The southern state of Arkansas takes great pride in its natural wonders, such as its 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams and rivers. For any travelers looking to enjoy nature and all of its splendor, Arkansas should be the first place they plan on visiting in their rental car. While being home to some of the most captivating displays nature has to offer, Arkansas also has a rich history in the U.S., being the first place where public schools were desegregated and being home to the Museum of Native American History.
Who would've thought that you could see lions and tigers in the middle of Arkansas? Well, you can. The Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge was opened in 1992 after the Jackson family, who already had two lions in their backyard, were given 42 more "big cats" for safe keeping when a breeder and black market dealer showed up on their doorstep looking for refuge. Eventually, word got around that there was finally a place for owners to send their "big cats" that had just gotten too big for their homes.
The Hot Springs National Park was declared the very first national park in the U.S. by Congress in 1832, 40 years before Yellowstone. The park is named after the natural hot springs that can be found in the area, which have provided relieving hot baths to everyone from prehistoric natives to settlers. In the 1900s, bathhouses were built to store these hot springs and have become a historical landmarks. Keeping up the tradition, businesses offering the use of hot springs have flourished in the area ever since. The park is also a great location for hiking and camping trips.