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Statewide Travel 1

Unforgettable Arkansas Summer Nights


When the sun sets over Arkansas, an entire world of adventure awaits. From camping under the stars to exploring the lakes and rivers, there is no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy during the summer nights in Arkansas. Whether you’re a nature lover, thrill-seeker, or just looking for family-friendly fun, Arkansas has something for everyone. Check out these ideas to make the most of your Arkansas summer nights, ensuring unforgettable memories for the whole family.

Camping and Stargazing in Arkansas

One of the best ways to experience the magic of an Arkansas summer night is by camping under the starry sky. With numerous campgrounds and state parks scattered throughout the state, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Pitch your tent, roast marshmallows over a crackling fire and spend the night gazing up at the twinkling stars. Arkansas’s clear skies and minimal light pollution make it an ideal destination for stargazing. Grab a star chart or download a stargazing app on your smartphone to identify constellations and learn about the wonders of the universe.

12+ Fun Camping Activities in Arkansas
Planning your Camping Trip in Arkansas
Kid-Friendly Camping at Wolly Hollow State Park
Stargazing in Arkansas
12 Campgrounds in Central and Northeast Arkansas
17 Arkansas RV Parks

Exploring Arkansas’ Lakes and Rivers at Night

Arkansas is known for its picturesque lakes and winding rivers. Exploring them under the moonlight adds a new level of adventure. Rent a kayak, canoe or paddleboard and embark on a tranquil journey along the Buffalo River or Lake Ouachita. The calm waters and serenity of the night will create a truly magical experience.

If you’re feeling more adventurous, try night fishing on one of Arkansas’s many lakes. Grab your fishing gear, cast your line and wait for the thrill of reeling in a bass or catfish. Just make sure to check the local regulations and have the proper fishing licenses before you head out.

15 Refreshing Swimming Holes In Arkansas
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Lake Ouachita, Arkansas’s Largest Lake
Exploring Beaver Lake with SUP Outfitters
Bowfishing on Beaver Lake
It’s Always Fishing Season in Arkansas
Arkansas Fishing Spots

Experience Nature on a Night Hike

Night hiking in Arkansas offers a unique and exciting experience for families. It adds an element of adventure and mystery as you explore the trails under the cover of darkness. It’s a chance to bond as a family and create lasting memories while immersing yourselves in the beauty of nature after sunset. Night hiking allows you to witness the transformation of the landscape and observe nocturnal creatures you might not encounter during the day. The darkness brings a different ambiance and a heightened sense of your surroundings, making it an exhilarating and educational activity for everyone. It’s also the perfect time to try snipe hunting or try your hand at catching lightning bugs.

Several places and trails in Arkansas are perfect for night hiking. The Cedar Creek Trail in Petit Jean State Park offers a fantastic night hiking experience, allowing you to explore the park’s diverse flora and fauna under the stars. Another great option is the Buffalo River Trail, where you can hike along the riverbank and listen to the sounds of nature in the dark. With its breathtaking views, the Ouachita National Recreation Trail is also suitable for night hiking. You may enjoy the well-maintained trails at Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Devil’s Den State Park and many other state parks across Arkansas. Note: most state parks close at 10 p.m., so be off-trail on your way home by then.

The Ozark Highlands Trail
Your Guide to Hiking the Buffalo National River
Hiking Lost Valley Trail

Photo courtesy of Batesville Tourism.

Racing Under the Saturday Night Lights

Attending car racing events in Arkansas is a thrilling experience for the whole family. Witnessing skilled drivers maneuvering their vehicles with precision and feeling the energy in the air as cars zoom by creates an adrenaline-pumping atmosphere. Kids will be wide-eyed with excitement, and the camaraderie among spectators enhances the enjoyment as families cheer for their favorite drivers together.

The lively atmosphere fosters a sense of community, allowing families to connect with fellow racing enthusiasts, share stories and form new friendships. Attending these events as a family creates lasting memories, instills an appreciation for the sport and its dedicated drivers, and cultivates a love for racing that endures over time.

Arkansas Racetracks and Speedways

Have a Popping Night at the Drive-In

Going to the drive-in movie theater in Arkansas is the perfect summer activity for families to enjoy a movie and popcorn under the stars. It combines the nostalgia of the past with a fun and unique experience for all ages. The drive-in theaters provide a cozy and relaxed atmosphere where families can bring their own snacks, blankets and chairs to set up their viewing space.

