Bentonville, Arkansas: One of America’s Best Kept Secrets!


Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Soapbox Influence. I was invited to visit Bentonville, Arkansas in order to facilitate this series of posts. All thoughts are entirely my own.

Nestled in Northwest Arkansas, Bentonville is a small town that is known for one BIG thing: Walmart.

Bentonville was definitely “put on the map” by Sam Walton, but it is so much more than just Walmart.

It is a town filled with ambition and innovation. A town with a real sense of “community.” A town that embraces its roots, but wants to be so much more than its roots. It is a town rich in history, stories, and American culture.

Northwest Arkansas has evidently reaped the benefits of having the Walton family’s continued support and dedication to the improvement of Bentonville.

I’ll be honest. When planning a vacation, Arkansas was not one of the first places that came to mind. Trust me when I say that I understand Bentonville might not be at the top of your “U.S. travel bucket list” — but let me tell you about a couple of reasons why it should be.

5 Awesome Things to do in Bentonville, Arkansas

The Walmart Museum + Walton’s 5 & 10

In 1950, Sam Walton opened Walton’s 5 & 10 in what is now Bentonville’s Downtown Square. Little did he know that he had started what would someday become the world’s global leader in retail.

What was once a humble dime store, is now part of The Walmart Museum. A museum which honors the legacy, drive and the history of Sam Walton.

Unexpectedly, The Walmart Museum was one of the greatest highlights of my trip to Bentonville. I left the museum inspired, invigorated, and ready to “go for it!”

Sam Walton’s keys. I loved the simple “GO FOR IT” key-chain!

At first glance, I thought the museum was small. However, there is so much to see, read, and do in the museum! I could have spent the entire day in there. I was fascinated!

I learned all about the Walton family, Walton’s 5 & 10, the Ben Franklin franchise, and Sam’s Club.

Inside of The Walmart Museum, you can also find Sam’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, his red Ford truck and even his office — preserved exactly as it was when he passed away in 1992!

Honestly, I spent a good 20 minutes staring at every single item in his office. I looked at the books he was reading, his decor choices, and even his briefcases. It is worth visiting just to see his office!

Admission to The Walmart Museum is free! You can enter the Museum via Walton’s 5 & 10.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

I have a full post dedicated to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, but if you only do one thing while visiting Bentonville, this needs to be it.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a museum located in the heart of beautiful Bentonville, Arkansas.

In Crystal Bridges, you will find American art ranging from the Colonial era to the contemporary period.

Crystal Bridges is one of the best art museums I have ever visited in the United States!

Check out my full Crystal Bridges post to learn what surprised me most about this incredible museum.

Explore its Trails and Parks: A Biker’s Dream!

Bentonville, Downtown Bentonville, Crystal Bridges and its surrounding areas are FILLED with wonderful multi-use trails. Bentonville is also home to 16 amazing parks.

Throughout Bentonville, you can find art trails, walking trails, biking trails, and trails for the advanced hiker. The region has over 140 miles of hard and soft trails.

Did you know? Bentonville is one of the TOP-ranked places for mountain biking and home to the famous Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Park!

Slaughter Pen | Photo courtesy of Visit Bentonville

According to the Slaughter Pen website, biking trails are available for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. These trails include special features such as log rides, drops, jumps and a free ride area with table top jumps, bermed turns, and a wall ride.

I checked out the trails at Crystal Bridges. Their 120-acre property has various multi-use trails. You can find outdoor art, stunning sculptures, beautiful gardens, and multiple bodies of water along the way.

Crystal Springs Trail | Photo Courtesy of Crystal Bridges.
Crystal Springs Trail | Photo Courtesy of Crystal Bridges.

The Spark Café Soda Fountain

The Spark Café Soda Fountain is a tribute to Sam Walton’s ice cream obsession! It is part of The Walmart Museum, and is absolutely worth a visit. It is reminiscent of ice cream parlours of the ’50s, and you will be shocked when you see the prices!

You can purchase scoops of Yarnell’s ice cream in a cake cone, sugar cone, or cup starting at just $1. Not only did the decor transport me back to a different era, the prices did as well!

The most expensive item I found on the menu was the Supercenter Sundae! This giant sundae feeds 8-10 people and only costs $19.95! Amazing.

Yarnell’s is a family brand made in Searcy, Arkansas, not far from Bentonville! Again, I love Walmart’s passion for supporting the state of Arkansas.

They also carry Cheerwine Cherry Soda. ‘Nuff said.

Find a Bite in Bentonville’s Downtown Square

With delicious dining options, trendy bars, and coffee shops all within walking distance of each other, it only make sense to eat in Downtown Bentonville!

We had dinner at Pressroom and The Hive, and both were equally delicious!

Please do yourself a favor and order the Kalbi Chicken Wings at the Pressroom. These were, quite literally, finger lickin’ good!

You can read more about my experience at The Hive in my 21c Museum Hotel review, but this was by far my favorite meal in Bentonville! I’m still dreaming about that scallops dish and the delicious cocktails that accompanied it.

Another “can’t miss” spot in Downtown Bentonville is Onyx Coffee Lab. Friends, I am PICKY about my coffee. P-I-C-K-Y. I have been drinking Cuban Coffee since birth, and coffee is what fuels my life!

I wasn’t ready to be as impressed as I was with Onyx Coffee Lab. In fact, I liked it so much that I visited it THREE times during my brief say in Bentonville.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about their Mocha (Ecuadorian chocolate, black salt, espresso, and milk) since leaving Bentonville.

The “Lab” itself is also adorable! You can watch your coffee be prepared, the staff is incredibly accommodating, and the decor is warm and inviting. I highly, HIGHLY, recommend a visit!

I truly hope you’re as impressed with Bentonville as I was. It is a charming small town filled with rich history and promise. I can’t wait to visit again!

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5 Reasons why Bentonville, Arkansas Should be at the TOP of your U.S. Travel Bucket List!

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