During my recent visit to Jonesboro, Arkansas, I was captivated by the charm of this city, located in the northeast corner of the state, near the borders of Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee. As the 5th largest city in Arkansas, Jonesboro offers a unique blend of small-town atmosphere and cultural attractions.
Arkansas as a whole is renowned for its rural beauty, characterized by vast stretches of unspoiled forests, majestic mountains, meandering rivers, and picturesque lakes. It’s a paradise for hunters, fishermen, bird-watchers, and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. Jonesboro, with its population of slightly over 70,000, may be considered more of a town than a city, but it still holds its own with a variety of cultural and historical treasures that make it a worthwhile destination.
When exploring Jonesboro, I found no shortage of activities to keep me engaged and entertained. From immersing myself in its rich cultural heritage to discovering its hidden gems, there was always something to do. Here are 14 of the best experiences that made my visit to Jonesboro truly unforgettable.
With these diverse options, Jonesboro ensured that I never had a dull moment during my stay. Whether it was delving into history, embracing nature, or immersing myself in the local culture, Jonesboro proved to be a destination that truly had it all.
1. Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
I had the pleasure of exploring the Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center, a community educational center dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the region’s natural environment. Nestled on the southern border of Jonesboro’s city limits, this center proved to be a haven of knowledge and tranquility.
As I entered the center, I was greeted by a harmonious blend of indoor and outdoor spaces, spanning an impressive 18,000 square feet. The displays and exhibits showcased the area’s diverse flora and fauna, offering a captivating glimpse into the natural wonders that call this region home. It was truly a treasure trove for nature enthusiasts like myself.
Venturing outside, I discovered the well-maintained trails that meandered through the surrounding natural areas. These trails, easily accessible from East Lawson Road, were thoughtfully marked and suitable for all ages. I felt a sense of serenity as I immersed myself in the tranquil ambiance, surrounded by the beauty of nature. The careful planning ensured that visitors, regardless of their age or experience level, could explore without fear of getting lost.
The nature center’s dedication to education and preservation was evident throughout my visit. From the informative displays indoors to the well-groomed trails outdoors, every aspect of the center emphasized the importance of protecting and appreciating the natural environment. It was a refreshing reminder of the delicate balance between humans and the ecosystem that sustains us.
2. Arkansas State Museum
When I visited the Arkansas State Museum, commonly known as the ASU Museum, I discovered that the locals often use the names interchangeably. This is because ASU refers to Arkansas State University, which the museum is a part of. The museum serves as a hub for educational, historical, and cultural enrichment programs, while also playing a vital role in preserving and promoting the region’s rich history.
Situated on the scenic ASU campus in the northeastern region of the state, the museum blends seamlessly into the beautiful and rugged landscape of the Mississippi Delta area. Its location adds to the overall charm and allure of the museum, providing a captivating backdrop for exploring the exhibits.
Upon arrival, I had the option to join a guided tour or explore the museum at my own pace. The friendly and knowledgeable staff were readily available to answer any questions and offer insights into the exhibits. With each step I took, I found myself immersed in a world of fascinating artifacts, stories, and historical treasures that showcased the depth of Arkansas’s heritage.
What impressed me the most about the Arkansas State Museum was the incredible variety of activities hosted throughout the year. From engaging workshops and lectures to captivating exhibits and special events, there was always something new and exciting to experience. It was a testament to the museum’s commitment to providing a dynamic and engaging space for visitors of all ages.
My visit to the ASU Museum left me with a profound appreciation for the history and culture of Arkansas. The carefully curated exhibits and the welcoming atmosphere of the museum made it a truly memorable experience. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply someone seeking to learn more about the region, the Arkansas State Museum offers a wealth of knowledge and inspiration.
I highly recommend taking the time to explore this remarkable institution during your visit to Arkansas. It is a gateway to understanding the past, appreciating the present, and embracing the rich heritage that makes this region so unique.
3. Craighead Forest Park
Craighead Forest Park, a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking relaxation amidst nature’s embrace. Located near Jonesboro and boasting a plethora of amenities, this park quickly became a favorite destination when the weather was nice.
