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The mineral water bubbling from deep underground in Heber Springs has been drawing visitors since before the town was formed. The damming of the Little Red River and the subsequent formation of Greers Ferry Lake turned this area in the north central part of the state into a summer resort that brings people from all over Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and beyond. Whether you’re fishing, paddleboarding, sailing or checking out the Cardboard Boat Races; Greers Ferry has a lot to offer.
For those who don’t enjoy lake life, and anyone looking for a break from the sand and sun or hoping not to let the rain spoil their day at the lake, don’t worry; Heber Springs offers plenty to keep you busy all year long, without getting your feet wet.
Chances are, even children who complain about museum visits will enjoy what Heber has to offer.
In operation for over eight years, the Ruland Junction Toy Train Museum showcases ten operating train layouts in a two-story museum. The collection includes memorabilia, model trains and toys that Wayne Ruland and his late wife, Susan collected over many years.
Location: 12th and Walnut
Hours: 8 a.m. — 4 p.m., Tuesday — Saturday
Cost: 12 and up — $5; Under 12 $2.50
Built in 1937 as the Federal Building, the historic old post office is now home to the Cleburne County Historical Society. The expanded museum includes historical displays and artifacts, a research library and the restored 1939 post office mural.
Location: East Main Street
Hours: 10 a.m. — 3 p.m., Tuesday — Saturday
The visitor center is designed to showcase the history of the area culminating with the construction of the Greers Ferry Dam. The museum also contains a replica of the 40-pound, 4-ounce brown trout, caught on the Little Red River that held the world record as the largest brown trout from 1992 to 2009. You can read more about the visitor center here.
Location: Arkansas 25, Near the dam
Hours: 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m., Daily, April through October
Photo of the Week by Tim Reilly.
On Oct. 3, 1963, President John F. Kennedy traveled to Heber to dedicate the newly completed Greers Ferry Dam. The overlook platform offers a beautiful view of Greers Ferry Lake, the dam and the Little Red River. The park includes a bust of JFK and commemorates his last major public appearance before his assassination a little over a month later.
Location: Arkansas 25, East of the dam
Hours: Always open
This 18-hole disc golf course, built in 2016, is located behind the William Carl Visitor Center. The course is the home to the Mossy Oak Disc Golf Association and regularly hosts tournaments and other events. The course, ranked as one of the Top 50 Courses in its first year, is free to use.
Location: Behind William Carl Garner Visitor Center
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Cost: Free (players must bring their own discs)
The hatchery opened in 1966 to help compensate for changes in the fish habitat of the Little Red River following the construction of the dam. The hatchery raises both rainbow and brown trout which are regularly stocked in the Little Red and other area rivers. Stroll along the holding tanks and observe thousands of fish of all sizes.
Location: 349 Hatchery Road
Hours: 7:00a -3:00p daily
Open on weekends and most major federal holidays
Closed to the public Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 24 & 25
For a little play and a little learning check out the Ellen Hobgood Gallery. The gallery features artworks from 48 local and regional artists. The gallery also hosts regular painting parties plus painting lessons for children and adults. Learn more about Ellen Hobgood here.
Location: 101 S. Third Street
Hours: 12 — 6, Tuesday — Saturday
Sulphur Creek Outfitters offers a little bit of everything to meet all of your outdoor needs. Whether you want to bike, hike, camp, kayak, canoe or paddleboard, Sulphur Creek offers rentals and excursions available to help you have an enjoyable day. They will assist you in finding the best places to play and can even shuttle your family to and from your starting and finishing points.
Location: 1520 Hwy 25 Business North (Just right of the Walmart parking lot)
Hours: 8 a.m. — 5:30 p.m., Saturdays; 10 a.m. — 5:30 p.m., Tuesday — Friday
Located in the shadow of Sugarloaf Mountain, the dance center has been the home of the Heber Spring Folklore Society since 1995. The society operates to keep the tradition of older country music alive. The family-friendly venue offers a DJ and live music with a mix of old and new country, bluegrass and other styles. The center regularly hosts over 100 individuals on dance nights.
Location: 890 Wilburn Rd (Hwy 110 East)
Hours: 7 — 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
Cost: Free, donations accepted
Spring Park not only provides an excellent space for recreation and play, but it also serves as a window to Heber Springs’ past. Although the lure of the healing waters is long gone, the property houses seven healing springs and once brought people from all over to fill jugs in hopes of reaping the medical benefits of the water. The White Sulphur, Red Sulphur, Black Sulphur, Arsenic, Iron, Magnesia, and Eye Water springs were believed to have healing powers. Perhaps the healing is an urban legend, but some locals swear by it and credit the waters for their excellent health and long lives. The park is also home to several festivals throughout the year.
Location: 123 Frauenthal Street
Heber is full of hiking trails, easy and advanced. All trails are guaranteed to provide access to beautiful scenery and allow you to observe wildlife, including otter, deer, and eagles.
Heber is also a great shopping destination. Fun and unique stores are found throughout the city, but historic Downtown Heber Springs offers a wide variety of shops within walking distance of each other.
It’s a good thing Heber is home to over 30 restaurants; after one day in town, you’ll need to fill up. If you are camping and need a break from the grill, they have inexpensive options like Pizza Pie-Zazz, Smoke House Restaurant, Mack’s Fish House and a Mexican/Chinese combo restaurant called Casa Mexicana. For something a little more upscale, check out Lindsey’s Resort, Verona Italian Restaurant, Chuck’s Diner and Steakhouse, Cafe Klaser or The Red Apple Inn.
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