Located in the north central portion of the state, Mountain Home sits along the border with Missouri to its north and is the county seat of Baxter County.
With about 40,000 residents, it’s more of a town than it is a city. It’s conveniently located amidst some of the region’s most amazing natural beauty, which includes mountains, rivers and vast expanses of nearly untouched forests.
Not far from some of the state’s most popular and highly rated golf courses, it’s a sportsman’s paradise too. It’s also within an easy drive of the country music mecca of Branson, Missouri.
1. Donald W. Reynolds Library
Many public libraries in small town USA leave a lot to be desired, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the Donald W. Reynolds Library if you stop and take a look.
A contemporary building that’s both inviting and functional, it’s usually full of a variety of local art; there’s even a comfortable little coffee shop attached.
They often have used book sales and host events and educational activities throughout the year, so it’s a great resource. Even though you may not be able to check out books if you’re from out of state, it’s still well worth a visit.
2. Cotter Trout Dock Guided Trout Fishing Tours
Arkansas is sprinkled with world-class fishing lakes, rivers and streams, and trout are one of the state’s most sought after game fish.
They can be elusive and challenging to tempt, even for the most seasoned anglers; hiring a guide service like Cotter Trout Dock Guided Trout Fishing Tours is a great way to increase the odds of landing some memorable fish.
They offer tours of the White and Buffalo Rivers, and some lakes as well.
Tours are available in full, half, and multi-day options.
3. Big Air
Though Arkansas is known for its rugged nature and wild beauty, it’s difficult to get an idea of its vastness from ground level; that’s where the people at Big Air come in.
Offering tours of the Ozark Mountains, Bull Shoals Lake and Dam, and the White River, to name a few, there are plenty of options for those interested in taking to the air.
Flying at 2,000 feet will give guests an awe-inspiring perspective that few will ever get to see, making it one of the things that’ll stick in your mind long after you’ve returned home.
It’s best to check out their website to view their packages, prices and hours of operation.
4. Flashbacks Retro Shop
Antique and collectible shops are well worth a visit when you’re visiting a new town.
They’re often full of items unique to the area that you won’t find elsewhere. If you’ve got time and patience, there’s no telling what kind of gems you might find.
Mountain Home’s Flashbacks Retro Shop is full of items from new to old and everything in between, and it’s not inconceivable that you’ll find items spanning three centuries.
Previous guests have remarked that the shop is clean and well organized. If you’re looking for something specific, the staff will be glad to point you in the right direction.
5. Norfork National Fish Hatchery
Located on Arkansas Highway 177, the Norfork National Fish Hatchery is a free and interesting place to visit if you’ve got the time to make the relatively short drive from Mountain Home.
Kids love watching the fish of varying sizes swim and eat in their tanks, and it’s quite an educational experience.
It’s possible to buy food and feed the fish yourselves if you happen to stop by when the hatchery is open.
The hatchery raises fish that’ll eventually be stocked in local waters when they’re big enough. The programs they manage ensure that local fish populations remain healthy and viable.
6. James A. Gaston Visitor Center
Northwest Arkansas’ Bull Shoals area is full of open expanses of water and magnificent scenery that draws visitors from all over the area.
It’s an easy drive through the country from Mountain Home. With so much to see and do, it’s wise to stop by the James A. Gaston Visitor Center to scope the layout of the land and get an overview of all the recreation options.
The center features exhibits, a gift shop and a theater where guests can watch a short documentary about the area.
It’s located on Dam Overlook Lane in Bull Shoals and is close to all the things you’ll want to check out.
7. Bull Shoals Dam
When it was completed after years of construction in 1951, Bull Shoals Dam was the largest concrete structure in the world.
It stands 256 tall and spans from shore to shore on the White River.
It’s one of the region’s most majestic sights and gives visitors an exciting and unique blending of the manmade and natural worlds that’s nothing short of breathtaking.
The dam is visible from a few easily accessible viewing areas, and you’ll want to snap a few pictures.
All the lake’s access points are nearby, and depending on the season, you may want to consider fishing, boating, and hiking.
8. Bull Shoals Caverns
Much of the mountainous state of Arkansas sits atop a labyrinth of caves and caverns that offer some unique viewing opportunities for those who aren’t too squeamish to ender the dark, moist spaces.
The Bull Shoals Caverns were created hundreds of millions ago as water eroded the limestone from which the caves are cut.
The caves are open to tours and are home to a unique variety of animals that have adapted in interesting ways to the conditions in the lightless environment.
The caves are open seasonally, so check out their website before making a special trip.
9. Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts
With so much natural beauty and so many outdoor activities close at hand, it may seem strange to find a local theater tucked in amongst the hills. But the Bull Shoals Theater of the Arts is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a few hours watching a live performance put on by locals.
They don’t offer shows very often, but previous guests have commented on how professional and enjoyable the shows were that they’ve seen.
It’s a small, no-frills venue, and that’s part of the allure and charm.
It’s an activity that’s easily combined with many of the other things you’ll want to do in the area.
10. Wolf House
Located in the nearby town of Norfork, Wolf House is open to self-guided tours. Though it won’t take long to see, it’ll give visitors a fascinating glimpse into the past – especially how the brave and hearty pioneers who settled the land more than a century ago lived.
The house was built by the first person of European ancestry to settle in the area. There are a few historical plaques nearby that offer some interesting tidbits of local history and lore that you won’t find elsewhere.
It’ll be hard not to imagine the risk and uncertainty that went along with living on the frontier in those days.
11. Norfork Brewing Company
Since you’ll probably be in the Norfork area already anyway, consider stopping by the area’s most popular brewing company for a cold pint and some camaraderie.
Like most microbreweries, Norfork Brewing Company has a rotating list of beers on tap that change frequently and often with the seasons.
From pale ales and darks to IPAs and wheat beers, finding a brew with a flavor profile that agrees with your taste buds won’t be a problem.
On the weekends, they often host live entertainment, so check out their website for what beers are on tap and upcoming entertainment options.
12. Two Rivers Fly Shop
With so much fishable water and a variety of game fish that are favored by anglers, it’s a good idea to find a local tackle shop if you plan to wet a line on your trip.
If fly fishing is your preferred method of angling, stop by the Two Rivers Fly Shop to get all the hot flies and other gear you’ll need to make your outing a successful one.
In addition to all the equipment you’ll need, the shop offers guided fishing trips. Previous guests have commented on how professional and successful their guided outings were.
Regardless of your level of expertise, they’ll likely have something that fits, so drop them a line or give them a call before heading out.
13. Crown Lake
Many of Arkansas’ lakes can get overcrowded during the summer months, and for those who aren’t into crowds, it can be a bummer.
If that sounds like you and you’d rather travel off the well-worn path, consider a trip to Crown Lake instead of Bull Shoals Lake.
It offers enjoyable watersports like fishing, kayaking, and swimming – there are even a few of Arkansas’ most highly ranked golf courses nearby as well.
There are a few resorts in the area if you’d like to spend a number of days here. Due to its laid back vibe, it’s a great place for families with kids.