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Northeast Arkansas, often referred to as NEA, is a region of Arkansas known for its diverse landscape, which includes agricultural areas, rivers, forests and the unique Delta region. Clay, Greene and Randolph counties are characterized by their rural nature and small to medium-sized towns. If you aren’t from Northeast Arkansas, you may not realize the region has this much to offer.
These counties offer recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Crowley’s Ridge, a unique geological formation, stretches across the region, providing outdoor activities like hiking, hunting and fishing. The region has several parks, lakes and wildlife areas. You’ll also find museums that celebrate the history of the region, Delta blues music and the influence of African-American culture.
For 30 years, Pumpkin Hollow has been a favorite seasonal outing for folks in Northeast Arkansas. They open their pumpkin patch from mid-September through October and host various family fun activities. The 2023 season will kick off on Sept. 16 with the Runnin’ Scared 5K. Then it’s time for hay rides, horse rides, zip lines, picking pumpkins, riding on the Pumpkin Hollow Express and more. Following a short break, the farm reopens in late November for Christmas in the Hollow with Christmas trees and everything that will get you in the Holiday spirit.
Open every Saturday in spring and summer, Crowley’s Ridge Raceway features dirt track racing along their ¼ mile clay oval track. Tickets are affordable, and it’s fun for the whole family.
The Collins Theatre opened in 1925 as the Capitol Theatre and has been a community staple ever since. The theater has a beautiful art deco style and modern conveniences like air conditioning and seats around 800 people. The historic venue hosts a variety of performances, including plays, musicals, concerts and other cultural events. For over ten years, they have hosted KASU Bluegrass Monday on the 4th Monday night of each month. The 2023 lineup can be found here.
Bowling is making a big comeback across the nation. Many bowling centers now offer youth, family, men’s and women’s leagues and open bowling. If it’s been a few years since you’ve knocked down some pins, now is the perfect time to give it a try again.
Locally owned and built, the American Made General Store’s flagship location is located in Pocahontas. This unique store feels like an old-time general store and features only products made in the USA. Each product is hand selected and must meet strict standards to be carried in the store. They have a bit of everything from clothing to food, home goods to toys, and a great selection of locally made ice cream from everyone’s favorite Spring Dipper.
Located along Crowley’s Ridge, one of Arkansas’s unique geological formations, the state park features hiking trails, lakes for fishing and swimming, cabins, a campground and several log and stone structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It’s the perfect place for a family outing.
Maynard Pioneer Park features an 1890s log cabin slated to be demolished but rescued and relocated in the downtown area of Maynard. The cabin is decorated with historic furnishings to give visitors an idea of what life was like in the late 1800s. The grounds also feature a blacksmith, a church, pavillions, a playground and several RV sites. Maynard Pioneer Days is held each September, and the park hosts several other events throughout the year.
Located on the banks of the Black River, Davidsonville Historic State Park preserves the remains of the town of Davidsonville, which was Arkansas’s first planned town and county seat. The park features interpretive exhibits, walking trails, and reconstructed buildings that provide insights into the daily lives of the early settlers. Visitors can see the foundations of original structures, including a courthouse, a tavern and a jail.
In 2003, the Rector Women’s Club created a museum to celebrate the local school, people, community and history. Eventually, passing management on to a museum board and outgrowing their small space behind the library, a building was purchased in 2014. The building was remodeled for the next several years with over 5,000 volunteer hours, and the museum opened in its new space in 2019. The museum is a community center, event venue and concert hall. The Ford Room hosts a concert series recently featuring Cory Jackson, The Voice’s star. Upcoming acts include Brian and Terry Kinder, Sugar Creek and Nashville Skyline. The museum is open for events or by appointment.
Ernest Hemingway is an American author and journalist widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. Many don’t realize that he spent a fair amount of time in Arkansas during the 1930s and 40s while visiting his wife Pauline Pfeiffer’s family. The Hemmingway-Pfeiffer Musesum contains three buildings and celebrates Hemmingway’s time in Arkansas, along with the contribution of the Pfieffer family to the Piggot Community. When the Janes family purchased the property following the death of Pauline’s mother, the contents were preserved and later sold to Arkansas State University, which now operates the museum.
Named after Eddie Mae Herron, a prominent African American educator and community leader, the Eddie Mae Herron Center is dedicated to preserving and promoting African-Americans history, heritage, and contributions to the region. As a museum, education center and community center, the center is an essential resource for locals and visitors interested in learning about the African-American experience in Northeast Arkansas and the broader context of American history.
Located on the banks of the St. Francis River, Chalk Bluff was a popular crossing point between Arkansas and Missouri and the location of a significant Civil War battle between May 1-2, 1863. The historic site is open to the public, and visitors can explore the Chalk Bluff Civil War Battlefield and learn about the events through interpretive signage and exhibits.
In Pocahontas, the Frisco Train Depot Museum is operated as part of the Randolf County Heritage Museum. The former depot was restored and contains exhibits regarding transportation in Randolf County. A historic Magor Caboose is located on the grounds of the museum.
In Corning, the Missouri Pacific Railroad Caboose 13711 is located at the Chamber of Commerce near Wynn Park.
Learn more about historic cabooses in Arkansas.
The seven-foot-tall bronze statue is the oldest Statue of Liberty replica outside New York. It is located on the Green County Courthouse lawn and serves as a war memorial.
Built in 1828 by Reuben Rice, the historic store and loom house remained in the Rice family until donated to Black River Technical College by decedents. The school oversaw a renovation of the building and now maintains the historic site. It is thought to be the oldest standing private dwelling in Arkansas.
Established by William Looney, an early pioneer and landowner, the William Looney Tavern was a stopping point and gathering place for travelers and locals during the 19th century. The tavern provided accommodations, food, and a resting place for those passing through the region. The historic tavern sits on the banks of the Eleven Point River in Randolph County.
The Hen House Cafe is a local favorite that features daily specials like lasagna, hamburger steak, meatloaf and fried chicken. They have incredible housemade desserts that will satisfy your sweet tooth. They are open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday and Saturday, and Friday evenings are also open for dinner.
Whether you need a caffeine fix or want to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Caffeinated Cow in Rector is the place to go. In just over a year, this quaint dine-in shop has become a favorite gathering place for locals and a must-stop spot for those passing through. Grab a coffee, espresso, milkshake, and ice cream and don’t miss their newest menu item, Caramel Ice Cream Nachos!
Located in downtown Paragould, Chow at 188 offers a unique fine dining opportunity serving a wide range of cuisines from a weekly dinner menu. The Chow is perfect for an intimate celebration or night out on the town. They offer lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and dinner on Saturday.
Don’s Steakhouse is the place to go if you want high-quality food at affordable prices. They offer daily plate lunch specials with your choice of meat and sides and delicious steaks cooked to order and served with baked potato or fries, salad and toast. They also serve catfish, burgers, sandwiches and more. You’ll leave Don’s fully satisfied.
Are you traveling through Northeast Arkansas? Check out these county guides to help you plan your trip.
9 Things to Do in Craighead County
9 Things To Do in Van Buren County
Top 8 Things To Do In White County, Arkansas
Things To Do In Independence and Stone Counties
Visiting Jackson and Woodruff Counties, Arkansas
Visiting Poinsett, Cross and Mississippi Counties
All photos courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.
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