Your best finds in Fort Smith, Arkansas: Things to do, see, where to stay and what to eat started with a week-long trip. When you stay in one place for a week, you have time to venture out. We would have plenty of meals to eat, so new restaurants were on the agenda for sure. Next, we would find a few fun things to do.
Fort Smith, Arkansas is probably not a vacation destination, but if you find yourself there, you do not have to be bored or go hungry! This is actually a perfect place for a weekend getaway. It’s an easy 1-2 hour road trip to many other great places in Arkansas and surrounding areas to visit: Eureka Springs, Mt. Magazine, Bentonville, Fayetteville, and Tulsa, OK. (We were able to make it to Bentonville, see below. BUT we will have to make it to the others on another trip.)
Have You Ever Been to Fort Smith?
Fort Smith is basically 3 hours West on I-40 from Little Rock, Arkansas. It is only a short 10 – 12 minutes from the I-40/540 split. It’s a perfect Arkansas road trip. There are several versatile highways going and coming to and from Fort Smith, whether you’re in Arkansas or Oklahoma.
Where Did We Stay?
We picked a Fairfield Inn by Marriott that was right off of one of the “main” streets of, Rogers Ave. by a couple of blocks, on Phoenix Ave. The location was great to not be on the super busy road, but was close to all the things that you could or would need.
It was very clean. The staff was nice. Breakfast was a normal complimentary style with a decent selection. Price was reasonable and in line with what Fairfield’s normally charges. If you have certain memberships or might be military, they do offer discounts. There are several other hotels right in that area, if you like to stay with other brands.
Let’s Talk Turkey – No, Not Really
No, I did not eat turkey while we were there, but I did eat chicken. Several times in many different ways at very different restaurants. Now, if you have followed me very long you will know that it’s just me, I might be skipping a meal or two. However, if I’m with at least just one of my family members – we WILL be eating…well and often! We LOVE good food!!!
The first night out to dinner was a regular popular chain, Longhorn Steakhouse. Steak and “the best” mac-n-cheese was Noah’s choice. It did not disappoint. My dinner was a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, which was delicious, too.
Driving through chicken strips appeased us for one of the nights. Slim Chickens filled us up just fine. They are usually a pretty good bet.
One of my all-time favorites in Fort Smith is Ed Walker’s Drive-In & Diner. You immediately feel like you have stepped into the past, like the 1950/60’s.
They have an amazing, famous French Dip sandwich. I don’t stray from it and have never regretted it. Fries or Onion Rings – they are both equally great, but I usually pick the Onion Rings. Desserts look great, but honestly I have never had room for it.
Two Nights in Ecuador… Well, Via Rolando’s That Is!
First, we had never tried Ecuadorian food, but it did look like it might be similar to Mexican when we viewed the online menu. Two, it was the number one rated restaurant on an app that Noah used, which he can’t remember now. Three, they use fresh ingredients and I could really go for some “not so processed” food.
Our first visit, I had Queso Blanco and Guacamole. Noah shared the queso with me. He also got the Queso Flamado. Queso Flamado is a bowl of Monterey cheese mixed with Mexican chorizo, and it was set on ﬁre with Bacardi 151.
BUT, let me just tell you about the Star of the Show – the Margarita! We shared it, with regrets for not ordering my own. It was the bomb! All the ingredients for the food and drink were fresh. It makes such a difference.
Our second trip, later that week, was just as rewarding. We split a burrito and a queso.
It was the Popeye’s Burrito which is a large flour tortilla that was stuﬀed with fresh spinach sautéed in olive oil and garlic, vegetables and chicken or pork. Then it’s topped with Argentinian sauce, cheddar cheese and sour cream (which we passed on). It was served with black beans and rice.
We did NOT share our Margarita this time. We each had our own. Yes, only one. That was a good thing, too. This is the next best margarita to my Southern Redneck Margarita.
