I was surprised at how much I liked Fayetteville, not having really known much about it going in. We had mostly considered it a base from which to do some hiking in the Ozarks, but in addition to that, from the world-class art to the vibrant college scene, Fayetteville has a lot to offer.
We chose to stay at Trailwood Mobile Home Park for its close-to-town location, and it was clean and quiet, with a friendly and helpful owner. Trailwood is a residential trailer park that’s slowly converting over to a campground site by site as residents move out, and right now there are only a few temporary camping spots. It’s a good place and we’d stay there again, but it’s expensive–$55 per night, which is close to the most we’ve ever paid for a campsite–and provides none of the standard campground amenities. Location, location, location!
When we get to a new town, we typically look for a self-guided historical or architectural walk to help us get oriented (and get Bugsy some fresh air after riding in the car). This tour of Fayetteville has some far-flung points, so we drove part and walked the more central portion. We ran out of time at the end and couldn’t explore the University of Arkansas (we did the tour backward) but from what we saw, the school is gorgeous.
We spent another morning a half-hour north of Fayetteville in Bentonville, where Walmart is headquartered, and where it began in 1951 as Walton’s 5&10. The old 5&10 on Bentonville’s downtown square is now home to the Walmart museum (and a cute soda fountain); the museum has neat displays and was actually really interesting even to us people who are not super into Walmart.
Bentonville’s real draw is the breathtaking Crystal Bridges art museum, built by a Walton daughter who is the current richest woman in America. Admission is free to see the collection worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and as an added bonus, there’s a Frank Lloyd Wright house on the property available to tour. And there’s a Maman (giant spider in the photo; I fell in love with its clone at the Guggenheim and didn’t know there were several others!) guarding the museum’s entrance! The only one in the US! In Bentonville, AR!
Devil’s Den State Park is a short 30-minute drive south of Fayetteville. We had the pretty trails all to ourselves (maybe because it was FREEZING out) and made a nice five mile loop out of the Devil’s Den and Yellow Rock trails, on the park ranger’s recommendation.
About 45 minutes from Fayetteville lies Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, with the largest land area of Arkansas’ state parks. We hiked a leafy, relatively flat 8.5 miles on Pigeon Roost Trail and had a wonderful time. Our emotions during the hike ranged from peaceful, as we enjoyed the woods, to thrilled, when we spotted armadillos rooting around, to shocked, when we learned armadillos can carry leprosy! As far as we know, we don’t currently have leprosy, and it was pretty exciting to see such bizarre animals going about their business.
Superstar J had so many thoughts on this topic that I moved them to their own Fayetteville breweries page in the Breweries section, like we used to do with brewery notes before we got lazy. Click here to get inspired to go drink beer in Northern Arkansas.
Puritan Coffee & Beer (slogan: “Espresso + 21 taps of craft beer. Why doesn’t this happen more often?” I AGREE) has a Wednesday night happy hour on local beer, and luckily for us “local” includes Springfield, MO, because we savored several (across two visits!) Li’l Helpers from Springfield’s Mother’s Brewing. Puritan is a laid-back, cool spot for beer or coffee or both. When we left, the bartender gave me a coffee to go, which I saved for the next morning, and it was fantastic.
Imagine a magical place where you can eat delicious tacos, and for each meal purchased, a meal is donated to a hungry child. This place exists! Tacos 4 Life combines a taco aficionado’s love for tacos with desire for helping others, which I assume goes hand in hand with taco love. The Fayetteville location we visited was spacious and crowded, and the menu and process reminded us of our beloved White Duck but with more taco variety, and Tacos 4 Life does not serve alcohol.
We planned on dinner at swanky Theo’s, with a pre-dinner cocktail at the bar; we so appreciated the dark and buzzing bar area and fancy and cheap happy hour menu (those are tempura avocado tacos in the photo!) so we stayed put and made a dinner of bar menu items. Drinks and food were top-notch, and everything we tried seemed like a steal at the happy hour prices.
Fayetteville has a wonderful grocery co-op, Ozark Natural Foods, the perfect place to restock your trailer before leaving town, and oh look, it’s in the same shopping center as Tacos 4 Life. Maybe you should stop there too!