fun things to do in russellville arkansas

Fun Things to do in Russellville, Arkansas from the Locals

There are so many fun things to do in Russellville, Arkansas. Russellville is the perfect combination of all things wonderful. Am I biased? Probably so.

This town holds a special place in my heart because it is where I attended college and met some of the most remarkable friends in the world. Russellville manages to maintain it’s small town, friendly feel even though it is a growing college town.

Russellville is like a small town and a bustling city rolled into one place. There are wonderful restaurants and places to shop right next to hiking trails, excellent fishing, and fun camping spots.

Russellville is the county seat and largest city in Pope County, Arkansas, United States, with a population of 27,920, according to the 2010 Census. It is home to Arkansas Tech University and Arkansas Nuclear One, Arkansas’ only nuclear power plant. Russellville borders Lake Dardanelle and the Arkansas River.


Fun Things to do in Russellville, Arkansas

The only way to find the best things to do in Russellville is to ask the locals! So, for this article, I interviewed my friend Rebekah. She is a native of Russellville and shares many things about this wonderful town that I have never heard of!

If you’re looking for: the best things to do in Russellville, kid-friendly things to do in Russellville, the best restaurant, where to find the best farmers’ market in Russellville, or the best place to stay near Russellville, you’re in the right place!

What is your favorite thing to do in Russellville, AR?

– mountain biking at Onita Coal Company Bike Trails or Mt. Nebo trails.
– go to one of the many parks in the area. Shiloh Park, Sequoia Park and First Baptist Church park are our favorites.

“Sandwiched between the influx of the Illinois Bayou into Lake Dardanelle and Interstate 40, Ouita Coal Company Trail (OCCT) has been hailed as a favorite among off-road cyclists in the Natural State. The bike trail is accessed from Illinois Bayou Park by a paved .8 mile Wildlife Observation Trail that leads back to the dirt trail head. The OCCT features close to eight miles of diverse terrain including shale mounds and challenging climbs.” –Discover Russellville

Pro tip: Russellville is along the route of the most EPIC Yard Sale in Arkansas!

What is your favorite restaurant in Russellville?

– Venezias Pizza & Pasta

There’s nothing like warm, homemade bread and delicious pasta. This food is made with love. I can smell the garlic bread in my head as I type this. Who wants to go with me? You can check out their specials on their Facebook page.

Where is the best place to get coffee in Russellville, AR?

– Midtown Coffee

“Serving Great Coffee to the Arkansas River Valley. We really love coffee…and we LOVE bringing the coffee experience to you! Whether it’s the peaceful laid-back environment at the Mall location or a quick stop at our drive through, our staff REALLY strives to please and get it right for you. We’re 100% local, love our community, and feel blessed to be able to do what we are passionate about.” –Midtown Coffee

What are the best kid-friendly things to do in Russellville?

– Let’s Play, an indoor play place that let’s kids use their imagination and play whatever they want.

“We are an indoor imaginative play center for children 6 months up to 9ish! We also host private parties along with having a great choice of toys to purchase! We are located in the Russellville City Mall. It is $10 per child for ALL DAY PLAY! Adults are FREE! There is no time limit! And you can leave & come back throughout the day!” –source

You will also love: FUN Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Russellville, AR

Most unique thing to explore in Russellville?

-I love history, the Trail of Tears came through the River Valley, there were Civil War skirmishes just north of here around Dover/Augsburg. There is a Mothers of Confederate soldiers memorial at the corner of Glenwood and Skyline.

Best walking or hiking trails in Russellville?

– Bona Dea Trails in Russellville or Mount Nebo State Park in Dardanelle

fun things to do in russellville arkansas - bona dea trail russellville arkansas
Gazebo at Bona Dea Trail in the snow. Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

“Bona Dea is Latin for “Good Goddess,” and there is much good and seemingly divine on this 186 acres of trails, water, and forest. The Prairie Creek bottomlands serve not only as an outdoor recreation area to Russellville residents and visitors, but also as a wetland wildlife sanctuary. Cypress, water oak, sweet gum, and wildflowers populate the lowland forest. Bona Dea is the quintessential Arkansas metro trail — beautiful, accessible, natural.” –source

Where is the best place to stay near Russellville?

– Mount Nebo State Park cabins in Dardanelle

Many people also love to come stay at Mount Nebo State Park because of it’s beautiful hiking trails. In college, the hiking trails at Mount Nebo State Park were one of my favorite places to walk and get away from the stress that was piled on my desk at home!

“Situated in the Arkansas River Valley just 45 minutes from Arkansas Wine Country, this state park sits atop the 1,350-foot Mount Nebo. The 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps constructed many of the rustic-style cabins, pavilions, bridges, and 14 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Cabin 1 was the first cabin rental in state park history. Twelve of the park’s 15 cabins are located along the bluff and have views of the river valley below.” –Arkansas State Parks

What is the best museum in Russellville, AR?

Museum of Military History
Arkansas Tech Museum
Potts Inn Museum (Pottsville)

“The Museum of Military History in Russellville, AR is a place dedicated to honoring our past, present and future service members.” –source

Can you share a cool, secret place that only the locals know about?

– There are so many places to hike and explore less than an hour in all directions from Russellville.

Don’t miss all the cool things 100 EPIC Arkansas Bucket List of Things to do.

Best farmers’ market in Russellville?

