The mission of the Department of Parks and Tourism is to enhance the quality of life in Arkansas by promoting, protecting, interpreting, and managing the State’s natural and cultural resources.
The department strives to help the tourism industry connect with prospective travelers while promoting the state of Arkansas as a whole.
1. ) What is your destination most known for?
Arkansas’s scenic beauty truly sets our state apart. There’s a reason Arkansas is known as The Natural State! The Buffalo National River, with its towering limestone bluffs and clear waters, is America’s first national river, and Arkansas is also home to Hot Springs National Park, the first unit of the national park system. If you’re into mountain biking, Arkansas has five trails that hold “Epic” status from the International Mountain Bicycling Association, placing us tied with Colorado for second-most in the country. Our Arkansas State Parks also offer world-class Monument Trails for mountain biking, and many local communities have excellent trails as well.
2.) During this time, how can we enjoy your destination?
Arkansas has countless outdoor recreation opportunities across the state. Our 52 state parks are some of the best around, and they are completely free to enter. We also have three national forests – the Ozark, St. Francis, and the Ouachita – and many natural heritage areas where you can safely explore. Our urban areas offer restaurants, arts, and culture without all the hustle and bustle of larger cities, so you can enjoy amenities without a huge crowd of people.
3.) What hidden gem should not be missed when visiting your destination?
There are so many… In fact, you can literally dig for diamonds and keep what you find at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro! Arkansas’s Delta region is where Johnny Cash grew up and his musical journey began. You can tour his boyhood home in Dyess. President Bill Clinton launched his political path in Arkansas, and sites commemorating his legacy can be found throughout the state, including at his Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock. Arkansas is also home to the ESSE Purse Museum in Little Rock, one of only two purse museums in the world. And Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville is truly one of the world’s best collections of American art.
4.) What’s one feature that can’t be missed when visiting your website?
Our monthly digital publication, “Discover Arkansas,” is one of my favorite parts of Arkansas.com. Offering monthly trip ideas and inspiration, “Discover Arkansas” is one of our key outreach efforts to motivate travelers to visit the state. We have a team of in-house travel writers based across the state, and they always do a tremendous job crafting content that resonates with travelers.
5.) How did you hear about NATJA, why did you join?
Seven years ago, a colleague on my team recommended that I join. I researched the organization and knew it would be beneficial not only for me, but for Arkansas Tourism as well. And I’ve definitely found that to be true! NATJA provides wonderful networking opportunities, relevant professional development, and of course, it’s always nice to be recognized for your work in the annual NATJA awards program.
6.) Is there anything else you feel travel media should know about your destination?
I think travel media may be surprised about the diversity of attractions and activities available in Arkansas. From outdoor adventure to world-class art to unique dining opportunities, we truly have it all. To top it off, Arkansans are friendly and welcoming, and we hear time and time again from visitors about how their trip was enhanced by our residents.