Located in Arkansas’ Poinsett County, the town of Trumann lies along Interstate 555 in the northeast part of the state, between Little Rock, Jonesboro and West Memphis.
With a population of just over 7,000, if it’s small-town charm you’re after, you’ll be pleasantly content in Trumann. There are also a host of historical, cultural, and artistic attractions within easy reach in the larger cities and towns nearby.
Due to its location near the interstate, there are plenty of convenient accommodation options around, and most of the attractions you’ll want to see are either in town or just an hour or two away.
1. The Old Community House
Located near the junction of Main and Poinsett Streets in scenic downtown Trumann, the Old Community House was built in the late ‘20s by the Singer Manufacturing Company as a place of recreation for the people of the town, many of who worked for the business.
Though nowadays the community house doesn’t host the number of annual events that it once did, it’s still a popular facility and includes meeting and conference rooms and an indoor basketball court.
Nestled among the town’s historic downtown, it’s a great area for a leisurely afternoon stroll, so swing by and take a look.
2. Trumann Museum
For such a small town, the Trumann Museum is remarkably well-done, and chock-full of historical items relating to the lives of the hardy pioneers who settled in the area when it was still the Arkansas Territory.
From historic photographs to centuries-old housewares and farm implements, it’s like a look back in time. It also details the famous Singer sponsored annual barbecues that brought locals in by the truckload on summer days in years past.
The Museum is located on Main Street within easy walking distance of the Old Community House, so consider seeing them both together.
3. Checkerboard Fine Gifts
Shopping for knick-knacks and keepsakes to remind you of your trip is a great vacation activity, but with so many national retailers dominating the market, it’s often difficult to find unique items with character.
Located on Highway 463 in Trumann, Checkerboard Fine Gifts is one of the county’s hotspots for just such items; they’ve even got a special program for clueless men who’ve made the mistake of getting their wife or girlfriend potholders or a vacuum cleaner for a birthday or anniversary.
They’ve got a full stock of great items and even offer a gift wrapping service, so swing by and let them know if you’re looking for a particularly special item.
4. Craighead Forest Park
Located on South Culberhouse Road in Jonesboro, Craighead Forest Park is conveniently located near other local attractions. Since it’s free to visit, it’s a great way to experience nature, get some exercise, and conserve those all-important travel dollars.
The park has recently undergone some renovations to its grounds, trails, and bridges, and there are even built-in exercise stations for those looking to burn a few excess calories.
The small lake is stocked with fish and a great place to teach little ones the art of angling. With a playground and ducks to feed nearby, finding things to do won’t be a problem.
5. ASU Museum
The ASU Museum is located in the Dean B. Ellis Library on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro and houses the region’s most exhaustive collection of artifacts, displays, and exhibits related to the culture, history, art and natural elements of northeast Arkansas.
It’s free to visit, and in addition to their permanent exhibits, they often host displays from other museums. Throughout the year, they offer instruction, educational, and recreational courses and activities for children and adults alike.
In general, college campuses are worthwhile places to check out and often have a lot of free and interesting activities going on, especially on weekends.
6. Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center
The Forest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center is one of those places you’ll most likely remember long after your trip, especially for those who are traveling with children.
Consider checking out the visitor’s center before heading out to explore the outdoor areas; it’ll give you and your travel companions a thorough overview of the area’s plants, animals and geology before you experience it first-hand.
The center is full of well-marked trails of varying levels of difficulty leading to interpretive areas labeled with informative plaques and suggested activities.
It’s located on East Lawson Road in Jonesboro. Plan on spending a few hours to take it all in.
7. Bradbury Art Museum
Though not exactly a big metropolitan area, Jonesboro is home to more than its fair share of artistic, historical, and cultural venues; the Bradbury Art Museum is a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Unlike many museums, it doesn’t house a permanent collection, which actually makes it quite unique in that you’ll see a different segment of the artistic world each time you go.
Most of what’s on display is contemporary art, and there’s no charge to visit. In the past, they’ve displayed works by a few world-renowned artists like Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol.
The museum is located on Olympic Drive. Be sure to check out their website before making a special trip.
8. Skirmish at Jonesboro
During much of the Civil War, Arkansas, Missouri, and Kansas were hotly contested by Union and Confederate forces, whose generals knew that they were of significant strategic importance. It’s not surprising that the states were home to a number of well-known battles.
The Skirmish at Jonesboro site is located near the town’s historic square and includes a memorial to fallen soldiers from World War I.
Free to visit, the gates are flanked by impressive silver arches that resemble swords, making the entrance a dramatic one.
Though it’s not the kind of place you’ll spend more than half an hour, it’s an interesting site of reverence that’s worth a look.
9. Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park
Located about 20 minutes north of downtown Memphis, the Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park is comprised of more than 2,500 acres of hardwood forest, cypress swamp, and marshlands bordering the Mississippi River.
In addition to its role in protecting the vital river-forest ecosystems, the park also offers visitors a variety of year-round outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, hiking, and wildlife photography.
Many of the park’s bluffs give able hikers nearly unobstructed views of the river and opposite shore. For those who’d like to spend a night or two, there are multiple cabins available that sleep up to six people very comfortably.
10. Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Just a few miles east of Manila, the Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. As with the state park, it includes thousands of acres, much of which is covered with shallow lakes and lowland hardwood forests, attracting migrating waterfowl during the times of the year that they transition from north to south.
Despite its primary purpose as a protected area for waterfowl, hunting and fishing are allowed within the refuge at certain times of the year.
The best way to get all the detailed information is to check their website before you make your travel plans.
11. Sun Studio
Memphis’ Sun Studio has the exclusive distinction of being the place where a young Elvis Presley recorded his first song; ever since, it has been known as ‘The Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.’
Of course, that title is claimed by other famous places as well, but since Sun Studio has helped young up-and-comers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash over the years, their record speaks for itself.
It’s located on Union Avenue and is open to tours during the day, but at night it still functions as a professional recording studio.
Consider hooking up with a guided tour to get the full historical effect of the unique business.
12. National Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel
When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, it made him an eternal martyr and ushered in a new era in the civil rights movement that would sweep the country for nearly half a century.
It all happened at the Lorraine Motel, where King was staying before the speech he was scheduled to give to striking sanitation workers the following day.
The hotel is now a world-famous museum that’s open year-round. It’s dedicated to preserving the history of the movement and educating those who come from near and far to see this poignant historical site.
It’s located on Mulberry Street, and guided tours are available.
Even for those who don’t own a pair of blue suede shoes or have a shrine to The King in their family room, visiting Graceland is something you really shouldn’t miss; it combines bits of history, legend, music, human stardom and tragedy like few other places do.
Much of the grounds have undergone recent renovations and now include an auto museum, onsite restaurant, and shops.
Consider taking advantage of the iPad audio guides if you’re not part of a guided tour, and since there’s so much to see and do, consider making a full day of it.
14. Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Memphis and soul music go together just like Memphis and the blues and Memphis and rock ‘n roll.
There’s just something about the delta area that is conducive to making great music, and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music is one of the city’s most complete collections of all things soul.
Featuring exhibits on famous performers like Aretha Franklin, Ike and Tina Turner, and The Godfather of Soul James Brown, for lovers of soul music it deserves a top spot on your itinerary.
Items include photos, first-hand accounts, album covers and flashy costumes, and lots of interesting and little-known facts about the lives and careers of these soulful performers.