Southern Arkansas's Timberlands are home to a thousand fishing and hunting stories. These forests also have infused the area's economy since settlement days. Oil and natural gas have contributed since the 1920s. Exhibits at the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources near Smackover evoke an oil boom that triggered big money and woolly times. Nearby, El Dorado's artfully restored downtown area reflects 1920s and '30s architecture.
The Clinton Center in Hope features the former president's boyhood home. Nearby Old Washington Historic State Park preserves the 1863-'65 Confederate capital. Sam Houston and friends plotted to liberate Texas from Mexico at a town within this park. Numerous other state parks provide fishing, camping, hiking and other recreational opportunities.
Magnolia and Pine Bluff histories are captured in downtown galleries exhibiting imposing murals. Pine Bluff also is home to the Arkansas Railroad Museum, the Band Museum, Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame and the new Delta Rivers Nature Center. Fishing and wildlife viewing can be accessed at the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge near Crossett.