The Best things to do in Russellville, intertwine beautifully with many fun things in Arkansas, where Russellville is found.
Filled with hundreds of outdoor attractions where visitors can take part in an action-packed adventure, Arkansas is also known as “The Natural State,”
With natural rock formations, hiking trails, lakes, dams, waterfalls, gardens, mountains, and more as major attractions, your visit to Arkansas will be both memorable and adventurous.
Ziplining, mountain biking, swimming, scuba diving, bridge walking, caving, and more are some of the adventurous things you’ll experience on your trip to Arkansas.
The Natural State is the place to visit if you want to blend in with nature while enjoying many outdoor activities.
You’ll never be bored during your stay with lots of things to do in Arkansas.
In addition to all the majestic natural things to see, Arkansas also has plenty of historical attractions and entertainment to enjoy while visiting the state.
Arkansas is home to world-class restaurants, famous museums, exciting theme parks, cultural experiences, and mysterious phenomena.
One of the best vacation points in the USA, Arkansas, has plenty to do and see.
Russellville is the county seat and one of the largest cities in Arkansas.
The city is located in the northwestern part of the state and has a population of just under 30,000.
Before it was populated by native Americans in the early 1830s, much of the land in the area was settled by Cherokee Indians. It eventually formed part of the Cherokee Reservation, a forced home for Native Americans from Arkansas and Missouri.
Below are some of the best and fun things to do in Russellville while you are here.
Fun Things to Do in Russellville (AR)
1. Petit Jean State Park
Russellville, Arkansas, has some of the most scenic and relatively undisturbed parks in the southwestern parts of the United States, and Petit Jean State Park southeast of Russellville is one of the area’s main attractions.
With more than 21 miles of trails, the park attracts bird watchers, mountain bikers, and hikers. Since it’s like 45 minutes from the city, you’ll feel like you’re a million miles from civilization.
It was the first of Arkansas’ state parks and includes rivers and streams, waterfalls, lakes, and mountains—as well as plenty of wooded areas worth exploring.
Consider stopping by the visitor center to get your bearings before heading out to the park.
2. Subiaco Abbey
Originally founded as a peaceful monastery in the 1870s, Subiaco Abbey has fulfilled this role for most of its existence but is now a Catholic Benedictine boys’ school for boys.
It is possible to visit and tour the school grounds, and as it is in such a rural area, you will get some unique photos.
The campus is well maintained, and many of the school’s buildings have impressive architecture.
As this is a working school, you will need to check their website to check when they are available to visit.
The school is on Arkansas Highway 22 southwest of Russellville
3. Mount Nebo State Park
Mount Nebo is another of Russellville’s wonderful natural attractions.
The park grounds are home to white-tailed deer, which often graze near the playground.
If you hope to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures, visit them early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Thanks to its mountain location, the park offers an unobstructed view of the surroundings that you won’t find anywhere else.
You can rent campsites and cabins if you want to connect with Mother Nature for a night or two.
Check in at the Visitor Center or browse online for specific activities, hours, and prices.
Things to Do in Russellville at Night
1. Potts Inn Museum
Built by an indigenous couple in the 1850s, Potts Inn Museum spent most of its life as a family home and was only recently converted into a museum.
By mid-19th century standards, it had become much of a luxurious and elegant mansion.
Over the years, it’s been carefully restored to near-original condition and offers guests an interesting insight into family life almost a century and a half years old.
The house was built on an old stagecoach route and functioned as an inn where weary travelers could enjoy decent food and a clean bed.
It is conveniently located on 2nd Street in nearby Pottsville, Arkansas.
2. Center for the Arts
Located at Russellville High School, the Center for Arts is a popular local venue offering live music, dance, parades, drama, and other performances.
It boasts an auditorium with nearly 2,000 seats.
It’s a fantastic facility for a small town like Russellville and includes great acoustics, dressing rooms, and an orchestra.
The center has hosted nationally known artists in the past and often features local and regional talent as well. It’s surely a great community resource.
The best way to quickly know what’s on offer is to check their website regularly.
3. The Old Post Road Recreation Centre and Campground
The Arkansas Lake Dardanelle provides most of the recreational opportunities in the Russellville area; The nearby Old Post Road Recreation center and Campground is one of the most accessible places to enjoy these natural wonders.
Facilities include plenty of campsites with showers, toilets, water, and electricity hookups if you’re traveling by caravan.
Finding fun things to fill your day won’t be a problem – the camp’s amenities include basketball and tennis courts, a playground, a disc golf course, and plenty of trails open to hikers and bikers.
Check their website for hours and registration information.
Things to Do in Russellville For Couples
1. Lake Dardanelle State Park
Lake Dardanelle State Park is a premier recreational destination in the Russellville area. With so many activities available, it has something for every guest and tourist.
