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If you haven’t figured it out yet, Arkansas is an outdoor lovers’ paradise. And chances are, you know someone who’s taking full advantage of everything the Natural State has to offer. Get your favorite adventure seeker something they will love this holiday season. You can’t go wrong with any of the items on the Arkansas Outdoor Gift Guide.
Confession time–I haven’t always been a fan of the Arkansas outdoors. I grew up camping and exploring the wilderness that surrounded my childhood home. I went fishing and hiking in all seasons and spent a large portion of the winters on the ski slope or at the ice rink. However, I was in for a major shock when I left my home state of Vermont and experienced my first Arkansas summer.
For years, I hid away each summer. Confined to my air-conditioned paradise, I avoided the outdoors and convinced myself that Arkansas had nothing to offer other than soul-stifling heat. It was miserable. I was miserable.
Then one Christmas, someone gave me a gift that changed everything. The gift was a book by Tim Ernst. The collection of photographs contained within its pages was breathtaking and eye-opening. Literally. I suddenly realized how much I was missing and decided then and there that I would become an Arkansas outdoor lover, even if I died trying.
Sure, that sounds dramatic, but there are plenty of summer haters out there, and I’m certain that description fits a few of my readers. So, whether you are trying to break someone’s fear of the Arkansas outdoors or you need a gift for someone who can’t get enough of it, you are going to love this Arkansas Outdoor Gift Guide.
Tim Ernst has made a name for himself not only in Arkansas but also in the photography world. Ernst’s books and outdoor guide are the go-to resources for anyone looking to take the most advantage of our state’s natural beauty.
The city of Jacksonville partnered with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to build the state-of-the-art AGFF Shooting Sports Complex facility that is open to the public year-round. Anyone looking to improve their shooting skills will benefit from some time at the 14 trap fields, three skeet overlays and 3-D Archery Range. Their pro shop offers everything you need to complete your visit.
River floats are a favorite pastime amongst all ages here in Arkansas. Our state has rivers in every corner that are perfect for gathering with friends as you navigate the cool waters via tube, canoe and kayak. The Buffalo River is a favorite, but the Caddo, Arkansas, Mulberry, Spring, White and countless other rivers offer a variety of floating opportunities and outfitters (like Rock Town Outfitters) abound to help you book a trip that will give you a lifetime of memories.
Trout fishing on the Little Red River is a must for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. My trip on the Little Red with Beau’s Guide Service was one of my most memorable experiences and opened my eyes to the beauty of the sport of fishing. Whether you grab a traditional rod and reel or you want to experience the majestic art of fly fishing, a guided trip is the way to do it!
Giving the gift of a hunting or fishing license is a great option for the hard to buy for person on your list. A basic resident fishing license is only $10.50 and a hunting license is just $25. The license is valid for one year, and the fees promote conservation across the state, so it’s perfect for outdoor lovers and animals alike.
There are 52 state parks scattered across the state, so chances are there is one fairly close to you. The Arkansas State Parks offer loads of outdoor opportunities and preserve the history of our state. In an incredible journey, Arkie Travels popularized the idea of a state park bucket list. After they ticked off all 52 parks, they developed a fun scratch-off park map so you too can document your journey across Arkansas.
Arkansas State Parks debuted the Arkansas State Parks Passport in mid-2020. The free book can be picked up at any state park visitor center. Inside is a space to collect a stamp from each park or a rubbing from parks without a visitor center. The book is free and would make the perfect stocking stuffer.
Trips to the city can be a lot of fun, but there is something to be said about spending a weekend in nature. Arkansas has no shortage of rental cabins in some of the most beautiful parts of the state. Fireside Retreats has 16 retreats in Mountain View, ranging from a cozy cottage for two, a quirky converted school bus, or a family gathering at a creekside cabin. The cabins at the Buffalo Outdoor Center are perfect for anyone viewing the elk in Ponca. These 9 Unique Cabins in Arkansas are scattered across the state and provide options that fit anyone’s tastes.
Cooking outdoors is something most outdoor lovers enjoy doing regularly. Dining al fresco gets you in touch with nature and is good for the soul and having the right tools can make the job a joy. PK Grills offer top-rated outdoor grills, and they are made right here in Arkansas. Any Arkansan would be proud to own a PK Grill.
Duane Hada is a visual artist known for “bringing you the Ozarks on canvas.” Working from his Rivertown Gallery in Mountain Home, Hada is an avid outdoorsman and brings his outdoor adventures to life on canvas with acrylic and watercolor. His three-dimensional wood-carved fish replicas are equally breathtaking. While his art would make a treasured gift, Hada also offers painting workshops which would be a fun option for the outdoor enthusiast looking to explore a new way to experience the beauty of Arkansas.
Maps are a great tool, but they also make a great statement piece. The Arkansas Campgrounds Map (Camp Arkansas) was a labor of love for artist and adventurer Jacob Slaton and the Whatever Media Group. Until the first edition of the map was released in 2020, Arkansas had never had a comprehensive campground map. The Camp Arkansas map serves a need and comes in both a traditional (and waterproof) folded map style and a 23 ¼ x 35-inch print that’s perfect for framing. The newly updated map was released in early November and includes 249 public campgrounds across Arkansas.
Donations are a wonderful way to show your appreciation to someone who may not want a physical gift. Choosing an organization that supports something meaningful to the recipient is important, and The Mayfly Project is an ideal choice for Arkansas outdoor lovers. The Mayfly Project began in Arkansas to work with foster kids and teach them the joy and skill of fly fishing. Providing mentoring to kids who need it most, the Mayfly Project now operates in more than 30 states. The impact of these programs on foster kids is deep and long-lasting, and donations of any amount help make the program successful. The program also depends on the donation of time and is always looking for anglers willing to donate their knowledge to help a child in need.
Hopefully, we have helped you to discover the perfect gift idea for your favorite Arkansas outdoor lover. Be sure to let them know about OnlyinArk.com to read about and discover new places to explore across the state.
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