Things to Do in Atkins, Arkansas

by Leslie Nierste

Atkins is a small town located an hour northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas. Although its population is only around 3,000 people, Atkins offers its visitors and residents plenty of activities to keep them busy. Kids, golfers, outdoors people and families can expect to be entertained in this town.

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Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park, located in Atkins, offers many activities for hikers, anglers, swimmers and families (www.petitjeanstatepark.com). Lake Baily, a 100-acre lake, offers fishing year-round. In the summer guests can rent a boat from the grounds. Children can play in the playground or swim in the summer pool. The pool is equipped with a diving board and water slides. Picnic tables, open year-round, are located near grills, water fountains and restrooms. Petit Jean State Park has more than 20 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. History buffs may be interested in trails that stop by some ancient Native American pictograph sites.

Lake Atkins

Lake Atkins is located just south of Atkins (no website; 1266 Lock and Dam Road Russellville; 877-967-7577). It's owned by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and is home to major sport fish, including bluegill, channel catfish and largemouth bass. Other fish in the lake include carp, sunfish and pickerel. The lake is bordered with cypress and willow trees, providing shade for the tired angler. A private bait shop stands at the south side of the lake and offers guests boat rentals, campsites, public restrooms and fishing supplies.

Galla Creek Golf Course

Galla Creek Golf Course, which opened in 1994, is located in Pottsville,15 minutes from Atkins (no website; 141 Golf Club Lane, Pottsville; 479-890-6653). It is an 18-hole course that features a signature par 5 hole measuring 521 yards. Interested guests can call the course to book tee times.

Museum of Automobiles

The Museum of Automobiles is located 20 minutes from Atkins in Morrilton (www.museumofautos.com). The museum has more than 50 vehicles and motorcycles in its collection, from the 1094 Oldsmobile French Front to a 1967 Ford Ranchero. The museum, founded in 1964, is open every day of the year except Christmas between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Holla Bend Wildlife Refuge

Holla Bend Wildlife Refuge is located in Dardanelle, 25 minutes from Atkins (www.fws.gov/hollabend). It was established in 1957 and sits on the Arkansas River. The refuge stretches over 7,000 acres and provides winter protection for millions of ducks, geese and bald eagles. The endangered American alligator and the Arkansas endangered barn owl also rest here year-round. Other common wildlife on the grounds include raccoon, bobcat, deer and wild turkey. Visitors can sport fish on the nearby lake and observe wildlife from the wildlife tower.