-White River State Park
The Bull Shoals-White River State Park visitor center overlooks the Bull Shoals Dam and features dramatic views of Bull Shoals Lake and the trout-filled White River.

The large exhibit area will note the river as the renowned bass-filled river before the dam and the trophy trout-filled river it is today. Banners of early area postcards and a large mobile of shimmering fish leaping toward the vaulted ceiling will greet you. Visitors will see models of the many record fish from both lake and river, and will learn of the remarkable feat of dam construction. In the John Boat Theater you will take a trip downriver and hear stories of how the lake and river have changed people's lives. There are two classroom/ meeting rooms, a deck and tower overlooking the lake and river and an outdoor program area.

From the state park marina you can have a memorable experience on this beautiful river on a Johnboat river tour or guided kayak trip.

Cossatot River State Park - Natural Area
Located in the Western Ouachita Mountains, the Cossatot River State Park includes 12 miles of the Cossatot, a National Wild and Scenic River, renowned as the best whitewater stream in mid-America.

The 15,000-square-foot visitor center opened in 2004 and features a large exhibit gallery, two classrooms, a wildlife viewing area, gift shop and offices. Exhibits, entitled The Cossatot: A River for All Seasons feature murals, geology and the unique plants and animals found in this remote and protected river corridor. Three touch screen computers provide information about the river, trails, park, and the area. A observation room places you up high in the forest canopy.

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Explore this rugged, beautiful area by hiking the 14-mile River Corridor Trail, the 3.5-mile Harris Creek Trail, or the 3/4-mile Brushy Creek Nature Trail, or by exploring or floating the river from several access points. Camp along the river in tent sites (no hookups) at Cossatot Falls and many of the other river access points.

Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area
Less than an hour’s drive from Eureka Springs is Arkansas's largest state park in land area, the 17,531-square-foot visitor center that opened in 2009 welcomes you to this 12,045-acre state park-conservation area, a diverse tract of Ozark landscape consisting of plateaus, ridges, valleys, and streams featuring an upland forest of oak-hickory/shortleaf pine. Many water features include disappearing streams, springs and seeps that have carved hollows in the park’s limestone environment, as well as cave-related features including numerous sinkholes. The caves in the park are home to a surprisingly diverse animal population. The state-of-the-art exhibit galley in the visitor center includes a fascinating cave diorama including models of locally common animals that spend their entire lives in caves. Bats play a major role in cave ecology and are extremely beneficial animals. An exhibit on bats is just outside the cave and is marked by the enlarged head of a gray bat. Across from the orientation theater is a large exhibit devoted to “The Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area Story.” This assemblage of artifacts, photographs,illustrations, specimens, and brief text panels is divided into three sections: “Survival,” “Entrepreneurship,” and “Stewardship,” which reflect three time periods in the history of the site. The hallway features a sculpture of a rock pinnacle with gnarled cedar trees near the top. Suspended from the high ceiling are birds of prey mounts and large mural exhibits line the walls. A animal viewing area off the main lobby has a counter space with oversize “naturalist-style” notebooks in simulated binders for identification of birds and other animals you are likely to see at the feeding stations. Interactive kiosks help connect you to the fascinating natural world just outside the doors of this visitor/education center.

Lake Dardanelle State Park
This striking 10,527-square-foot visitor center stands on the edge of beautiful 34,300-acre Lake Dardanelle. Engaging exhibits, massive indoor aquariums, and state-of-the-art touch screen computers share information on the park, the area's water resources and its history. The major attractions are four large aquariums that hold fish found in the lake, the Arkansas River, and nearby Ozark streams. The center also includes a large-screen audiovisual program, watchable wildlife area, special children's area, nature touch table, and a wet touch table where you can see and touch turtles and other animals from the shores of Lake Dardanelle.

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Outside, explore the lake on kayak tours and barge cruises. Use the lakeside campsites as a base for lake fishing and water sports or floating nearby Ozark streams.