Kids can play and roam around while waiting for the movie to start, adding to the overall enjoyment. It’s a wonderful way to bond as a family, creating lasting memories while watching a film on the big screen surrounded by the beauty of the night sky.

Arkansas Drive-Ins: A Summer Tradition

Hit a Home Run with Arkansas Baseball Game

Attending a baseball game at Dickey-Stephens Park or Arvest Park with the family on a summer night is a quintessential American pastime that promises an evening of excitement and togetherness. Located in North Little Rock, Dickey-Stephens Park offers a family-friendly atmosphere where you can cheer on the Arkansas Travelers. Arvest Park in Springdale is the home of the Arkansas Naturals. The energetic crowds, the crack of the bat and the smell of freshly popped popcorn create an electric ambiance that adds to the thrill of the game.

As the sun sets and the stadium lights illuminate the field, the experience becomes even more magical. The warm summer breeze and the vibrant colors of the evening sky create a picturesque backdrop for an unforgettable night of baseball. Kids can participate in fun activities between innings, like mascot sightings and interactive games. Additionally, both parks often host themed nights, fireworks displays and special promotions.

Natural Rivals: Arkansas Travelers and Northwest Arkansas Naturals
Ace and Otey: Arkansas Travelers Mascots

Enjoy a Cool Treat on a Hot Summer Night

Going out to enjoy an ice cream cone after dark in the summer is a delightful treat for the whole family. The cool and creamy indulgence of ice cream provides a refreshing respite from the summer heat. The ambiance of enjoying a cone under the night sky adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the experience. Whether you’re strolling through a downtown area or sitting on a park bench, savoring an ice cream cone with your loved ones creates a moment of pure joy and relaxation.

Arkansas is home to several popular ice cream places where you can satisfy your sweet tooth. Loblolly Creamery in Little Rock offers a variety of unique and delicious flavors made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients. The Spark Cafe Soda Fountain in Bentonville is another beloved spot, serving up classic ice cream treats and nostalgic soda fountain drinks. Burton’s Creamery in Fayetteville is known for its homemade ice cream made with fresh ingredients, and they often have creative seasonal flavors. The Bulldog in Bald Knob has served a killer strawberry shortcake and ice cream dessert for over 40 years. You can also check out one of these delightful ice cream shops across Arkansas, each offering its own delightful twist on this summer favorite.

Taste the Joy at Pure Joy Ice Cream in Siloam Springs
10 Best Places to Eat Yarnell’s Ice Cream
12 Places for the Best Ice Cream in Arkansas

Lively Music, Magic and Entertainment on Summer Nights

Enjoying activities like Magic Springs theme park and concert series, bowling and mini golf in the evening hours of summer is a fantastic way to make the most of the longer days and pleasant weather. Open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Magic Springs theme park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, offers a thrilling experience for families with its exciting rides, water attractions and live entertainment. At the park’s concert series, you can enjoy performances by popular artists under the starlit sky. It’s an ideal way to spend an evening filled with laughter, fun and great music.

Bowling alleys across Arkansas provide a fun and competitive atmosphere where families can enjoy some friendly competition. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your bowling skills and engage in a little friendly banter. Similarly, mini golf courses offer a lighthearted and entertaining experience for all ages. Playing a round of mini golf in the evening can be particularly enchanting with the added ambiance of well-lit landscapes and colorful obstacles. Whether it’s a strike at the bowling alley or a hole-in-one on the mini golf course, these activities are sure to create a summer evening filled with laughter, friendly rivalry and shared enjoyment.

Magical Day at Magic Springs
Arkansas Bowling Centers
9 Great Mini Golf Courses in Arkansas

Arkansas summer nights are truly unforgettable, offering a wide range of outdoor activities and family-friendly attractions. Getting out after dark is a fantastic way to beat the heat and create lifelong memories with your loved ones.

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and teaches art part-time at a local private school. 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 where they raise chickens, farm hay and bake bread. Julie loves adventure and sharing it with her husband and son. They frequent the trails, campgrounds and parks of Arkansas, always on the hunt for new adventures and new stories to share. Learn more on her blog Seek Adventures Media.

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One response to “Unforgettable Arkansas Summer Nights”

  1. […] Stargazing in Arkansas is a wonderful way to learn about the universe, bring families together and appreciate Arkansas’s natural beauty, too. Below are links to further resources for stargazing and learning even more about the stars in Arkansas. Read more about other things you and your family can do during Arkansas Summer Nights. […]

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