Little did we know that upon returning to the hotel that we would be on a journey for the Lord. More about that story at a later date. Maybe I will just save this big “God” story for my friends on my email list. You’re gonna wanna hear this one!
What Were Our Other Restaurants In Between?
With a pouring down rain, one evening we picked a place just around the corner from our hotel, Joe’s Grill and Cantina. It was good Mexican food, but the margarita just wasn’t the same as one from Rolando’s.
Now, this next place we tried on a Tuesday night. They weren’t open that night, so we returned a couple of days later. They have a regular lunch hour service, but limited evenings.
We almost passed it up on the first trip, because it is up in the corner of a shopping strip. Do not be fooled by the looks of the place. It was definitely worth making a second trip to try!
The Judge’s Platter was the choice we made and yes we split it. Excellent choice! It was the perfect portion size for the two of us. The variety was a nice mix.
But those ribs, they were the bomb! You should add the Pink Flamingo BBQ to your list. A great barbecue meal is hard to beat, especially when you are in the south!
Hideaway Pizza was a good pick for pizza night, too!
Last Delicious Best Find in Fort Smith
Last, but certainly, not least was the Harvest Moon Bakery. We were able to drop by there on our way out of town and pick up a dozen of their tasty croissant donuts.
Yes, there were only two of us, and we got a half dozen. Don’t judge! A couple did make it to the Southern Cabana Boy for sharing. He loved them, too.
How About Something’s To Do in Fort Smith!
The National Cemetery was one of our finds in Fort Smith to do. It has many tales that revolve around it. Some say they see and hear things in different parts of it. We were all excited to delve into the folklore and check it out, but mother nature wasn’t quite so keen.
Just as we got out of the car, it began to rain. Yes, we did drive around it, but didn’t see anything “unusual.”
- One of our other stops that we had on the list was a small local art museum. The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum is located right in the middle of town.
Only issue was that by the time Noah was able to get to the hotel and change his clothes. It did not leave us enough time to actually go and be able to tour it. We drove by and checked it out. It is still on our list to visit.
- Crystal Bridges Museum is just a short hour trip up the road over a few mountains to the town of Bentonville. Currently, they are still insisting on a mask since it is a privately owned property.
This museum has never disappointed. From the regular exhibits to the ones that are on loan or special tours, you should make it a must if you’re ever within an hour or two. It is always free, except the special touring exhibitions.
The Alice Walton Foundation makes this exceptional museum something that all Arkansans should be proud of and appreciate. Not that I always agree with the artists that are featured, but hey that’s life and that’s what makes it worth living and growing.
- Hiking and nature walks are all around the Fort Smith area if you are interested in an outdoor activity.
- Should you like something indoors, shopping is decent. There are many small local mom & pop stores sprinkled all about town. As well as, quite a few popular chain and big box stores.
- Now, if you have a vehicle, just a few short miles away you can land right over the state line. When you arrive at the Oklahoma side of the line, you have casinos. Maybe you are feeling friendly with “Lady Luck.” Hopefully, she’s kinder to you than she generally is to me… LOL.
Best Finds in Fort Smith Continuously Evolving –
The best finds in Fort Smith, Arkansas will continually evolve over the years, I’m sure. With the military bases growing and small communities blending into the larger town, it will probably expand and increase over the years to come. Plans to add and build on this post will certainly take place, since it will be a place we will revisit several times a year.
Should You Try to Find What You Like Best in Fort Smith, Arkansas?
If you can arrange a trip through there or maybe stay a day or two, then by all means try some of these out. As previously stated, it’s a great weekend get-a-way or road trip. Let me know if you found some of these as good as we did. Try ones that we didn’t, and make sure you let me know that, too. When we go back we can try them out!
Looking Forward to New Finds in Fort Smith
Next trip up there I will set out to find new eats, places to visit and maybe even a different hotel to stay. Although, there are one or two of the above that I am sure will have to be on a “replay!”