While travel looks a little different right now, Arkansas is still very much open for business. Locations across the state are taking special measures to make sure visitors can continue to enjoy all that The Natural State has to offer.
In the Northwest and North Central part of the state, you’ll find a variety of attractions, lodging, and dining options as well as activities, indoors and out, to fill your days with safe fun.
By Jill Rohrbach
For example, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville is open during its regularly scheduled hours with added safety guidelines during this pandemic. In order to maintain proper social distancing, it currently offers free, limited capacity, timed-ticket entry. Visitors must register for a time slot and will receive an email prior to their visit with information about how to prepare and what to expect. Timed tickets help ensure the museum has limited attendance per state guidelines.
Visitors and staff are also required to wear face coverings. Per state guidelines, face coverings are required for visitors ages 10 years and older. At Crystal Bridges, face coverings are recommended for ages 2-9. Masks are available upon entry for those who do not have one.
Like Crystal Bridges, the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa slowly implemented the phase levels as set by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. This careful and responsible attention to the safety of guests and staff has been rewarded with a return in occupancy and full employment. Jack Moyer, executive vice president, says the hotel is also focusing its activities on open spaces and the fresh air of the Ozarks.
“Most resort activities will be narrowed to single travel parties, the spa will continue temperature checks on arriving patrons, and preferential room blocks will be given so multiple guest travel parties can be closer to each other. Smaller attendance size of events, such as weddings, will be maintained, and a Eureka Springs Guidebook, listing other shops, restaurants and attractions that share strict protocols, will be given to guests,” Moyer adds.
While there is change, so much remains the same. All areas of the resort are fully reopened including The New Moon Spa, SkyBar Gourmet Pizza, The Frisco Sporting Club, and a full schedule of resort activities with protocols in place where needed.
Throughout Northwest and North Central Arkansas, other attractions and lodging establishments are taking similar measures. Most restaurants in the region are open with limited capacity for dine-in. Patrons must wear a mask until their food or drink is delivered.
Open Air Fun
Additionally, open air fun can be found in abundance throughout the region and staying physically active is a great way to keep your mind and body healthy.
The region is full of city, state and national parks as well as trails, campgrounds, and open spaces. You can walk self-guided, public art trails in cities such as Fort Smith and Fayetteville, walk or ride the Razorback Regional Greenway or get away from it all and immerse yourself in nature.
Canoeing the Buffalo, Kings, or Mulberry rivers are popular pastimes as are water sports and fishing on Beaver, Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes. Trout fishing on the White, North Fork, and Little Red Rivers makes for a great outdoors vacation too.
Hiking or biking one of the many trails offers scenic beauty and wildlife viewing. Northwest Arkansas alone has 484 miles of trails to explore. Resorts and secluded cabins cater to outdoor enthusiasts.
These green spaces and wild places are the essence of The Natural State and a compelling reason visitors have long sought to visit Arkansas.
Like most of the state, Northwest and North Central Arkansas do have some tourism entities that are closed or operating with reduced hours and services due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some events are affected as well. Please call in advance of arriving at your desired points of interest for the latest information.
Many cities, large and small, like Mountain Home and Rogers, offer COVID-19 resources for travel on their websites. This website, https://www.arkansas.com/arkansas-ready-travel, provides information as well.
When visiting, you can continue to support Arkansas businesses and community by taking health safety measures while in public, including social distancing, wearing masks, and washing your hands.
About Arkansas TourismArkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.