Great River Road Interpretive Centers-Arkansas

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway traverses the ten states along both sides of the Mississippi River, with a series of officially designated interpretive centers to help guide the way. The route through Arkansas includes ten such centers that can help visitors understand the diverse stories of the region. As you drive from one interpretive center to the next, you also will want to experience all that the Arkansas Delta has to offer in between.

Layers

Day 1

Lake Chicot State Park
1
Lake Chicot State Park
Natural Area | National or State Park or Forest
Start your Arkansas Great River Road journey by spending a day on the largest oxbow lake in the nation, then stay overnight in one of the modern cabins. A visitor center tells stories of the natural and Civil War history of the area.

The Mississippi Delta's captivating beauty and recreational opportunities come together at Arkansas's largest natural lake, Lake Chicot. Cut off centuries ago from the main channel when the Mississippi River changed course, this 20-mile long…

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Day 2

Lakeport Plantation
2
Lakeport Plantation
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Battlefields, Civil Rights, Historic Homes and Gardens
You can tour this site in an hour if pressed, but better allow two if you want to check out all the exhibits. Before you arrive at the next interpretive center, stop off at McGehee to see the WWII Japanese American Relocation Center Museum and then make a trip to the Rohwer Japanese American Relocation Center Cemetery, a somber reminder of a dark period in our nation's history. Both are on the way to the next interpretive center.

The Lakeport Plantation house, a modified Greek Revival home built circa 1859, is one of Arkansas's premiere historic structures and the only remaining Arkansas plantation home on the Mississippi River that hasn't been extensively altered. It was…

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Arkansas Post National Memorial
3
Arkansas Post National Memorial
Historic or Prehistoric Place | Historic Site
Spend as much time as you like--there are exhibits, a film, a walking tour and lots of beautiful outdoor spots. It's a good place for a picnic lunch.

The park commemorates key events that occurred on site and nearby: the first semi-permanent European settlement in the lower Mississippi Valley (1686); a Revolutionary War engagement (1783); the first Territorial capital of Arkansas (1819-1821);…

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Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge
4
Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge
Natural Area | Fish and Wildlife Refuge or Sanctuary
If you just want to tour the exhibits in the Visitor Center, it will take about an hour. But if you want to get outdoors and explore the National Wildlife refuge, that's another story!! Lots to do for the outdoor enthusiast, including great birdwatching and watchable wildlife.

Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge¬†was established on September 5, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the purpose to protect and conserve migratory…

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Day 3

Delta Cultural Center
5
Delta Cultural Center
Museum, Theater, Interpretive Center | Museum
Plan to arrive in Helena the night before and stay at the Edwardian Inn, a great historic bed and breakfast. Get up early and start your tour because there is lots to do in Helena--the Delta Cultural Center has exhibits in two locations, along with a great Civil War trail including Freedom Park, Fort Curtis, batteries, and historic markers throughout the town.

The Delta Cultural Center, located in historic downtown Helena, Arkansas, is a museum dedicated to the history of the Arkansas Delta. The museum interprets the heritage of the 27 county Delta region through exhibits, educational programs, annual events,…

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Helena Museum of Phillips County
6
Helena Museum of Phillips County
Museum, Theater, Interpretive Center | Museum
Great history of the county for a little local flavor, including a diorama of the Battle of Helena.

The Helena Museum of Phillips County has a long and proud tradition of serving the community that dates back to 1930 when the museum opened to the public.

The museum offers an array of artifacts and artwork for the public, many of which…

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Mississippi River State Park
7
Mississippi River State Park
Natural Area | National or State Park or Forest
This is another place where you can spend all day. But if you're just passing through, you can check out the exhibits at the Visitor Center. This park is located within the St. Francis National Forest. From Helena , the best route is directly through the forest on either the low road (Great River Road) or the high road (Crowley's Ridge Parkway). Bear in mind that while this is a beautiful route, most of it is unpaved. If you insist on being on paved roads, go north to Marianna and enter the park from that end.

Mississippi River State Park is on the southern end of Crowley's Ridge and borders the Mississippi River. Operating through a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service within the 24,000-acre St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas's newest…

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Day 4

Parkin Archeological State Park
8
Parkin Archeological State Park
Natural Area | National or State Park or Forest
When you head toward Parkin, you should plan to spend the night in West Memphis or Marion. While in Marion, you need to check out the Sultana Disaster Museum, which commemorates the greatest maritime disaster in the history of the nation. Then it is a straight shot over to Parkin.

Parkin Archeological State Park in eastern Arkansas at Parkin preserves and interprets the Parkin site on the St. Francis River where a 17-acre Mississippi Period, American Indian village was located from A.D. 1000 to 1600. A large platform mound…

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Hampson Archeological Museum
9
Hampson Archeological Museum
Natural Area | National or State Park or Forest
When you leave Parkin, go by way of Tyronza and visit the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum, which tells the story of the nation's first integrated agricultural union. From Tyronza, go through Dyess and check out the Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home. From there, it is just 13 miles to this next interpretive center, which will soon be moving to a great new location on the Wilson Town Square. The museum has an important collection, but it's also worth the trip just to see the town--which features Tudor-style architecture.

Hampson Archeological Museum State Park in northeast Arkansas exhibits a nationally renowned collection from the Nodena site, a 15-acre palisaded village that once thrived on a meander bend of the Mississippi River in what is today Mississippi County.…

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Mississippi County Museum
10
Mississippi County Museum
Museum, Theater, Interpretive Center | Visitor or Interpretive Center
This is a regional museum that has been developed entirely by volunteers. They have done a great job of presenting the history of the Mississippi County area. It is located on the town square, with its beautiful copper-domed county courthouse. There are places to overnight in Osceola, as well as on up the road in Blytheville. As you pass through Blytheville, be sure to take in the Delta Gateway Museum and That Bookstore in Blytheville before you enter the Missouri segment of the Great River Road and continue upriver.

The Mississippi County Museum and Historical and Genealogical Society are housed in a 1902 and 1904 mercantile building.

Step through the door and step back into history, as the fixtures are original and the history of the county is preserved,…

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the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Ruth Hawkins

Comments

The beautiful landscapes from the Arkansas portion of the Great River Road are worth the time spent whether you get out of the car or not. But, it's worth every minute you spend in the interpretive centers. The history, culture and flora/fauna information is the best.

Pat Audisch, 2/9/2016

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Trip Plan Details

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In This Trip Plan

1 Lake Chicot State Park
2 Lakeport Plantation
3 Arkansas Post National Memorial
4 Dale Bumpers White River National Wildlife Refuge
5 Delta Cultural Center
6 Helena Museum of Phillips County
7 Mississippi River State Park
8 Parkin Archeological State Park
9 Hampson Archeological Museum
10 Mississippi County Museum