Located in the state of Arkansas’ east-central region, the small town of Stuttgart is the county seat of Arkansas County.
At the time of the last census the town had fewer than 10,000 residents, and it lies nearly halfway between Little Rock to the west and Memphis to the east.
It’s close to the neighboring states of Mississippi and Louisiana as well, making it a convenient place to stay if you plan on exploring the region.
Though you won’t find an overabundance of things to do in town, if you’re willing to drive a bit you’ll be able to visit plenty of popular cultural, historical and recreational attractions that are no more than a few hours away.
1. Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie
Located on East 4th Street in Stuttgart, the Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie is a local gem that deserves a small block of your free time when you’ll be in the area.
For a small town museum, it’s pretty impressive, especially since it looks relatively small and unimpressive from the outside.
It’s the area’s premiere destination for those interested in getting a cultural and historical overview of the region’s history, and many of the exhibits focus on the pioneers who moved to the area more than a century ago and the hardships they faced eking out their meager livings.
2. Arts Center of the Grand Prairie
The Arts Center of the Grand Prairie is Stuttgart’s most popular venue for live theater and musical performances, parties and other large-group activities.
Locals appreciate the guest speakers, dance recitals and instructional events the center holds during the year, and since the ones that aren’t free are pretty inexpensive, it’s a great community resource for residents and visitors alike.
The center employs helpful staff and the facilities are available for rent. It’s located near downtown on West 12th Street in Stuttgart. If you’d like to see what’s on their calendar for when you’ll be in the area check out their website.
3. Delta Rivers Nature Center
For those traveling with children, the Delta Rivers Nature center is a great place to stop because it engages and educates kids, making it a valuable resource for stressed-out parents.
The center highlights the area’s animal life and includes indoor and outdoor portions. Many of the exhibits are interactive and give kids the opportunity for some hands-on activities.
Outside the center is a large pond with an accessible shoreline that’s home to some amazingly big catfish that are easy to see.
The center is located on Black Dog Road in Pine Bluff and is free to visit.
4. Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame
Arkansas is home to its fair share of local stars who’ve made it big in the national entertainment industry, and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame is the best place to learn all about them.
From Johnny Cash to John Grisham, and Tracy Lawrence to Billy Bob Thornton, you may be surprised at some of the faces you recognize who was born and raised in The Natural State.
The museum is located on East 8th Avenue in Pine Bluff and includes plenty of eye-catching exhibits, displays and paraphernalia that highlight the lives of those talented people who made it big.
5. Mack’s Prairie Wings
With so many lakes, rivers and marshland it’s no wonder that the state of Arkansas is home to so many waterfowl, and if you’re an out of state visitor and outdoorsmen there’s no better place to check out than Mack’s Prairie Wings on Highway 63 in Stuttgart.
Bar none, it’s the destination of choice for hunters who need to pick up guns, ammo, new boots or waders, or just some small odds and ends before their hunting trip.
From Highway 63 keep your eyes open for the big mallard out front.
For those visiting from other states remember to ask the staff at Mack’s about hunting permits.
6. Tar Camp State Park
About an hour drive west from Stuttgart is Tar Camp State Park which is right on the shores of the Arkansas River.
If you’re coming from Little Rock the park entrance isn’t too far from Interstate 530.
The park is the favorite of fishermen, hikers, campers and especially bird-watchers who come to see the area’s population of Bald Eagles.
The state park sports a number of large campsites and the bass and catfish are relatively easy to catch from either shore or a boat.
Consider reserving campsites ahead of time if you plan on visiting during the peak summer months when things get busy.
7. Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas
There’s nothing like a free admission activity to stem the flow when the vacation money is dwindling at an alarming pace.
Located on South Main Street in Pine Bluff, the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas is full of interactive displays and objects of art unlike you’ll find anywhere else in the area.
In addition to their permanent exhibits, the center hosts a number of temporary ones as well, and there are even live events that include music, theater and guest speakers, and they also offer educational and instructional courses on a wide variety of topics for kids and adults alike.
8. Lake Saracen Walking Trail
For the outdoor and exercise-minded travelers who’ll need a place to stretch their legs and enjoy some fresh air when visiting Pine Bluff, the Lake Saracen Walking Trail would be a great place to check out.
