Today we include Arkansas our A Walk In the Park, State Park Spotlight. For those of you not familiar with our 50 week series, Blogging Babies and the Bayou will take readers into a new state every week and feature local State Parks. My mission is to open the eyes of many readers and give a small glimpse of what your own state may offer. My daughter was 7 years old when my parents brought her to her 1st Arkansas State/National Park. My daughter, now a teen, frequently recalls that same trip with fond memories. If you are looking for a new family travel, I hope you consider an Arkansas State. Enjoy our Walk in the Park.
Arkansas State Parks
If getting back to nature is what you’re looking for, then there’s no better way to do it than to get to Arkansas- The Natural State. Here you will find resorts, natural hot springs, camping, hiking, caves, mountains, and so much more. Whatever you want to see, Arkansas has it waiting for you. Here are just some of the great state parks this beautiful state has to offer.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park was declared a “reservation” in 1832, 40 years before Yellowstone became the world’s first national park. For thousands of years, people have used the hot springs for therapeutic baths and the whole area became the country’s first real spa resort. In the 1900s, the wooden structures were replaced by a row of luxurious stone and masonry bathhouses that still stand today, and are in operation! The Bathhouse Row structures, as they are known, are part of a National Historic Landmark District and are a sight to behold.
The park not only preserves 47 hot springs, but it also provides hiking trails, camping and picnic areas, scenic drives, and much more. The town of Hot Springs, which is within walking distance, also offers some of the best food and shopping in the state. Nearby you will find the Garvan Woodland Gardens, The Arts of Hot Springs, the Josephine Tussaud Wax Museum, and the very intriguing Mid-America Science Museum to add to your camping and resort adventure and vacation. To learn more, call (800) SPA-CITY.
Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Perched 2,681-foot atop Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak, and offering royal luxury with breathtaking scenery, Queen Wilhelmina State Park was first opened in 1898 as a resort. The original “Castle in the Sky” lodge that was built high above the Ouachita Mountains more 100 years ago still remains and is waiting for you. The Queen Wilhelmina Lodge features 38 guest rooms, the Queen’s Restaurant, and a wonderful gift shop.
The park has campsites, hiking trails and overlooks just a short walk from the lodge. While here, you can travel the Talimena Scenic Drive, a National Scenic Byway, enjoy stunning mountain scenery and participate in guided hikes led by a park interpreter. Wildlife and plant viewing opportunities abound as creatures like raccoons, deer, rabbits, and black bear live in the mountains, and bird watching opportunities are endless. If you have children with you, Queen Wilhelmian State Park includes a playground for children, a miniature train, and miniature golf courses. Volleyball courts are also present.
DeGray Lake Resort State Park
Nestled along the shore of 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, and in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, DeGray Lake Resort State Park is Arkansas’s only resort state park, and it offers outdoor adventures combined with resort class amenities. DeGray is a fishing and water sports paradise, a golf resort, a camping spot and much more. DeGray Lake Resort State Park Lodge sits on its own island and boasts 94 rooms.
The DeGray Lake area is rich in birdlife, wildlife, and plant life, which are all protected within the park. Guests can enjoy a bicycle ride through the park, bird watching tours, hiking the many trails or lounging on the beach. Guided lake tours, snorkeling adventures, hiking groups, nature programs, outdoor workshops, bird watching groups, and so much more are offered at DeGray Lake all year long!
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park is one of America’s most intact Civil War battlefields, so if Civil War history is your thing, this is the place to be. The park protects the battle site and annually interprets the Battle of Prairie Grove, where on December 7, 1862, the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi clashed with the Union Army of the Frontier in a day of fierce fighting resulting in roughly 2,700 casualties. This fight was the last Civil War engagement in northwest Arkansas.
You can walk the battlefield, see where actual fighting happened, see the remaining structures, and relive history. Interactive exhibits, guided tours, and local historians will help bring the battle to life and teach you all about this devastating and important battle. You can do virtual tours, guided tours, driving tours, walking tours, and self guided tours.
To go during a reenactment, or to learn more about the different tours, visit the park’s online calendar to plan your trip or contact the park at 870-625-7364.
Mammoth Spring is Arkansas’s largest spring and a National Natural Landmark that flows nine million gallons of water hourly. This has led to the formation of a scenic 10-acre lake that is perfect for fishing and swimming. The nearby 1886 Frisco depot train station will take you back in time and the Frisco caboose is available to explore for free. At this eclectic park you will also find remnants of a mill and hydroelectric plant, picnic sites, a trail, ball field, and playground. You can plan a family vacation or an educational field trip as you enjoy sights, sounds, and attractions in one of Arkansas’s best parks.
Have you visited Arkansas recently? What are some of your favorite sites to explore?
Additional Walk in the Park State by State Spotlight
Alabama State Parks
Alaska State Parks
Arizona State Parks
Arkansas State Parks
California State Parks
Connecticut State Parks
Colorado State Parks
Delaware State Parks
Florida State Parks
Georgia State Parks
Hawaiian State Parks
Iowa State Parks
Illinois State Parks
Indiana State Parks
Iowa State Parks
Kansas State Parks
Kentucky State Parks
Louisiana State Parks