[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he 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.
1. Gaston’s White River Resort: The Family Trip for All Ages
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.
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 hike 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 www.gastons.com or call 870.431.5202.
2. Eureka Springs: The Southern Spot for Romance
Love is always in the air in historic Eureka Springs. This charming village, known as the Wedding Capital of the South, was even incorporated on Valentine’s Day. There’s no question where to go if looking for a quiet getaway. Eureka Springs has everything you need.
Lodging options range from the famed 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa and the Basin Park Hotel to a more intimate setting like Rose Cottage. Most locations offer unique romance packages to fit any budget.
Plan a romantic dinner at one of the many fine dining restaurants, or stroll around town and appreciate the quirky, yet much loved, artists community and the gorgeous Victorian architecture.
To plan your trip away, visit www.eurekasprings.org.
3. 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.
4. Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa: A Secluded, Relaxing Escape
Located less than 85 miles away from Arkansas’ capital city, Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, is the place to get away from it all. Stay in one of Lake Ouachita’s premier log-sided luxury cabins or enjoy the lake view from a guest room or cozy condo. Harbor offers an elite fleet of new rental boats including a Mastercraft ski/surf boat and boasts an award-winning marina with the world’s only floating Subway. Enjoy lake view dining at the Lodge Restaurant, plus sparkling swimming pools, riding stables, a dive shop and access to the epic Lake Ouachita Vista Trail.
Turtle Cove Spa has been recognized as the Number 1 spa in Arkansas by Spa Finder, offering their signature Ouachita Hot Stone Massage as well as a wide range of other massage therapies and services. The award-winning Harbor crew is passionate about their 62-year heritage of customer service on Lake Ouachita!
Go to www.mountainharborresort.com or call 870-867-2191 (or toll free at 1-800-832-2276) to learn more.
5. Buffalo River Outfitters: Where Adventure Awaits
If you’re in need of a little outdoor fun and adrenaline rush, head up to the Buffalo National River in the Ozarks.
Buffalo River Outfitters provides one-day, overnight and multi-day trips, plus all the supplies you need. You will have access to high-quality canoes, kayaks and rafts. They even have a comfortable place to rest your head after a fun filled day. Their log cabins can hold from two to 10 people.
The Buffalo River is the first official National River in the United States and known for its beautiful scenery, crystal-clear water and the wildlife like elk and deer that roam freely. Turtles also cover the banks along the free flowing waters of the Buffalo.
Weekends book up rather fast during the summer months. Book early so you don’t miss out.
www.buffaloriveroutfitters.com or call 1.800.582.2244
6. Hot Springs Spas & Baths: The Ultimate Way to Unwind
For centuries, visitors from around the world have flocked to the healing natural waters of Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. Today, the rich history of the hot springs has been preserved, and the bathing rituals continue to be popular among travelers.
The opportunities for spa services and relaxation around the city are plentiful. The Quapaw Bathhouse was built in the early 1920s over a natural thermal spring. This particular spring contains one of the highest mineral contents of all of the area springs.
A small “man-built” cave created during the construction of the building surrounds the spring today and allows the radiant heat from the naturally flowing 143° water to gather in the room. We believe this small, intimate space will provide a healthy and relaxing addition to your Quapaw experience.
For more information on vacationing in Hot Springs, go to hotsprings.org.