The trail winds its way along the shore of Lake Pine Bluff and is just under two miles each way. Keep in mind that it’s not a loop trail, so if you walk to the end you’ll need to retrace your steps to get back to the parking area.
The trail is open year-round and is a great place to check out waterfowl and wading birds, especially in the morning or evening twilight hours.
9. James Hayes Art and Glass Company
If you’ve never seen a professional blow molten glass into amazing, unique and colorful creations like bowls and vases, it’s a fascinating process that you’ll probably find pretty intriguing.
The James Hayes Art and Glass Company is an award-winning facility that’s located on Ridgeway Road in Pine Bluff, and it has a gift shop that’s full of one of a kind pieces that were created onsite as well.
For a glass blowing demonstration, it’s best to call ahead in advance and remember to support the business and local economy by picking up a piece or two as keepsakes of your trip to Arkansas.
10. Pine Bluff – Jefferson County Historical Museum
In the 1800s the area around Pine Bluff in Jefferson County was a wild and dangerous place on the edges of the western frontier between the tamed and untamed portions of the country.
The Pine Bluff – Jefferson County Historical Museum is located on East 4th Street in Pine Bluff and is the county’s go-to destination for those looking to get a fascinating glimpse in the region’s history, economy, and the contributions its citizens have made in the many wars in which America has been involved over the years.
It’s located in the town’s restored train depot, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is free to visit from Wednesday to Saturday.
11. Saracen Landing Splash Park
If you happen to find yourself in Arkansas during the dog days of summer you’d be wise to find plenty of indoor activity options as the weather is terribly hot and humid.
If you’d rather be outside, however, there’s no better place to beat the heat than the Saracen Landing Splash Park. It’s the perfect place to let kids be kids and burn off that pent up energy.
The park is full of all the splash park amenities you’d expect and was designed with pre-teen kids in mind, and there are bathrooms, locker rooms and vending machines onsite as well.
They’re open Memorial Day through Labor Day.
12. The University Museum and Cultural Center
Situated in the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, The University Museum and Cultural Center is one of the state’s most complete collections of historic archives dating back more than a century to when the area was originally settled.
Items on display include photographs, first-hand accounts, letters, portraits and legal documents.
Perhaps the most interesting and popular are the accounts of the pioneers who came to the area from the east and the hardships they faced.
It’s located on North University Drive, is free to visit and open from Monday to Friday.
Group tours are available by appointment.
13. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
During the mid-‘50s the country was experiencing a chaotic crisis in relation to the Civil Rights movement and the desegregation of private and public areas including schools.
Little Rock was a city at the epicenter of the crisis when at the behest of then-President Dwight Eisenhower schools nationwide were forced to integrate.
Though it’s still a functioning high school, Little Rock Central High is now a national historic site as well, and largely focuses on ‘the Little Rock 9’ who was thrust into the national spotlight unexpectedly as they made their way into the formerly white-only school.
It’s a fascinating piece of history that’s worth seeing.
14. William J. Clinton Presidential Library
Located in Little Rock’s River District on President Clinton Avenue, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library is one of the state’s most visited sites and is worth a look whether you’re a fan of the Clintons or not.
It has been open since 2004 and is near the University of Arkansas Law School where both Bill and Hillary studied.
No expense was spared in making it one of the country’s most well-appointed and opulent presidential libraries, and it’s conveniently located near other Little Rock attractions making it an easy stop in a day full of other cultural and historic activities.
15. The Arkansas River Trail
Stretching more than 100 miles from Little Rock to neighbouring towns, the Arkansas River Trail System is one of the area’s most utilized public resources and is worth a visit for walkers, bikers, bird-watchers and all-around outdoor enthusiasts.
The trail leads by some of the area’s most popular attractions like the River Market District, Big Dam Bridge, the Clinton Presidential Bike Bridge and the Arkansas River.
According to locals, the Big Dam Bridge is the longest pedestrian and bike only dam of its kind in the world and spans from one side of the Arkansas River to the other.
It offers scenic vistas and is a great place to see water birds and take some great photos too.