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Good morning, Arkansas!

Tee it up. Choose a campsite. Follow a trail to outdoor bliss. Look for eagles and elk.

The Natural State Golf Trail showcases ten of Arkansas's most challenging and scenic public courses. Follow the trail to these courses and many more inviting places to play throughout the state. Campers, we have sites for you in 28 state parks, three national forests, more than 200 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas and along the Buffalo National River. City and county parks and private campgrounds offer still more places to spend the night in our great outdoors. Hikers, pack your boots. Arkansas has more than 250 great trails, including two national recreational treks. Tours are available for cyclists and mountain bikers. Motorcycle touring is also popular. Geocaching, the new treasure hunting sport involving use of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) devices, is also popular, with more than a thousand "geocaches" located in Arkansas. Watchable wildlife opportunities include birding throughout the state and bugling elk in the fall along the Buffalo National River valley. Look for eagles, too, along our lakes.

Take a road trip in The Natural State. Close out the year with good times in the great outdoors and fun on the towns. You'll find the weather inviting, the scenery exciting and lots to do during a colorful getaway in your home state.

When conditions are right, fall colors in The Natural State just can't be beat. The forests are ablaze with brilliant hues of gold, yellow, orange and red. Sightseeing just to "see the fall colors" is popular at mountain overlooks, throughout the countryside and at cities where colorful hardwoods serve as beautiful backdrops for fall festivals and fairs. When winter comes, schedule another road trip to enjoy Arkansas's Trail of Holiday Lights. And don't miss the kickoff of the live racing season at Oaklawn in January. Any season is a good time to visit the dramatic William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little Rock. And how about squeezing in some fishing as the year winds down? There's no closed season in Arkansas, remember? And our moderate fall and winter weather allows plenty of time on the water and enjoying sports afield. So get out there and enjoy fall and winter in Arkansas.

Enjoy nature's masterpiece along Arkansas's scenic highways and byways.

Fall colors are a travel bonus along Arkansas's scenic highways. If nature doesn't cooperate in working its seasonal magic, our diverse terrain still rolls out a grand show as you travel The Natural State. The Delta has two National Scenic Byways to explore--Crowley's Ridge Parkway and The Great River Road--and both are rich in history and filled with travel adventures. In the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, Scenic 7 Byway is especially gorgeous from Harrison through Russellville, Dardanelle, Hot Springs, Arkadelphia and Camden. Arkansas is also blessed with other National Forest Service scenic byways renowned for great scenery, including the Talimena Scenic Drive (Hwy. 88) west of Mena, Pig Trail Scenic Byway (Hwy. 23) and others. See your Arkansas highway map for the complete list and locations of scenic routes.

Ducks are flying. Fish are biting. Deer are moving and looking for dates.

Fall and winter fill Arkansas's woods and fields with hunters in search of white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl and other game. Eastern Arkansas's Mississippi Flyway is a paradise for avid duck hunters. Fishing action for trout is hot on the White, North Fork, Little Red and Spring Rivers. Fall and winter are good times, too, to fish for crappie, bream and catfish throughout the state. Arkansas fishing is open all year; there's no closed season. Our moderate climate will allow plenty of time on the water during fall and winter in The Natural State.

Evenings are magic along the Arkansas Trail of Holiday Lights.

Lights, camera, action! Catch the excitement when Arkansas flips the switches throughout The Natural State to illuminate millions of colorful bulbs during the 2005 Trail of Holiday Lights. One of our displays, Lights of the Delta, has become so spectacular that it was named one of the Top 100 events by the American Bus Association. Other dazzling displays glow throughout The Natural State. Brighten your holidays in Arkansas. Call 1-800-NATURAL now to request a free Arkansas Vacation Planning Kit, which includes a Trail of Holiday Lights brochure to show you the way.

Arkansas history is fascinating. Now, then and way back when.

Catch up on recent state, national and international history at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock. Visit the Arkansas State Capitol and the Central High School National Historic Site while in the neighborhood. See the USS Razorback submarine on display just across the Arkansas River in North Little Rock. Journey back to Arkansas's colorful past at the Historic Arkansas Museum in Little Rock and the Arkansas Post Museum at Gillett. Learn how the Civil War touched Arkansas by visiting battle sites at Pea Ridge National Military Park and Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, both in the Ozarks. Visit Helena in the Delta where a Union victory helped gain control of the Mississippi River. Travel to Fort Smith on the state's western border and learn about America's westward expansion and the rowdy times associated with it at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.

Get a head start on your Christmas shopping. Let us entertain you.

