Whether you want to take out your DSLR camera or mobile phone, there are many places in the Natural State to capture a photo of a spectacular landscape or some unique architecture. These Arkansas locations are perfect for taking a great shot on camera. When you want a picture worth a thousand words, you have to add these places to your next trip.
Hot Springs is one of the most unique towns in Arkansas. As you stroll down the street, you can marvel at the intricate architecture and find a great spot to snap some pictures. Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, the waters from the springs were thought to have medicinal properties and freely flow throughout the city.
Hot Springs thrived in the late 19th and 20th century when it became a famous spa and gambling center. Many notable mobsters and celebrities, such as Al Capone and Babe Ruth, frequented the city along with the local Oaklawn Park race track. In fact, Major League Baseball once set up their spring training camps near Hot Springs. Today, you can see many of the historic buildings that still survive. If you are interested in architecture, Bathhouse Row has plenty of examples of Neo-Renaissance, Spanish, and Neoclassical buildings. At the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, you can get an aerial view of this historic city.
Blanchard Springs Cavern
Located in the Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, you can find an extraordinary natural cavern system. The Blanchard Springs Cavern is in the northern part of the state, and it is a favorite spot for many visitors to the area. Make sure to sign up for a guided tour that will take you around the various rooms and chambers in the cavern. Since the 1950s, these caverns opened to the public. Before that time, the Native Americans considered the caverns to be a sacred spot. The Cathedral Room is the largest open caverns on the site, and archaeologists believed this area was an ancient sea over 350 million years ago. For some otherworldly look at the stalagmites and stalactites, make sure to grab your camera to snap a pic of this natural wonder.
For those Instagram-worthy pics, you must head over to the city of Eureka Springs. The entire town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the late 19th century, Eureka Springs was a resort town, and you can see still examples of the early architectural styles. Like Hot Springs, this town is another spot with springs that were believed to have medicinal properties. One of the oldest hotels, the Crescent Hotel, was built in 1886, and it is reported to be haunted.
Eureka Springs’ Thorncrown Chapel is one of the newest buildings (built in 1980) and is an excellent example of postmodern design. While you are grabbing a few shots, you can check out the town during the summer months where you can enjoy the local arts and food festivals.
Tucked within the Ozark Mountains with the Bull Shoals and Norfork Lake surrounding the town, Mountain Home is another picture-worthy locale. Nearby the Bull Shoals-White River State Park will give you an excellent vantage point of the Bull Shoals Dam. While in town, you will want to head over to the campus of ASU-Mountain Home. The architecture is modeled after the historic buildings on the University of Virginia, and many photographers consider this area to be a shutterbug’s dream.
Head over to Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, for a visit to the River Market area. This location is one of the most unique and vibrant areas in the entire city. The neighborhood features plenty of residential homes, open marketplaces, and art installations. The centerpiece is the Ottenheimer Market Hall with over 100,000 square feet of vendor stalls, and it hosts farmers markets, concerts, and food tastings throughout the year. Notable glass artist Dale Chihuly has one of his famous sculptures located near the Market.
North Little Rock
Located nearby, North Little Rock features the famous Argenta Arts District in the downtown area. This spot has seen a revitalization over the past few decades. You can find many examples of how the old world architecture is slowly melding with the modern world. In addition to that, you can marvel (and grab a picture) of the exhibits on the Argenta Arts Walk.
El Dorado is another important cultural center in the state. In the 1920s, the area was the heart of the oil industry in Arkansas, and it has the nickname of “Arkansas’s Original Boomtown.” There are plenty of photographic opportunities located throughout the town, including the Rialto Theater Music Hall. This theater was built in 1929 and hosted many notable names of the day. It closed down in the 1980s, but it has been restored to its former glory. The rest of the historic downtown district has also been renovated as well.
Murfreesboro is the home of the only diamond site in the United States known as the Crater of Diamonds. Visitors are welcomed to dig around the site, and if you found a diamond, you can keep it. The 37.5 acres were once the site of an active volcano over 100 million years ago, and that is the reason for all the diamonds on the surface. In 1906, the first diamond was discovered, and since that time, the area has been a hot spot for many visitors. While diamonds are lovely, you will want to travel downtown for some unique snaps. The Shaft Building and the Guard House are some of the best-preserved buildings in the area. If you go a few miles further from the town, the Narrows Dam is a marvel of modern engineering and another excellent place to see the beauty of the local area.
This list is just the start of your Arkansas photographic journey. If you are a shutterbug, you can travel around the state for that perfect photoshoot. Whatever season you choose to visit, the Natural State is a picture-perfect place.