Arkansas Adventures: Top 10 Things To Do In Eureka Springs, AR

Arkansas Adventures: Top 10 Things To Do In Eureka Springs, AR
Verena
Verena
Updated

Never thought of going to Arkansas before? Well, think again. Eureka Springs is a small city in Arkansas that makes a great destination for a short getaway. Because of its mountainous range, magnificent nature, and calming atmosphere, Eureka Springs is known as “The Little Switzerland of America”. This small Victorian town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, especially during the warmer months. So get out there and discover what Arkansas has to offer!

1. Marvel at the stunning architecture of Thorncrown Chapel

09-02-06-ThorncrownChapel1
Source: Photo by user Bobak used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Ranked as one of the most beautiful churches in both America and the whole world, Thorncrown Chapel is known for its splendid design. Its contemporary exterior is unlike any other church in the world. What makes Thorncrown Chapel particularly unique is its construction. Made primarily from wood and other materials native to Arkansas, the chapel is truly one-of-a-kind.

Enclosed by over 6,000 square feet (557 square meters) of glass, the chapel gives off a distinct airy vibe as sunlight pours in from everywhere. Unless there is a wedding, the chapel is open to the public with no entrance fee. You will undeniably be charmed by the chapel’s beauty and the peaceful surroundings.

Thorncrown Chapel

Address: 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) west of Eureka Springs on Hwy 62 West

Opening Hours: 9 am - 5 pm (April to November), 11 am - 4 pm (March to December)

Duration: Around 30 minutes

Price: Free

Contact: +1-479-253-7401

Website: Thorncrown Chapel

2. Observe rescued exotic cats at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Love the colors of his Lion
Source: Photo by user PS-OV-ART Patty S... used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re an animal lover, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit for you. Aiming to rescue exotic cats, this refuge provides care and shelter to around 130 animals, mostly consisting of tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars. It has gained recognition as one of the largest public exotic cat rescue facilities in the world.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is also home to several other animal species that are not exotic cats. You may be able to spot a couple of bears and monkeys, among others. If you wish to stay and spend a few days with the animals, lodging is provided right on-site. With only 6 RV spots and 8 suites available, be sure to book your spot early!

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Address: 239 Turpentine Creek Lane, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm (summer), 9 am - 5 pm (winter)

Duration: At least 2 hours

Price: 20 USD (adults), 15 USD (youth), 10 USD (kids)

Contact: +1-479-253-5841

Website: Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

3. Explore the depths of Onyx Cave

Ghost Room
Source: Photo by user Eric Hunt used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Located a 15-minute drive (6 miles / 9.6 km) away from Eureka Springs, Onyx Cave is one of the oldest show caves in Arkansas. It has been a popular tourist attraction for over a century, and hence is also one of the most heavily damaged. As a result, visitors are expected to explore the cave with care to prevent further damage.

Grab a headset and discover Onyx Cave on your own. Because guided tours are not offered, these headsets will serve as your guide, leading you through the cave while explaining the distinct rock formations. Don’t worry, you will not get lost here. With just one opening to the cave, you will have to enter and exit through the same way, making it an easy experience.

Onyx Cave

Address: 338 Onyx Cave Lane, Eureka Springs, AR

Opening Hours: 9 am - 5 pm (summer), 9 am - 4 pm (winter)

Duration: Around 30 minutes

Price: 7.50 USD (adults), 3.50 USD (kids)

Contact: +1-479-253-9321

Website: Onyx Cave

4. Visit the renowned Quigley’s Castle to see beautiful flowers and plants

Quigley's Castle, Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Source: Photo by user Brandonrush used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Quigley’s Castle is one of the most unusual houses in Arkansas. Despite its name, this historic museum is actually not a castle. It was designed by Elise Quigley to store her tropical plants. Covered with diverse flora, the grounds of Quigley’s Castle are the epitome of the spring season.

Stroll around the garden and surround yourself by nature. Don’t forget to also admire the structure of the house itself. With its exterior adorned with Quigley’s rock collection from her childhood, this building is not just an architectural gem, but also holds lots of personal significance.

Quigley’s Castle

Address: 274 Quigley Castle Rd, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Opening Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (April to October). Closed on Sundays and Thursdays *Call for details on March and November opening hours

Duration: Around 30 minutes

Price: 7 USD (adults), free (kids under 14 years old)

Contact: +1-479-253-8311

Website: Quigley’s Castle

5. Enjoy a picnic along the coastline of Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake with changing leaves
Source: Photo by user Doug Wertman used under CC BY 2.0

In the midst of the Ozark Mountains, Beaver Lake has around 487 miles (784 kilometers) of shoreline that makes for gorgeous views. It is surrounded by towering limestone structures, natural caves, and lush trees, creating a striking panoramic landscape for your viewing pleasure.

Recreational facilities around the lake include parks, campsites, beaches, hiking trails, and boat docks. It is the ideal place to spend the day relaxing or enjoying a picnic by the lake. Go on a hike by the lake, or rent a boat and cruise around on the dazzling waters. If you’re up for it, you can even stay for a couple of nights at a campsite and get the chance to truly immerse yourself in nature.

