Discover highlights of Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee on this three state escape. Experience cowboy culture, small town America and areas of natural beauty - all to an eclectic soundtrack. From the grass roots music of Johnny Cash to the honky tonks of Nashville, this toe-tapping trek will open your eyes to middle America.
The surprisingly hip town of Fort Worth is your two night base in the Lone Star State. This is what Texas is all about: rodeos, cattle-drives and attractions dedicated to cowboys and girls. Pull on your boots and head on down to Billy Bob’s, the world’s biggest honky-tonk. Take a saddle seat at the bar and order a cold beer then dine on juicy steaks at The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro where even the chefs wear cowboy hats! Or saunter around the Western-era shops, steakhouses and saloons in the historic Stockyards district.
In the evening head to Lil’ Red’s Longhorn Salon for some line-dancing, or set off to the Coyote Drive-In Movie theatre to munch on corn dogs and nachos as you watch the latest flick.
Distance: 298 miles
Leave Texas behind and make your way to Texarkana on the Texas/Arkansas border. Established in 1880, State Line Avenue, the main street, was laid out to lie on the dividing line between the two states. Each side has a mayor and there are two city councils and city staffs. State Line Post Office and Federal Building is the only U.S. post office situated in two states. It is also the most photographed courthouse in the country after the Supreme Court Building in Washington D.C. If you're a petrol head, let's see if we can get you a tour of the Four States Auto Museum which houses a private collection of superbly maintained vintage vehicles.
Stop for coffee in Hope, the birthplace of President Bill Clinton and renowned for watermelon growing - some of the largest in the world. A few miles from town is Historic Washington State Park, a restoration village preserving the 19th-century town of Washington, which figured prominently in Arkansas and Southwest U.S. history.
Nestled in the pretty Ouachita Mountains, is the resort town of Hot Springs. The town is known for its naturally heated springs, baseball history and gangster heritage. Head for a soak in one of the many heated springs on Bathhouse Row. Set opposite the row is the city's main street which offers a fabulous choice of restaurants and is home to the Gangster Museum of America. This museum chronicles what life was like when some of America's most notorious gangster used to visit to relax in the bath houses and the speakeasies during prohibition.
Travel out of town to Murfreesboro and try your hand at diamond mining in Craters of Diamonds State Park. This is one of the only places in the world where the public can search for diamonds in their original, volcanic source. More than 33,100 diamonds have been found by visitors since becoming a park in 1972. Notable diamonds found here include the 40.23-carat Uncle Sam, the largest diamond ever unearthed in the U.S.; the 16.37-carat Amarillo Starlight; the 15.33-carat Star of Arkansas; and the 8.52-carat Esperanza. You'll be interested to know that the policy in the park is finder's keepers!
Distance: 55 miles
It's a short hop and skip to Little Rock. The Clinton's may have put this city on the map, but this charming and historic capital city offers plenty of reasons to stay awhile.
Possessing a strong civil rights history, there is an emotive display at the Little Rock Central High School Visitors Centre, where the struggle for racial segregation famously took place in 1957 when nine black students enrolled at a formerly all-white school. Still a working high school, the site is also a registered National Historic Site run by the National Park Service and can be visited as part of a ranger guided tour.
Little Rock is the city from which the 42nd President ran his presidential campaign and is home to the William J Clinton Presidential Library. The exhibits here showcase the causes closest to his heart, as well as, an amazing research department.
Once a frontier town, Little Rock's history is brought to life with a visit to the Historic Arkansas Museum. Whereas the Heifer Village and Urban Farm offers a state of the art sustainable facility that highlights global issues. Take a short drive to North Little Rock and you'll find 'The Old Mill' which resembles a set from an old movie. Indeed it was, the mill was featured in the opening credits of "Gone With the Wind." It's believed to be the only remaining structure from the movie still in existence and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Little Rock is also renowned for its buzzing nightlife, live music and superb dining. Head for the River Market Entertainment District, the beating heart of downtown. At the weekend visitors can take alcoholic drinks with them as they wander the shops, bars and restaurants.
Distance: 212 miles
Make your way through the heart of Arkansas with a stop at the 'Spinach Capital of the World' in sleepy Alma. Spot the Popeye statue for good luck, before heading to Fort Smith on the Oklahoma/Arkansas border. Visit the Elvis Barbershop Museum where, on 24th March 1958, Elvis Presley had his first G.I buzz cut that was dubbed “the haircut heard ‘round the world". Asked what he thought of his famous sideburns disappearing, he remarked "Hair today, gone tomorrow!"
