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Fort Smith National Historic Site

Explore Fort Smith & Van Buren

Nestled along the Arkansas-Oklahoma border, the Ozark cities of Fort Smith and Van Buren feature plenty of fun things to do and places to discover. Check out these great things to do during your visit:


Discover history.

Any visit to Fort Smith and Van Buren would be incomplete without stopping at the Fort Smith National Historic Site and Fort Smith National Cemetery. Both sites date back to the mid 1800s, and feature tons of authentic landmarks.

Only steps away from the historical site, the Fort Smith Museum of History also comes highly recommended for the traveling history buff. Be sure to grab a refreshing cola from the bona fide 1920s Soda Fountain.

Shoot for par.

If golf is your game, feel free to hit the greens at Cedars Country Club in Van Buren. The course is home to pristine 18-hole and nine-hole courses, with a par of 36 and slope rating of 67. Check out some of the local-favorite golf courses in Arkansas.

Go back to school.

Just off of Interstate 540, the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith is a must-see for soon-to-be college students. Take a tour of the campus and check out highlights like the Mary Tinnin Jaye Gallery and the Sally Boreham Gallery, and the NUMA statue outside the Stubblefield Center.

Explore Fort Smith & Van Buren

Downtown Fort Smith

Speaking of Stubblefield Center; sports fans, be sure to hit an Arkansas-Fort Smith Lions game during your visit. The Lions  field 10 varsity teams, competing in the Heartland Conference.

Hit Main Street.

If you’re ready to do as the locals do, check out the local flavor on Main Street in the Van Buren Downtown Historic District. Everything from historic attractions and local restaurants, to galleries and boutiques are spread across six blocks.

Similarly, Garrison Avenue in downtown Fort Smith is loaded with some of the best shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife the area has to offer. Be sure to examine the vibrant Unexpected Murals and chill out at the Park at West End. 

See a show.

Whether you’re a fan of live theatre or not, the King Opera House in Van Buren is an absolute must-see. Built in 1880, the building is teeming with history, and even is said to be haunted.

For a more traditional, and certainly less frightening, performance or live event, check out the Riverfront Amphitheater at River Park in Fort Smith. The amphitheater frequently hosts community events and family-friendly concerts.

Shop 'til you drop.

Best Things to Do in Vicksburg

Devils Den State Park

Central Mall, located on the east side of Fort Smith, is the go-to shopping center for area visitors. One of the largest malls in the state, Central Mall features anchor stores like Dillard’s JC Penny, and Sears, as well as countless other retail and specialty stores.

Get outdoors.

Head north from Van Buren on Interstate 49 and you’ll quickly find Devil’s Den State Park. Spread across 2,500 acres, the park features a ton of hiking, biking, equestrian trails, picnic areas, and more, all in the heart of the Ozarks.

For a little outdoor fun in town, the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center offers plenty of fishing, wildlife viewing, trails, and picnicking, all conveniently located in Fort Smith.

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Best Western Hotels Along the Way:

1

Best Western Aspen Hotel

2900 S 68th Street, Fort Smith AR 72903-4000
Phone: +1 479-452-9000  |  Fax: (479) 484-0551  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

2

Best Western Van Buren Inn

1903 N 6th Street, Van Buren AR 72956-2338
Phone: +1 479-474-8100  |  Fax: (479) 471-8100  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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More to See in Arkansas

  • Motorcycle Rides

    Motorcycle Rides

    Motorcycle your way along the Great River Road, Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway, and Crowley's Ridge Parkway for an unforgettable adventure through the Natural State.

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  • Arkansas Universities

    Arkansas Universities

    Travel around Arkansas and experience the history of some of the oldest and most storied universities in the country. From the Arkansas Razorbacks to the Henderson State Reddies.

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  • Cultural Arkansas

    Cultural Arkansas

    Visit museums, galleries and cultural centers like the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum, and the Clinton Presidential Center.

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  • Arkansas State Parks

    Arkansas State Parks

    Explore one of over 50 state parks in northern and southern Arkansas, plus the Arkansas Delta and surrounding Little Rock.

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  • Visit Little Rock

    Visit Little Rock

    Venture into Little Rock on your exploration of Arkansas. Enjoy local festivals, scenic hikes at nearby parks, a wealth of historical sites, and a fun night life scene in downtown.

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  • Arkansas Civil War Sites

    Arkansas Civil War Sites

    Tour these famous and noteworthy Civil War attractions across Arkansas. From museums to historic battlegrounds, Arkansas is rich in Civil War history.

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  • Arkansas Festivals

    Arkansas Festivals

    Not matter what time of year you visit, you won't want to miss these annual festivals in Arkansas. 

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  • Arkansas Airport Hotels

    Arkansas Airport Hotels

    Hotels near primary Arkansas airports like Little Rock National, Northwest Arkansas Regional, and Fort Smith Regional.

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  • Arkansas College Sports

    Arkansas College Sports

    Visit Arkansas and check out the top-notch college sports throughout Fayetteville, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and northern Arkansas.

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  • Arkansas National Parks

    Arkansas National Parks

    From Civil War to Civil Rights, Arkansas' six national parks include Hot Springs, Fort Smith, and Little Rock Central High.

    Natl. Parks of AR ►
  • Arkansas Outdoors

    Arkansas Outdoors

    Explore Arkansas' excellent hunting & fishing throughout the Ouachita, Ozark, & St. Francis National Forests.

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