RV Rental Fort Smith, AR
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Fort Smith, Arkansas RV Rentals
Steeped in frontier history and Native American culture, as well as deep southern traditions, Fort Smith, Arkansas an interesting and eclectic city with lots to offer visitors. The surrounding region is known for its natural beauty and attracts lots of nature lovers as well.
Exploring Fort Smith via RV is a great way to see and experience all the area has to offer. RV rentals in Fort Smith are fast becoming a popular and economical option for tourists from all over. The region also boasts some truly beautiful RV campgrounds that offer scenic vistas and super friendly southern hospitality.
Read through some of the interesting and fun attractions and events that Fort Smith has to offer. We’re sure you’ll have no problem moving Fort Smith to the top of your list of must-see destinations for your next RV road trip.
Popular RV Destinations in Fort Smith
Fishing on the Arkansas River
The area of Fort Smith is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, and fishing on the Arkansas River is one of the top activities. Various dams and locks along the river provide for some of the best fishing in the country. The shallow backwaters adjacent to the river are home to some seriously good-sized bass.
There are more than a dozen access points for you to drop a boat in by hand or by a small trailer. Along this fertile stretch of river, you will find not only bass, but also saugers, whites, crappie, catfish, bream, and sunfish. These waters are perfectly stocked and host some impressive fishing tournaments.
Dropping a line just before dawn or dusk, or night fishing are the prime times to catch the big one. With plenty of gear stores and guides in and around town, there’s no shortage of local knowledge and expertise to help guarantee your success.
Fort Smith Trolley Museum
If you’re looking for an easy and fun historical tour, the Fort Smith Trolley Museum fits the bill perfectly. Who doesn’t love to browse around antique railcars? The museum is located downtown on South 4th Street, within walking distance of the convention center.
It’s home to several well-restored railcars that were purchased from the former Midland Valley Railroad by Dr. Art Bradley Martin Sr. and the Fort Smith Railcar Restoration Association. There’s also a gorgeous 1926 electric Briney Streetcar that you can actually take a ride on. The streetcar takes passengers along a 3/4-mile tour between the National Cemetery and historic Garrison Avenue.
You’ll also be able to get up close to a Frisco 4003 steam locomotive, the Fort Smith Light & Power #10, railway speeders, and more. The museum also hosts several fun and interactive events throughout the year. The most popular of these is the Sweet Treats Trolley, which serves a variety of different desserts at the museum for you to sample.
Fort Smith National Historic Site
For a more in-depth historical exploration of Fort Smith, check out the Fort Smith National Historic Site. The site is housed inside the old courthouse/jail building. It contains plenty of information on Fort Smith’s military history, as well as the town’s role in western expansion.
It’s hard to believe that just a century and a half ago, the western region beyond Fort Smith was an unexplored frontier. Here, you can see the remains of several key historical structures, including the first Fort Smith, circa 1800. Be sure to check out the reconstructed gallows, which at one time were used by the federal court.
The site also houses the remnants of an old courtroom that was presided over by one of the region’s harshest and toughest judges. After you browse around, take a leisurely stroll along the park’s walking trail which provides scenic views of the Arkansas River.
Saint Scholastica Monastery
Formerly known as the Saint Scholastica Convent, the Saint Scholastica Monastery is one of Fort Smith’s most famous architectural and religious attractions. This stunningly detailed structure was designed by architect F.W. Redlich and was built in 1923. It started off as a simple chapel, living quarters, and school for the convent.
Visitors are welcomed and invited to spend a few days of private and introspective retreat at the center. If that’s not your thing, feel free to explore all the architectural details in and around this peaceful and serene property. If you time your visit just right, you might actually have the privilege of seeing the Franciscan nuns that run the monastery itself.
Chaffee Barbershop Museum
The Chaffee Barbershop Museum is a one-of-a-kind attraction that you aren’t likely to see anywhere else, so it’s definitely on our must-do list. Its big claim to fame is that it was the shop that Elvis Presley got his first Army buzz cut on March 25, 1958. In fact, the museum holds a celebration each year on that same day.
The celebration is a 1950’s style festival that attracts all kinds of visitors, but most notably, Elvis fans and fan club members from all over the US. Of course, the museum has plenty of Elvis memorabilia and artifacts, including rare photographs of the King himself. That’s definitely not all there is to see here, however.
The museum has a long and decorated history that is intimately tied to the U.S. Army. It boasts many military- and refugee-related mementos and artifacts that date back to the 1940s.
The Park at West End
The Park at West End isn’t just any park. It’s a whimsical and charming walk back in time that’s located right downtown, close to all the action. There are some really fun and funky vintage features that make this park stand out from all others. A prime example is the restored and operational Ferris wheel that was salvaged from the San Diego World’s Fair in 1935.
Another cool installment is the vintage hand-painted carousel from Treviso, Italy that you can ride around on. Be sure to stop by the antique Pullman railcar diner for lunch, or grab a snack at the renovated double-decker bus-turned concession stand.
Admission to the park is free and rides cost $1 each. You can also purchase punch cards with free rides on them.
