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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Arkansas in 2024 (Our Take)

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Arkansas in 2024 (Our Take)

What's the best time to visit Arkansas?

The best times to visit Arkansas are in spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) due to pleasant weather and numerous festivals. Spring can bring variable weather and events like the Arkansas Derby, while fall offers cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage, and activities such as the Arkansas State Fair. Both seasons feature a blend of city exploration and nature outings, making them ideal for tourists.

Arkansas is not the most-visited state in the United States by any means, but it is a great place to visit for natural wonders and for a slice of classic Americana that’s nowadays hard to find elsewhere.

The state has some unique natural landmarks, such as Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only place where you can dig for your own diamonds.

The state has fascinating destinations for art lovers as well, such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and the stunning Thorncrown Chapel. On a road trip, be sure to check out Little Rock and Hot Springs National Park.

Arkansas is not well-known even to many American travelers, which makes a trip here even more rewarding. Read on to more about the best and worst times to visit, when to avoid going, and other helpful travel tips. Let us be your guide!

Overall Best Time to Visit Arkansas

Fall time pond with wooden bridge crossing over in the afternoon during the best time to visit Arkansas

Melissa Tate/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Arkansas is during the spring (March-May) or fall (September-November), which is when most of the attractions are at their best.

Arkansas has fairly hot summers thanks to its southern location but visiting in the spring or fall allows you to enjoy milder temperatures and sunny weather. Average temperatures in Little Rock in May are a pleasant 81 degrees Fahrenheit.

September is a bit hotter, around 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but by October, expect cooler fall temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

Spring in Arkansas can be a bit unpredictable, especially since spring is the most common season for tornadoes. However, you can also get lucky and have days of sunny, warm weather, perfect for seeing the hills come to live with vegetation.

This season is a good time to explore some of Arkansas’s cities or bigger towns before the summer heat starts beating down on the pavement.

In the capital, explore historic sites such as Little Rock Central High School, or check out one of the many seasonal festivals including Barkus on Main, a pet parade that happens every March. Spring marks the kickoff of tourist season in Hot Springs, and April brings the famous Arkansas Derby.

For lovers of nature, fall is the best time to visit Arkansas. The milder temperatures make it a great time to go hiking or on other outdoor adventures. Mid-late fall brings fall colors to Arkansas.

The official state website publishes seasonal updates with when you can expect peak colors throughout the state. Expect the best shows to be from mid-October to November. Fall brings even more seasonal events, both in the bigger cities and smaller towns.

Enjoy great festivals such as:

Plus check out smaller seasonal events, including food festivals, pumpkin picking, and more.

Cheapest Time to Visit Arkansas

Little Rock skyline at twilight showing the cheapest time to visit Arkansas

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Arkansas is during the winter (December-February), when you can expect lower hotel rates. In general, Arkansas is not an expensive destination.

Far from the typical tourist circuit in the United States, and with a reasonable cost of living, you can expect reasonable hotel prices no matter what time of year you visit. For even lower hotel prices, visit in the winter when the state receives the fewest visitors.

Hotels in Little Rock offer 20-30% discounts during the winter. You can also find good savings in the spring or fall shoulder seasons, as long as you book at least a week in advance.

Most visitors to Arkansas are from neighboring states so they road trip to the state, and the cost of driving doesn’t change much throughout the year (unless gas gets expensive).

If you’re flying into Little Rock, then you’ll save the most money in January and February, when domestic flights to regional airports tend to be the least expensive.

Least Busy Time to Visit Arkansas

Tulips in bloom during spring in Garvins Woodland Garden in Hot Springs during the least busy time to visit Arkansas

Bonita R. Cheshier/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Arkansas is in the winter (December-February), when you will find fewer people around even at popular tourist destinations. Winter in Arkansas is chillier than the rest of the year.

In Little Rock, winter temperatures are usually in the low 50s, and at night temperatures are around freezing. If you’re looking for a warm weather break from the cold winters further north, Arkansas isn’t quite there.

However, the winter temperatures aren’t that chilly, so you can still try out the state’s hiking trails as long as you bundle up. Some parts of the state, such as the high mountains of Northwest Arkansas, do get snow, but hiking trails are usually passable.

Visibility in the winter is the best it gets all year thanks to the low humidity, crisp weather, and bare branches, making it a good time to explore the mountains.

Plus, winter is the only time you can see trumpeter swans in the state. For the ultimate cozy winter getaway, the local tourist board recommends renting a cabin. It’s not cold enough for you to feel uncomfortable, but just chilly enough that a blazing fire feels like the right idea after a long day exploring.

Around December, many Arkansas towns and cities put on holiday light displays and other fun events. In Little Rock, check out the Big Jingle Jubilee Holiday Parade in December.

In Hot Springs, the Garvan Woodland Gardens put on some of the best light displays in the entire state. In general, winter is a great time to visit Hot Springs. Hotel rates are lower than during the peak season, but the springs are still warm enough to take a dip.

Worst Time to Visit Arkansas

Sun rays beaming through clouds over a wide aerial view of Hot Springs during the worst time to visit Arkansas

Daniel Ray Photography/Shutterstock

If we had to pick, we’d say the worst time to visit Arkansas is in the summer because of the humidity and hot weather found during this time in the South.