Encompassing an expansive 700 acres of land within the city limits, Craighead Forest Park offered a diverse range of recreational opportunities. One of its standout features was the picturesque lake, teeming with bass and bream, which proved to be a popular spot for local fishermen. The serene waters mirrored the surrounding beauty, inviting visitors to cast their lines and immerse themselves in the joy of angling.
As I ventured further into the park, I discovered a network of trails that wound their way through the verdant grounds. These paths beckoned me to explore and immerse myself in the peaceful ambiance of the natural surroundings. Each step was a delightful journey, as the trails unveiled new vistas and hidden gems along the way.
Craighead Forest Park catered not only to outdoor enthusiasts but also to families and those seeking leisurely activities. The park featured a vibrant playground that proved to be a big hit with the little ones, sparking their imaginations and fostering endless joy. For sports enthusiasts, there were basketball courts to test one’s skills and a small yet entertaining disc golf course to enjoy a friendly competition.
However, the park was not limited to activities alone. It provided ample space for relaxation and rejuvenation. Numerous areas were adorned with inviting benches and green spaces, inviting visitors to unwind, read a book, or simply bask in the warmth of the sun. It was a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
4. Lake Frierson State Park
Arkansas truly lives up to its reputation as a sportsman’s paradise, boasting a diverse landscape of mountains, forests, rivers, and lakes that offer an array of outdoor activities. Whether it’s fishing, hunting, hiking, or bird-watching, the state presents endless opportunities to connect with nature and indulge in one’s passions. Lake Frierson State Park, a true gem nestled along South Culberhouse Road. As a nature enthusiast, I couldn’t help but appreciate the park’s 20 RV sites, each equipped with full water and electric hookups, providing a comfortable base for outdoor adventures.
Even within the relatively urban area of Jonesboro, there are ample options for those seeking to embrace the great outdoors without venturing too far from the city’s embrace. Lake Frierson State Park stands as a testament to this, captivating both locals and visitors alike with its natural beauty and abundant recreational possibilities.
For fishing enthusiasts, Lake Frierson proved to be a haven of excitement. The lake’s crystal-clear waters teemed with bass and catfish, which were regularly stocked to ensure a thrilling fishing experience. Anglers from near and far flocked to the lake in hopes of landing a prized catch and basking in the satisfaction of a successful day on the water.
Beyond fishing, Lake Frierson State Park offered an escape from the urban hustle, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace. The tranquil surroundings provided a serene backdrop for leisurely walks, picnics, or simply soaking up the peaceful ambiance of the park. The harmonious sounds of nature and the gentle rustle of leaves created an atmosphere of serenity, inviting all who ventured here to find solace and rejuvenation.
5. Centennial Bank Stadium
During my visit to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, I had the opportunity to witness the excitement and energy at Centennial Bank Stadium, formerly known as Liberty Bank Stadium. This iconic venue proudly served as the home football stadium for the Arkansas State University Red Wolves.
On game days, the stadium transformed into a vibrant and bustling hub of fervent fans. The electrifying atmosphere was contagious, with a palpable sense of anticipation filling the air. Despite the high demand, securing tickets was relatively manageable, allowing both avid supporters and casual spectators to partake in the thrilling experience. Even outside of game days, the stadium’s grandeur was captivating, making it a sight worth beholding.
While not the largest stadium in the state, Centennial Bank Stadium boasted a seating capacity of slightly over 30,000. This size was ideal, as it struck a balance between creating an intimate and immersive game-day atmosphere while accommodating a significant number of spectators. The seating arrangement ensured that everyone had a clear view of the action, enhancing the overall enjoyment of the sporting event.
Situated on Aggie Road within the ASU campus, Centennial Bank Stadium served as a prominent landmark within the university grounds. Its presence was a testament to the rich athletic tradition and spirited culture that permeated the campus. Whether I was catching a thrilling football match or simply passing by when the stadium was empty, it exuded an undeniable sense of pride and served as a gathering place for both students and the wider community.
My experience at Centennial Bank Stadium left an indelible impression. The captivating energy of game days, the vibrant chants of the crowd, and the adrenaline-fueled moments on the field all contributed to an unforgettable atmosphere. It was a testament to the power of sports in uniting people and fostering a strong sense of camaraderie.
