Arkansas for sports travel? Certain things come to mind when Americans picture the South. High school football and barbecue are the givens. However, Arkansas is a state with a diverse set of attractions and activities for people with unique interests. There are abundant amounts of trout in the rivers for fishing all year round. The Ozark and Ouachita national forests offer expansive wilderness for hiking and other outdoor activities. Arkansas is also home to a diamond mine, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and of course a long list of barbecue contests.
Fayetteville Sports Facilities
The rough and tough Arkansas Razorbacks football team brings the most attention to Fayetteville, but the city makes sure it puts its artists on the map, too. Fayetteville is home to many art studios, art galleries and even pottery classes. There is a World War I fighter plane and other famous aircraft on display at the Arkansas Air Museum. Fayetteville also has many antique shops. Just keep the china away from the linebackers that you might see walking down Dickson Street, a popular college hangout.
Fayetteville High School is the perfect fit for your football game or tournament. The action will be fast due to the field’s artificial surface. There are lights at this facility if you prefer a night game. All bases are covered with a concessions area, picnic tables and grills.
The University of Arkansas’ 10,731-seat Baum Stadium in Fayetteville is considered as one of the best college sports facilities in the country. A testament to a great baseball team and a great stadium is the fact that the Razorbacks were the first team in the NCAA to average over 8,000 tickets sold per game for a season.
The name Bud Walton may not ring a bell immediately, but the co-founder of Walmart had the ability to bring a new arena to Fayetteville in 1993. The arena is known to be “ear-splitting” for its seats-to-space ratio. With four large video screens on the scoreboard, no one will be out of the action. The Razorbacks’ basketball team plays at the Bud Walton Arena.
Indoor track & field lives in Fayetteville. The Randal Tyson Track Center is home to the USA Track & Field Golden Spike tour event. Many records have been broken at this sports facility. Last February, Georgia’s Torrin Lawrence had the fastest 400-meter dash in the world for 2010. The steep curves and long straightaways help runners push their performance to the max. This is a track where your team can see what they are made of and maybe add another record to the 11 already logged.
North Little Rock Attractions and Athletic Facilities
North Little Rock lies three hours and 180 miles southeast of Fayetteville. This city is overflowing with activities and beautiful scenery. Artistic creativity is displayed all over North Little Rock, especially at the Argenta Art Walk, where pedestrians have chances to meet the artists and buy their work. A riverboat tour aboard the Arkansas Queen is an excellent opportunity to wind down after leaving it all on the field. If you shoot for the stars, the Aerospace Education Center has an IMAX theater and digital planetarium. North Little Rock is 130 miles from Memphis and 300 miles from Dallas.
Batter up! North Little Rock’s Burns Park baseball complex is in the process of development and will have seven fields. Burns Park also has a sports complex for soccer and tennis. Bikers, runners and even people who enjoy a nice stroll will be in awe if they get a chance to take on the Big Dam Bridge. The bridge connects 15 miles of nature-laden trails in the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock. There is no shortage of water activities in North Little Rock. The rivers and lakes in North Little Rock can be used for rowing and canoeing competitions.
Fort Smith Event Facilities
Fort Smith is a great place to slow down and breathe freely. There are 18 holes at Fort Smith Country Club, a public course designed by Alex Findlay. Go-karts fly down the track at Wanna Be Racing Family Fun Center. At night the Ferris wheel lights up the sky at The Park at West End, a must-see amusement park. Fort Smith is 400 miles from St. Louis, 180 miles from Oklahoma City and 400 miles from Jackson, Mississippi.
Most of the sporting facilities available for rental are found at parks in Fort Smith. Kelley Park Ballfields has six baseball fields and plenty of room for a tournament. Martin Luther King Park is a huge park that has soccer fields, basketball courts and a skate park. Tilles Park’s four-court arrangement is perfect for a mid-sized tennis tournament.
Bentonville Attractions and Sports Venues
Bentonville is home to Walton’s 5&10, the birthplace of WalMart and a museum that showcases the ingenuity of Sam and Bud Walton. Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari is a 400-acre compound with exotic animals roaming about. There is a four-mile trail where you can see the animals in the comfort of a truck. At the old Spanish Treasure Cave your group can explore the passageways or pan for gemstones. Crystal Bridges Museum, a modern building with picturesque bridges that emit light through the slits of its canopies, will also showcase American art when it opens on Nov. 11, 2011.
The Tiger’s Complex in Bentonville is a college-like stadium with an indoor practice facility, multi-court basketball gym and new tennis courts. Memorial Park has an Olympic-size swimming pool, a diving pool and 52-foot water slide. It also offers nine softball fields, 11 soccer fields, four tennis courts, two basketball courts and six volleyball courts. Your basketball team can play indoors at the Coleman Recreation Center, which has12 courts that can be converted into volleyball courts.
Arkansas is a place that embodies competitive sports with its outstanding arenas and stadiums. With so many choices, Arkansas is indeed a real competitor for sports travel.