Stopping at the visitor center before venturing into beginning your tour for the day is a wise idea; you’ll get an insider’s view of everything on offer as well as how the park is laid out.
The visitor center features interactive displays, maps, and some great aquariums displaying some of the fish found in the lake’s waters.
Fishing is one of the lake’s main draws, but remember that you’ll need a license whether you’re a resident or just visiting.
2. Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
With its wide open spaces, gigantic mountains, and mostly untouched forested areas, Russellville lives up to its name as The Natural State.
Ozark-St. Francis National Forest is filled with campsites, many of which have access to modern restrooms and even hot showers, which is not very common in the camping world.
If you’re an RV enthusiast, you’ll also appreciate the water and electric hookups.
In relation to what time of the year you choose to visit, you’ll have a variety of outdoor activities at your fingertips.
3. Russellville Tech Museum
The Tech Museum is located on the university’s North El Paso Road campus in Russellville. It’s a great place to check out when you’re in the area.
University campuses are usually full of beautiful buildings, areas of trees, and hiking trails and usually host lots of interesting activities, mostly for free.
The Arkansas Tech Museum holds tens of thousands of objects related to history and science that make up its many permanent collections.
The university recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the campus museum is free to visit.
Things to Do in Russellville For kids
1. Piney Bay Recreation Area
Piney Bay Recreation Area is another of Russellville’s most popular spots.
The lake’s terrain is mostly hilly and wooded, and the recreation area offers excellent access for boaters, anglers, and swimmers.
Here you will find toilets, campsites, and a children’s playground.
It is a fun place to spend the afternoon with your family and enjoy the beautiful nature.
At various times in the summer months, the park hosts programs within its amphitheater, so if you’re there at the right time, there may be a little live entertainment on the agenda.
2. Russellville Aquatic Center
Like many metropolitan towns across the country, the city of Russellville has erected an aquatic center for its natives and tourists.
Whether young or old, aquatic centers provide a bunch of activities – from swimming and playing on slides to frolicking in paddling and wave pools.
While you won’t find a wave pool at the Russellville Aquatic Center, you will find great swimming facilities that are well-rounded enough to suit everyone.
In addition to the physical facilities, the aqua center offers educational and teaching courses at different times of the year. Short-term tickets are available for visitors.
3. Fat Daddy’s Bar-B-Que
The Southeast region of the United States is a big BBQ country, and Arkansas has its own unique style of tasty treats.
Russellville’s Fat Daddy’s Bar-B-Que began its first restaurant in nearby London, Arkansas, in 2006.
Since then, it has expanded as word spread that they serve great food at reasonable prices in a comfortable environment.
Their diverse BBQ menu is the restaurant’s highlight, but if you fancy diversity, they also offer burritos, burgers, and salads.
They are located on North Denver Street near downtown Russellville.
Indoor Activities in Russellville For Adults
1. Visit The Historic Missouri-Pacific Railroad Depot
Railroads played a major part in the expansion of the area around Russellville.
Arkansas is a large mining and farming state; most of the goods hauled by the trains were cotton and timber.
Built in 1916, the Missouri-Pacific Railroad Depot in Russellville was a stop for freight cars destined for all corners of the developing country.
Since 2004, the depot buildings have served as a visitor center and railway museum. There is no nicer spot in the area to get a unique perspective on the development of Russellville and how the railroads helped it.
2. Automobile Museum
The Car Museum in nearby Morrilton is one of the quirky and unique things to do in the area that you shouldn’t miss.
Even if you are not so big on cars, the museum’s scenic location atop Mount Petit Jean and its interesting history make it a worthwhile trip.
The facility was originally built in the 1960s by the wealthy Rockefeller, who wanted a first-class facility to house his rare automobile collection, which consisted of more than 30 automobiles.
Now, in addition to cars, the museum also displays several weapons, musical instruments, and some old license plates.
Check the museum’s opening hours online.
3. Bona Dea Trails & Sanctuary
Taking a break from the touristy spots is a great way to recharge; Bona Dea Trails and Sanctuary is an amazing place to do this.
No matter your age or fitness level, you’ll always locate a trail or two that’s just right for your need.
Although the trails are good enough at any time of year, they are especially beautiful in the fall.
Rumors abound that an alligator or two lives in the park’s pond; although this may be an urban legend, always watch where you step just to be safe.
Romantic Things to Do in Russellville
1. Thorn Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel is a historical Russellville institution.
Nestled between the hills of the Ozarks, Thowncrown Chapel was the birth of Russellville native Jim Reed’s significant dream.
The chapel is a breathtaking piece of architecture, unlike anything you will see anywhere else in the world.
Thorncrown is essentially a glass chapel designed for visitors as a place of peace and quiet.