If you find yourself on the ASU campus or have the opportunity to attend a game, I highly recommend visiting Centennial Bank Stadium. It offers not only a thrilling sporting experience but also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the passionate spirit that defines Arkansas State University.
6. The Skirmish at Jonesboro
Managed and preserved by a dedicated local trust, the Skirmish at Jonesboro site stands as a testament to the community’s commitment to preserving its heritage. It serves as a poignant reminder of the conflicts and struggles that once unfolded on these hallowed grounds.
In the backdrop of the Civil War, Craighead County found itself aligned with the Confederacy, and Jonesboro became a strategic thoroughfare for both northern and southern troops en route to other battles. This resulted in numerous deadly skirmishes, each leaving its mark on the land and shaping the course of history.
Visiting the Skirmish at Jonesboro site offered a fascinating journey into the past. Stepping foot onto the grounds, I was immediately transported to a bygone era. Through informative exhibits, artifacts, and interpretive displays, I gained a deeper understanding of the events that unfolded and the individuals who fought valiantly during this pivotal period in American history.
Located on South Main Street, near the heart of downtown Jonesboro, the site conveniently provided access to visitors eager to immerse themselves in the historical significance of the area. The proximity to the bustling city center made it easily accessible, ensuring that anyone with an interest in the past could embark on this enlightening journey.
Exploring the Skirmish at Jonesboro site was an experience that left me in awe of the sacrifices made and the enduring impact of the Civil War. It served as a poignant reminder of the struggles faced by those who came before us, and a testament to the resilience and spirit of the local community.
7. The Fancy Attic Antique
I stumbled upon a hidden treasure trove of vintage delights known as The Fancy Attic Antique store. Conveniently located just off the I-555, this charming establishment proved to be a haven for those in search of unique and historically significant knick-knacks, housewares, and arts and crafts.
Situated on Alexander Drive, The Fancy Attic Antique store beckoned me with its enticing array of items waiting to be discovered. Stepping inside, I was greeted by a vast assortment of antique and vintage treasures, each with its own story to tell. From delicate trinkets to intricate housewares and captivating arts and crafts, the store boasted a diverse selection that catered to all tastes and interests.
Exploring the store became a delightful adventure, with countless nooks and crannies filled with hidden gems awaiting discovery. I found myself immersed in a bygone era, as the store’s collection transported me back in time. The knowledgeable and friendly staff added to the experience, offering helpful guidance and sharing anecdotes about the items on display.
One aspect that particularly captivated me was the store’s dedication to showcasing local and regional artifacts. The Fancy Attic Antique store offered a unique opportunity to acquire distinctive Jonesboro and Arkansas trinkets, making it an ideal destination for finding one-of-a-kind gifts and cherished keepsakes. The store became a treasure trove of memories and souvenirs that would forever evoke the spirit of this remarkable region.
Moreover, The Fancy Attic Antique store boasted an impressive selection of antique furniture. From intricately carved pieces to elegant and timeless designs, the store presented an array of options for those seeking to add a touch of vintage charm to their homes. It was a delight to browse through the diverse assortment and envision the stories that each piece held within its aged wood and carefully crafted details.
8. The Bradbury Art Museum
I had the pleasure of immersing myself in the world of contemporary art at The Bradbury Art Museum. Situated on Olympic Drive, this remarkable establishment housed the region’s most extensive collection of modern artistic expressions.
Located on the campus of Arkansas State University, The Bradbury Art Museum stood as a beacon of creativity and innovation. As I stepped inside, I was greeted by a diverse range of artwork that pushed the boundaries of traditional artistic forms. The museum showcased a wide variety of mediums, including mesmerizing photographs, captivating paintings, intriguing sculptures, and thought-provoking installations that defied categorization.
One of the highlights of The Bradbury Art Museum was its ever-evolving collection. Alongside the permanent exhibits, the museum curated a series of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, ensuring that every visit offered a fresh and engaging experience. From established artists to emerging talents, the museum celebrated the rich tapestry of contemporary art, providing a platform for diverse voices and perspectives.
Navigating through the museum’s carefully curated displays, I found myself captivated by the sheer creativity and artistic expression on offer. Each artwork served as a window into the minds of the artists, inviting me to contemplate and interpret their unique visions. Regardless of personal taste or artistic preference, The Bradbury Art Museum had something to captivate and inspire every visitor.
