The best trips are usually in your own backyard, and fortunately for Arkansans our backyard is stunning, and full of adventure and wild wonder.
There are always places to discover – and rediscover. We rounded up our top trips in the state and did our best to include something for everyone. Make memories with the entire family, have an adventure on a national river or unplug, and go on a hike all by yourself to recharge your soul.
Gaston’s White River Resort: 60 Years of Fun
When it comes to fishing trips in Arkansas, there’s no question where to go. Gaston’s White River Resort covers 400+ acres with two miles of river frontage and has 79 cottages, ranging in size from two double beds and a bathroom to a two-story cottage with 10 private bedrooms. The resort is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2018.
It boasts its own airstrip, fine-dining restaurant, pool, private club and a massive state-of-the-art dock to hold its fleet of more than 70 boats. Younger children can play on the resort playground or enjoy the duck pond while older kids spend time in the game room or hiking on the nature trails.
Take the family on a guided fishing trip, or enjoy fishing from the bank. First-class trout fishing is available year-round.
Book your trip at gastons.com or call 870-431-5202.
The Little Rock Zoo: Explore The World in a Living Classroom
The Little Rock Zoo has evolved from a park with exotic animals to a place where nature speaks and guests of all ages come away inspired. In this living classroom, visitors can encounter nearly 700 animals, including many that are endangered: Rhinos, cheetahs, African penguins and three species of great apes, including the world’s oldest gorilla in human care, Trudy.
Opportunities abound for animal interaction, from the Wild Wonders show to the new behind-the-scenes tours with penguins or elephants. One of the summer favorites is Lorikeet Landing, where guests can feed nectar to these bright, beautiful birds that are full of personality and hail from Asia, Australia and Pacific islands. In fact, the Zoo has animals from all continents except for Antarctica, with species ranging from the fossa of Madagascar to the maned wolf from South America.
For more information about Zoo events and conservation efforts, visit littlerockzoo.com.
Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa: A Secluded Relaxing Escape
Nestled at the base of the Ouachita Mountains along the banks of Lake Ouachita, Mountain Harbor Resort & Spa is the perfect escape, only a little over an hour’s drive from Little Rock.
When you’re at Mountain Harbor, you’re with family. Famous for passionate customer service, gracious lakeside accommodations and first-class amenities, Mountain Harbor has enjoyed over sixty years of providing families the perfect location for a wilderness escape.
Rest in a beautifully rustic cottage or lakeview guest rooms. Take a dip in a crystal-clear pool. Enjoy a morning walk on the LOViT trails. Take in the sights of the Ouachita Forest on a scenic trail ride.
Ready to enjoy the lake? Harbor offers a fleet of high-performance rental boats at their award-winning marina.
Enjoy lakeview dining at the Lodge restaurant or choose from gourmet creations to go from Jenn’s Specialty Foods and enjoy dinner on your back deck.
Treat yourself to Turtle Cove Spa at Mountain Harbor, which offers a unique spa experience overlooking the wilderness of Lake Ouachita. Turtle Cove is full-service spa offering the full array of treatments.
Whether it’s a day out on the lake, a weekend away, or a get-together with 15 of your closest friends, plan your next escape by visiting mountainharborresort.com or by calling 870-867-2191.
Buffalo River Outfitters: Floating, Fishing, Hiking, or Just Being
In Arkansas, it doesn’t get any better than the beloved Buffalo National River. It is one of the most iconic, most scenic, most special places in the state. For natives of The Natural State, you are familiar with its magic – towering limestone bluffs, thick forests, cool, clear waters and the famous elk herd in the valley.
If you haven’t experienced it before, there’s still time for a float trip this summer, and Buffalo River Outfitters makes it a breeze. Located on Highway 65, six miles from St. Joe, Buffalo River Outfitters handles everything from canoes to cabins for one-day to multi-day float trips. They know the best put-in spots and can shuttle you there. In addition to floating, there is great hiking and legendary fishing.
It’s the right getaway for adventurers who love the rugged outdoors but appreciate the comforts of home (Wi-Fi, fully-equipped kitchens, king size beds and Jacuzzi tubs). It’s easy to plan your trip to Buffalo River Outfitters, because they can do it for you, or you can book online.
For floating, fishing, hiking or just being, you’ve found the perfect place to do it all (or do nothing at all).
Visit buffaloriveroutfitters.com or call 1-800-582-2244 to reserve your spot.
Fairfield Bay Resort Community: An Outdoor Lover’s Paradise
For the true outdoor enthusiast, nothing quite compares to Fairfield Bay. Nestled on beautiful Greers Ferry Lake, Fairfield Bay is one of Arkansas’ best family recreation destinations. Swim and fish the clear water, play championship golf, and hike Arkansas’ only mountain island trail to spectacular views.
Sugar Loaf Mountain Island stands 1,000 feet tall in the middle of Greers Ferry Lake, and one of our favorite places to visit in the summer months. This 300-million-year-old island is one of the nation’s first designated National Scenic Trails – with a view from the top being a breathtaking reward! Getting to the island is half the adventure: rent a kayak and venture out on your own, or catch the Sugar Loaf Shuttle (daily) from the Fairfield Bay Marina.
This Ozark Mountain town has opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, golf, tennis, hiking or just lounging lakeside. Take your pick of the latest watercraft: ski boat, waverunner, pontoon, CraigCat or Versa Board from the Fairfield Bay Marina. And don’t forget to get out on the popular ATV/UTV trails! Hit the rocks and mud at the 20-acre fun park or explore 90 miles of well-marked trails – bring your own or join a 3-hour tour.
Call 501-884-4202 to chat with a friendly voice and plan your adventure.
Get your FREE travel guide at: visitfairfieldbay.com.
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge: A Wild Experience
Atop the Ozark Mountains on 459 acres and home to a variety of exotic and native animals, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR) is one of America’s most beloved and respected big cat sanctuaries. Accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, this ethical animal tourism destination provides compassionate care and lifetime refuge to survivors of the exotic animal trade. The nonprofit is also a Northwest Arkansas “Top 10” attraction and one of the most popular in Eureka Springs. Enjoy educational daily tours or experience Africa in the Ozarks in one of their comfortable lodging accommodations. And don’t miss their popular annual events like the unique “Art with an Altitude” Kite Festival in March and fun Howl-O-Ween Spooktacular in October. Follow them on social media for regular updates, photos, videos and more!
Call 479-253-5841 or visit turpentinecreek.org for more information.