Weekend getaways near Northwest Arkansas!

sun-shades.gifWe adore Northwest Arkansas, but sometimes it’s fun to get away! So we started thinking about quick trips that can be made in a weekend, during Spring Break or a few days off from work here and there.

We love a mini excursion.

We want to know your favorites, too, so if you don’t see them on the list below make sure to click on the big orange comment button at the bottom of this post and share with the rest of us!

A few good ideas (click on the attractions to see the website):

stalagmites.jpgWar Eagle Cavern. This is great for a day trip since it’s on the shores of Beaver Lake. You can go on guided walks, see the caverns and bats hibernating (and waking up), pan for gemstones, go through the Lost in the Woods maze and explain the word stalagmite to your kids. They even have the Smoke Signal Cafe. Click here to visit their website.

Nature lovers will also enjoy an hour and a half drive to the Buffalo National River area near Ponca, AR. Bring your camping gear and spend the night at Steel Creek Campground. The river runs right beside this campground. There are beautiful bluffs, and the kids will enjoy looking for unusual rocks and fossils near the water.

The next day, your family can take the access road about 1 mile south of Ponca to the Lost Valley Trail. This a mostly easy, 2.5 mile trek through the forest with wildflowers, a natural bridge, waterfall and cave. Bring your flashlights! If you have time, visit the Elk Education Center in Ponca. There are hands-on activities for the kids, and be sure to ask for the list of nature questions and search for the answers as you make your way through the center. There is a small prize if completed.

Hobbs State Park also has a beautiful new visitors center and several trails to enjoy. It’s about 35 minutes east of Rogers and is Arkansas’ largest state park in land area.

safaritech88-165x227.jpgWild Wilderness Drive Through Safari in Gentry is also a great day trip. The 180-acre safari is home to a variety of exotic animals, including big cats, giraffes, camels, monkeys, birds and farm animals. There’s a four-mile drive through, petting parks and walk-through areas. There are pony and camel rides on a seasonal basis. Call 479-736-8383 for more info or click here to jump over to the zoo’s website.

hires4.jpgThere are a variety of activities in nearby Tulsa, including the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art, Discoveryland (which is showing the musical Oklahoma! June 4 through Aug. 14), Tulsa Garden Center and Big Splash water park. Also, in nearby Jenks, there’s the Oklahoma Aquarium  and the RiverWalk Crossing (shopping, movie theatre, restaurants).

Branson, home of Silver Dollar City, is also a great place to visit. There are outlet malls like Tanger, fun shows like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, White Water, Grand Country Inn with its indoor water park. There’s also a new indoor water park in Branson called Castle Rock Resort & Waterpark. We love checking out new places!

Eureka Springs is also a fun excursion. There’s all kinds of shopping downtown (here’s a list!), spa treatments available at many of the hotels, wildlife refuge Turepentine Creek, the Great Passion Play, Promised Land Zoo (10 miles north of Eureka), beds and breakfasts and the historic Crescent Hotel (which has New Moon Spa).

Mount Magazine State Park is a good spot for hiking or just relaxing. The annual butterfly festival will be June 25-26 at this park near Paris, Ark.


Kansas City is a bit of a trek from here, but offers loads of long weekend fun. Here’s a list of FREE stuff to do. They also have other great attractions, including a cool zoo, Wonderscope Children’s Museum, Worlds of Fun theme and water park, Science City at Union Station, T-Rex Cafe, and Great Wolf Lodge with its family of water parks.

Remember, if we left your favorite weekend getaway place off the list, click on the big orange comment button below and tell us about it.

Special thanks to Christy Walker for contributing to this weekend getaway collection.