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Travel 3

The Ultimate Guide to Arkansas Adventure

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If you are a parent, there is nothing worse than your kids saying “I’m bored” ten minutes into their summer vacation. But if we’re honest, we’re also guilty of the same thing. How many times have you looked forward to the weekend and then followed up that thought by saying, “there’s nothing to do around here.” It’s okay. I do it, too.

With spring upon us and summer right around the corner, many of us look to get out of the house and do something fun. It’s time to break away from the rut and veer off your usual path and explore all that there is to love about Arkansas.

Sometimes it can be challenging to think outside the box and realize that there really is a whole big world outside our doorstep. So, to make it easier for you, I’ve put together this list of Arkansas adventures to plan this summer. It doesn’t matter if you plan a staycation, a day trip or even if you are new to the state; there is no excuse for saying “I’m bored” anymore!

Author’s Note: Arkansas is an ever-evolving place, and unfortunately, businesses come and go. Some of our previous posts list locations that may have since closed. We always recommend that you check with a business for current operating hours before heading out.

Arkansas adventure

Outdoor Activities

Arkansas is known as the Natural State, and for a good reason. We have 52 State Parks, FREE for day-use and nine Arkansas Game and Fish Nature and Education centers, including the newly opened Ozark Highlands Nature Center in Springdale. And those are just the beginning!

If you are new to exploring the outdoors, begin with our How to Get Your Family Outdoors guide and then check out these outdoor activities across the state of Arkansas.

Arkansas’s 10 Tallest Mountains
Hiking Whitaker Point
Hiking Sugarloaf Mountain
5 Single Night Backpacking Trips
25 Urban Hikes and Walking Trails
Kayak Fishing
Arkansas Water Trails
Ozark St. Francis National Forest Multi-Use Trails
Ron Coleman Mining
Arkansas Bluff Shelters
Glory Hole Waterfall

 

Arkansas adventure

Play

Play is vital for development in children and crucial for mental health in all humans (and even in animals). So it’s important to laugh and have fun, and you and your family will enjoy these playful activities on your Arkansas adventures.

Where to Play Disc Golf in Arkansas
Rose Bud Off-Road Adventure Park
Arkansas Zip Line Parks
Arkansas Water Parks
Panning for Gems at War Eagle Caverns
Old School Arcade
Footgolf
NEA Hobbies Indoor RC Racetrack
Ax Throwing
Amazeum

Arkansas adventure

Museums

Arkansas is home to countless museums that give us insight into the past, the future and the things that make Arkansans tick. You don’t need to wait for a school field trip to visit these museums.

Fairfield Bay Log Cabin Museum
Crystal Bridges Museum
Interactive Science Museums
16 South Arkansas Museums
The Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie
Clark County Historical Museum
Blythe’s Scott County Museum
The ASU Museum
Ruland Junction Train Museum
The Old Statehouse Museum
Desha County Courthouse
The Historic Arkansas Museum
Faulkner County Museum
Esse Purse Museum

Historic Sites

You can find historic sites in nearly every town in Arkansas. We have a rich history, and it’s something to be proud of. If you aren’t sure where to start, here is a sampling of my favorite historic sites in Arkansas. You may learn something new!

Finding the First Schoolhouse in Arkansas
Historic Hot Springs Baseball Trail
Arkansas’s National Treasures
Mount Holly Cemetery
Historic Evergreen Cemetery
Chase the Gangsters in Hot Springs
Bathhouse Row
Monte Ne: Arkansas’s Underwater Resort
Marlsgate Plantation
The Old Mill
Van Buren Historic District
Sinking of the Sultana

Historic Trains – Depots, Locomotive and Railcars, Cabooses

Historic Churches

Arkansas adventure

Scenic Drives

Sometimes it’s more about the trip and less about the destination, and Arkansas is full of scenic drives that make it worth spending a few bucks on some gas money. So grab your camera and hit the road for an Arkansas adventure to see what makes us known as The Natural State.

