U-Save Logo




El Dorado

Enchanting El Dorado Lures Guests with Natural Appeal

The Timberland region of southern Arkansas tempts outdoorsmen with some of the state’s most celebrated hunting and fishing opportunities. On the other hand, travelers seeking more refined pursuits in the midst of a lovely natural setting won’t be disappointed in the many options this unique area has to offer.

Whether you head to El Dorado for relaxation or adventure, you will certainly want to experience some of the unique attractions listed here in our comprehensive guide.

A Delightful Downtown

El Dorado was the center of the state’s 1920’s oil boom, and the population grew from 4,000 to 35,000 in a single year when oil was struck in 1921. Today, the short-lived boom is remembered for the architectural heritage it created. The downtown’s impressively-restored Commercial Historic District dates from 1879 to1953, and features shady tree-lined streets and a colorful square. Most of the 69 buildings were built during the 1920s and 1930s, and only four of them are less than 50 years old. The Confederate Monument, the art deco Rialto Theatre, and 5 other buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The district's specialty shops range from clothing boutiques, jewelry, home décor, gifts and collectibles to art and antiques. Stop and take a look at the 600 ft. wide and 100 ft. deep Norphlet Crater, it’s the result of a 1922 natural gas explosion sparked by oil well drillers.

El Dorado celebrates its special downtown with a number of regular events, festivals, and concert series. The Showdown at Sunset is a reenactment of a legendary shootout in the streets that takes place on Saturday evenings in the summertime. The city also hosts an annual 2-day MusicFest in October with numerous artists playing on multiple stages throughout the weekend. Residents and visitors alike enjoy seasonal events such as the Mayhaw Festival (celebrating an unusual southern fruit that is considered a delicacy) every May and the state’s largest Christmas parade.
Encounter the Culture

The South Arkansas Art Center serves the region’s artists with visiting exhibits, competitions and visual and performing arts programs designed to get the community involved in its endeavors. Meanwhile, the regional South Arkansas Symphony presents a full season of musical performances.

The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources in nearby Smackover chronicles the previously-mentioned oil boom with a number of interesting hands-on exhibits. There are both indoor and outdoor activities, but the Oil Field Park with its displays of working rigs and industry equipment, is the odds-on favorite.

Outdoor Pursuits

When you want to get some fresh air, take a scenic walk in more than 13-acres of blooming native plant exhibits at the South Arkansas Arboretum, which is maintained by the South Arkansas Community College. Guided tours can be arranged by appointment.

For a more rugged adventure explore the Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge. At 15,000 acres the Felsenthal Pool is the largest green-tree reservoir in the world, and it often expands to nearly 36,000 acres of wetlands during periodic winter flooding. The refuge is home to many species of migratory birds and waterfowl, and also offers protection to endangered species such as American Alligators and Bald Eagles. Feel free to hunt for turkey, deer, rabbit, beaver, quail and some other plentiful native animals during the appropriate open seasons, but the fish are almost always biting. The Tracks Inn even provides fun accommodations in train boxcars!

Moro Bay State Park is another great place to throw a fishing pole in the water or even try a thrilling new water sport. The park has primitive camp sites and a few fully-equipped rental cabins, as well as picnic sites, a marina with boat rentals, hiking trails and a playground.

Relish Recreation

The 350-acre Bar J Guest Ranch is a working horse and cattle ranch that welcomes visitors for a day of horseback riding or a longer dude-ranch style vacation. Stay in the rustic lodge, individual cabins or even one of the lofts over the horse stable! Feel free to hook-up your own RV if you please. A whole host of organized activities from riding lessons to zip line rides to fish-fry socials will keep the whole crew entertained.

Baseball and softball enthusiasts come from miles away to play in the top-notch facilities at the El Dorado/Union County Recreation Complex. Access to RV hook-ups, picnic areas and playgrounds make it another popular weekend destination for families.

Die-hard golfers won’t have to go without. The historic El Dorado Country Club was opened during the oil boom in 1923. Rolling hills and 60-year old oak trees provide ambiance and the course boasts true-rolling greens. The club welcomes visiting non-members. The Lion's Club Municipal Golf Course is another affordable choice for 18-holes of play.

A couple of nearby towns offer unique experiences that are well-worth a short drive. Visit Camden for a look into Civil War history, including a battleground and a few stately antebellum homes. Downtown Magnolia presents a number of contemplative outdoor and indoor murals that reflect the area’s history, culture and character.

For more specific information on these area attractions and others, visit the El Dorado city listing on the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism Website at www.arkansas.com.



» www.goeldorado.com
» Commercial Historic District
» MusicFest
» The South Arkansas Art Center
» South Arkansas Symphony
» The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources
» South Arkansas Arboretum
» Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge
» Moro Bay State Park
» Bar J Guest Ranch
» El Dorado/Union County Recreation Complex
» Lion's Club Municipal Golf Course
» City of El Dorado
» Arkansas.com