Bentonville is tucked into the northwest corner of Arkansas, where the Natural State borders Missouri and Oklahoma. This small town in the Ozarks is full of natural beauty and southern charm. While it may be best known as the world headquarters of one of the world’s largest corporations, it’s much more than the birthplace of Walmart. Here’s how to enjoy the great outdoors when you visit Bentonville, Arkansas.
1. Skip The Art Inside Crystal Bridges (Because The Building Is Its Own Work Of Art)
Established by Alice Walton, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one of Bentonville’s most visited attractions. While this world-class museum shouldn’t be missed, this is a list of incredible outdoor activities in Bentonville, Arkansas. So save a visit to the inside of Crystal Bridges for a rainy day.
Instead, admire the work of world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who designed Crystal Bridges to blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural beauty. As a result, the museum’s smooth concrete walls and curved copper rooftops seem to float in the spring-fed water that encircles its three buildings.
2. Explore The Outdoor Art
Incorporated into the 120 acres of wooded green space surrounding Crystal Bridges is a collection of outdoor art. One of the most notable works is Maman, a 30-foot bronze spider created by Louise Bourgeois. If you suffer from arachnophobia, then skip the gigantic creepy-crawly in the courtyard and search for Stella the pig, Tortoise and Hare, and a larger-than-life fiberglass deer sculpture instead.
The sculpture garden also includes a steel LOVE statue by pop artist Robert Indiana and a brilliant, ever-blooming flower by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Fans of glass sculpture artist Dale Chihuly will be delighted to see several remaining pieces from Chihuly: In the Forest, including a golden sun, tall turquoise reeds, and Fiori Boat. And if you need to rest, sit next to Three People on Four Benches, an outdoor art piece by George Segal. This map (PDF) details the more than 20 outdoor sculptures and indicates which trails are accessible by wheelchair.
Pro Tip: If you visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in fall or winter, you won’t want to miss North Forest Lights. Enjoy an evening stroll through the woods surrounding the art museum as they are brought to life by nature-inspired lighting and immersive soundscapes. We have more about this unique experience here.
3. Explore Bentonville’s Town Square
Although Bentonville is home to a global corporation that employs more than two million people, it maintains a friendly, small-town charm, which you’ll notice right away when exploring the Bentonville Town Square. On the west side of the picturesque square, you can’t miss Walton’s 5and10 with Betty, a replica of Sam Walton’s trusty red pickup truck, parked in front. The original store opened by Sam Walton in 1950 is now a museum.
But just as Bentonville is more than the headquarters of Walmart, the Bentonville Town Square is more than Walton’s 5and10. Stroll the red brick sidewalks and browse in the shops. It’s also fun to linger over a cup of coffee at a small table outside Onyx Coffee Lab and watch the world go by.
If you visit Bentonville on a Saturday between mid-April and the end of October, be sure to browse the farmer’s market in the downtown square. You’ll find fresh produce, locally sourced meat, and a variety of other goods for sale at stands set up on the square. If you’re in Bentonville on the first Friday of the month, check out First Fridays from spring through fall. These events are like giant block parties with food, live music, and more!
4. Take A Hike
One of the best ways to enjoy Bentonville’s natural beauty (and breathe in the fresh Ozark Mountain air) is to hit the trails. At Crystal Bridges, you’ll find more than four miles of paved and crushed granite nature trails snaking through the museum grounds. Ranging from 0.25 to 1.4 miles long, all of these trails are easy treks, but note that some paths have a moderate slope or steps. You can download a Crystal Bridges trail map here (PDF) or download the CB Outdoors app.
Another popular hike is the North Bentonville Trail. This 2.2-mile, paved, out-and-back path winds through the woods and includes public art and ample restrooms along the way. For an option that includes water views, check out the Bella Vista Lake Trail. This 3.2-mile out-and-back trail encircles most of Bella Vista Lake and offers stunning views of the area’s natural beauty. Download a map of all Bentonville trails and pathways here.
For trails farther from the hustle and bustle of this 50,000-person town, check out Hobbs State Park. About 30 minutes east of Bentonville, this 12,000-acre park along the southern shore of Beaver Lake is the largest in the state. Surrounded by flowering redbud and dogwood trees in the spring, tall oaks that provide shade in the summer, and red maples that offer fiery color in the fall, every trail at Hobbs State Park is scenic.
Pro Tip: If your Arkansas itinerary includes more than Bentonville, be sure to check out these eight additional hikes in Arkansas.
5. Get On (Or In) The Water
Located about 40 minutes east of Bentonville, Beaver Lake is a 28,000-acre man-made reservoir of crystal-clear water snaking through the Ozark Highlands. This is the perfect place to fish, boat, and otherwise enjoy the water.
Beaver Lake is packed with bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish, trout, and more, making it an ideal place for fishing year round. Before you drop a line into the pristine water, read up on the statewide lengths and daily limits here. You’ll also need a fishing license, but you can easily purchase yours online from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in minutes.
6. Ride A Bike
Although it may have originally become a household name as the world headquarters of Walmart, today Bentonville is known as the Mountain Biking Capital of the World. The town boasts 130 miles of urban trails and access to more than 250 miles of trails connected to Northwest Arkansas’s Ozark Trails System.
The recently completed Coler Mountain Bike Preserve is one of the most popular places to explore on two wheels in Bentonville. After five minutes of pedaling from downtown Bentonville, you’ll find yourself on this 17-mile trail system surrounded by nature’s beauty.
If you didn’t bring your bike to Bentonville, then rent a ride at the Phat Tire Bike Shop on West Central Avenue, just a block from the Bentonville City Square. They can hook you up with a mountain, road, or electric bike (and a helmet).
Pro Tip: If you fall in love with Bentonville, consider making it your new hometown. Northwest Arkansas’s Life Works Here initiative offers the potential for a $10,000 cash incentive to make that dream a reality. (And the offer includes a mountain bike, of course!)
7. Frequent A Local Farm
Before it was known as the Mountain Biking Capital of the World, Bentonville was called Fruit City. Why? Because Bentonville and other towns in Benton County and neighboring Washington County were once home to two million apple trees, the most of any county in the United States.
Just 20 minutes southeast of Bentonville, visit Vanzant Fruit Farms for fresh apples when they are in season, including Red and Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Fuji, and many other varieties that are perfect for eating or baking into pies. You’ll also find fresh peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes throughout the growing season. And before you go, purchase a jar of jam, jelly, apple butter, or honey to take home with you.
Just 15 minutes north of Bentonville, in the town of Pea Ridge, you’re also sure to love McGarrah Farms. Visit to pick your own fresh berries in the late spring and summer or to score the perfect pumpkin in the fall. They also offer a variety of other fresh produce throughout the season, including tomatoes, okra, peppers, squash, and more.
From enjoying farm-fresh fruit to exploring outdoor art and from floating on crystal-clear water to zipping along a bike path, there are so many incredible outdoor activities waiting for you in Bentonville, Arkansas.