Jill Rohrbach, travel writer / Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, you might be looking for a special place to spend idyllic time with your sweetie. You can create a tale of love and adventure in Arkansas at numerous romantic places, but here’s a tip on 10 top places to kiss (or propose) in The Natural State.
1. Locking lips at this locale is literally the top place to kiss in Arkansas. Signal Hill at Mt. Magazine State Park near Paris is the highest point of the peak at 2,753 feet above mean sea level. There’s no higher ground in The Natural State; although, when kissing your sweetheart, your feet may not be on the ground anyway. A balcony off the lodge or deck of one of the cabins makes for a romantic background as well. www.MountMagazineStatePark.com
2. Take a selfie and an artful approach to romance in front of the LOVE sculpture at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. Afterward, enjoy a romantic stroll through the art galleries. And if love alone is not enough to sustain you, there are plenty of good eats and drinks available here at the museum restaurant, Eleven. www.CrystalBridges.org
3. Show your heart’s desire the depths of your love with a trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View. Talk about mood lighting; the illumination of the soft-hued calcite formations is sure to kindle a romantic pause. Experiencing the beauty of the cave together will be a treasured memory. www.BlanchardSprings.org
4. Sunset Point just sounds like a place to make out, doesn’t it? Hey – this is a public family venue with a beautiful view at Mt. Nebo State Park near Dardanelle, so don’t make too much of a public display of affection. But, at day’s end, it’s definitely a heart-warming place for a little smooch.www.ArkansasStateParks.com
5. Whitaker Point, a sandstone rock outcrop jutting out about 100 feet above the forest floor, is one of the most photographed spots in the state. Also known as Hawksbill Crag, it is located in the Upper Buffalo Wilderness Area. Take a hike to the point, relish the view, and hang on tight to each other as you fall in love but not over the cliff. Romance is also in the air here if you’re up for a hot air balloon ride over the Buffalo National River. www.NPS.gov/buff
6. Get cozy atop the late 1930s-era Ferris wheel at The Park at West End in Fort Smith. The Ferris wheel was originally built and displayed at the 1935 San Diego World’s Fair. This is its fourth home. This retro amusement park also contains a hand-painted carousel from Italy and a 1963 British Leyland double-decker. A 1957 Pullman dining car serves as a diner. A covered penny arcade and calliope circus wagon add to the nostalgia and enchantment. www.FortSmith.org
7. At River Reach Park in historic downtown Helena, stroll hand in hand on the elevated boardwalk that leads to the river’s edge. Mesmerize your mate with a passionate kiss while you watch, in Mark Twain’s words, “the great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun.” www.Arkansas.com/things-to-do/attractions
8. Live racing season at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs began Jan. 15 and runs through April 16. An exciting place to kiss your sweetie is at the finish line as the horses thunder past. Your heart may be racing from more than the kiss if you have a winning ticket in hand. www.Oaklawn.com
9. It’s the view, it’s the setting, it’s the fourth-floor balcony of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs. Order a beverage from the hotel’s Sky Bar, toast to your love, and seal it with a kiss. Then enjoy looking out over the wooded historic district of this Victorian resort town. www.EurekaSprings.org
10. Waterfalls are a great backdrop for a caress and a kiss and we have plenty of them in Arkansas. Probably the best-known natural waterfall in the state is Cedar Falls at Petit Jean State Park atop Petit Jean Mountain near Morrilton. This 95-foot gusher spills into Cedar Creek and is accessed via the Cedar Falls Trail, which winds through Cedar Creek Canyon to the “splash down.” You’ll need to take water to wet your whistle. The trip is 2-1/4 miles round-trip and is classified as moderate-to-strenuous. www.PetitJeanStatePark.com
Featured image courtesy of the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
Where’s your favorite romantic spot in Arkansas? Tell us in the comments below!