Little Rock, Arkansas, is an underrated state capital city in one of our most underrated states. And there's nothing overrated about the kinds of day trips from Little Rock you can take!
Situated on the Arkansas River, Little Rock is home to the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, the Old State House Museum, River Market, MacArthur Park. It serves as the central Arkansas hub for exploring the gorgeous Ozark and Ouachita Mountains, National Forests, and surrounding parks.
7 Family-Friendly Day Trips from Little Rock
If you are looking for a weekend getaway outside of downtown Little Rock, we have compiled our list of the best family-friendly day trips from Little Rock. The natural state features charming small towns, 52 state parks, mountain views of the Ouachita and Ozarks, and must-see fun for the entire family.
1. Bentonville, Arkansas
Located three hours northwest of Little Rock near Eureka Springs and Fayetteville, Bentonville presents a thriving mecca for art, outdoor recreation, unique eateries, and family-friendly museums. Favorite activities include mountain biking, the Walmart birthplace museum, weekly farmers markets, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
2. Hot Springs National Park
Nestled just an hour from Little Rock, AR, you will find Hot Springs National Park, a treasured spot for the Indigenous Native Tribes of this land for thousands of years. Explore the famous Bathhouse Row, a collection of bathhouses, associated buildings, and botanical gardens located in Hot Springs.
While not all Hot Springs sites are kid-friendly, there are definitely fun things for the whole family to enjoy here. Discover the many hiking trails in the area, soak in ancient thermal tubs, learn about the miraculous geology, and knock another National Park off your bucket list.
3. Boating on Lakes
A family-friendly adventure we all love is a good old-fashioned day on the water! Thankfully, Arkansas and the surrounding area are chock-full of refreshing bodies of water to swim, fish, and boat in. Lake Hamilton lies on the Ouachita River just outside Hot Springs, Greers Ferry Lake is outside Heber Springs, and the White River has some of the best fishing in the world.
4. Arkansas River Trail
Look no further than the Arkansas River Trail if you are looking for a two-wheeled adventure around Little Rock. This 88-mile multi-use loop trail traverses through North Little Rock, Conway, and Maumelle with an extra loop of 15 additional miles to explore.
5. Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is another attractive option for a day trip from Little Rock. Pack up the car and take the kids on this 2-hour road trip to discover the kid-friendly side of Memphis. Hands-on museums cater to kid's learning needs. At the same time, Beale Street and riverboat rides allow everyone to learn about the city's cultural history. The award-winning zoo is another kid favorite, while Shelby Farms Park Conservancy offers the chance for kids to engage in unique outdoor experiences.
6. Blanchard Springs
Since the 60s, Blanchard Springs has been the home of the Arkansas Folk Festival. You can witness the folk-centric ideals of this live-music town with a visit to the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Roam the streets of Mountain View, chase waterfalls in the Blanchard Springs Recreation Area, or stay overnight in a well-preserved Victorian house in the charming town center.
7. Paris, Arkansas
Not to be confused with its doppelgänger, Paris mimics its European twin with its own mock Eiffel Tower. But the city sets itself apart with its traditional country charm. Its local boutiques and restaurants showcase the town's culture, and visitors can also check out the beautiful vineyards. Nature-lovers can hike the popular Mount Magazine, known for its gorgeous panoramic views.
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