Updated May 2021
When you’re looking for a fun and easy road trip, Arkansas is always on our mind. It’s a gorgeous drive through the large trees and hills. The drive is only 5-6 hours straight through but we rarely make any road trip without a few stops. Part of road tripping that is so fun is being able to stop in random towns, discover new favorite restaurants and to explore areas that are unfamiliar. It’s a great way to make memories and learn about new places.
The trip from Dallas to Little Rock is about 300 miles depending on your exact starting and ending point. The drive is relatively easy with no major hurdles. While parts of Texas doesn’t have the most beautiful roads to drive through, once you start venturing up North, the landscape starts to change into lush, large trees that are gorgeous.
Before we head out on any road trip, I like to pack a few essentials of our favorite items. I keep a small cooler and everybody’s favorite drink and lots of snacks. While we do stop at gas stations often and for our meals, it’s nice to have our favorites within reach. It helps save on money and time.
Located about an hour and a half or approximately 80-90 miles outside of Dallas is Sulphur Springs. It’s the half way mark from Dallas to Texarkana. The community offers a variety of specialty shops and dining opportunities. The community enjoys the Interstate 30 experience with family-owned dining opportunities as well as national chains. The I-30 area offers a movie theater, outlet mall, dining, bowling alley and nine hotels.
Want to find some great deals and steals? Stop by Factory Stores of America Outlet Mall for outlet shopping. We love outlet stores for seasonal clothes or random items that we wouldn’t usually purchase. If you love the great outdoors,
Cooper Late State Park is the perfect place to stop. You can fish, picnic, swim, boat, paddle, water-ski, hike, bike, bird watch, study nature, stargaze, ride horses, geocache and camp. This is a great option if you’re traveling with little ones who have lots of energy and need to stretch their legs and go for a little run. Hopkins County Veterans Memorial is a great stop to add a little history into your trip. The Veterans Memorial Park in Heritage Square attracts visitors from near and far. The architecture compliments the adjacent, historic Hopkins County Courthouse and has a park-like atmosphere. The granite memorial is designed to display up to 10,000 names and includes a computerized kiosk allowing visitors to locate individual names, display information on their service, commendations, and view a picture if one is available. Visitors to the memorial have the opportunity to learn about the heroes that have stood ready and willing to serve in order to allow all of us unparalleled freedoms.
If you’re like me, you’re wanting to know where the good food is at. Sulphur Springs has quite a few of individually opened restaurants that are worth a visit. Check out the full list of Sulphur Springs Dining Options.
About 2.5 to 3 hours or 180 miles outside of Dallas is Texarkana. Texarkana is the half way point to Little Rock! If you didn’t make a stop in Sulpur Springs, this is a great place to stop and explore. Texarkana is named after three states: Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. The two separate municipalities, Texarkana, Arkansas, and Texarkana, Texas, sometime function as one city. The State Line Post Office and Federal Building at 500 State Line Avenue is the only U.S. post office situated in two states. It is said to be the most photographed courthouse in the country after the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. Come straddle the state line and snap a pic while you’re in two states once! Hello, photo opp!
Want to add more history to your trip? Stop by the P.J. Ahern Home for a tour of one of the oldest homes in Texarkana. P.J. Ahern, one of the most influential people to live in Texarkana, built the home in 1906 and his descendants still own it today. During the tour you will see the original early twentieth-century fixtures, including the woodwork throughout the house, the gas and electric combination chandeliers, and the Italian tile fireplaces. Fill your bellies with one of these delicious restaurants in Texarkana before you make your next stop to Little Rock.
Approximately 4 hours or 250 miles outside of Dallas is Arkadelphia, Arkansas. The town was named “Arkadelphia,” a combination of Ark- from the state’s name Arkansas and adelphia from the Greek meaning “brother/place”.
The town has a prime locale near the Ouachita River and Caddo River, which are popular destinations for canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Attractions nearby include DeGray Lake and DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Arkansas’s only resort state park, and the Iron Mountain Trail System, mountain bike trails located on the south shore of DeGray Lake just outside of Arkadelphia.
If you have a few hours to spare and are not on a big hurry to your final destination, DeGray Lake is an amazing place to relax and have some fun. As evidenced by its popularity for fishing, camping, swimming, water-skiing and other water sports, the 13,400-acre DeGray Lake is a prime vacation and weekend getaway in west-central Arkansas. Situated among ridges of the Ouachita Mountains and formed by a dam across the Caddo River, the lake has more than 700 campsites, ranging from full hook-ups to primitive, and some 15 boat-launching ramps on its shores.
Located at 705 Main Street, the Arkadelphia Mural is not to be missed. “The Journey from a Dream to the Promise,” 24- ft. by 65-ft. mural painted by Dave Loewenstien; it depicts a man’s path through his future of becoming a successful educator. The work shows a boy on the left holding a sapling, then a man on the right with a graduation cap handing the sapling off to a child.
If you skipped the last two destinations for good eats, check out one of Arkadelphia’s restaurants for the home stretch.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Congrats on making the 320 miles trip to Little Rock, Arkansas from Dallas, Texas. Situated on the Arkansas River banks, downtown Little Rock is anchored by a beautifully restored and renovated Robinson Center Performance Hall and the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center and Park. In between, you’ll find layers of history and heritage mixed with culture and contemporary style. Listed below are some of our favorite things to do while in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Experience the longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge in North America, built specifically for that use. This impressive structure was named the Big Dam Bridge because of its massive 4,226 foot span built atop Murray Lock and Dam.
The Arkansas State Capitol building was built over a century ago as a replica of the US Capitol and has been used in many movies as a stand in. The Arkansas State Capitol building features Arkansas granite and six bronze doors and three chandeliers crafted by Tiffany’s of New York. The dome has a 24-karat gold plated cupola.
Spend the afternoon at one of Arkansas’ prettiest spots, Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Rising more than 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River Valley, the cone-shaped peak of Pinnacle Mountain is a central Arkansas landmark. Once up top (a fairly easy hike up the western slope at a slow pace), the scenery can’t be beat. Besides the more than 40 miles of hiking trails, there are also the Arkansas Arboretum, a playground and plenty of picnic tables.
The Little Rock Zoo has long been one of Arkansas’ great treasures. Experience the majesty of elephants and rhinos. Marvel at the strength and beauty of lions, tigers and jaguars in our Big Cat Habitat. Monkey around at Spider Monkey or Lemur Islands. Or slither around to the Reptile House to go face-to-fang with a deadly reptile. Don’t forget to visit the Children’s Farm where you can get up-close to the animals.
The Clinton Presidential Center is the home of the Little Rock offices of the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and the Clinton School of Public Service, the first institution in the nation to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree. The Center is a world-class educational and cultural venue offering a variety of educational programs, special events, exhibitions, and lectures, presenting a unique perspective of the work – past, present, and future – of the 42nd President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton.
I highly suggest checking out the official Little Rock website and use it as a great resource while you are there. It’s a great place to find restaurants, free things to do, and activities that you might have overlooked.
Enjoy your trip and don’t forget to explore and be open to new things!