The walls of the magnificent chapel are floor-to-ceiling glass, providing 360° views of the green and mountain-filled Ozarks.
To say the views are elegant would be an understatement.
If interested in visiting the chapel, a brief presentation of its history is provided to visitors without reservation and free of charge. In addition, visitors can pray, meditate or contemplate at their leisure in this beautiful place 7 days a week.
Plus, if you make it on a Sunday, you can also attend church services that are filled with inspirational music and biblical preaching.
Thorncrown Chapel is a beautiful and unique architectural structure that is among the many great things to do in Arkansas.
2. Garvan Woodland Gardens
Garvan Gardens is just the right place for you if you are looking for outdoor fun in Arkansas.
Open daily, and for a nominal entrance fee, you can explore the lush and flourishing area of the living botanical garden.
Whether you stroll the grounds on foot or ride in one of the hotel’s golf carts, you’ll enjoy a day in the gardens.
The main idea behind the Garvan garden is to preserve the natural environment of the Ouachita Mountains.
With nearly 20 different gardens to explore, you can spend a whole day visiting this top tourist attraction.
Upon initial arrival in the gardens, you will be greeted by the company’s welcome center, a beautiful exit to the gardens.
During your tour, you will enjoy the natural beauty of the gardens, the craftsmanship of the garden structures, and the reflection of several ponds in the gardens.
Best of all, your on-leash pooch is welcome to visit the gardens with you.
After your tour, you’ll want to visit the Garden Shop for some light shopping and/or The Chipmunk Cafe for a quick bite.
Finally, Garvan Woodland Gardens is great for sightseeing in Arkansas.
3. Museum of Native American History (MONAH)
Located in Bentonville, Arkansas, this history museum is dedicated to safeguarding the history and historical monuments of the first Americans.
Established in 2006, the museum was started by a member of the Cherokee Nation.
As such, the museum management is fully invested in sharing Native American history with American generations to come.
Because of this, the museum exhibits authenticity, and depth is astounding.
During your visit to MONAH, you can view exhibits on topics such as how we are all related, the paleo period, the archaic period, forests, and more.
In addition, the museum’s collections date back 14,000 years ago.
In addition to touring the museum, remember that MONAH also often hosts educational and special programs, so be sure to check the calendar of events before you visit.
Best of all, the museum charges no admission fees, so visiting MONAH is free!
MONAH is one of the many amazing places to see in Arkansas.
Free Things to Do in Russellville
1. Fort Smith National Historic Site
During your visit to this Arkansas landmark, you’ll have the opportunity to explore what frontier life was like for Native Americans.
Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves nearly 100 years of Native American history.
Exploring Fort Smith is an immersive adventure.
You will have the opportunity to explore old prisons, trails, courtrooms, gallows, and more.
In addition, you will be able to get a first-hand look at artifacts such as postcards, record books, and weapons.
Combining nature with education and history, Fort Smith National Historic Site is a great destination to visit today or this weekend.
In addition, the park hosts children’s programs such as “Be a Ranger,” trading cards, puzzles, and other fun programs.
During your visit to Fort Smith, you can walk the grounds, view historical artifacts, contemplate the river, enjoy a picnic, take scenic photos, and much more.
One of the many amazing tourist attractions, be sure to check out the Fort Smith National Historic Site.
2. William J. Clinton Library and Museum
As a tribute to our nation’s 42nd president, the William J. Clinton Library and Museum pays tribute to and preserves the legacy of President William J. Clinton.
Within the museum’s walls are more than 100,000 works of art donated by the Clintons during and since they were in office.
In addition, the museum houses artifacts and documents related to the life and history of President Clinton.
Essentially, the museum hopes to tell the former president’s story through observable memorabilia related to his campaign, inauguration, and presidency.
In addition, the museum often organizes educational events for adults and children. Conveniently located just 10 minutes from the airport, the museum is one of Arkansas’s easily accessible tourist attractions.
If you’re a fan of the 42nd president, a politician, or just interested in sharing our nation’s history with your family, be sure to put the Clinton Library on your Arkansas itinerary.
It is one of the few famous places that all visitors to Arkansas should visit.
3. Hot Springs Mountain Tower
This Arkansas attraction is exactly what it sounds like.
The Hot Springs Mountain Tower provides nearly 150 miles of breathtaking mountain views atop the mountains in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
This top Arkansas attraction is not for the faint of heart. The tower’s elevator takes you 216 feet into the sky to the tower’s observation deck.
Once you land, you can sit at the top of the tower and enjoy amazing views of Hot Springs Mountain, the Ouachita Mountains, and the Diamond Lakes area.
It is noteworthy that the tower can be reached by car or at the end of a long hike on a mountain path.
Whether you come by nature or into nature, this fun Arkansas attraction won’t disappoint (as long as you’re not afraid of heights).
