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:
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.
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.
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.
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.