When is the best time to visit Arkansas?

I was born and raised in Arkansas and have lived her for most of my adult years. I’m going to share with you what the weather is really like in each season and what I think is the best time to visit Arkansas.

I will tell you that I think fall is absolutely gorgeous in the state. Not only that but there is the smallest chance of extreme weather in the fall. So, if you have a choice, that is when I would visit.

Spring would be my next preference and summer and winter would be tied for third.

Obviously, if you are wanting to spend a week on the lake you are not going to want to visit in the winter. So, perhaps the best answer to the question of what time of year is best for a visit to Arkansas is:

It depends on what you are planning to do!

A sign against a blue sky that says Welcome to Arkansas The Natural State. When is the best time to visit Arkansas?Pin

There are great reasons to visit Arkansas in every season as well as fun things to do year round.

Let me give you an idea about what the weather will be like in each season as well as the best things to do!

When is the best time to visit Arkansas?

Visiting Arkansas in the Fall

I’m going to start with fall because it happens to be my FAVORITE season in Arkansas and therefore I would say that this is the very best time to visit Arkansas!

We usually get our first hint of cooler weather in mid to late September.

Now, I’m not saying that Arkansas will have “cool” weather by late September. It might not. But it will be less hot.

Sometime in late September or early October the humidity begins to lower and we will begin to feel a hint of coolness in the air. Ahhhh, it is so refreshing and something that most Arkansans eagerly anticipate after the summer heat.

Fall is simply gorgeous and perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities. Although there will be cool days the temperatures typically stay moderate and not too cold well into November.

Leaves don’t normally begin to change in Arkansas until late October and are usually still lovely in the first part of November. Obviously, the peak changes year to year.

“Leaf peeping” is one of the best things to do in fall.

Here is a list of some of the best places to experience fall color in Arkansas. This is also a great time for pumpkin patches and fall festivals in the state.

Fall is also my favorite time for hiking! The weather has cooled and the bugs have diminished, the leaves crunch under your feet and it is simply glorious. Here are some of our favorite hikes in Arkansas.

Ideas for things to do in Arkansas Fall Activities

  • See the fall color in Arkansas
  • Hiking is gorgeous in the fall
  • Visit pumpkin patches
  • Travel some of the scenic routes in Arkansas
  • Visit Hot Spring National Park
  • Listen to Music on the Square in Mountain View
  • Attend a Fall festival
  • Watch the Razorbacks play football
Fall at a rushing stream. Fall is the best time to visit Arkansas.Pin

A summer visit to Arkansas

If you are from the south then you already know what I’m going to say…summers in the south, including Arkansas, are hot. Very hot and very humid. The weather is hot by late May and stays hot well into September.

The average highs in the state are 93 degrees at their peak in July, but they can and DO exceed 100 degrees. The humidity can be as high as 85% and is usually well over 65%.

So, yes, it is hot.

Does this mean that summer is not a good time to visit Arkansas? No! Summer are also green and lush and a perfect time for visiting some of the wonderful Arkansas lakes and rivers.

Just prepared for the weather and plan accordingly. Make sure you have cool clothing and drink plenty of water and take a break from the afternoon heat.

You can also enjoy indoor activities such as shopping, or visiting some of the amazing Arkansas museums including the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville.

There are excellent restaurants and food trucks in Arkansas and dining on a wonderful patio is an amazing Arkansas summer activity. You might also enjoy trying some local brews. Check out the Arkansas Brewery Trail as well as our list of breweries in Little Rock.

In my opinion, the only activity I wouldn’t do during the hottest weather is hiking. Local hiking groups almost always take a break during July and August and early September for good reason

If you are a family traveling in the summer then I would recommend finding a place to stay with a swimming pool. Some of our state parks including Petit Jean State Park and Mount Nebo State Park and many others have swimming pools for the use of those who are staying in the parks.

