Harrison Arkansas is located in the north-central portion of the state, just a few miles south of the border with Missouri.
It’s the county seat of Boone County and had slightly less than 14,000 residents at the time of the last census.
With a wide variety of natural and historical sites nearby, finding things to do on your trip won’t be an issue. If you’re a fan of country music, taking a short drive to nearby Branson Missouri would be a wise way to spend a day.
Below are 14 of the best things to see and do in and around Harrison.
1. Boone County Heritage Museum
The Boone County Heritage Museum is probably a great place to start for those who are new to the area and interested in learning about the region’s past.
The cost of admission is very reasonable, and the museum is full of artifacts, exhibits, and items of interest from bygone eras.
Much of what you’ll see includes first-hand accounts of the lives of the tough and determined people who settled the area nearly a century ago.
The museum is located on Cherry Street in Harrison; if you’ve got time, consider spending an hour or more to see all there is to see.
2. Buffalo National River Park
Arkansas’ Buffalo River National Park is one of the region’s premier destinations for fishermen, hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes.
It’s managed by the National Park Service and includes thousands of acres of preserved and pristine mountains, forests, and rivers.
When you consider that there are more than 100 miles of trails within the park, you’ll get an idea of its vastness.
With so much to see and do and so much ground to cover, it’s best to check their website well in advance of your trip to make a rough plan of which part you’ll visit and what you’ll do.
3. Mystic Caverns
Located on Caverns Drive in Harrison, Mystic Caverns are a great destination if you’d like to escape the outdoor elements and get a fascinating glimpse into Arkansas’ geological past.
Guided tours are the way to go; they are affordable, and your guide will give you fascinating tidbits of local lore, legend, and history along with your crash course in geology.
The caves maintain a lovely, comfortable temperature regardless of the weather outside, so they’re great to see in the dog days of summer.
During peak times, especially during the summer vacation months, the tours can fill up quickly, so plan accordingly.
4. Lyric Theater
Harrison’s Lyric Theater is both a historical and entertainment gem that deserves an hour or two of your valuable vacation time.
The theater is located on West Rush Avenue near Harrison’s downtown area; though they don’t do a great number shows, the ones they do are real crowd pleasers.
Previous guests have commented on how professional the performances were, and how the theater’s modest size added a quaint and intimate aura that probably would’ve been lost in larger venues.
Most of the performers are local high school and college students. In addition to getting some family-friendly entertainment, a trip here is a great way to support the local economy.
5. The Collier Homestead at Tyler Bend
The Collier Homestead at Tyler bend is reachable via a short walk along an easy trail that leads from the parking area.
The cabin is a well-preserved example of the type of home built and inhabited by settlers nearly a century ago. It’s easy to get a feel for the lives of the brave, rugged people who faced the elements, hostile Native Americans, and wild animals to carve out lives for themselves.
The homestead is near Buffalo River; elevated points nearby offer some of the most scenic and unobstructed views you’ll find, so consider taking a look while you’re close by.
6. Lovejoy Collectibles
Antique stores, flea markets, and collectible shops are great places to check out when visiting a new area.
You’ll often find odds and ends unique to the region that you won’t find elsewhere. They make great gifts, or if you’d rather keep them for yourself, they make pleasant reminders of your trip.
Lovejoy Collectibles sell a wide variety of vintage items; if you don’t mind combing through lots of stuff, you may find a proverbial gem or two.
They’ve got helpful staff, clean restrooms, and items from a number of different vendors, so grab a coffee, some comfortable shoes and check it out.
7. Rust, Dust & Wanderlust
Part flea market, part antique store, and part curio shop, Rust, Dust, and Wanderlust is another place that’s perpetually on the radar for those willing to take their time looking for truly unique items that you won’t find in the national mega-retail stores.
They’re located on North Main Street and have items from all over the country – even some overseas ones as well.
When you consider how items from such far-flung places ended up in Harrison Arkansas, it adds a level of depth and history that you won’t find elsewhere.
8. Bounce Mania
If the little ones you’re traveling with a have tolerated trips to log cabins and antique stores without putting up much of a fuss, considering giving them a few hours of let-loose time at Harrison’s Bounce Mania.
Located on Highway 7 just outside town, they have an area that’s safe and exhilarating for all children regardless of their age.
Admission is inexpensive, and it’s one of those indoor climate controlled activities that’s perfect for when the weather outside is unappealing.
The facilities are open for birthday parties too, but remember that all jumpers need to have a pair of their own socks.
9. Ozark Moonshine Run
Back in the days of Prohibition, Arkansas’ remote hills and hollers were home to scofflaw moonshiners who produced the clear liquor called “white lightning” that sold on the black market like wildfire.
Following the path of the Ozarks moonshiners will give you a unique insight into the area’s culture, in addition to the natural beauty you’ll see all around you.
You’ll need a good map and a set of wheels, but unlike the moonshiners who tore over the roads at breakneck speed in the middle of the night, this scenic tour activity is best enjoyed during the day at normal highway speeds.
10. Arkansas Grand Canyon
If like me, you weren’t aware that Arkansas had its own Grand Canyon, then a trip up picturesque Scenic Byway 7 to Big Creek Valley would be a wise way to spend a few morning or afternoon hours.
Compared with the grandness of its more famous cousin in northern Arizona, the Arkansas Grand Canyon is small, but when viewed from the many elevated areas along the road, its size will still impress you.
It’s an amazing sight regardless of the season, but if you’re lucky enough to be there in the fall when the leaves have turned their vibrant autumn colors, it’s something truly special.
11. Lake Fayetteville
With nearly six miles of shoreline, Lake Fayetteville is another of the area’s most popular outdoor attractions.
Much of the lake’s perimeter includes paved trails that are open to walkers, bikers, and runners; there’s even a tackle shop, playground, and place to rent bikes if you’d like to make the most of your time on and around the water.
Remember, whether you’re an Arkansas resident or from out of state, you’ll need a fishing license, so plan ahead and get yours before you go if you plan to wet a line.
Check out their website for a full list of services and hours of operation.
12. Botanical Garden of the Ozarks
Located on North Crossover Road adjacent to Lake Fayetteville, the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks is the region’s only botanical garden and is well worth a visit.
The garden is actually 12 individual gardens, each with its own theme – the perennial favorite is the butterfly house.
The landscaped grounds are perfect for photo ops, and the facilities are rentable for weddings, birthdays and other special events that require something extra special.
They offer a wide variety of performances, shows, exhibits, and programs throughout the year, so check out their website for their calendar of events.
13. Clinton House Museum
The Clinton House Museum was the first home of Bill and Hillary Clinton after they were married.
Guests from all over the world visit the museum, and it’s hard not to imagine the dynamic duo plotting their political aspirations as you tour the modest home.
They were married less than 20 years before Bill took his place in the oval office. The museum is full of items like a replica of Hillary’s wedding dress, and lots of exhibits and photos marking the milestones in their political careers.
The museum is located on West Clinton Drive in Fayetteville.
14. Fayetteville Underground
The Fayetteville Underground is so named because it’s housed in a historic building’s first floor, which was once below street level.
First Thursdays are a favorite time for locals to visit because it’s when local artists exhibit their work, and the local bars and eateries are crowded with festive frolickers anxiously awaiting the end of another work week.
Much of the art is reasonably priced and one of a kind. You’ll find works in a number of mediums, and most of the artists are on hand. You’ll be able to ask them about their backgrounds and inspiration for their work.
There are many galleries and studios nearby too.