By Kim Williams/Arkansas Tourism
1. Beat the heat with a trip to Crenshaw Springs Water Park in White Hall. Nothing is better for a hot day than the feel of cool water all around you! Crenshaw Springs Water Park in White Hall is a go-to in the Lower Delta for water fun. The park features two large flume slides, a lazy river, a toddler splash area and slide, a zero-depth entry area, diving boards and a rock-climbing wall, as well as a restaurant. From the Cottonmouth Curse and Diamondback Dive to the Squirrel’s Nest and Crenshaw Creek, there’s water fun for all ages.
2. Spend an evening at Southland Casino Racing. Whether you’re looking to try your luck or to enjoy a great meal, Southland has you covered. The facility has been a major West Memphis attraction since 1956. Open year-round, the facility includes more than 80,000 square feet of gaming action, along with live greyhound racing and simulcast dog and horse racing. Southland has begun a $250-million expansion that will expand gaming offerings to 2,400 gaming machines and as many as 60 live table games. A new 113,000 square-foot casino complex will feature new and expanded dining options. The signature component of the expansion is a 20-story, 300-room hotel tower. Onsite parking will be expanded via a new, covered parking garage with 1,250 spaces.
3. Take advantage of a new combo tour offered by Arkansas State University Heritage Sites. The new combined tour includes admission to Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess and the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza. Both are a great way to learn more about the history of the Arkansas Delta.
4. Plan a day in Wilson. Located right along Arkansas’s Great River Road/All-American Road, the town was named after its founder, R.E.L. Wilson. It would become one of the largest farming empires in the South. You’ll definitely want to check out the Wilson Café. With award-winning Chef Roberto Barth at the helm, the menus feature Southern food that never disappoints. Learn more about Native Americans who called the area home at Hampson Archeological Museum State Park. Do some shopping at White’s Mercantile, owned by Holly Williams, granddaughter of the legendary Hank Williams. The shop offers everything from clothing to kitchen items, candles, Southern accents, books and more.
5. Grab some James Beard award-winning barbecue at Jones Bar-B-Q Diner in Marianna. The well-known spot recently reopened after a fire took out the pit area and back section of the historic restaurant. But they’re open and back to serving the ‘que that’s been loved by fans for over a century. Go early. The beloved spot is known to sell out quickly, well before noon.
6. Learn more about America’s worst maritime disaster at the Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion. On the early morning of April 27, 1865, the Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, killing nearly 1,200 of the almost 2,400 passengers onboard. Many of those were former Union soldiers, on their way home from Confederate prison camps following the end of the Civil War. The boat sank near Marion and became, and remains, America’s greatest maritime disaster.
7. Learn more about the music of the Arkansas Delta with a trip to historic Helena. The Delta Cultural Center has a great section dedicated to musicians with ties to the Arkansas Delta. It’s also home to King Biscuit Time, the longest-running daily blues radio show in the U.S.
8. Visit the Arkansas Welcome Center in West Memphis for information and ideas from our certified travel consultants. Whether you’re traveling only a few miles or across The Natural State, the staff at the Arkansas Welcome Centers can help you make the most of your visit.