This is also a place of history, including the late 1700s settlement area of the Western Cherokee, Dwight Mission Cherokee School, steamboats and early Arkansas exploration, plus, water and land routes of the Trail of Tears crossed here. The park is a certified Trail of Tears National Historic Trail site.

Mount Magazine State Park
Through a partnership with the USDA Forest Service, Arkansas's newest state park is on the summit of the state's tallest mountain where altitude, geography and climate combine to create nine unique habitats for rare plants and animals. Mount Magazine offers vistas of broad river valleys, dramatic cliffs and distant mountains.

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The park visitor center is the place to begin your adventure on Mount Magazine, Here, exhibits tell the story of the mountaintop as a city and as a resort years ago, and you'll learn of the work of the CCC whose work set the stage for today's trails, overlooks, campsites and lodge. Exhibits include dioramas of each of the nine habitat areas and an observation room that overlooks native wildflower gardens, feeders and waterfalls.

Outside, trails lead to Arkansas's highest point and to rock-crowned overlooks where hawks, hang-gliders and rock climbers are often seen. Park interpreters present a variety of programs about the flora, fauna, and natural and cultural history of Mount Magazine.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
This 2,100-acre state park near Little Rock includes remarkable diversity from wetlands along the Little Maumelle and Arkansas rivers to upland forests of the Ouachita Mountains. A landmark for centuries, Pinnacle Mountain rises 1,011 feet above the surrounding landscape.

The visitor center contains a meeting room and two exhibit areas featuring habitat and animals of the region. Nearby are two dramatic overlooks of the Arkansas River, the water route of the Trail of Tears. Park interpreters provide a variety of programs year-round; schools and other groups can arrange for guided walks, canoe floats, and many other programs. Explore the park on the many trails or by canoe.

Parkin Archeological State Park
A 17-acre, Mississippian Period Native American village thrived here from A.D. 1000 to 1550. House sites, moat, palisade wall locations and a large platform mound on the riverbank have been identified, and archeologists continue their discoveries.

Along with the archeological laboratory, the visitor center includes two exhibit galleries, an auditorium, gift shop and park offices. Through exhibits, programs, site tours, and art, you can see firsthand the results of careful excavation and laboratory analysis. Arkansas State Parks and the Arkansas Archeological Survey manage this National Historic Landmark site. Park interpretive staff offer audiovisual programs, site tours, workshops, and other programs and events.

Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park
Arkansas's tallest remaining prehistoric Native American mounds are preserved at this National Historic Landmark near Little Rock. The mounds and an earthen embankment are the remains of a large ceremonial complex inhabited from A.D. 600 to 1050.

The visitor center features exhibits, an audiovisual theater, and an educational pavilion overlooking the mounds. Exhibits tell the story of the Native Americans who lived here 1000 years ago. Take a self-guided tour on the 3/4-mile, paved Knapp Trail or the 1.5-mile Plum Bayou Trail, or join park interpreters on guided tours, events, workshops and other programs.

Lake Fort Smith State Park
This park has camping, a swimming pool, a large group facility, marina and access to Lake Fort Smith. In the visitor center walk into a pioneer cabin, see Shepherd Springs, touch a wagon and follow the journey of the first five families who cut their way through cane breaks, discovered the springs and settled here. See how the waters of Shepherd Springs, Frog Bayou, Lake Fort Smith and Lake Shepherd Springs changed the lives of those who settled here and live here today, and see plants and animals of the area. Pioneers settled here because of the water, plant and animal life, rich Ozark forest and the fertile valley. Today the continuing need for water has closed one park and stimulated the building of this modern park with its large visitor center and exhibit gallery.

Outside, explore the area on the lake, on park trails, or venture deep into the Ozarks on the 180-mile Ozark Highlands Trail, which begins at the visitor center.

If you want to visit Arkansas and see what it truly has to offer, be sure to stop by a state park visitors center for all the information you need to plan the perfect trip.