Located in southwest Arkansas’ Sevier County near neighboring Oklahoma, De Queen is a small town of about 7,000 residents that’s near many lakes, rivers, and national parks that draw outdoorsmen and nature lovers year-round to enjoy activities like fishing, hunting, hiking, and wildlife photography.
Though in a rural part of the state, De Queen is surrounded by large urban areas like Van Buren, Little Rock, and Texarkana. Even cities like Dallas, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana are close enough to see in one or two-day side excursions.
Below are the best things to do in and around De Queen, Arkansas.
1. DeSoto Bluff Trail
Arkansas is full of natural wonders, and for those looking to stretch their legs and burn a few extra calories without spending hours in the car, hitting the DeSoto Bluff Trail in nearby Arkadelphia would be a great way to do both.
The trail leading to the bluff is only moderately difficult but can get slick and treacherous if it’s been raining.
The panoramic view of the river far below is one you won’t soon forget, but heed the warning signs about getting too close to the edge. The trailhead is located on North 10th Street and has ample parking. There are historical markers along the way as well.
2. Clark County Historical Museum
The Missouri Pacific Railroad was a driving force in the development of the area around De Queen. The Clark County Historical Museum located in the train depot on South 5th Street in Arkadelphia is one of the region’s most complete collections of historical items related to southwest Arkansas and the railroads.
The museum is free to visit and includes exhibits, photos, first-hand accounts and memorabilia from the pioneer and Indian Territory eras of more than a century ago.
The museum isn’t open every day, so check out their website or give them a call before going. Consider spending an hour or two seeing all the items in their impressive collection.
3. Donald W. Reynolds Science Center & Planetarium
The campus of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia is a great community resource, and for those interested in taking a guided tour of the cosmos, the Donald W. Reynolds Science Center and Planetarium is a must-visit locale.
For eager minds, both young and old, the science center and planetarium will engage and enlighten. It’s a particularly good place to visit when the weather is less than pleasant.
Many of the center’s programs are geared toward kids, and admission is very inexpensive considering all that you’ll have access to. The university’s main entrance is on Henderson Street, and there’s plenty of space for visitor parking.
4. Perot Theatre
Located at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets in Texarkana, the Perot Theatre was built in 1924 and underwent a massive renovation in the ‘80s that brought it back to near-original condition.
It’s been a local icon since the beginning and is now named for the famous businessman who once ran for president, H. Ross Perot.
The theatre hosts movies and live performances. Due to its size, it’s much more of a cozy, intimate venue than larger theatres built more recently. From film to live theatre and music, it offers a little something for everyone, and tickets are surprisingly cheap.
5. Discovery Place Interactive Museum
Not all museums are meant for children, and if you’ve been dragging the little ones around looking at attractions intended for grownups, a few hours at Discovery Place Interactive Museum in Texarkana would be the perfect way to reward them for their patience.
It’s full of hands-on and interactive exhibits and displays that keep children active and engaged while teaching them about science, history and the natural world.
The Tesla-inspired electricity show is a perennial favorite, and previous guests have noted that the museum is just as fun for adults as it is for kids. It’s located on Pine Street in Texarkana.
6. Museum of Regional History
With a wide variety of items on display, the Museum of Regional History in Texarkana covers topics as diverse as women’s issues, wars, pioneer and Native American history and culture, and even music.
The museum was founded in 1971 and is housed in an old insurance company office building that was built nearly 90 years before.
A few of the museum’s most appreciated exhibits deal with pottery and artifacts from the Caddo Indians who called the area home for generations and the pioneer-era weapons, clothes, and tools used by European settlers nearly two centuries ago.
There’s even a piano that belonged to Scott Joplin, so swing by and plan on spending an hour or so if you’ve got the time.
7. State Line Post Office and Federal Building
Rumor has it that the post office straddling the line between Texas and Arkansas is the second most photographed in the country.
Perhaps they hired secret counters to track photos at all the post offices across the country to verify this claim, but whatever the case, the State Line Post Office and Federal Building in Texarkana is a unique bit of local history that’s worth a look.
The downtown area near the post office is full of historic buildings, and in many ways, is like taking a giant step back in time.
It’s located on North State Line Avenue and is near to other town attractions too.
8. Crater of Diamonds
For those in search of a truly unique experience and don’t mind spending an hour or two in the car to get it, a trip to Crater of Diamonds in Murfreesboro, would be a great way to spend a day.
The admission cost is pretty reasonable considering there’s a chance you’ll strike it rich. For those with no tools or experience, don’t worry, it’s not too difficult, and tools are available to rent or buy.
There’s also a waterpark adjacent to the diamond field that’s open in the summer, and a cool gift shop on site too. Remember that motorized or electric tools are not allowed.
9. Beavers Bend State Park
Southwest Arkansas is close enough to many bordering states to make day-trips a great option. It opens a whole new world of possibilities; in nearby Broken Bow, Oklahoma, the Beavers Bend State Park is full of natural beauty, amenities, and activities that make it a great place to spend a day or two.
During the summer months, camping, zip-lining, fishing, and boating are the most popular activities, and it’s not uncommon to see wildlife like deer, owls, and foxes – especially in the low light conditions in the morning and evening.
According to past visitors, the park grounds and lake’s water are the cleanest they’ve ever seen.
10. Ace of Clubs House
Though it’s also commonly referred to as the Draughon-Moore House, the Ace of Clubs House in Texarkana has a nicer ring to it.
It was built in the 1880s in the Victorian-style and supposedly got its name because the original owner won the money to buy the land and build the house in a card game in which the ace of clubs was the winning card.
The home is known for its spired tower, grand spiraling staircase, and eight-sided central area. Guided tours are available and it’s full of furniture, art, and housewares that were considered posh by the standards of the day.
11. Forest Heritage Center
For those who decided to hit the road and visit Beavers Bend State Park, a short side trip to the Forest Heritage Center would be a great way to break things up a bit.
The Forest Heritage Center museum is comprised of a permanent collection of tools, weapons, literature, and historical documents relating to the pioneer and homestead-eras when the area was first explored and settled by those of European descent.
There’s also a fair amount on the Native American groups who called the land home for generations before it was settled.
Large dioramas with historical plaques are located throughout the museum and are particularly interesting for children, who’ll marvel at their amazingly accurate and lifelike detail.
12. 1894 Gallery
Located inside the historic City Market building on Olive Street in Texarkana, the 1894 Gallery is one of the region’s most complete collections of southern art and includes paintings, wood carvings, bronze statues, and handcrafted glass.
The building in which it is housed was once a grocery warehouse, but its renovation created the perfect open and contemporary space for such a gallery.
The gallery has a gift shop as well; though many of the pieces aren’t cheap, they’re all one of a kind and mostly made by local and regional artists. It’s a great place to visit when you’ve had your fill of the great outdoors.