Surrounded by the Ozark and Boston Mountains, quaint Fayetteville has a flourishing arts scene and wonderful boutiques before heading north to the Arkansas/Missouri border and overnight stop in Bentonville. The town is home to the impressive Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art with a renowned collection ranging from Rockwell to Warhol. Every June in Bentonville is Arts & Culinary month, plus every Friday in summer, movies are shown in the park at sundown. You’ll also want to plan in time at the Museum of Native American History. Lovers of architecture will adore the Bachman-Wilson home, built by Frank Lloyd Wright. The house is an example of his classic Usonian design which he developed during the Great Depression.
For a dollop of true Americana, the kitsch Spark Cafe - part of the Walmart Museum - in downtown Bentonville is famous for old fashioned sodas and ice cream sundaes to die for!
Distance: 39 miles
The quirky Ozark Mountain town of Eureka Springs is a joy to explore. Head downtown which is crammed with Victorian architecture and intriguing, winding streets. Listed on the Register of National Historic Places, you'll find one-of-a-kind stores, boutiques, art galleries and craft emporiums. During the summer months the town is awash with festivals that include the Arts, Opera, Blues and BBQ! It's a fun place to be.
Eureka Springs has a dark side too. It's also referred to as 'Halloween City' as it's home to the USA's most haunted hotel - the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. Take a ghostly tour of this and other paranormal sites - if you’re brave enough.
Peering down from the Magnetic Mountains that surround the town is the third largest free standing statue of Christ in the world. The Christ of the Ozarks sculpture is often referred to as their "milk carton with arms.” Nevertheless, it's an impressive sight and there are some interesting museums in the park it's located in.
Distance: 121 miles
En route to Mountain View, consider a detour to the neighbouring state of Missouri to visit 'the live entertainment capital of the world' - Branson. From rock to classic country, this lively town offers music 24/7, seven days a week. Stop for a pancake brunch whilst enjoying an award-winning tribute show! Only in America, eh?!
Mountain View is located deep in the Arkansas Ozarks and surrounded by mountains and rivers. It is also home to music stores, antique shops and authentic Bar-B-Q and Catfish restaurants. The local area is renowned for its outdoor activities including caving at Blanchard Springs Caverns and fly fishing on the White River.
Ready for a simpler, slower pace? Stay in a rustic Ozark cabin in the state park with folk concerts at the Ozark Mountain Theatre, home to the popular Ozark Highland Radio. At Craft Village in the Ozark Folk Center State Park you can enjoy the wares of working, local artisans Tuesday through Sunday April to November.
Distance: 178 miles
Hit the road early today as there is a lot of ground to cover on your way to Memphis.
The tiny town of Walnut Ridge once had a close encounter with the Beatles in1964. And, they are determined not to let anybody forget it. Ever. Stroll around Beatles Park and if happen to be in town in September, check out their Beatles on the Ridge Music Festival.
if you're a foodie, head for the unassuming Jones BBQ Diner near Marianna. The diner’s history is rich: food historians say it may be one of the nation’s oldest restaurants owned by an African American family. Barbecue sales began in 1910 when meat was sold from a washtub until the business moved to its present location in 1964. The diner has won countless awards and was frequented by President Bill Clinton.
Fans of music legend Johnny Cash won't want to miss his boyhood home set in Dyess in rural Arkansas, just 43 miles from Memphis. The town was founded as Dyess Colony in 1934, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, to give destitute workers economic relief during the depression. Tour the simple home of the Cash family and the exhibits depicting the struggles they endured.
Aim to arrive in the 'Home of the Blues' and 'The Birthplace of Rock 'n' Roll' early evening as the neon lights illuminate world-famous Beale Street. Hear the throb of gospel, blues and R& B from the clubs and bars that line America’s most iconic street. Make time in Memphis to visit Graceland (we recommend and can pre-book a VIP tour here), world-famous Sun Studios - where Cash made his first recordings - and the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel.
Distance: 198 miles
It's a three hour drive through the rolling Tennessee countryside to 'Music City, USA, Nashville!
Continue with the Johnny Cash theme at his museum before heading to a performance at the holy grail of country music - the Grand Ole Opry. No visit to Nashville is complete without a stroll around the immense Country Music Hall of Fame or the historic RCA Studio B.
In the evening there is an endless selection of live music....bluegrass to rockabilly and country to rock and roll. The talent is amazing and local honky tonks are full of hopeful performers, songwriters and musicians. You never know, you may discover the next big name.