DeGray Lake, a 13,000-acre lake just outside of Arkadelphia, is one of Arkansas's renowned "Diamond Lakes" known for their clear water. The lake provides fishing, swimming, water skiing, and a multitude of other activities. Better Homes and Gardens magazine has included DeGray Lake Resort State Park as one of "5 State Parks You'll Love."
The lake is served by two popular resorts:
DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Arkansas's only resort state park, features a 96-room lodge, modern conference center, 18-hole PGA-championship rated golf course, heated swimming pool, camping, riding stables, camping, wildlife demonstrations, tennis courts, and a marina.
Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina is fully equipped with lakeside cottages, conference facilities and its own full-service marina offering houseboat, ski boat and party barge rentals, small fishing boats and guide services.
Opportunities for sports and cultural events abound at Arkadelphia's two outstanding universities. Home to Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University, the town has been referred to as the "Athens of Arkansas."
With two universities in Arkadelphia that are both members of the Gulf South Conference - Henderson State University and Ouachita Baptist University - there is always a sporting event on at least one of the campuses. The HSU Reddies and the OBU Tigers offer the interested spectator the chance to watch football, baseball, softball, tennis, basketball and other sports at the Division II level.
The most highly anticipated sporting event each year is The Battle of the Ravine, the annual football gaming pitting Henderson State University against neighbor and rival Ouachita Baptist University. This football matchup between the two universities, whose stadiums are across from one another on Scenic Highway 7, is the longest Division 2 rivalry in the nation, having been played for more than 80 seasons.
Cultural events at the universities include theatrical productions, dance performances, university lectures, piano concert series, movies, and even a planetarium.
Ouachita Baptist University's 1500-seat Jones Performing Arts Center hosts premier music events, full-scale musicals, and touring productions and concerts, and its Hammons Gallery, located in the Mabee Fine Arts Center, features exhibitions throughout the school year, including works by regional artists, faculty members, and students.
Events at Henderson State University include theatrical productions, dance performances, university lectures, piano concert series, movies, and even a planetarium. Theatre and dance facilities are housed in the renovated, historic Arkansas Hall, which includes 2 performance venues: the 969-seat Arkansas Hall Auditorium and the newly constructed, 162-seat Studio Theatre.
You can browse shops, enjoy cultural amenities, and explore dining options in the Arkadelphia area. Arkadelphia offers a variety of small, unique shops and larger nationally-recognized stores as well as a number of restaurants. Arkadelphia's revitalized Main Street district offers a number of gift stores, specialty shops, and art galleries.
Arkadelphia's revitalized downtown Main Street district offers a number of gift stores, specialty shops, and art galleries.
Downtown Arkadelphia is experiencing renewal with the growth of two non-profits, Group Living, Inc., and Dawson Education Cooperative. In 2010, Group Living, Inc., Arkadelphia's renowned non-profit helping developmentally disabled adults, completed construction of a two-story, multi-million dollar facility on Main Street to house offices and an expanded thrift store. Established in 1973, the non-profit organization serves individuals with developmental disabilities in order to assist them in attaining their highest level of independence and to become integrated into the community. Dawson Education Cooperative has transformed a number of buildings in downtown Arkadelphia, including a former bus station, to meet its expansion needs. The Cooperative provides educators and schools with tools and services such as professional development programs, curriculum development, standardized test scoring services, media resource centers, and technology support and distance learning education.
Shopping and dining opportunities are also available along the I-30 corridor. Gurdon features a number of small shops and a variety of eating establishments, from barbecue to pizza. Amity, known for its small town hospitality, has a handful of unique shops and restaurants along its picturesque town square.
In addition to numerous motels, the Arkadelphia area offers several Bed and Breakfast establishments, including the historic Captain Henderson House on the Henderson State University campus, featured in Southern Living magazine. You can find several nationally-recognized motels in Caddo Valley along I-30. Cottages are available at Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina, while DeGray Lake Resort State Park offers camping options and a lodge.
More than 40 sites in the Arkadelphia area are located on the National Register of Historic Places, including the site of the Civil War's Battle of Elkins Ferry, the Clark County Courthouse, and the Captain Henderson House (a Victorian mansion on the campus of Henderson State University).
The Clark County Historical Museum, located in Arkadelphia's train station, displays a variety of artifacts, from Caddoan Native American artifacts to displays on the Civil War and World Wars I and II. In addition, the Clark County Historical Association sponsors an historical archive located in Riley-Hickingbotham Library on the campus of Ouachita Baptist University.
Enjoy one of the events sponsored by the Caddo River Art Guild, including the Annual Round About Artist Studio Tour, a free self-driving tour through the beautiful rolling hills of the Caddo River Valley to visit local artists' studios, purchase art, and enjoy artist demonstrations.
In Gurdon, just south of Arkadelphia, you'll find the International Hoo-Hoo Headquarters and Museum. The unique Order of Hoo-Hoo is an international fraternal organization of lumbermen and those in trades related to the lumber industry and is the oldest industrial fraternal organization in the United States. Housed in a historic cabin build by the WPA in the 1930s, contains many artifacts, old timber pictures, publications, books, and memorabilia about the Hoo-Hoo organization and the timber industry.
Timber Lodge Ranch, to the northwest of Arkadelphia in Amity, offers a one-of-a-kind outdoor experience. Cabins and houses are available for rent for weddings, church or corporate retreats, or weekend getaways, and guests can enjoy hiking, guided ATV tours, paddle boating, or swimming in the indoor pool. Guests enjoy exotic wildlife as zebras, buffalos, and peacocks roam the ranch.
Camp Winnamocka is a unique destination for kid campers and retreat groups from around the state and the region. Located on 200 acres, the facility includes a pioneer fort with cabins, a Wilderness Lodge for meals and conferences, four lakes, and low ropes and high ropes courses.
Arkadelphia's Aquatic Park, a $3 million facility, was honored by the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association in 2004 as the top recreation facility in the state. The park includes an eight-lane, 25-meter swimming area, a one-meter springboard, a drop slide, an open-flume waterslide, a zero-depth entry, and ample opportunities for sunbathing on a deck or on designated grassy areas. Swimming lessons are available, and the park can be rented for private parties.
"From the railroad and the "Gurdon Light" to the Hoo-Hoo International Museum, Gurdon offers a number of attractions that help define our local and regional heritage. We are a town that could present a lot of options for someone with a vision toward downtown restoration and community development."