Trip Ideas

Affordable Family Fun!

Arkansas is a great place for family vacations. Here in the Natural State, teach your kids how to fish, float, camp and ride bikes. Choose from 62 state parks, lakes, rivers and five Epic mountain biking trails.

Discover world-class museums, nature center, zoos, water and theme parks, sports venues, botanical gardens and a presidential library. Following are our best bets for family fun in each region. Pull from these family trip ideas to build a vacation itinerary or use them as inspiration for your own travel plans.

Northwest North Central Upper Delta Central Southwest Lower Delta

Northwest

CentralOne of the most beloved pastimes in this region is a float trip on the Buffalo National River — the first National River in the United States. Outfitters are located along the river for canoe and kayak rentals and guide services. Camp on the river, or book a cabin nearby.

Also in this region is the must-see Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. Admission is free. Allow plenty of time to explore the exhibits and grounds, including trails, scenic overlooks and outdoor installations.

Fort Smith is where the region’s Old West history is preserved at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. The Fort Smith Regional Art Museum showcases local, regional, national and international exhibits and hosts workshops, films, lectures and concerts. Also in Fort Smith is the Parrot Island Water Park located at Ben Geren Regional Park, the perfect place to spend a hot summer afternoon.

Beautiful views of the Arkansas River valley can be found atop Mount Magazine, Mount Nebo, Petit Jean Mountain and on Lake Dardanelle. Each location is the site of a state park with great hiking and nature programs, as well as lodging and camping.

DON'T MISS THESE HIGHLIGHTS

North Central

CentralLearn about early pioneer life and culture at Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, which preserves local history through traditional music, crafts and dance demonstrations. Also on-site is Loco Ropes, a ropes course and zip line experience.

Upper Delta

Central A great way to tour this region is on a road trip along one of two national scenic byways – Arkansas’s Great River Road and Crowley’s Ridge Parkway. Fertile farmland stretches as far as the eye can see. Museums, state parks and Civil War sites make perfect pit stops. Some of the highlights in this region include the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home in Dyess, Hemingway Pfeiffer Museum in Piggott and the Beatles Sculpture in Walnut Ridge.

Central

Central A good starting place for family fun is the capital city of Little Rock. Ride the trolley to attractions in the River Market district and spend a few hours exploring the Old State House Museum, the Museum of Discovery, Heifer International, the Clinton Presidential Center and more.

Across the river in North Little Rock is Dickey-Stephens Park, the home field of the Arkansas Travelers Minor League Baseball team, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum with tours of the USS Razorback submarine, and Verizon Arena which hosts concerts and sporting events year-round.

The Little Rock Zoo is a long-time family favorite. Popular exhibits include Penguin Pointe, the Laura P. Nichols Cheetah Outpost and Lorikeet Landing. Board the Arkansas Diamond Express for a train ride around the zoo. The zoo is also home to Over the Jumps Carousel, the only fully operational antique carousel of its kind in the world.

Downtown Little Rock also offers plenty of hotels and motels for travelers on any budget who want to spend a few nights in the area.

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Southwest

CentralEnjoy fishing, boating, water sports and scuba diving on one of the many gorgeous lakes in the region – Lake Catherine, Lake Hamilton, Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake, the site of DeGray Lake Resort State Park with resort lodging, a marina, boat and paddleboard rentals, nature programs, lake excursions, trails and a disc golf course for plenty of fun in the sun. The region is also home to three Epic mountain bike trails – Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, Womble Trail and Ouachita National Recreation Trail, all near Mount Ida.

Hot Springs is one of the state’s most popular destinations for families. Magic Springs Water and Theme Park offers special thrills on roller coasters, water slides and kids rides. Another great place to take the kids is MidAmerica Science Museum, the state’s largest science center with more than 100 hands-on exhibits in a newly renovated space.

Lower Delta

CentralWhile in Helena-West Helena, check out the Quapaw Canoe Company for canoe and raft rentals, as well as guided tours on the Mighty Mississippi.

Louisiana Purchase State Park in Brinkley and Arkansas Post Museum State Park in Gillett preserve early Arkansas exploration and settlement and are full of interesting stories from the past.

You’ll also find great places to eat BBQ, tamales and other regional cuisine.

Start planning your own great getaways today with these family trip ideas!