Arkansas shopping adventures range from large metropolitan malls in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Hot Springs and Fayetteville to resort cities with historic downtowns and little shops tucked here and there. Craft items are good buys around the state. There are loads of places to shop for antiques. Visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock and then purchase a souvenir of your visit at the Clinton Museum Store nearby on President Clinton Avenue. Buy someone you love a day at a spa in Hot Springs, Eureka Springs, Mountain Harbor and other locations. Go on the towns for evening entertainment that includes repertory theater, dinner theater, symphony performances and more. Enjoy big-name acts and sports at ALLTEL Arena in North Little Rock and Summit Arena in Hot Springs. Catch the hot restaurants, nightspots and entertainment found at the River Market District in Little Rock, Dickson Street in Fayetteville and other popular after-hours spots around the state.

Go wild over arts and crafts. Kick up your heels at a rodeo. Toast the season at OctoberFest or Wiederkehr Weinfest. See the Thunderbirds fly.

Take your pick of autumn arts and crafts celebrations, from the huge War Eagle Fair in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas to other popular arts and crafts events. Gallop on over to the Arkansas State Fair and Livestock Show in Little Rock, the Southeast Arkansas Livestock Show and Rodeo in Pine Bluff, the Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair in Fort Smith and the Four States Fair and Rodeo in Texarkana. Little Rock's "Boo at the Zoo" has October weekends of fun for the kiddies. Hoist a stein at Oktoberfest in Hot Springs. Party on at the Wiederkehr Weinfest held at Wiederkehr Village in September. See the USAF Thunderbirds perform at Jacksonville October 8-9 during the Little Rock Air Force Base 50th Anniversary Air Show and Open House.

Follow the fun around Arkansas!

* Arkansas Welcome Centers greet you with smiling faces, maps and information about our fun places.

* The Natural State Golf Trail numbers 10 sweet courses worth your best drive.

* Civil War Sites are marked with a cannon (unloaded).

* Tour Arkansas's two national scenic byways--The Great River Road, which parallels the Mississippi River along the eastern border of Arkansas, and Crowley's Ridge Parkway, which follows a narrow strip of rolling hills from near Piggott to Helena.

OZARKS

1 Bentonville, home of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, is also home to the Wal-Mart Visitor Center, where Sam Walton's success story began.

2. Rogers and nearby War Eagle community are the arts and crafts capital of the universe during the War Eagle Crafts Fair held in the fall. Beaver Lake offers great fishing and water sports.

3 Springdale, home of Tyson Foods, is booming. Take a ride over the Boston Mountains on the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad.

4 The University of Arkansas's main campus is in Fayetteville. You can't miss hearing about "the Hogs" when the Razorbacks sports teams are playing.

5 Eureka Springs is famed for its historic downtown and landmarks such as lovely Thorncrown Chapel and the dramatic Christ of the Ozarks statue.

6 Harrison is within paddling distance of the Buffalo National River. Get a room here instead and drive your SUV to a canoe outfitter closer to the river.

7 You'll find herds of bass boats, ski boats, scuba divers and other people having fun on Bull Shoals Lake. The White River is one of the world's premier trout streams.

8 Mountain Home is hospitality headquarters for trout fishing on the North Fork River and striper fishing on Norfork Lake.

9 Claustrophobic? Not to worry when you tour huge Blanchard Springs Caverns. You will feel like you're in another world filled with incredible beauty and lots of wide-open spaces.

10 The music is unplugged and pure at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View. They do crafts the old-fashioned way.

11 Greers Ferry Lake is looking good. The water is already clean and clear. Fish love it, including the world-record walleye and world-record striped-white bass hybrid. The Little Red River is trout fishing heaven and home of the world-record brown trout.

RIVER VALLEY

12 Van Buren's historic downtown is right out of the Victorian era. You may think it is still there as you stroll the streets, enjoy the architecture and browse the shops.

13 Visit "Miss Laura's" seductive Fort Smith Visitor Center. See "Hangin' Judge" Isaac C. Parker's jail, court and gallows at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. Ride the trolley or scoot your boots on over to the Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair.

14 Tour Arkansas Wine Country at Altus and Wiederkehr Village. Stop by the wineries for a sip on the house. Pace yourself.

15 The Spadra bridge spanning the Arkansas River is the state's longest. It's also long on good looks.

16 Mount Magazine is Arkansas's highest peak. Check out the magnificent new lodge being built at Mount Magazine State Park. It's set to open early in 2006.

17 Drop in at the huge aquarium at the Lake Dardanelle Visitor Center near Russellville for a face-to-face encounter with a bass or other game fish. Fish the Arkansas River and Lake Dardanelle, and your expression will be one of delight.

