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Known for Skyscrapers, Nature and Hot Springs

From French trading post to Civil War battleground to county seat of Ouachita County, this Arkansas town has a fascinating past.

How do you get to Camden?

Walk in the footsteps of French fur trappers, steamboat passengers and Civil War soldiers in Camden. Today, it is the seat of Ouachita County and a metropolitan hub in southern Arkansas.

Explore Camden and discover the important historic moments it witnessed. The town was settled in the early 1800s as a French trading post called Ecore Fabre. It grew to be an important city during the steamboat era as a collecting point for cotton for delivery to New Orleans.

It was an important location during the Civil War, when the Union army occupied the city for 13 days during its doomed Red River Campaign. Learn about Camden’s role in the Civil War at the McCollum-Chidester House. The house became infamous in 1864, when Union General Frederick Steele used it as his headquarters. Walk through the home, which looks much the same as it did during the Civil War.

Immerse yourself in nature and history in Fort Southerland Park. The park, also called Fort Diamond, was fortified by Confederate troops during the Civil War. As you walk around, read informational plaques explaining its historic significance. Enjoy a picnic under the park’s leafy trees.

Stroll through Washington Street Historic District. Many of these stately homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places were used by Union troops during the Red River Campaign. The Graham-Gaughan-Betts Home and others are open for tours by appointment.

Enjoy the scenic Ouachita River as you walk along the Camden Riverfront. Go fishing, stroll along the riverwalk or picnic in the barbecue area. Watch a performance in the amphitheater.

Time your visit to coincide with the Camden Daffodil Festival, held every spring. Walk through acres of blooming daffodils and listen to costumed characters representing early settlers in the cemetery.

Take advantage of Camden’s central location. Drive 100 miles (160 kilometers) north to Little Rock, the state’s capital. Reach the Louisiana border to the south in under 1 hour by car.

Things to do in Camden