National Arkansas Day

Joining the Union in 1836, Arkansas became the 35th State. The name Arkansas came from the Quapaw Indians, whom the French called the “Arkansaw.” In truth, the first people to live there arrived around 11,650 BC.



Much later (around 650 AD) a group called the Plum Bayou built mysterious mounds of dirt that can still be seen at Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park. The Rock House Cave in Petit Jean State Park contains well-preserved rock drawings created more than 500 years ago.


The population is about 3 million. And food specialties do not go unnoticed. Arkansas is known for such delights as Southern hush puppies, fried catfish, chicken fried steak, Arkansas Possum Pie, and southern biscuits with chocolate gravy (oh, yeah… breakfast made beauteous)!

1957 photo by Burt Glinn / Magnum Photos


Arkansas made history in 1957 when 9 African American students were escorted by Army troops into the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School.



2007 photo by Doug Wertman


But the state is known for more than its role in the Civil Rights Movement. For example, Arkansas is the world’s largest producer of bromine, and it’s the only state that actively mines diamonds. In fact, the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public. A 37.5-acre plowed field is where visitors can hunt for real diamonds.

Yup. Finders Keepers. The site ranks as the world’s 8th largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater.


With its nickname “The Natural State” it comes as no surprise to find beautiful lakes, rivers, mountains, and wildlife.






Among the abundant wildlife species, you will find elk, the Eastern spotted skunk, and the indigo bunting.




The highest point in Arkansas comes in at 2,753 feet. Magazine Mountain is flat-topped with steep cliffs.



Photo by Brandon Rush


Plenty of water flows through and around Arkansas, which is home to the 2nd smallest national park in the US. With just 8.6 square miles, the waters of Hot Springs National Park can reach 143°F.


Photo by Patrick Hodskins



Another “don’t miss” site is Mammoth Spring State Park, which sees 9 million gallons of water flow through every hour.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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