An Epic Spring Break on US Highway 71: Day 1
This week, thousands of Arkansas students and their families will be spending time away from school as our schools let out for a well-deserved break. But what can you do with that sort of time?
Last year, my daughter Hunter and I set out along Scenic Arkansas Highway 7 and explored it from one end to the other to bring you all sorts of ideas on activities you can undertake with your family. This year we’re at it again, and we’re exploring US Highway 71, which runs from the Louisiana border to the Missouri State Line.
Each day this week, we’ll share an itinerary for adventure. You are welcome to follow along! And to share your experiences along the highway, please feel free to tag us with #SpringBreakOn71.
Of course, living in Little Rock, it takes quite some time to make it to one of US Highway 71’s ends. We drove all the way down to the Louisiana border to begin our travels.
US Highway 71 on this end is a two-lane road through mostly fields and river bottoms. You may catch sight of small oil derricks in the distance, as well as cattle. We happened to spot this mule happily chomping away on the grass along the highway, less than a quarter mile from the border.
A few miles up the road, we came to Boggy Creek. Hunter took a look down the creekbed just for fun and a photo op while I told her the story of the Fouke Monster.
We then rolled into Fouke, where we encountered the Monster Mart, which includes an exhibit on the Fouke Monster and some related merchandise. You can read about it here.
We then grabbed burgers at Allen’s Burger Center in town, before heading northward to Texarkana.
We stopped in at the Four States Auto Museum, where Hunter learned about Henry Ford and the difference between a Model T and a Model A, delighted in a motorcycle and its sidecar and found out where Superman changes his suit.
A drive around downtown offered us views of local parks, including Broad Street Park, which was constructed in the hull of an old building and provides a comfortable, shaded place for a nice picnic lunch.
We also stopped and viewed the exterior of the Texarkana Municipal Theater, which is now the City Hall annex. Before it was converted, it was a popular stop for many of the young up-and-coming musicians of the 1950s. Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash both performed here.
Many restaurants are closed on Sunday evening, but we dined at El Chico, on the I-30 access road near the state line. There, my memory was jogged about the connection between the El Chico restaurant chain and Arkansas. You can read about that here.
We stayed the night at the Hampton Inn in the new Texarkana complex that’s also home to the Arkansas convention center and the Holiday Springs Water Park, which Hunter has made me promise to include on our summer itinerary.
Stay tuned for more itineraries as we share our fun all week on LittleRockFamily.com!
Kat Robinson is a food and travel writer based in Little Rock. She travels Arkansas and the South searching for good stories, tall tales and the next great little restaurant. Read about more of her adventures at TieDyeTravels.com.