4 Reasons You Should Drive the Sylamore Scenic Byway
A Family Drive ‘round the Boston Mountains Scenic Loop
Explore the Arkansas Side of the Talimena Scenic Byway
Top 8 Fall Color Road Trips

If you travel by means other than a car, you should check out these 3 Arkansas RV Trips and our guide to Exploring the Natural State by Motorcycle.

Photo of Knightfire BBQ by Kevin Shalin.

BBQ Joints

States surrounding Arkansas may be more well known for their BBQ, but Arkansas is not to be overlooked. Gathering from styles around the country, you can experience Texas, Memphis, Carolina, and Kansas City influences in BBQ joints around the state. Each has put its own twist on the classics creating Arkansas’s melting-pot style of BBQ. And no Arkansas adventure is complete without BBQ!

Knightfire BBQ – Searcy
Lindsey’s BBQ – North Little Rock
Ridgewood Brother’s BBQ – Russellville
McClard’s BBQ – Hot Springs
Suttle’s Road Hog BBQ – Beebe

Photo of Yellowjacket Drive-In by Kevin Shalin.

Favorite Arkansas Restaurants

When it comes to food, Arkansas has an eclectic mix of options. Look past the fast-food joints and chain eateries and check out the tasty fare being handmade by hard-working Arkansans daily. Next time you think, “there’s no place to go eat,” you need to pull up this list and pick a random spot. You won’t be disappointed.

5 Places to Dine on The Water
5 Great Steaks from Around Arkansas
The Mighty Rib’s 10 Favorite Restaurants 2020
Top 10 Donut Shops in the Natural State
10 Must-Try Food Trucks in Central Arkansas
20 Arkansas Restaurants for Quick Day Trips
Top 10 Taquerias in Little Rock
3 Food Stops in Hot Springs
Favorite Sandwiches Around Arkansas
8 Favorite Fried Catfish Spots Around Arkansas
8 Great Cinnamon Rolls in Arkansas
10 Favorite Desserts in Arkansas

 

Arkansas Breweries

2020 was a challenging year for some breweries, and several struggled to stay afloat, ultimately closing their doors. But that doesn’t mean that Arkansas’s beer industry is headed to the dumps. In fact, the industry is still growing by leaps and bounds, so I’d recommend you start by checking out these Nine New Breweries in Arkansas. When you’re done with those, check out some of our old favorites like:

Ozark Brewing Co. – Rogers
Eureka Springs Brewery – Eureka Springs
Gotahold Brewing – Eureka Springs
Country Monks Brewing – Subiaco
Central Arkansas Breweries
Superior Bathhouse – Hot Springs
Lost Forty Brewing – Little Rock
Point Remove – Morrilton
Rock Town Distillery – Little Rock
Stone’s Throw Brewing – Little Rock

And don’t miss out on Arkansas Wine Country and the Arkansas Wine Trail, Post Familie Vineyards, or Tontitown.

Arkansas adventure
Photo courtesy of Arkansas Parks & Tourism

Places to Stay

It doesn’t matter if you want to rough it in the backwoods of Arkansas or stay in a boutique hotel in one of Arkansas’s biggest cities; we have a fantastic assortment of unique and exciting lodging establishments.

8 Unique Getaways
10 More Unique Getaways
20 Unique Airbnbs: Boats, Yurts and Farms
Coolest Arkansas Airbnbs
The Hideout Urban Glamping
9 RV Rental Spots
9 Unique Cabins
12 Campgrounds in Central and Northeast Arkansas
Houseboat Rentals
Lindsey’s Resort
The Crescent Hotel
Historical Getaways: Inns and Bed & Breakfasts

What will your itinerary for the Ultimate Arkansas Adventure look like? We can’t wait to hear about all the places you visit this season!

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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3 responses to “The Ultimate Guide to Arkansas Adventure”

  1. […] This summer, if you’re out in the woods, or simply listening from your porch, you’re likely to hear the call of cicadas. Whether you love or hate the buzzing song, it’s all part of summer in Arkansas. […]

  2. MJ Shellabarger says:

    Don’t forget the St. Joseph Center in North Little Rock! Great historic property and amazing community farm and farm stand!

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