1. Float the Buffalo
For a day full of water and sun, make a stop at Buffalo River Outfitters to rent some canoes and gather supplies, then put in near Ponca. Make sure you bring friends and plenty of sunscreen. While this stream may not be a challenge for experienced boaters, it can provide a good time for all.
2. Hike to Hawksbill Crag
You’ll have to go out in the country to find this rock outcropping, but it will be worth it. The hike down to the crag is pretty low key and the view of the rock formation is a rare one. You know this place is special from the amount of proposals that happen out here. You may even see one on your trip! To avoid the crowds, make this trip on a weekday morning, if you can. It’s worth going at an odd time to get this view all to yourself.
3. Traverse the Lost Valley Trail
Don’t you wish there was a hike in Arkansas where you could walk along a well-maintained trail, go spelunking and see a waterfall? Well guess what – the Lost Valley Trail has it all. Those who enjoy staying on the beaten path will enjoy the scenery, while the more adventurous can scamper up waterfalls and check out a couple of small caves. If you plan to wander the caves, you’ll want to bring a flashlight.
4. Explore Crystal Bridges
Need to beat the heat? Bentonville is home to several museums (shout out to the Amazeum and Wal-Mart Museum) but if you’ve never been to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, you need to go. It’s a first-class art museum in the heart of the northwest part of our state. Their collection is always worth seeing, but you should definitely go before the Chihuly exhibit closes.
5. Stroll Along the Square
For proud city dwellers, the cities and towns in NWA have their fair share of fun. Bentonville’s downtown square, home to the Wal-Mart museum and a variety of restaurants and shops, is as picturesque as a city square has ever been. Chow down at a local eatery or picnic in the square, then walk to a wine bar. As night falls, people-watch in the square while residents gather to hang out in their town for the evening.
Photo by Maggie McNeary