18 Visit Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton, the flagship of Arkansas's state park system. Wheel on over to the Museum of Automobiles.

CENTRAL

19 Tour the USS Razorback submarine in North Little Rock, a veteran of World War II. See the Old Mill, a movie veteran that appeared in "Gone With The Wind"

20 Little Rock, Arkansas's capital city:

Celebrate the first anniversary of the grand opening of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park with a visit to the Center November 19.

Take a guided tour of the Arkansas State Capitol, a scaled-down version of the nation's Capitol.

Check out the nightlife, dining and shopping in the vibrant River Market District and all around greater Little Rock.

Gallop on out to the Arkansas State Fair for the biggest rodeo and show around, attracting a stampede of visitors each year.

Explore the River Trail which runs along the Arkansas River in Little Rock and North Little Rock.

Drive to Pinnacle Mountain State Park just outside Little Rock for an easy climb that leads to a great view.

21 See the USAF Thunderbirds perform at Jacksonville during the Little Rock Air Force Base 50th anniversary open house in October.

DELTA

22 Ernest Hemingway penned part of a novel while living at Piggott. Learn all about it at the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center.

23 Learn about the Deltas amazing highland and its flora and fauna at the Forrest L. Wood Crowley's Ridge Nature Center at Jonesboro.

24 Drop in for a good read at That Bookstore In Blytheville. You might see author John Grisham who also drops in now and then.

25 Brinkley is birding country headquarters now that the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker has been rediscovered in the nearby Cache River National Wildlife Refuge.

26 See where the big survey started at Louisiana Purchase Memorial State Park.

27 Greyhounds chase rabbits all year at Southland Greyhound Park in West Memphis.

28 Wing on into Stuttgart for the Wings Over The Prairie Festival and World's Championship Duck Calling Contest in November.

29 Learn about the deer, bear, migratory waterfowl, songbirds and many other critters at the White River National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center.

30 Music reigns, and it's all cool at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena in October.

31 Get into real early Arkansas history at Arkansas Post National Memorial near Gillett.

32 Lake Chicot at Lake Village is Arkansas's largest natural lake and home of Lake Chicot State Park. The bass, crappie and other fish in the lake are the usual size.

OUACHITAS

33 Drive the Talimena Scenic Byway to Queen Wilhelmina State Park near Mena for spectacular views from atop Rich Mountain, Arkansas's second highest peak.

34 Make a note to visit the Lum and Abner Museum and Jot 'Em Down Store at Pine Ridge, named for the 1930s-40s radio show.

35 Hot Springs:

Fish and play at the "five diamond lakes" in the Hot Springs area--Lakes Ouachita, Hamilton, DeGray, Greeson and Catherine.

Climb the 216-foot Hot Springs Mountain Tower for a sweeping view of Hot Springs National Park and the Ouachita Mountains.

See thoroughbreds race at Oklawn Park during the opening of the live meet in January. It's one of the top tracks in the country.

Relax in a thermal bath on famous Bathhouse Row in Hot Springs National Park or visit a spa for still more relaxation.

Enjoy the dining, shopping and nightlife in Hot Springs, America's First Resort, and check the entertainment and sports events schedule at Summit Arena.

Have fun at Magic Springs and Crystal Falls theme park, offering more than 80 attractions and amphitheater concerts.

Visit Garvan Woodland Gardens for fall and winter colors.

36 DeGray Lake has excellent fishing for bass and striper-white bass hybrids. DeGray Lake Resort State Park and private resorts on the lake offer outstanding accommodations.

37 Finders-keepers: Hunt for diamonds and other gemstones at Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro--and keep any you find.

TIMBERLANDS

38 Ragtime composer Scott Joplin is remembered with a mural at his home town, Texarkana. The 1924 Perot Theatre hosts performing artists and traveling Broadway shows.

39 Visit President Bill Clinton's birthplace at Hope. Nearby, fish for bass at Millwood Lake and enjoy the accommodations of Millwood State Park.

40 Gather at the fountain in Corinne Square for sightseeing, shopping and dining in historic downtown El Dorado.

41 Fill up on oil and gas history at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in Smackover.

42 Johnny Cash and other show business personalities with Arkansas ties are celebrated at the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame in Pine Bluff. See Engine 819 at the Arkansas Railroad Museum and also tour the Governor Mike Huckabee Delta Rivers Nature Center.

For more fun things to see and do in The Natural State, order a free Arkansas Vacation Planning Kit or log on to Arkansas.com.
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:description and travel
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Sep 12, 2005
Words:2580
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