Ideas for Arkansas Summer Activities

  • Shopping
  • Lakes and water sports
  • Kayaking and Canoeing on the rivers
  • Swimming holes and swimming pools
  • Water Parks
  • Go to Museums
  • Tour caverns
  • Dine out
  • Visit a Brewery
  • Attend a summertime festivals
  • Go to a minor league baseball game
  • Go to the Farmer’s Markets and enjoy the amazing summer produce
boating on a lake in Arkansas. Pin

A visit to Arkansas in the Winter

Although we do occasionally get snow and ice, winters are typically mild in Arkansas and in my opinion I think that winter can be a great time to visit The Natural State!

The highs average about 51 degrees in winter with the lows dropping to about freezing. There will be some very cold days mixed in along with a few glorious days with bright blue skies and temperatures in the 60’s. Those are days that feel like little winter gifts.

I am writing this post on January 24 in central Arkansas. The skies are clear and the temperature is currently 57 and the high is supposed to be 63.

We do occasionally get snow and ice, however, the weather will typically be pretty mild. Winter in Arkansas can be a bit like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. You never know what you might get.

One of my favorite winter activities in Arkansas is hiking! On clear days during the leaf-off you can see for miles. Plus you don’t have to worry about bugs or snakes!

If we do get a hard freeze it can be really fun to visit some of the Arkansas waterfalls to see the spectacular ice formations. Renting a secluded cabin in the Ozarks that has a fireplace is one of my favorite things to do in the winter.

One fun and unique thing to do in winter is to stop by to see the Trumpeter Swans on Magness Lake.

You might also enjoy visiting some of the state parks during the off season, especially Mount Magazine with its lovely cabins and hot tubs.

Like in the heat of summer, museums and restaurants and shopping are also good choices for cold days.

Ideas for things to do in Arkansas in the Winter

  • Hiking
  • Attend an Arkansas Razorback basketball game
  • Visit a museum
  • Eat at a great restaurant
  • Shopping
  • Drive the Trail of Holiday Lights
  • Visit a Christmas Tree Farm
  • See the Trumpeter Swans at Magness Lake
  • Have an off-season getaway in a cabin in the Ozarks
winter in Arkansas. winters are mild in Arkansas making winter a good time to visit Arkansas. This is a photo of a dam with water flowing over it. The skies are blue but you can tell that it is winter because the trees are bare.Pin

A spring visit to Arkansas

After autumn, I think that spring is the next best time to visit Arkansas.

Spring comes quickly to this state. The first hints of color arrive in early March and most of the vegetation is in full bloom by the middle of April.

It’s true that the weather may be capricious. You will have glorious warm days mixed with cold ones. There is likely to be rain and perhaps storms, and yes, sometimes tornadoes.

Even so, spring is glorious in Arkansas. The dogwoods and red buds against the pale green of the budding trees is a sight to behold.

This is the time of year that you should be hiking to see waterfalls! The wet weather streams will usually be full and the waterfalls that might dry up later in the summer will be rushing.

Late spring is also the best season for float trips. The buffalo and many other Arkansas rivers are flowing well and high enough for a kayaks and canoes.

Another great spring activity is visiting some of the gorgeous gardens in Arkansas. The tulips at Garvan Gardens should simply not be missed. This is a perfect time of year to take a tour of Moss Mountain Farm, the home of famous horticulturist P. Allen Smith.

Ideas for spring activities in Arkansas

  • Hike to waterfalls
  • Float trips
  • Visit Garvan Woodland Gardens when the tulips are in bloom.
  • Attend a spring festival such as the Wye Mountain Daffodil festival.
  • Visit Hot Springs National Park before the weather gets too hot.
  • Visit Eureka Springs and see the hillsides in bloom.
  • Attend a Razorback baseball game
  • Take a tour of Moss Mountain Farm
  • Enjoy the spring produce at a local Farmer’s Market
tulips at Garvan Woodland GardensPin

I hope that you enjoyed hearing my opinion about the best time to visit Arkansas. I think that no matter when you will have a wonderful time. It is truly beautiful year round.

You might be interested in learning more about Arkansas! Here is a list of interesting facts about Arkansas as well some of the funny town names that you might see as you travel around the state!

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