Beaver Lake

Address: 2260 N. 2nd Street, Rogers, AR 72756

Duration: At least 1 hour

Contact: +1-479-636-1210

Click here for more information

6. Marvel at the towering structure of The Christ of the Ozarks

Standing at 65.5 feet (20 meters) tall, The Christ of the Ozarks is a giant sculpture of Jesus Christ perched on Magnetic Mountain. If you cannot make the trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to see the renowned Christ the Redeemer, this may just be the next best thing. Whether you are religious or not, this towering statue is still worth a visit.

Serving as a reminder of God’s presence to some visitors, The Christ of the Ozarks is a must-see that you won’t want to miss. It also houses The Great Passion Play, a 4100-seat outdoor amphitheater. After gawping at the structure, end the day by watching an outdoor play about Christ’s life right here.

The Christ of the Ozarks

Address: 935 Passion Play Rd, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Duration: Around 30 minutes

Contact: +1-479-253-9200

Click here for more information

7. Admire the simple designs of Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church

Eureka Springs AR, 27 Oct 2012.  Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church.  Beautiful!!
Source: Photo by user Brad Holt used under CC BY 2.0

A famous landmark in Eureka Springs, Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church is known for its unique unattached Bell Tower. It is one of the only churches where you have to walk through the tower to enter. Not just an architectural beauty, this church provides you with a unique experience that you will not be able to get anywhere else.

Before you step in, spend a few moments outside to admire the simplistic stone designs and beautiful flora surrounding the church. Also take some time to look at the gorgeous stained glass windows within church. The vibrant colors of the glass are beyond mesmerizing. With its aesthetics, Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church creates a charming and peaceful vibe that visitors can appreciate.

Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church

Address: 30 Crescent Drive, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Duration: Around 30 minutes

Contact: +1-479-253-9853

Website: Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church

8. Stroll through vibrant plants at Blue Spring Heritage Center

Blue Springs Heritage Center
Source: Photo by user Mitchel23 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Featuring native plants and trees, Blue Spring Heritage Center is only open to the public during the warm summer months. Apart from its beautiful flora, the center also plays a significant role in contributing water to the lagoon. Filled with countless trout, this is the largest spring in the area.

Located on grounds that the Cherokee people used to call home, Blue Spring Heritage Center will surround you with not only natural beauty, but also rich culture. The gardens capture the history of the Ozark region, dating all the way back to prehistoric civilization. This distinct blend of nature and history is an oasis you should visit when in the area.

Blue Spring Heritage Center

Address: 1537 Co Rd 210, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Opening Hours: 9 am - 6 pm (March to November)

Duration: At least 30 minutes

Price: 9.75 USD (adults), 6.50 USD (kids under 17 years old)

Contact: +1-479-253-9244

Website: Blue Spring Heritage Center

9. Be awed by the impressive magic performances at Intrigue Theater

Prepare to let your jaw drop at Intrigue Theater. Known for its entertaining optical illusion performances, this is a fun indoor activity that both adults and children can enjoy. Although it is on a smaller scale than magic shows in Las Vegas, you can expect it to be just as good, and perhaps even better.

Get involved and take part in a trick. What makes Intrigue Theater a step above others is its interactive magic shows. With the magician constantly encouraging the audience to participate, you are guaranteed to have a memorable evening. Set in an old church, this is one of the activities you must do while in Eureka Springs.

Intrigue Theater

Address: 32 South Main Street, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Hours: Shows begin at 8:30 pm

Duration: Around 2 hours

Price: From 30 USD

Contact: +1-855-446-8744

Website: Intrigue Theater

10. Take a ride on the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

Eureka Springs and Northern Arkansas - Pulling Into The Station
Source: Photo by user Doug Wertman used under CC BY 2.0

Go back in time to the 1940s and experience riding on a historical form of locomotive transportation. There is nothing quite like going back to the past and getting a taste of history. It is also an exciting way to explore the beautiful countryside of Arkansas.

Choose between the Excursion Train or Dining Car. The former takes you on a ride through the countryside, while the latter includes a meal aboard the train. Do note that the rides are only offered during the warmer months, from April to October. Between the experience of the train ride and the scenic views of the landscapes, this is a ride you won’t forget.

Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

Address: 299 North Main Street, Eureka Springs, AR 72632

Hours: Train departures vary on different dates, see website for more details *Only available from April to October

Duration: At least 1 hour

Price: 15 USD (adults), 8 USD (kids under 12 years old)

Contact: +1-479-253-9623

Website: Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway

Next stop: Arkansas

Next time you’re looking for a short weekend getaway during the spring or summer, consider Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Just because you may not have heard of it before, that does not mean you should rule it out. From natural wonders to architectural gems, this is a city you should visit on your next US trip. It may not have the awe-striking appeal of a major city, but it has a unique charm in its own special way. Quiet and peaceful, Eureka Springs will show you some of the best aspects of Arkansas like you have never seen before.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Verena is currently a journalism student in New York City. Having to move around a lot throughout her childhood triggered her passion for traveling at a young age. She believes that exploring new...Read more

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