A seamless combination of Midwestern charm, Southern hospitality and the daring of the American frontier, Arkansas is a state that resists easy definitions. Divided by the broad swath of the Arkansas River and bordered to the east by the Mighty Mississippi, the "Natural State" is home to high wooded escarpments, plunging sandstone gorges and flat plains of lush farmland.
Arkansas has earned distinction as the Natural State as not only in recognition of the incredible natural beauty of our state, but also for the diversity of landscapes to be found here. The two major natural regions consist of the interior highlands in the northwestern third of the state and the flat coastal plains which comprise the rest of the state. The highlands include the wooded rises and numerous caves of the Ozark Mountains, the narrow ridges of the Ouachita Mountains and the deep folds of the Arkansas River Valley. The coastal plain varies from pasture and prairie in the southwest to rich farmland, often called the Delta, nearing the Mississippi.
Little Rock, located in the center of Arkansas, is the state capital and the chief commercial center. On the banks of the Arkansas river along the western border with Oklahoma, Fort Smith is an industrial center with a strong Western heritage. Fayetteville, in the northwestern corner of the state, is an important agricultural distribution center as well as home to the University of Arkansas. The city of Hot Springs in the stunning Ouachita Mountains is a popular resort and spa destination.
Once almost entirely dependent on agriculture, Arkansas underwent a very rapid coordinated industrialization in the 1950’s. By the end of the decade, manufacturing had outpaced farming as the chief source of income for the state. Foremost among the many corporations with a strong presence in Arkansas is Wal-Mart, whose international headquarters are located in Bentonville. The town is also home to a Visitors Center situated in Sam Walton’s original variety store.
Arkansas offers a thriving arts and entertainment scene to compete with the spectacular outdoor scenery. Little Rock boasts a burgeoning nightlife, particularly in the River Market District that is filled with restaurants, nightclubs, museums and performing arts venues.