Additionally, there is a great gift shop at the base of the tower with a grab-and-go lunch option.
Hot Springs is one of the many scenic destinations in Arkansas. The Hot Springs Mountain Tower allows you to see all of the above scenery in one short lift ride.
Cheap Things to Do in Russellville
1. Fordyce Spa
Once a communal bathhouse that relied on water from local hot springs, the Fordyce Bathhouse in Arkansas closed in 1962.
The doors of the Fordyce Bathhouse remained closed until 1989, when it reopened as a hot spring welcome center.
Now visitors can see the famous building’s magnificent marble corridors, stained glass ceilings, and ceramic fountains.
It’s unclear if the bathhouse was ever historically opened to women, but the tour only gives you a glimpse into the men’s rooms.
However, you can see the men’s swimming hall, changing rooms, massage rooms, music room, and gym.
During the tour, you will watch corresponding videos explaining the business’s history.
It is also worth noting that this bathhouse was considered extensive in its time, as it notably had a bowling alley and all the other amenities.
This little piece of uniquely American history is worth a visit during your stay in Arkansas; it’s definitely one of the most interesting places on this list.
2. Clinton House Museum
This historic site was the marital home of President William J. Clinton and First Lady Hilary Rodham Clinton.
Built in 1931 and occupied by the Clintons in 1975, the house is now registered as a National Historic Landmark.
The Clinton House Museum is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and chronicles the life of the Clintons during their time in Fayetteville.
A tour of the museum will reveal Clinton photos, old campaign materials, and other fascinating artifacts.
After touring this historic presidential home, enjoy a stroll through the First Ladies Garden, which features the favorite flowers of all first ladies since Martha Washington.
In addition to exploring the museum and garden, the Clinton House hosts various events throughout the year.
Some special events include 1970s-themed parties, garden parties, and a wedding anniversary celebration honoring the Clintons, so be sure to check the events calendar before heading to the museum.
After exploring this top Arkansas sightseeing spot, check out the museum’s gift shop for fun souvenirs.
3. Magic Springs Water and Amusement Park
This popular Arkansas park is full of fun and action. Magic Springs brings double the fun with water attractions and land rides.
The amusement park offers many fun thrill rides, family and children rides. The water park also has plenty of exciting water attractions, family water attractions, children’s water attractions, and cabin rentals for your comfort and convenience.
In addition to all the thrill rides at Magic Springs, the park also hosts weekly concerts that are included with your one-day ticket purchase.
The park also hosts special events throughout the season, such as Chiller Sundays, Teacher Appreciation Days, “dive-in” movies that can be watched under the stars from the wave pool, Hero Appreciation Days, and more.
Before you head to the park, check the park’s calendar of events.
Finally, with all of this fun and excitement in one place, every Russellville travel guide would tell you to spend the day at Magic Springs.
Cool Places to visit in Russellville
1. South Arkansas Arboretum
If you’re looking for great things to do in Arkansas, be sure to stop by the South Arkansas Arboretum.
This 12-acre wooded site is home to native and exotic plants, making it a wonderful place to see in the wild.
The Arboretum is a peaceful place to stretch your legs and take your daily steps.
With marked, paved hiking trails, a pavilion and gazebo, and public restrooms, this is a pretty place to stop while taking your journey through The Natural State.
Paved paths through the 13 hectares of wooded parkland have benches along the way, which are a great spot for paddling and bird watching.
Meanwhile, these paved paths are popular with runners, walkers, and cyclists.
Finally, with a wide variety of trees, plants, and flowers to view at the arboretum, this roadside attraction is a great place to stop and get some fresh air while passing through AR.
2. Compton Gardens & Arboretum
Compton Gardens & Arboretum – a seven-acre oasis of beautiful and abundant gardens, is a top Arkansas must-do.
This may be the most beautiful of all the scenic spots in Arkansas. Visitors to the gardens will enjoy the lively forests, plants native to the area, and stunning greenery.
Notably, the gardens welcome small and large groups, so no matter what kind of party you’re traveling with, Compton Gardens & Arboretum is one of the many tourist attractions in the state that welcomes parties of all sizes.
One of Arkansas’ prettiest places to visit, Compton Gardens is also home to five champion trees.
In addition to these impressive trees, you will also enjoy the beauty of magnolias, giant oaks, and maples.
At Compton Gardens, visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds.
Finally, the garden is also the gateway to the adjacent Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Of the many beautiful places to go when visiting Arkansas, be sure to check out Compton Gardens & Arboretum.
Russellville has the perfect combination of nature and modernity, making it an excellent destination for the whole family.
There’s plenty to see, from sprawling shopping malls to historic parks and roaring rivers to modern casinos.
So, make this vibrant city your top destination for your upcoming holiday getaway!