Best Outdoor Activities in Bentonville
Bentonville is nestled in 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. Although it’s best known as the global headquarters of one of the world’s largest companies, it’s much more than the birthplace of Walmart. Here’s how to enjoy the great outdoors when you visit Bentonville, Arkansas.
1. Pass the art inside the crystal bridges (because the building is its own work of art)
Created by Alice Walton, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is one of Bentonville’s most visited attractions. While this world-class museum should not be missed, here is a list of incredible Outside activities in Bentonville, Arkansas. So save a visit inside Crystal Bridges for a rainy day.
Instead, admire the work of world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the Crystal Bridges to blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural beauty. As a result, the museum’s smooth concrete walls and curved copper roofs seem to float in the spring water that surrounds its three buildings.
Pro tip: To see other amazing buildings designed by Moshe Safdie in the United States, visit the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City and the Salt Lake City Public Library.
2. Explore outdoor art
Embedded in the 120 acres of wooded green space surrounding Crystal Bridges is an outdoor art collection. One of the most remarkable works is Mum, a 30-foot bronze spider created by Louise Bourgeois. If you suffer from arachnophobia, skip the gigantic crawler in the yard and seek Stella the pig, Tortoise and Hareand a larger-than-life fiberglass deer sculpture instead.
The sculpture garden also includes a steel TO LIKE statue by pop artist Robert Indiana and a bright, ever-blooming flower by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Fans of glass sculpting artist Dale Chihuly will be delighted to see several remaining pieces of Chihuly: in the forestfeaturing a golden sun, large turquoise reeds and Fiori Boat. And if you need to rest, sit next to Three people on four benches, an outdoor artwork by George Segal. This map (PDF) details the more than 20 outdoor sculptures and indicates wheelchair accessible trails.
Pro tip: If you visit the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in the fall or winter, you won’t want to miss North Forest Lights. Enjoy a nighttime walk through the woods surrounding the art museum, brought to life by nature-inspired lighting and immersive soundscapes. We have more information about this unique experience here.
3. Explore Bentonville Town Square
Although Bentonville is home to a global corporation that employs over two million people, it retains a friendly, small-town charm, which you’ll notice right away as you explore Bentonville’s town square. On the west side of the quaint plaza, you can’t miss Walton’s 5and10 with Betty, a replica of Sam Walton’s trusty red van, parked out front. The original store opened by Sam Walton in 1950 is now a museum.
But just as Bentonville is more than Walmart’s headquarters, Bentonville Town Square is more than Walton’s 5 and 10. Stroll the red brick sidewalks and browse 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 late October, be sure to browse the Farmer’s Market in the town square. You’ll find fresh produce, locally sourced meat and a variety of other products for sale at stalls set up in the square. If you’re in Bentonville on the first Friday of the month, check out First Fridays 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 hike the trails. At Crystal Bridges, you’ll find more than four miles of paved and crushed granite nature trails that wind through the museum grounds. Ranging from 0.25 to 1.4 miles in length, all of these trails are easy hikes, but note that some paths have moderate incline 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 3.5 km round-trip paved path winds through the woods and includes public artwork and numerous restrooms along the way. For an option that includes water views, check out the Bella Vista Lake Trail. This 3.2 mile round trip trail circles most of Bella Vista Lake and offers stunning views of the area’s natural beauty. Download a map of all Bentonville trails and trails here.
For trails further removed from the hustle and bustle of this city of 50,000, head to Hobbs State Park. About 30 minutes east of Bentonville, this 12,000-acre park along the south shore of Beaver Lake is the largest in the state. Surrounded by flowering redbud and dogwood trees in the spring, tall oak trees that provide shade in the summer, and red maples that provide fiery color in the fall, every trail in Hobbs State Park is scenic.
Pro tip: If your Arkansas itinerary includes more than Bentonville, be sure to check out these eight additional Arkansas hikes.
5. Go up (or into) the water
Located about 40 minutes east of Bentonville, Beaver Lake is a 28,000-acre man-made reservoir of crystal-clear water that meanders through the Ozark Highlands. It’s the perfect place to fish, boat and enjoy the water.
Beaver Lake is teeming with bass, crappie, sunfish, catfish, trout and more, making it a great place to fish year-round. Before casting a line in crystal clear water, read the statewide daily lengths and limits here. You’ll also need a fishing license, but you can easily buy yours online from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in minutes.
From party pontoons to ski boats and canoes to inflatable tubes, you can rent everything you need to get out on the water from companies like Lost Bridge Marina and Beaver Lake Outdoor Center.
6. Ride a bike
Although it originally became a household name as the global headquarters of Walmart, today Bentonville is known as the mountain biking capital of the world. The city has 130 miles of urban trails and access to over 250 miles of trails connected to the Ozark Trails system of northwest Arkansas.
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 network of trails surrounded by nature’s beauty.
If you haven’t brought your bike to Bentonville, rent a ride at the Phat Tire Bike Shop on West Central Avenue, one block from Bentonville City Square. They can hook you up with a mountain, road, or electric bike (and helmet).
Pro tip: If you fall in love with Bentonville, consider making it your new hometown. The Northwest Arkansas Life Works Here initiative offers the opportunity 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 being 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 in season, including Red and Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Fuji and many other varieties that are perfect for eating or baking in pies. You’ll also find fresh peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes throughout the growing season. And before you go, buy a jar of jam, jelly, apple butter or honey to take home.
Just 15 minutes north of Bentonville in the town of Pea Ridge, you’re sure to love McGarrah Farms. Visit to pick your own fresh berries in 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.
Whether it’s enjoying farm-fresh fruit, exploring outdoor art, floating on crystal-clear water, or riding a bike path, there are plenty of amazing outdoor activities waiting for you in Bentonville, in Arkansas.