Free Stuff to Do in Arkansas This Summer

Summer should be a fun and carefree time for you and your family. We’re emphasizing “free.” With the recent trends in spending and in the economy, it’s safe to say that traveling and summer vacations will cost as much as ever in 2023. So, why not stay close to home? There’s summer fun to be had right here in Arkansas that won’t close you a dime (beyond the gas).

Take in History at These Free Museums

Arkansas has a long and rich history well worth visiting and learning about. Getting out and exploring it isn’t as expensive as you’d think, with several museums and historical sites having free admission to the public. Here are some great options:

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Learn about the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement by visiting the Little Rock Nine at Little Rock Central High School, a U.S. National Park Service Historic Site.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Located in Bentonville, Crystal Bridges is free to the public and features some true American masterworks dating all the way back to the colonial period, while still highlighting modern contemporary art. 

Walmart Museum

The Walmart Museum is also located in Bentonville. Take a trip down memory lane and learn about the historic retail innovation that began as Walton’s 5&10. The museum is temporarily located in the Walmart Museum Heritage Lab while the main site undergoes a renovation.

The Governor’s Mansion

Located in the capital city of Little Rock, the Governor’s Mansion is a great place to take a day trip. There are free guided tours, with notice, so call ahead at (501) 324-9805.

The Old Mill, North Little Rock

This historic and scenic mill gained international fame after it was featured in the opening scene in “Gone with the Wind.” The Old Mill is free and open to the public each day, and guided tours are available with notice.

Sightseeing Districts

Arkansas boasts an array of sightseeing districts that art lovers and culture enthusiasts will relish exploring. Let’s take a look at some of the best spots throughout the state. 

Explore Historic Downtown Van Buren

This remarkable six-block span in Van Buren is filled with history, art galleries, antique stores, and much more. During certain times of the year, free concerts often take place in the nearby King Opera House.

Stroll the Riverwalk in Fort Smith

This is a scenic trail that offers some gorgeous panoramic views of the Arkansas River, Fort Smith’s historic exhibits, and beautiful landscaping. 

River Market District

Back in the capital city of Little Rock, the River Market District has a beautiful open-air pavilion, a farmers market in the summer (which is free to browse), and free entertainment.

Visit State/National Parks

Arkansas has 55 state parks. Here, we’re listing just a few of the more popular ones. Since entry to all state parks is free, it’s an easy go-to suggestion if you’re on a budget. 

Mount Magazine State Park

Home to the state’s tallest peak, Mount Magazine State Park is where hikers have plenty to see along the park’s extensive trail system, not to mention some of the best views around at the top. 

Petit Jean State Park

Arkansas’s first state park, Petit Jean is a French phrase meaning “Little John.” You and your family will be in for a full day, as there are tons of hiking trails and picnicking areas, but the real attraction is Cedar Falls.

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park, is a must-visit for all nature lovers. Beyond obvious activities like hiking, picnicking and sightseeing, you can even fill up your bottles or canteens with the mineral-rich water for free.

When you’re on the move this summer, checking out all there is to see in Arkansas, you’re going to need to be protected while you’re on the road. Farm Bureau Insurance of Arkansas has high-quality car insurance to keep you covered. Get a free, no-risk quote now.