Arkansas is part of the southern region of the United States, which means it has a similar climate to states such as Louisiana and Tennessee. Summers can get very hot and muggy. In Little Rock, the average temperature in August is a sweltering 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

The high humidity level makes it feel even muggier, especially in towns and cities where concrete traps heat. The weather is less than ideal for hiking and other strenuous activities.

You don’t want to do too much physical activity as it can be dangerous when the temperature is this hot. If you’re visiting in the summer, head as far away from the cities as possible and into the lush, refreshing landscape of Arkansas’s nature.

Unlike in the rest of the south, summer is actually the driest season in Arkansas, meaning that you can explore the lakes and rivers without worrying about getting rained on.

Arkansas may not have a coastline, but there are still plenty of opportunities to go swimming. Check out one of the many swimming holes or streams for a quick dip to cool off. There are many lakes that offer boat rentals, or streams that offer float tube rentals.

Another way to cool off is by visiting some of Arkansas’s breweries. Check out some of the local microbrewers, many of which offer a patio to sample their wares and enjoy some pub grub.

Arkansas by Month: Climate & Activities

Kayaker floats down the river near Ponca in his red kayak with a blue hat for a guide to the best time to visit Arkansas

Damon Shaw/Shutterstock

Still unsure about the best time to visit Arkansas? Take a look at our summary of the weather and climate by month below:


January in Arkansas is chilly, with temperatures ranging from -1 to 10°C (30-50°F). This month is ideal for visiting the thermal baths in Hot Springs National Park, exploring the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, and hiking in the Ozark Mountains with their winter beauty.


Spring in Arkansas continues in February with cool and often damp weather, perfect for exploring the indoor attractions of Little Rock, like the Museum of Discovery, attending the Mardi Gras festivities in Eureka Springs, and enjoying the winter landscapes in the Ouachita Mountains.


As spring approaches, temperatures in Arkansas range from 4 to 16°C (39-61°F). March is great for fishing in the White River, visiting the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, and attending the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival in Hot Springs.


April brings milder weather, with temperatures around 10 to 21°C (50-70°F). Enjoy the blooming dogwoods and azaleas, explore the scenic Buffalo National River for canoeing and kayaking, and attend the Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock.


May sees warmer temperatures from 15 to 26°C (59-79°F). It’s an excellent time for camping and hiking in the state parks, visiting the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, and enjoying the outdoor music festivals.


June brings hot, humid weather, with temperatures between 21 to 32°C (70-90°F). Cool off in the waters of Lake Ouachita, explore the Blanchard Springs Caverns, and enjoy the summertime farmers’ markets and local cuisine.


July is very hot in Arkansas, with temperatures from 23 to 34°C (73-93°F). Celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and festivities, take a refreshing dip in the natural swimming holes in the Ozarks, and attend the Hot Springs Music Festival.


August continues with hot weather, offering temperatures from 22 to 33°C (72-91°F). Visit the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, explore the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, and enjoy fishing in Arkansas’s many lakes and rivers.


As fall begins, temperatures in Arkansas range from 18 to 29°C (64-84°F). September is perfect for attending the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock, exploring the historic town of Eureka Springs, and hiking in the cooler weather.


October sees cooler temperatures from 10 to 24°C (50-75°F). Enjoy the vibrant fall foliage in the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, visit the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival in Dyess, and explore the haunted attractions in Little Rock for Halloween.


Fall temperatures in November range from 4 to 17°C (39-63°F). This month is ideal for experiencing the Thanksgiving festivities, visiting the historic sites in Fort Smith, and exploring the caves and natural beauty of the Arkansas Ozarks.


Winter brings cooler temperatures ranging from -1 to 10°C (30-50°F). December is festive with holiday lights and markets, particularly the Lights of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, and offers a peaceful time for visiting the Hot Springs National Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kayaker floating down Buffalo River near Ponco, Arkansas for a frequently asked questions section on the best time to visit

Damon Shaw/Shutterstock

Here are just a few of the questions people have asked to help pick the best time to visit Arkansas:

What month is best in Arkansas?

October is the best month to visit Arkansas thanks to comfortable temperatures and changing fall foliage. There is also plenty to do.

When is the rainy season in Arkansas?

Spring is the rainiest season in Arkansas. Expect frequent rain showers, as well as sporadic severe storms that can turn into tornadoes.

When is the best time to go to Hot Springs Arkansas?

Early spring and early fall are the best times to go to Hot Springs. This way, you beat the worst of the summer crowds but still see the resort town at its best.

What’s the coldest month in Arkansas?

The coldest month in Arkansas is January, when nighttime temperatures are usually below freezing. However, daytime temperatures are much milder, usually in the low 50s.

How hot is Arkansas in summer?

Arkansas gets very hot in the summer. Average temperatures in July and August are above 90 degrees, and there are many days that have temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Arkansas?

The best time to visit Arkansas is during the fall, which has mild weather, fall foliage, and lots of events throughout the state. Spring is also a good time to visit, although the weather is more unpredictable. For the best savings, visit in the winter.

So, with so much to see and do and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Arkansas has to offer. Happy travels!