Chain motels along interstates give way to mom and pop operations when you leave the beaten path to explore the Arkansas countryside. A bikers-only motel in Eureka Springs claims to be the first in the United States, while a luxury cave in Parthenon, rentable by the night, is set on a 280-acre farm. Traditional motels across Arkansas offer travelers a comfortable room with no surprises.
Motels are concentrated around the Interstate 630/430 exchange west of Little Rock and on Interstate 30 near the river and the airport. A few in-town motels are located around the medical center and in the heart of downtown. Courtyard Little Rock in the downtown river district is within a short walk of the Clinton Presidential Center. Restaurants in the immediate area serve catfish, pizza and steak, and the nearby Flying Saucer Pub has a huge selection of local and imported beers.
The Ouachita Mountains in western Arkansas are known for fishing, hiking and whitewater rafting. Motels are located in small cities like Mena, with four motels, and Waldron, with three. Mineral springs and boating make Hot Springs on the eastern border of the mountains a popular destination. More than 30 motels, hotels and resorts operate in the small city. All of the rooms at the budget-friendly Willow Beach Motel on the shore of Lake Hamilton have lake views.
The Delta and West Memphis
West Memphis, across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee, offers economical motel rooms along interstates 40 and 55. Best Western, Super 8, Holiday Inn and Comfort Suites are among the chain motels represented. Farther down the Mississippi delta, the four motels on the outskirts of historic Helena and West Helena are equally divided between chain motels and privately owned businesses. The Holiday Star motel is an older but well-maintained, no-frills property in West Helena.
El Dorado is a crossroads city in south-central Arkansas where the railroad and several major highways intersect. The town supports more than a dozen motels, most of them chain-operated. Union Square Guest Quarters emails customers the code for their room ahead of time, so they can go straight to their room. Many motels line Interstate 30 as it makes its way across the Texas border at Texarkana. Holiday Inn and Days Inn are on State Line Avenue, popular because you can stand in two states at once.