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Arkansas

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Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Arkansas

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Introduction

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Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians.

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Geography

Arkansas borders Louisiana to the south, Texas to the southwest, Oklahoma to the west, Missouri to the north, and Tennessee and Mississippi on the east. Arkansas can generally be split into two halves, the highlands in the northwest half and the lowlands of the southeastern half. The highlands are part of the Southern Interior Highlands, including The Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains. The southern lowlands include the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Arkansas Delta. This dual split is somewhat simplistic, however, and thus usually yields to general regions named northwest, southwest, northeast, southeast, or central Arkansas. These directionally named regions are also not defined along county lines and are also broad. Arkansas has seven distinct natural regions: the Ozark Mountains, Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas River Valley, Gulf Coastal Plain, Crowley's Ridge, and the Arkansas Delta, with Central Arkansas sometimes included as a blend of multiple regions.
Northwest Arkansas is part of the Ozark Plateau including the Ozark Mountains, to the south are the Ouachita Mountains, and these regions are divided by the Arkansas River; the southern and eastern parts of Arkansas are called the Lowlands. These mountain ranges are part of the U.S. Interior Highlands region, the only major mountainous region between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. The highest point in the state is Mount Magazine in the Ouachita Mountains; it rises to 839 metres above sea level. Arkansas has many rivers, lakes, and reservoirs within or along its borders. Major tributaries of the Mississippi River include the Arkansas River, White River, and St. Francis River. The Arkansas is fed by the Mulberry River, and Fourche LaFave River in the Arkansas River Valley, which is also home to Lake Dardanelle.

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Cities

  • Conway
  • Fayetteville
  • Fort Smith
  • Hot Springs
  • Jonesboro
  • Little Rock, the state's capital and largest city.
  • North Little Rock, located across the river from Little Rock.
  • Pine Bluff
  • Rogers
  • Springdale

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Sights and Activities

  • Hot Springs National Park

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Weather

Arkansas generally has a humid subtropical climate, which borders on humid continental in some northern highland areas. While not bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Arkansas is still close enough to this warm, large body of water for it to influence the weather in the state. Generally, Arkansas has hot, humid summers and cold, slightly drier winters. In Little Rock, the daily high temperatures average around 34 °C with lows around 23 °C in July. In January highs average around 11 °C and lows around 0 °C. In Siloam Springs in the northwest part of the state, the average high and low temperatures in July are 32 °C and 19 °C and in January the average high and lows are 7 °C and -5 °C. Annual precipitation throughout the state averages between about 1,000 and 1,500 mm; somewhat wetter in the south and drier in the northern part of the state. Snowfall is common, more so in the north half of the state, which usually gets several snowfalls each winter. This is not only due to its proximity to the plains states, but also to the higher elevations found throughout the Ozark and Ouachita mountains. The half of the state south of Little Rock gets less snow, and is more apt to see ice storms, however, sleet and freezing rain are expected throughout the state during the winter months, and can significantly impact travel and day to day life. Arkansas' all time record high is 49 °C at Ozark on August 10, 1936; the all time record low is -34 °C at Round Pond, on February 13, 1905. Arkansas is known for extreme weather. A typical year will see thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, snow and ice storms. Between both the Great Plains and the Gulf States, Arkansas receives around 60 days of thunderstorms. A few of the most destructive tornadoes in U.S. history have struck the state. While being sufficiently away from the coast to be safe from a direct hit from a hurricane, Arkansas can often get the remnants of a tropical system which dumps tremendous amounts of rain in a short time and often spawns smaller tornadoes.

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Getting There

By Plane

Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) is the main airport in Arkansas and is located near Little Rock. Flights include those to/from Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, Atlanta, Memphis, Baltimore, Houston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, St. Louis, Orlando, Denver, Charlotte and Washington, D.C..

By Train

The Texas Eagle, operated by Amtrak, travels between Chicago and San Antonio, Texas on a daily basis, continuing to Los Angeles 3 times a week. The train also stops in a number of places in Arkansas.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Arkansas has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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References

  1. 1 Mid-2008 estimate, U.S. Census Bureau

Quick Facts

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Capital
Little Rock
Population
2,855,390[1]

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This is version 11. Last edited at 8:44 on Dec 28, 12 by Utrecht. 11 articles link to this page.

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