– Russellville Community Market
– Pope County Farmer’s Market

Russellville Community Market: “This is the place to connect our community with the local food system. Members have a weekly opportunity to interact with local farmers as a participant in our local farmers market. Members get an inside look at what’s available locally and can get to know their local farmers through buying at the market. Our community market can help stock your kitchen year-round with healthy, accessible local food. Viable local farming operations are cornerstones of a more sustainable community.” –source

fun things to do in Russellville, Arkansas - farmer's market
I’ve always said that Arkansas grown tomatoes taste like sunshine! Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

Pope County Farmer’s Market: “PCFM is a Farmers’ Market that services the Russellville, AR area. We offer fresh, locally-grown produce, meats, honey, and eggs; and locally-made baked goods, crafts and more.” –source

Best drive-through Christmas light display in Russellville, AR?

– Downtown Russellville  
– Linker Mountain (Dover)

Best flea market in Russellville?

– Yesterday’s
– Nest
– West Main Gallery
– Goldmasters

Yesterday’s Flea Market: “We’re a small town Flea market with great customer service and an inviting environment. Need a gift for that special Antique lover?  We got plenty of great gift ideas. Unique treasures only found in the past. Cast Iron cookware, furniture, décor and much more!” –Yesterday’s  

Where are the best places to camp near Russellville?

– Lake Dardanelle State Park
– Shoal Bay

Lake Dardanelle State Park: “This park is located in two areas on Lake Dardanelle, a 34,300-acre reservoir on the Arkansas River. The main site is in Russellville where you’ll find the Sport Fishing Weigh-in Pavilion, a fishing pier, boardwalk, trail, and visitor center with five aquariums and the Lakeview Room meeting facility. It’s also a National Park Service-certified site on the Trail of Tears water route. Park interpreters lead a variety of programs and lake tours. There are 57 campsites in the Russellville area of the park.” –source

fun things to do in russellville arkansas - lake dardanelle state park
Sunset over Lake Dardanelle State park. photo credit: TROVE1

The Lake Dardanelle Visitor’s Center is one of my personal favorite things to do with kids in Russellville. The five aquariums are breathtaking. My kids also like to watch the bees work. A small opening lets them into a glass space in the visitor’s center where you can observe them working.

Shoal Bay: “This shady campground sits on the scenic Shoal Bay arm of Lake Dardanelle, offering an excellent setting for boating, swimming and wildlife viewing.” –

Another great place to camp near Russellville, AR is Petit Jean State Park. Many locals love Petit Jean State Park for it’s beautiful campsites (125 of them actually), hiking trails, water falls, lake, and lodge!

Petit Jean State Park is an Arkansas classic, a natural and historic treasure that has welcomed travelers for decades. The CCC built trails, roads, bridges, cabins, and the focal point of the park, historic Mather Lodge, a 24-room lodge overlooking Cedar Creek Canyon with a restaurant, meeting rooms, and gift shop. Near the lodge are 33 cabins. Upstream from Cedar Creek, a CCC rock dam forms Lake Bailey, 100 acres for fishing, kayaking, and pedal boating.

Arkansas State Parks
Petit Jean State Park - Stout's Point
The Arkansas River from Stout’s point at Petit Jean State Park. Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

Best Girls Weekend ideas in Russellville?

– Board and Brush
– Hourglass Escape room

Board and Brush Creative Studio: “At Board & Brush Creative Studio, our goal is to turn you into a “DIY master” by educating you to understand and appreciate the beauty of raw materials—the wood, the knots, the color variations and the simple imperfections that will make your project unique. ” –Board and Brush

Best place to fish near Russellville?

– My husband fishes and he likes to go in the old strip mines off of Lake Dardanelle and below the nuclear power plant. 

“An impoundment of the Arkansas River, Lake Dardanelle is part lake and part river fishery. The lower end of the lake offers some offshore fishing and deeper places, but there is also plenty of shallow water that anglers can run in backwaters, plus flooded strip mines.” –Major League Fishing

What is the best festival in Russellville?

– Fall Festival Downtown 
– Living Nativity every year right before Christmas

The annual Downtown Fall Festival and Chili Cookoff has been a tradition in Russellville since 1991 and the Living Nativity at Christmastime is popular with people from all over the area.

fun things to do in russellville arkansas - living nativity
Yes, the baby is real too! Photo credit: TROVE1

Favorite “Mom and Pop” place?

– Brangus Steakhouse

“Brangus Steakhouse is a local tradition. It is a locally owned business serving the Arkansas River Valley and visitors since 1995. Brangus Steakhouse offers steaks, ribs, chicken, burgers, and salads.” –Trip Advisor

Are there any “Arkansas Made” products that are crafted in your town that we should all know about?

– Rock Creek Candles

About Rock Creek Candles: “We’re a quaint little family owned and staffed shop in Russellville, Arkansas owned by Tena & James Brooks. We started this business in 2003 because we love scented candles and think most of them are too costly. So we put on our aprons, did our research, and began making candles in the garage. We chose all natural soy wax because it’s made with soybeans and grown by farmers right here in the USA! We also use Eco wicks.” –Rock Creek Candles

Rock Creek Candles in Russellville Arkansas
Image by sonja_paetow from Pixabay

Best place to watch live sports in Russellville?

– Arkansas Tech

Arkansas Tech University is home to many sports including baseball, football, basketball, golf, softball, tennis, and volleyball. You can check out all of the sports; schedules here.

Fun Things to do in Russellville, Arkansas

A special thanks to Rebekah for sharing all the wonderful things about Russellville with us. This town never ceases to amaze me. Russellville is the perfect place to live or visit. It’s full of sweet people, beautiful scenery, and lively activities.

fun things to do in russellville arkansas with kids
Rebekah is a homeschool mom of 3 boys (ages 6, 4 & 2), wife, and native of the Russellville area. She likes teaching her boys mountain biking, baking, cooking, hiking, camping, and has fun being with her husband and kiddos.

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