Events and Entertainment in Fort Smith
Fort Smith Farmers Market
Every Saturday, you can find plenty of action at the Fort Smith Farmers Market on Garrison Avenue. From late Spring through mid-Autumn, they also host the Market on Tuesday mornings. It’s a festive atmosphere that never fails to draw a crowd.
The market features more than 90 food and artisan vendors that offer a bounty of fresh produce, seasonal flowers, artisanal baked goods, canned preserves, homemade candies, gourmet cheeses and coffees, grass-fed meat and eggs, and much more. You may also find the perfect gift or souvenir among all the beautiful artwork and high-quality handmade wood carvings and trinkets.
On Saturdays, you get the added experience of live street performers and local musicians that help set a lively tone. It’s a great way to get an authentic feel for the local community.
Old Fort Days Rodeo
Fort Smith has been home to one of Arkansas’ biggest and most competitive rodeos since 1933. Usually hosted over Memorial Day weekend, cowboys and cowgirls from all over the nation come to compete for a seriously large purse. The rodeo is a PRCA sanctioned event and takes place at Kay Rodgers Park.
Over the course of the week-long festivities, you can watch some of the best Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, Calf Roping, Bull Riding, Barrel Racing, Steer Wrestling, and Team Roping competitions in the world. The whole family will also enjoy plenty of free entertainment. You can hear top musicians and bands and watch some fun and impressive gun, rope, and whip tricks performed by stunters.
Rivervalley Artisan Market
Held the first Tuesday and third Saturday of every month from April to November, the Rivervalley Artisan Market is a free open-air extravaganza hosted at Ross Pendergraft Park. This market showcases the Arkansas River Valley’s most interesting and eclectic artisans. Unlike most outdoor markets which are open early in the morning, this one takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
It’s a great way to mix and mingle with some of the most friendly and talented local craftspeople and artisans. You will find all kinds of handmade decor, jewelry, artwork, clothing, specialty foods, baked goods, and more. They even have pottery and natural health and wellness products at this all-inclusive venue.
Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair
Another major event that is held at Kay Rodgers Park is the nine-day-long Arkansas/Oklahoma State Fair. The Livestock Competition and Junior Livestock Auction bring out the region’s top farmers to compete for the honor of raising the cream of the crop. Lots of agricultural exhibits, creative art displays, and quilting and craft booths will keep you enthralled for hours.
The Youth Talent Competition and the AR/OK State Fair Pageant are also big draws. As with most large state fairs, there is always a top-notch midway with plenty of rides and games for the whole family. And, who can go to a fair without overdoing it on all the delicious fair foods? From cotton candy to caramel apples and deep-fried corn dogs, they have all your favorites.
The AR/OK State Fair also features some of the top recording artists in the nation performing concerts each day of the fair.
Downtown Fort Smith Fall Festival
The Downtown Fort Smith Fall Festival hasn’t been around nearly as long as some of the others on our list, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a fast favorite. The Fort Smith National Historic Site, the Fort Smith Museum of History, Fort Smith Trolley Museum, Judgement Town, and the River Valley Artisan Market all collaborate for this huge event. Self-guided tours of the Fort Smith Museum of History aren’t the only thing that’s offered here.
Come watch an epic re-enactment of a day in the life of the family of Judge Isaac C. Parker. Enjoy historic lectures, trolley rides, a car show, Civil War weapons firings, and more. Kids love the kids’ area, the Old West shootout, and the antique tractor show.
There’s plenty of delicious food and beverage vendors to keep your belly full and happy. As an added bonus, most of the festival's events and programs are free of charge. This is a great family-friendly event.
Q: What are RV rentals?
RV rentals work much like any other vehicle rentals. You pay a daily or weekly rate for your RV rental. You can expect these rates to fluctuate based on the time of year and the geographical location that you're renting. Naturally, rates tend to increase during peak seasons. They allow you to get an RV for a certain period and enjoy all its benefits while traveling without the hassles and large cost of owning an RV. It’s also a great way to try out some different RV models if you are considering purchasing your own.
Q: How much are RV Rentals?
RV rentals in Fort Smith can range between $75 and $150 per night for most small to medium-sized trailers and campervans. Larger RVs and travel trailers can cost between $100 and $250 per night, depending on the season and the year, make, and model of the RV. Some companies also offer a discount if you rent for longer than a week.
Q: Do I need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Fort Smith?
The minimum legal age to rent an RV in the state of Arkansas is 25.
Q: Do I need insurance when I rent an RV?
Yes, you'll need insurance to rent an RV in Fort Smith. It's meant to cover the vehicle in case of an accident and is mandatory in most states. Most RV rental companies will have RV-specific insurance that you can purchase.
Q: Do I need to return my rental RV with a full tank?
This policy varies between rental agencies, but most RV rental facilities in Fort Smith will expect you to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. At the very least, the fuel should be at the same level as when you picked up the vehicle.
Q: Are RVs pet-friendly in Fort Smith?
Many RV and camper rentals in Fort Smith are pet-friendly, and there are even vehicles specially designed for accommodating animals. Still, it’s important to double-check the policy with your chosen rental agency before renting a particular vehicle.