I took a car to Arkansas and that's a good thing. My last few trips had been without automobile, and it gets kind of old worrying about catching the right buses all the time. Driving on the scenic highways in Arkansas is not to be missed. Highways 7 and 23 cut through the Ozark National Forest and Ouachita National Forest...trees and scenic views are everywhere. Tour buses also drive along these highways, in case you don't feel like driving yourself. I had no trouble finding my way around...didn't really get lost. On the twisting and turning highways in the Ozarks, distances can be a bit deceiving. Signs might have a location as only 10 miles away but covering 10 miles on curving, steep roads takes longer than one might think.Related to:
- Road Trip
Little Rock National Airport (LIT)
Little Rock National Airport (LIT) is in the center of the state and is served by Continental, Delta, and others. Fayetteville (XNA), Texarkana, and West Memphis also have scheduled air service.
All points within the state are within a few hours drive. Many freeways radiate from Little Rock to get you to your destination quickly, but if you can, be sure to take some of the scenic routes with their spectacular scenery.
Scenic Route 7Route 7 is a...
Scenic Route 7
Route 7 is a north/south state road which goes through some of scenic highlights of the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests.
The Northern section, which lies between Harrison and Russelville has the highest elevations, and best scenic overlooks. You'll go through Jasper, home of Dogpatch USA, and the 'heart of hillbilly' You'll also cross the Buffalo National River, a remarkably clean and beautiful river, and a top destination for recreational canoeists.
The Southern section lies between Russelville and Hot Springs. It crosses the Arkansas river and traverses the Ouachita National Forest. At the southern end, you'll be rewarded with a massage in Hot Springs!
Photo is of Buffalo National River, near the route 7 crossing.
Don't let the map deceive you. It takes a very long time to get anywhere in the Ozarks, and some areas are downright deserted. We drove from Clarksville up Hwy. 21 to Eureka Springs,and wondered if we had drove right out of civilization. All of the small villages on the way looked like ghost towns, there were no gas stations or stores, so come prepared and don't run out of gas. My cell phone did not work there either.
You need a car/motorcycle in the Ozarks
In the Ozarks, you need a car since public transportation is non-existant. Make sure you get a good map because many smaller roads are poorly marked, if at all. If you do any amount of exploring you'll likely end up on dirt roads, so don't bring a nice sports car. And there are only a few straight 4-lane roads in these parts, so give yourself plenty of time to get anywhere! The windy roads make this a favorite for motorcycle riders, but you have to watch out for bad drivers around here -- some of them have a nasty habit of crossing the middle divide. Be prepared to get stuck occasionally behind a slow driver, and don't pass unless it's a dotted middle line (trust me)-- just take a deep breath and enjoy the scenery until it's safe to pass. And one last thing -- watch out for critters on the road, both wild and domestic. Running into a cow or deer, or over a skunk or turtle can ruin your day!
You Gotta Have Wheels
I know that public transport bites in the U.S. It is a painful fact that at this point the best way to see most of my country is with a personal vehicle. So it is best to have this factored into your plans. With the exception of New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Portland you will need wheels.
I will give you a few ideas that have worked for friends of mine that have visited the U.S.
1. If you have time and the adventurous sprit consider bike touring. I know that this seems crazy to many. It is one of the most interesting ways to see many places in the U.S. It is rich with cultural involvement and would make the trip of a life time.
2. Develop a friendship with an American and travel with them or borrow a car from them. We have traveled with many friends from outside the U.S. and it worked well for them.
3. Rent a car this is expensive but easy and reliable. There are many reliable companies and you can get them right at the airport where you land. (Most U.S. airports are NOT well connected with the cities they serve) This helps to avoid the hassle of getting into town.
4. Buy a used car and sell it when you leave. Many friends have chosen this option and for those with the temperament for dealing with the extra work it is a great option. You most likely will take a loss when you sell it but it comes out better than renting cash wise.
Well I hope this helps a bit.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
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