fun things to do in smackover arkansas

Fun Things to do in Smackover, Arkansas from the Locals

In Arkansas, we love our small towns. This beautiful state is full of small towns that have their own vibe with residents who love to greet you with a smile. Today, we are talking about Smackover because there are so many fun things to do in Smackover, Arkansas!

Some of the fun involves duck races. Yep, duck races! Sign me up, y’all!

Smackover is a small city in northern Union County, Arkansas, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population was at 1,865. It had a large oil boom in the 1920s, with production continuing for some time. In 1686, the French settlers called this area “SUMAC COUVERT”, which translates to “covered in sumac bushes”. This was transliterated, that is, phonetically Anglicized by the English-speaking settlers of the 19th century and later to the name “SMACKOVER.”


Fun Things to do in Smackover, Arkansas

The only way to find out the best things to do in Smackover (or any town) is to ask the locals. After all, the locals know all the best places to go!

For this article, I interviewed Chasity who is a Smackover resident. She shared all the best things to do in Smackover and nearby towns. Sometimes, our Arkansas towns might be so small that we drive to the next town to get that perfect cup of coffee or visit the creamery and that’s ok!

meaning of Smackover, Arkansas

That’s what makes Arkansas amazing. You can always find what you need, even in the next town over.

What is your favorite thing to do in Smackover?

We love going to the museum. It’s free. It’s never crowded & some of the exhibits change every couple of months. They offer fun activities for kids throughout the year. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Smackover?

Pupps BBQ is from Smackover but just relocated to El Dorado. Smackover has Woody’s catfish & pizza pro. 

Woody’s Catfish & Catering is a Louisiana style restaurant with “fast service, a friendly atmosphere, and delicious food.” If you’re looking for the best catfish in the South, head on over to 611 N Broadway St in Smackover! –Woody’s Catfish and Catering

fun things to do in Smackover arkansas - woody's catfish
Photo by Seb Reivers on Unsplash

Where is your favorite place to get coffee?

The best place to get coffee is about 15 minutes away in El Dorado- Pj’s coffee on the square. It’s joined by a creamery next door for a sweet frozen treat. 

PJ’s Coffee serves a wide variety of hot, iced and frozen coffee beverages, as well as organic tea and fresh breakfast pastries.

PJ’s famous iced coffees are brewed daily using a special cold-drip process that protects the flavor and strength of the beans, while producing a coffee that is 2/3 less acidic – a process pioneered by our founder.

PJ’s Coffee

PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans can be found at 106 W Main St., El Dorado, AR 71730.

fun things to do in smackover arkansas - pjs coffee in el dorado

Now, what about that creamery that Chasity mentioned? A coffee shop with a creamery next door sounds like the place I want to be!

It’s called the El Dorado Creamery and it is a “Frozen Yogurt Shop offering 12 rotating flavors with over 40 topping choices.” –source

You will find it at 106 W Main St, Ste 101, El Dorado, AR 71730

fun things to do in smackover arkansas - el dorado creamery

What is the best activity to do with kids in Smackover?

There is a city park in the middle of town. The museum is also great. In El Dorado, there is the Pottery House where it’s fun to paint ceramic pieces. 

The City of Smackover Parks and Recreation Department provides park facilities and programs to accommodate the needs and interests of local residents and visitors.  Whether you are into sports, nature or just want to take your children to the playground, the City of Smackover is the place for you. Come out and enjoy our beautiful parks!

Smackover Parks and Recreation

You’ll love the local wildlife at the parks and walking trails!

best things to do in Smackover, Arkansas - Smackover City Park

Most unique thing to see in Smackover?

Smackover has one old-fashioned stop light and an oil Derrick in the middle of town. 

best things to do in Smackover, Arkansas - photo of old fashioned oil derrick
Photo by: Chris Litherland. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Best walking trail in Smackover?

The Smackover park has a very nice walking trail. 

For more trails & tons of beautiful flowers, the Arboretum in El Dorado is the place to go. There are picnic tables, a covered pavilion, trails & tons of places for beautiful pictures. 

South Arkansas Arboretum: This 12-acre wooded site features plants native to Arkansas’s West Gulf Coastal Plain and exotic species including flowering camellias and azaleas. Managed by the South Arkansas Community College, the arboretum offers marked, paved walking trails, a rental pavilion, rental gazebo, restrooms, and parking. –source

fun things to do in Smackover, Arkansas - South Arkansas Arboretum
White azaleas in Arkansas. Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

Best museum in Smackover?

