Fort Smith is well-served by a number of hotel chains, so more often than not there shouldn’t be any problem securing a cheap hotel room. However, since a lot of the visitors come to Fort Smith for business or military purposes rather than tourism, it can sometimes be difficult to predict when demand for rooms and flights will be higher than normal. There are a few annual events which take place in Fort Smith when hotels do tend to become full: Fort Smith Air Show, the largest free air show in America, takes place biennially in either autumn or spring, and the Old Fort Days Rodeo, which is regarded as one of the best all-around rodeos in the country, is held May and June. It may also be difficult to secure cheap flights to Fort Smith at these times, so where possible book hotel rooms and flights well in advance. In terms of weather, Fort Smith can become very hot in the summer months of June July and August when temperatures reach the mid-30s C.
Fort Smith, which is the second largest city in Arkansas behind Little Rock, has a history rich in Wild West folklore. Fort Smith, as the name suggests, was originally founded as a military post, around which a settlement developed. Over the subsequent years it acted as an important staging post for those seeking gold and new opportunities in the West as well as a site of conflict during the American Civil War. Today, Fort Smith offers visitors a chance to learn about the famous figures during its fascinating past. The Fort Smith National Historic Site is where the original fort site can be seen as well as a replica gallows named after the Hanging Judge Issac Parker, a man who sentenced some 160 people to death during his time as a U.S. District Judge. The nearby Fort Smith Museum of History gives further insight into Judge Parker: here his courtroom has been reconstructed to show in detail what it would have been like to stand trial in that era. Another must-see attraction is Miss Laura’s Social Club which is a restored former brothel that now acts as a visitor centre.
Although there are bus services within Fort Smith, as is found in many American cities, generally the car is the preferred mode of transport. Therefore, visitors who are looking to do a lot of travelling within the city would be better off hiring a vehicle from one of the many car hire companies situated in the city.
The nearest airport to Fort Smith is Fort Smith Regional Airport (FSM). It is about 3.5 miles (6km) from the city, so it is a relatively easy taxi ride. For those arriving at other airports in the area, it may be necessary to hire a car: Northwest Arkansas Airport (XNA) is about an hour and a half drive away and the airports in Tulsa (TUL) and Little Rock (LIT) are a couple of hours drive away.