Located in the northeast corner of Arkansas near Missouri and Tennessee, Paragould is the county seat of Greene County.
The town is within the Arkansas Delta region; its name was made by combining parts of the names of two of the era’s largest railroad tycoons: J. W. Paramore and Jay Gould.
Due to its rural nature, the town and surrounding region rely primarily on agriculture; although, as eco-tourism has become more popular, the region’s tourism industry has picked up as well.
The town of Paragould is also a convenient stepping-off point for visits to surrounding states.
1. Crowley Ridge State Park
Located on Highway 168 just north of downtown Paragould, Crowley Ridge State Park is a great place to get introduced to all the fantastic outdoor activities you’ll find in the area.
The park features a lake that’s great for fishing, swimming, and paddle boating, which is a great way to burn some calories and see vistas not available to those on shore.
Picnic areas, covered pavilions, and concession stands are welcome amenities too. With so much to see and do, it’s the kind of place you could spend a whole day, especially if the weather is nice.
2. Collins Theatre
Built in the mid-1920s, the Collins Theatre in Paragould is a great place to spend a few evening hours watching some of the region’s best performing arts.
Though it was originally called the Capitol Theatre, the venue has been entertaining locals for nearly a century. The historic building has been renovated over the years but still retains much of its original charm and architecture.
It’s an intimate venue, and despite its relatively modest size, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
The best way to find out what’s on their schedule is to ask a local or check online.
3. Paragould War Memorial
One of the great things about simple sites like war memorials is that you can visit them and pay your respects in a short amount of time, leaving your schedule open for other activities.
The Paragould War Memorial is a Statue of Liberty replica that’s about seven-feet tall, honoring a handful of local men who perished in World War I.
The memorial is conveniently located in a town park that’s surrounded by some historic buildings that are worth a look as well.
The site includes other memorials too; it’s located at the corners of 3rd and Court Street in Paragould.
4. Lake Frierson State Park
Consisting of hundreds of acres of mostly undisturbed forests, including large stands of beautiful dogwoods, Lake Frierson State Park is named after a man who was largely responsible for acquiring the park’s land in the ‘70s.
One of the park’s most iconic sights is Crowley’s Ridge, which juts up from the forest nearly 200 feet near the lake.
The large lake in the park is a favorite haunt of bass and bream fisherman, and boat rentals are available too.
If fishing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of trails meandering through the park, as well as campsites and covered picnic areas.
5. Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge
Located in Manila, Arkansas, southeast of Paragould near the Missouri and Tennessee borders, Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge was founded in 1925, primarily to preserve pristine habitat for migratory and wading birds and waterfowl that reside in the region during different seasons.
The refuge’s lake covers about 11,000 acres of surface area. Due to its shallow depth and wooded swamps, it is the perfect habitat for many birds and fish, also drawing a large number of mammals.
Parts of the refuge are closed to visitors, but some areas are open for exploration. Hours are seasonal, so check online before making a special trip.
6. Crowley’s Ridge Raceway
Crowley’s Ridge Raceway is a bit of a local legend; during the summer months on Saturday evenings, its quarter-mile oval track topped with clay turns into a high-octane speedway that’s sure to get your adrenaline going, especially if you’re into fast cars and loud engines.
The Raceway is located just southwest of Paragould and is an inexpensive and family-friendly activity that’s usually a big hit.
The raceway has concession stands with lots of tasty offerings, like burgers, hot dogs and sodas. If the weather is particularly bad, the races may be canceled, so if it’s raining, give them a call.
7. Harmon Park
Found on West Northend Avenue, Harmon Park is a green oasis of natural tranquility near the town’s center.
With amenities like basketball and tennis courts, walking trails and covered patio areas with picnic tables and BBQ grills, Harmon Park is a great community resource that shouldn’t be overlooked.
There’s a community building inside the park with facilities that are available to rent for birthday parties, club meetings, and family gatherings. The park is fully-accessible for those who use wheelchairs as well.
The park’s outdoor facilities are free to use and open to the public every day.
