HIT THE ROAD: As famous for its hefty french dip sandwiches as it is for being one of the last relics in the country where you can get carhop service for beer, Ed Walker’s is must-do retro. Kat Wilson

If a total solar eclipse, a peek at the dancing lights of the aurora and a mass cicada convergence have convinced throngs of visitors that Arkansas is the place to be this year, surely it’s time to convince ourselves, right? We make the case for an Arkansas(ish) summer vacation over the course of the following pages in our annual Road Trip issue. 

Read on for recs from Matt Campbell on how to enjoy Memphis if you’re burnt out on Beale and Graceland; the city has plenty of opportunities to go crate digging for vinyl, day drinking with a side of pork dumplings at a diner called The Beauty Shop and cooling off in a geode-like concrete grotto designed by artist Dionicio Rodriguez in the 1930s. 

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Check out Fort Smith with Griffin Coop, who surveyed the remnants of the city’s red light district, reached his chili pepper threshold at a Mexican ice cream shop and shuffled through relics at an antique shop named for a famous Sebastian County woman outlaw who stirred up trouble with the likes of Jesse James. 

Or, ride in the passenger seat with Daniel Grear to Wilson, a company town with a fancy golf course, fancier avocado toast and luxury cocktails you can balance with a cold Bud Light from the roadside dive bar on the outskirts of town. 

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While you’re at it, peruse Brian Sorensen’s list of undersung stops in Northwest Arkansas and build a culinary travel itinerary from Stephanie Smittle’s roundup of Natural State food bloggers.

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Beyond Beale Street
A guide to undersung Memphis.
By Matt Campbell

Small-dose luxury in the Delta
Living it up in Wilson, if only for a night.
By Daniel Grear

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Marshals, mi xao and Miss Laura’s
Is Fort Smith cool?
By Griffin Coop

Northwest Arkansas 101
Heralded and undersung corners of the state’s most booming region.
By Brian Sorensen

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Roam if we want to
A list of Arkansas food blogs to plan your summer eats by.
By Stephanie Smittle