The best museum is the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources (Smackover). It is very neat, free, with hands-on activities for kids. 

Officially opening to the public in 1986, the Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources is situated in the midst of the historic sixty-square-mile Smackover Oil Field and one mile south of the oil rich town of Smackover.


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

The arboretum in El Dorado isn’t secret, but it’s an often-unrecognized outdoor gem.

Best place to see live theatre?

The South Arkansas Arts Center in El Dorado does both adult & children plays throughout the year. 

Sometimes MAD (Murphy Arts District) offers professional shows. 

El Dorado Festivals & Events has been working for the past 4 years to create a new Arts & Entertainment District in downtown El Dorado – the Murphy Arts District. Our goal is to provide the City of El Dorado with creative outlets to explore music, dance, theater, art and food in fun and immersive ways that hold true to the people and culture of El Dorado. –source

Best farmers’ market near Smackover?

Downtown El Dorado in the MAD district 

Everything you need to know about the Farmer’s Market in El Dorado is right here.

They even have vendors who bake fresh bread!

fun things to do in smackover Arkanas - El Dorado Farmer's market
Pick up some fresh bread at the El Dorado Farmer’s Market

Arkansas antique shops and flea markets are always a blast. We do flea markets right! Don’t miss the Speckled Rooster because it’s definitely one of the best “fun things to do in Smackover, Arkansas!”

Best drive-through Christmas light display?

The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources offers a walk-thru Christmas display that our family loves. In El Dorado, the square is beautifully lit. Just past the square is a tower turned into “tree” that you can drive under. 

Best flea market/antique shop in Smackover?

Smackover has two antique shops. The most popular is the Speckled Rooster.  There is also the Gilded Possum. El Dorado has several as well. Every few months, Smackover hosts downtown trade days. 

The Speckled Rooster is an antique store and more! We have a variety of unique items and gifts ranging from antiques to shabby chic, glassware to furniture, collectibles to clothing and jewelry, plus many more wonderful items! Please come shop with us! –source

fun things to do in smackover Arkansas - antique store

Best camping near Smackover?

There are some RV parks in El Dorado. Moro Bay State Park is probably the closest actual campground. It’s about 45 minutes to an hour away.

Moro Bay State Park: A great getaway, this park offers lots of privacy and some of the best cabins in the state. Fishing is popular year-round where Moro Bay and Raymond Lake join the Ouachita River. Park facilities include 23 Class AAA campsites, trails, picnic sites, pavilion, playground, and the Moro Bay Ferry exhibit. –source

Be sure to also check off all the other amazing things on our EPIC Arkansas Bucket list!

fun things to do in smackover arkansas - fishing

Best Girls Weekend ideas?

In El Dorado there is a spa called Spa on Main. There is a movie theater in El Dorado as well – Stars Cinema. 

Smackover has an Oil Town festival in the early summer. 

The Smackover Oil Town Festival is held annually at Tennyson Park, located at the corner of 10th Street and Broadway. The festival has a family friendly atmosphere and features various contests, such as Watermelon Eating, Tug-O-War, Horseshoe Throwing, as well as the old favorites: Drill-Bit Toss, Rod Wrenching, and Pipe Tote contests which demonstrate the skills needed for oil field work. Races include the popular 5K Oil-Run, begun by Smackover State Bank in 1978, the turtle race, and the World Famous Duck Race. To add to the festive, happy atmosphere, Oil Town features free musical entertainment each night from Tennyson Park’s amphitheater. –source

Smackover Arkansas best things to do - duck races
This duck looks like a winner to me!

Favorite “Mom and Pop” place?

Pupps BBQ in El Dorado. There is Cafe 1876 in Norphlet (between Smackover and El Dorado).

Fun Things to do in Smackover, Arkansas

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m ready to take a trip to Smackover!

A special thanks to Chasity for sharing all the best things to do in Smackover with us!

family photo of Chasity - best things to do in Smackover Arkansas
Chasity is a wife & mom to four girls & one boy. She is a homeschool mom and a foster/ adoption advocate. She has lived in Southern Arkansas her entire life. Her family enjoys visiting state parks & museums together.

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