8. George Ray’s Drag Strip
Paragould and the surrounding towns have a long tradition of automobile racing – from dirt tracks to drag strips – and since 1961, George Ray’s Drag Strip has been one of the major attractions.
The strip is located on Arkansas Route 135 east of town and holds races every Sunday during the season.
It’s a place where locals can compete with one another in short, timed races that cover a quarter mile.
Rumor has it that George Ray’s is the oldest track of its kind in the state. Admission is inexpensive and will be a big hit, especially with your friends and family who are car enthusiasts.
9. Craighead Forest Park
Craighead Forest Park is just down the road from Paragould on South Culberhouse Road in Jonesboro. It is a great place to hit the trails, see some beautiful sights, and burn a few calories in the process.
Much of the three-mile loop trail follows the shore of the park’s lake; it’s an excellent place to watch the sun rise and set.
The park attracts many birds as well – especially the wading variety – that come to poke around in the shallows looking for small fish and frogs to eat.
Fishing and paddle boating are permitted in the lake, and there is a nice playground for the little ones.
10. ASU Museum
Full of professional displays, memorabilia, and interactive exhibits designed with children in mind, the ASU Museum on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro is a fun and educational place to visit for young and old alike.
Located inside the Dean Ellis Library, the museum includes items that delve into a wide range of topics, like history, science, and culture.
In addition to the museum, consider taking a leisurely self-guided tour of the campus; it includes lots of natural spaces, paved walkways, and impressive buildings.
Check out the student bookstore if you have time, it’s a great place to pick up a hat or t-shirt.
11. The Skirmish at Jonesboro
On August 2nd, 1862, Union and Confederate forces met on the field of battle in Jonesboro; the Confederate victory that took place is now referred to as The Skirmish at Jonesboro.
Located near Jonesboro’s historic square, the battlefield memorial is easy to find, free to visit, and one of the fascinating historical sites in the city that shouldn’t be missed.
In addition to the memorial to the Civil War veterans, there’s also a World War I commemorative statue nearby. The surrounding area is full of historic public buildings and churches that are worth a glance as well.
12. Bradbury Art Museum
Featuring an extensive range of art in different mediums, the Bradbury Art Museum in nearby Jonesboro is one of the region’s most renowned galleries. It is a great place to visit, especially since there’s no admission charge.
The museum houses some permanent exhibits, but throughout the year, also hosts temporary ones on loan from other galleries and from local and regional artists. You’ll never know exactly what you’ll see unless you’ve checked online first.
Most of the art on display is contemporary, and the museum is on the Arkansas State University Campus, so stop by and take a look.
13. Lake Wappapello State Park
For those travelers who have access to their own set of wheels and are up for a bit of a road trip, an excursion from Paragould into the southeast corner of Missouri would be a great way to spend a day and see some amazing natural sights.
Lake Wappapello State park is one of the Ozark region’s top recreation destinations and offers a full range of activities, like hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, and fishing.
The lake is known as a hotspot for anglers looking to tangle with largemouth bass, catfish and white bass. If fishing isn’t your thing, swimming and water skiing are also permitted.
There are plenty of picnic and restroom facilities available.
14. Pinot’s Palette
Not everyone was born with an innate sense of creativity, but even for those lacking in this area, this is a fun way to spend time with friends, drink an adult beverage or two, and create a faux-masterpiece on a blank canvas.
Pinot’s Palette has been around since 2009, and though it’s now a multi-state chain, it was founded in the Houston, Texas area.
The idea behind the budding business is to provide small groups with the supplies, inspiration, and guidance they need to create a noteworthy work of art while having a great time.
It’s a unique way to spend a few hours with friends, in nearby Jonesboro.
15. Fancy Attic Antiques
Located on Woodsprings Road in Jonesboro, Fancy Attic Antiques is part antique mart, part flea market. It’s always full of great finds, especially if you’ve got the patience to look carefully.
From antique furniture to gently used housewares and baby gear, they’ve got a little bit of everything. Previous guests have noted that the prices are noticeably lower than some of their local competitors.
It’s an especially great way to spend an hour or two if the weather outside is less than inviting, which is often the case in the scorching days of summer or the middle of winter.