To stay abreast of the museum’s upcoming exhibitions and events, I discovered that periodically checking their website was the best way to ensure I didn’t miss any captivating showcases during my stay in the area. The website provided a comprehensive calendar of events, allowing me to plan my visit accordingly and align my interests with the exhibitions on display.
Visiting The Bradbury Art Museum was an enriching experience that left me with a profound appreciation for contemporary art and the boundless possibilities of human creativity. It served as a hub of inspiration, encouraging me to explore the world of modern artistic expressions and challenging my perceptions of what art can be.
9. Tomlinson Stadium
Since its opening in 1993, Tomlinson Stadium has undergone several renovations, resulting in a comfortable and exhilarating atmosphere for baseball enthusiasts. The stadium boasted modern amenities and facilities, ensuring that spectators could enjoy the game in style and comfort. Tomlinson Stadium, also known as Kell Field. Situated on the campus of ASU, this stadium served as the home turf for the college’s baseball team, providing the perfect backdrop for practice sessions and thrilling home games.
With a seating capacity of just over 1,000, Tomlinson Stadium had an intimate feel that brought fans closer to the action on the field. The Red Wolves’ games often drew passionate crowds, and it was not uncommon for the stadium to be filled to capacity, creating an electric atmosphere that amplified the excitement of the game.
While indulging in the game, I couldn’t resist sampling the delicious treats offered at the concession stands. From mouthwatering hot dogs to savory pretzels and refreshing sodas, the culinary offerings at Tomlinson Stadium were a delightful accompaniment to the thrilling baseball action. What truly stood out was the affordability of these concessions, making it a perfect destination for families to enjoy a day at the ballpark without breaking the bank.
Attending a game at Tomlinson Stadium was a memorable experience that captured the essence of American baseball. The cheers of the crowd, the crack of the bat, and the joy of watching skilled athletes compete on the diamond combined to create an atmosphere filled with camaraderie and excitement.
10. Skinny J’s
As I stepped into Skinny J’s, I immediately noticed the inviting ambiance and family-friendly atmosphere. The restaurant had garnered a well-deserved reputation for its commitment to quality, and it was evident in every aspect of the dining experience. The friendly staff welcomed me with warm smiles, creating a welcoming environment that set the stage for a memorable meal.
The menu at Skinny J’s boasted a range of delectable dishes, but they were particularly renowned for their steaks, ahi tuna, and mouthwatering homemade pasta. The chefs skillfully combined these fresh ingredients to create culinary masterpieces that delighted the palate and satisfied even the most discerning taste buds.
What impressed me further was the restaurant’s dedication to providing a well-rounded dining experience. From breakfast to dinner, and even Sunday brunch, Skinny J’s ensured that guests could indulge in their culinary delights throughout the day. Their commitment to using local ingredients highlighted their support for the community and the region’s rich culinary heritage.
To accommodate their growing popularity and demand, Skinny J’s had expanded beyond its original location, with three additional restaurants now serving the Jonesboro area. This expansion was a testament to their success and the appreciation patrons had for their delicious fare.
As I concluded my meal, I couldn’t resist sampling some of their delectable desserts. Skinny J’s prided itself on offering an array of freshly baked cakes and pies that were simply irresistible. Each bite was a symphony of flavors, providing the perfect sweet ending to a satisfying culinary journey.
11. The Mall at Turtle Creek
As I ventured into The Mall, I was greeted by a vast array of renowned retailers, including Target, Barnes & Noble, and Dillard’s. This distinguished it as the premier shopping destination in the Jonesboro area, offering a diverse selection of stores to cater to every taste and preference.
When hunger struck, I found solace in the mall’s inviting food court. With a variety of culinary options available, it was a haven for food enthusiasts. Whether I craved a quick bite or a full meal, the food court had me covered. Additionally, nestled within the mall was a cozy coffee shop, located conveniently within the bookstore. It provided the perfect respite for me to unwind, immerse myself in a new book, and savor the rich flavors of an expertly brewed espresso or cappuccino.
