Ozark National Forest, Arkansas. Photograph by Peter Essick, National Geographic
I can hear you thinking: what a beautiful picture... Such a breathtaking panorama, yet so unknown by the majority of people. Arkansas is one of the southern states in the US, surrounded by Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee and Mississippi.
While most people choose to visit the famous East and West (New York or Los Angeles), the southern states of the US have more to offer than you think.
The southern area is known for its distinct American culture that we often see in Wild Western movies. This regional subculture is one of the most written about and studied in the US. While most people think of these states as conservative, religious or rural, it has a rich and vibrant culture which makes the states absolutely worth a visit.
For many years the Southern culture was the only one known in the US. Soul, gospel, rock-and-roll, country and jazz are all products of these states (let's not forget to mention that Elvis himself was born in Mississippi), and still have an impact on the country these days.
But back to what you can do in the Southern states. Below you will find a quick overview of what to do when you're heading down South:
Arkansas - Experience live music during spring and go to the Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival at Mulberry Mountain in northwest Arkansas, Toad Suck Daze in Conway or Riverfest in Little Rock.
Louisiana - Avery Island: Home to the wildlife sanctuary. This island is an 8 mile deep salt-dome where visitors are able to walk or drive through 250 acres of subtropical flora and fauna.
Texas - Texmex, the famous food from this state, is definitely worth a try! Filled tortillas with sauces, meat and cheeses. Nachos, chili con queso, fajitas and hot salsas are many of the dishes Texas offers. Food in Texas is mainly influenced by the Mexican kitchen.
Oklahoma - The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is located in Oklahoma city, can it get any more Southern than this? This museum includes the American Rodeo Gallery and the American Cowboy collection.
Mississippi - Fancy some good ol' blues? The city of Indianola organizes the B.B. King homecoming festival every year in June. A big Southern bbq is also offered at the festival.
Tennessee - Nashville is of course the country music capital of the world, but Tennessee also offers the Great Smokey Mountains, Dollywood (Dolly Parton's amusement park) and Graceland (Elvis' mansion in Memphis).
So buy your plane ticket, rent a camper van, some cowboy boots and a hat, and head off for an amazing road trip in America's Southern states!
And for those of you interested in going to an American High School in one of these beautiful states (or any other state across the US), check it out here, here and here!