Fort Smith Travel Guide

Fort Smith sits on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma states, located at the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, also known as Belle Point. The second largest city in Arkansas, it draws visitors with its Old West history, seen in its many restorations, attractions, museums and festivals that combine to bring its past alive.

The city has developed into a popular destination for vacationing single families, tour groups, reunions, business meetings and conventions. The Visitor Center is housed in a former brothel, known as Miss Laura’s, and the many antique shops, museums, riverboat and train excursions put this city firmly on the map for those interested in Wild West history.

Fort Smith has been influenced by diverse cultures over the last 150 years, and this is reflected not least in the many different dining options to be found in over 200 restaurants across the city. To shed the pounds, outdoor activities can be enjoyed almost year-round, including white-water rafting, canoeing and golf.


Fort Smith National Historic Site: houses the remnants of the original 1817 fort on the Arkansas River as well as notorious Hangin’ Judge Isaac C Parker’s restored courtroom.

The Hangman’s House: was the former home of George Maledon, hangman for Judge Isaac C Parker, who pulled the lever on some 70 convicted outlaws.

Clayton House: is a historic mansion built in the Renaissance Baroque style with a double-door entrance and hand-carved staircases highlighting the splendor and elegance of the Victorian era.

Fort Smith Air Museum: traces the development of aviation in western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, with exhibits including artifacts from the 188th Air National Guard and the Fort Smith Civil Air Patrol.

Fort Smith Museum of History: traces the city’s growth from its 1817 beginnings and through the civil war to today’s modern city.

Museum of History: if the history on display here bores you, opt to grab an ice cream at the 1920s style soda shop on-site instead.