Situated on East Highland Drive, the Mall at Turtle Creek also offered a welcome escape from the elements. On days when the weather was less than ideal, the mall provided a climate-controlled haven where I could shop to my heart’s content without worrying about rain, heat, or cold.
12. Ultimate Air Trampoline Park
Ultimate Air Trampoline Park. Conveniently situated on Shelby Drive, this park proved to be an ideal destination for kids seeking exhilarating fun and excitement.
As I entered the park, I was greeted by an impressive array of trampolines designed to cater to various ages and skill levels. It was evident that the park prioritized safety, as there were separate areas designated for different age groups. While the little ones bounced and laughed on the trampolines, older kids and parents were respectfully prohibited from joining in on the jumping fun.
To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors, the park had a dedicated team of staff members who were readily available. These attentive individuals not only supervised the activities but also ensured that everyone had a memorable time, got their money’s worth, and, most importantly, avoided any potential injuries.
What I found particularly appealing about Ultimate Air Trampoline Park was its versatility as an event venue. The park provided an ideal setting for hosting birthday parties and other special occasions. With advanced notice, the trampoline park could be rented, allowing for exclusive access and a memorable celebration.
To plan a visit to Ultimate Air Trampoline Park, I recommend checking their website for up-to-date information regarding operating hours and pricing. This will ensure that you can make the most of your time and enjoy the exhilarating experience that the park has to offer.
13. Winter Wonderland
During my recent visit to Arkansas’ northeast region near Jonesboro for the Christmas and New Year seasons, I had the incredible opportunity to explore Winter Wonderland. This renowned local attraction had been captivating visitors for generations, and I was eager to experience its festive charm firsthand.
From the moment I stepped through the entrance, it was evident why Winter Wonderland had earned its legendary status. The entire exhibit was a dazzling display of Christmas splendor, adorned with an abundance of decorations that transformed the space into a magical wonderland. Twinkling lights, vibrant ornaments, and meticulously crafted displays enveloped me in a world of holiday enchantment.
Navigating through Winter Wonderland was a joyful adventure, as there was so much to see and admire. I quickly realized that allocating an hour or more to explore the exhibit was a wise decision, as each step revealed new and captivating scenes. From beautifully decorated trees to intricately designed holiday vignettes, the attention to detail was extraordinary, ensuring that every visitor would be immersed in the festive ambiance.
One aspect that struck me was the accessibility of Winter Wonderland. Despite its grandeur, admission to the exhibit was free of charge, allowing everyone to partake in the holiday magic. However, as a means of supporting the maintenance and preservation of this beloved local gem, they graciously accepted donations at a box by the entrance. I gladly made a contribution, knowing that my support would help ensure that future generations could continue to experience the wonder of Winter Wonderland.
As I wandered through Winter Wonderland, surrounded by the enchanting sights and sounds of the holiday season, I couldn’t help but be filled with a sense of warmth and nostalgia. It was evident that this cherished exhibit held a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors, creating cherished memories and fostering a true spirit of community.
14. Lake Charles State Park
Upon entering the Charles State Park, I was delighted to discover a wide range of amenities that catered to various recreational activities. The designated camping areas provided a perfect spot for setting up a temporary home amidst nature’s beauty. With numerous hiking and biking trails meandering through the park’s lush surroundings, there was no shortage of opportunities to immerse myself in the great outdoors. Situated along the serene shores of Lake Charles, this park was a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking fun and relaxation under the sun.
The park’s shaded pavilions offered a welcome respite from the sun, providing a comfortable space for gatherings and picnics. For those seeking aquatic adventures, the boat ramp provided convenient access to the glistening waters of Lake Charles. The highlight, however, was the inviting beach area, where visitors could swim and bask in the sun’s warm embrace.
One aspect that impressed me was the on-site shop that catered to the needs of park visitors. Whether I needed camping supplies, snacks, refreshing drinks, or any other essentials, the shop had me covered. It was reassuring to know that even if I had forgotten something, the shop had a wide selection of convenient items readily available.
It’s worth noting that not all parts of the park were open year-round. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit, I recommend checking the park’s website for specific information, such as operating hours, schedules, and prices. This will help you plan your trip accordingly and make the most of your time at Lake Charles State Park.