Located in the west-central portion of Arkansas near its border with Oklahoma, Greenwood is the county seat of Sebastian County Arkansas.
It’s close enough to Fort Smith to be considered a suburb by locals, but it’s a distinct municipality and had a population of nearly 9,000 at the time of the last census.
Due to its convenient location, many of the state’s most natural areas are easy to visit, and more than a few cultural, historic and artistic ones as well in the larger urban areas close by.
Below are 13 of the best things to do in and around Greenwood Arkansas.
1. Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center
Named after the wife of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, the Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center on Wells Lake Road in Fort Smith, is full of interesting displays and interactive exhibits that relates to the natural and animal worlds.
It’s worth a stop regardless of any age, but is always a place of interest, particularly for kids -. especially with the collection of local lizards, amphibians, fish and snakes that are on hand.
It’s free to visit, and fishing is allowed in the lake on the grounds. There are plenty of walkable trails that lead to interesting forest viewing areas as well.
2. Chaffee Barbershop Museum
Though a barbershop museum probably doesn’t sound like the kind of fascinating site that deserves a top spot on your itinerary, keep in mind that the Chaffee Barbershop Museum is also a local and military history museum all rolled into one.
Depending on when you show up, you may get the dime tour from the museum’s owner and curator, and you’ll probably be impressed with the variety of interesting historical items on display.
The museum is conveniently located on Terry Street in Fort Smith, and as you’ve probably already guessed, the cost of admission is a pittance, so swing by and take a look.
3. Parrot Island Water park
Though rural Arkansas isn’t known for its parrots or islands, the Parrot Island Water Park is one of the Greenwood and Fort Smith area’s most visited destinations, especially in the sultry summer months when the heat and humidity conspire to make the weather pretty much unbearable.
It’s located on South Zero Street in Fort Smith and sports nearly 400,000 gallons of water-related features, like wave pools, splash pads, and twisty slides.
The water park includes cabanas that are available to rent, food and drink concessions, covered picnic and seating areas, and changing rooms.
Expect a crowd if you go during peak times.
4. The Shops at BrickCity
Fort Smith’s Shops at Brickcity is a unique mix of a thrift shop, antique store, and flea market; however you choose to classify it, it’s a place that’s worth an hour or two of your time.
It’s comprised of dozens of individual vendors selling a wide variety of products, including prepared food, health and body products, home decorations, kid’s stuff, and house wares.
They’re also known for their amazing assortment of quirky flavored sodas that you won’t find anywhere else. If you’ve never tried blackberry, butter-beer or Japanese-style soda, pick up a bottle or two.
The Shops are located on South 74th Street in Fort Smith.
5. Lake Ouachita State Park
Lake Ouachita State Park is home to the largest lake in Arkansas; at nearly 40,000 acres, it’s a whopper by any standards.
The trip to the park takes about 2 hours and is adjacent to the Ouachita National Forest – one of the largest in the state as well – and the area offers guests a variety of recreation options year-round.
Swimming, boating, and scuba diving are always popular, as is fishing. The lake has healthy populations of game fish – like largemouth bass, catfish and striped bass – which aren’t native to Arkansas but grow big and put up a heck of a fight.
Check the park’s website for specifics.
6. The Gangster Museum of America
For those visitors who would love to visit Greenwood with their own set of wheels and a willingness to hit the open road, a trip to the famous town of Hot Springs would be a great single or multi-day excursion.
In addition to its therapeutic springs, it’s also home to other unique attractions that seem a little out of place – one of them is the Gangster Museum of America.
The museum includes collections spanning many decades and geographical areas.
Back in its heyday, Hot Springs was one of the swankiest and ritziest resorts in the east. The exciting part is that it drew the gangsters in from big cities like New York and Chicago.
7. Ozark Bathhouse Cultural Center
Designed by a famous architectural firm from Little Rock, the Ozark Bathhouse was one of the most highly regarded Hot Springs bathhouses during its years of operation.
Built in the Spanish-revival style, it has interesting elements that reflect an art-deco influence. It was built for the paltry sum of just less than $100,000, which is probably north of a million these days.
Now, it’s a cultural center that’s dedicated to preserving the town’s rich history and educating locals and visitors alike.
The facilities are available to rent for special functions and host a variety of community education programs as well.
8. Fort Smith Museum of History
Fort Smith is a city that’s brimming with history, and there are more than a few museums near downtown that are all full of interesting bits of local culture worth a look.
Housed in a large, red, brick building built decades ago, the Fort Smith Museum of History is inexpensive to visit. Recent guests have noted that they were impressed with the items on display.
The museum covers many eras of history, with a particular focus on the pioneer, settlement and Civil War years.
It’s located on Rogers Avenue near downtown, so consider taking a leisurely stroll afterwards.
9. St. Scholastica Monastery
You may not expect to find such a magnificent school in the monastery in Fort Smith, but the St. Scholastic School Monastery has been around for ages, and the interesting history and distinct architecture for which it’s known make it a worthwhile place to visit.
Since it’s still an operating school, it’s not always open to the public, so call or check online before you go.
If you’re just interested in seeing it from the outside, it’s okay to stop and take a look any time.
The treed grounds are well-manicured and draw lots of local wildlife, like rabbits, birds, and squirrels, so it’s a fun place for kids.
10. The Clayton House
Fort Smith’s Clayton House is open to visitors by either self-guided or professionally guided tours. Whichever you choose, you’ll have access to all parts of the home that was built in the late 1800s.
It was originally the family home of a local criminal prosecutor, who had the reputation of being a hard-nosed defender of law and order and tough on criminals.
The home is inexpensive to tour; to see everything at a casual pace will probably take no more than an hour.
The home is full of original and reproduction furniture, art, and housewares that were considered pretty extravagant by the standards of the time.
11. Chapters on Main
It’s a sad trend, but independent bookstores are becoming rarer with every passing day.
Luckily, Chapters on Main in Van Buren is one that has stood the test of time. In addition to its selection of books, it’s got a coffee shop on site that’s known for its tasty coffee, smoothies, and tea.
If you’re a book lover and coffee aficionado like me, it’s a place that you just may get lost in for hours.
They’ve got an array of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books, as well as a few on local history and some that were written by local and regional authors.
12. Vache Grasse Golf Course
Vache Grasse Golf Course is an 18-hole municipal golf course that’s a favorite of locals, who appreciate its challenging holes and scenic views.
It’s open to and appropriate for golfers of all levels. If you’ll be around for a while and would like some professional pointers, ask about lessons in the pro shop.
They’ve got all the items you’ll need on the course for sale on site, and there’s a swimming pool that’s open from Memorial to Labor Day as well.
Like most golf courses, tee times can fill up fast on the weekends when the weather is nice, so book yours early or play during the week if you’d like to avoid the crowds.
13. Arkansas and Missouri Railroad
With a depot located in Van Buren, the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad offers round-trip excursions from the town between January and November.
The trips are offered on different days of the week depending on the season, so be sure to give them a call or ask a local before making a special trip.
If you’ve never been on a train, they’re great ways to see the sights from a different vantage point. There’s even a dining car on board if you’d like to have a bite to eat.
The tours typically last three hours and are an especially big hit with kids and train enthusiasts.