A family vacation in Arkansas can include sightseeing in urban cities like Little Rock, enjoying amenities at Arkansas family resorts, or relaxing in quiet getaways in Mountain View. There are plenty of things to do with kids in Arkansas whether you have toddlers or teenagers. Young kids can get hands-on with interactive exhibits in children’s museums and run around playgrounds in public parks. Older kids can check out theme parks and water parks, science museums, and animal attractions. Teenagers can enjoy adventurous hikes through underground caves, soaring on zip-line courses, and visiting plenty of unique cultural attractions.
1. Go hiking at Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock
You’ll find plenty of things to do with kids in the Arkansas capital city of Little Rock. At the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, you can learn about desegregation history and the role Arkansas played in the civil rights movement. Kids can get hands-on with learning through play-style exhibits at the Museum of Discovery and tour a World War II-era submarine at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. Pinnacle Mountain State Park offers scenic wooded hiking trails to enjoy, and you can see historic millworks buildings on the water at The Old Mill park.
2. Go on a zip-line adventure in Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is a popular location for Arkansas family vacations, thanks to its mix of incredible Ozark Mountain beauty, Victorian architecture, and kid-friendly entertainment. Kids and adults alike can go on a zip-line adventure through the treetops with Ozark Mountain Ziplines. You can stroll through historic downtown Eureka Springs for Victorian architecture, local hot spots and dining, and Basin Spring Park. Take a trek out to Thorncrown Chapel to enjoy a stunning architectural marvel of this nondenominational chapel seemingly encased in glass. At Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, you can see lions, tigers, and other exotic animals in a wildlife sanctuary.
3. Enjoy family-friendly water activities in Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway with kids in Arkansas, you can enjoy plenty of time in the water in Hot Springs with nearby lakes, swim beaches, waterfalls, and natural hot springs. The area is known for incredible natural beauty within sites like Hot Springs National Park, Garvan Woodland Gardens, and Lake Catherine State Park. Interactive exhibits at the Mid-America Science Museum are a favorite with kids in Hot Springs, as is seeing gators at Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo. Sci-fi and superhero fans can check out The Galaxy Connection, a local superhero and Star Wars museum.
4. Go mountain biking in Fayetteville
Fayetteville has become something of an unofficial biking capital in the area due to its naturally hilly landscape that's great for cycling and the town's regular cycling and mountain biking events. Within Gregory Park, you’ll find mountain bike trails tucked into a city greenspace that includes a skills trail and pump track. You can explore lush themed gardens and a butterfly house at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and scenic water features within the gardens at Wilson Park. Family-friendly historic locations include Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park, the Clinton House Museum, and the Arkansas Air and Military Museum.
5. Get cozy in front of the fireplace at Mountain Harbor Resort in Mount Ida
Mountain Harbor Resort is an Arkansas family resort off of Lake Ouachita, perfect for a weekend getaway with kids or a weeklong adventure. Accommodations are cozy condos with up to 3 bedrooms, with many offering lake views or beautiful wooded views, as well as full kitchens, fireplaces, and balconies. Amenities include swimming pools and a spa, as well as sports and recreation facilities. On the lake, your family can go boating, paddleboarding, kayaking or canoeing, and fishing. Mountain Harbor Resort has nearby restaurants, shopping, and local hot spots, and it's only about 30 minutes away from the Hot Springs area for more adventures.
6. Visit historic sites in Fort Smith
Fort Smith offers a good balance of family fun and attractions with historic sites and natural beauty just off of the Arkansas River. You can start your visit with a stop at Miss Laura’s Visitor’s Center, a history center inside a restored brothel, and see Old West military exhibits within the Fort Smith National Historic Site. In warm weather, you can cool off at Parrot Island Waterpark and enjoy classic amusement rides at the Park at West End. Kids especially love the trolley ride at the Fort Smith Trolley Museum, as well as the large playground at Creekmore Park.
7. Splash and play in Bentonville
Families often visit Bentonville for its one-of-a-kind attractions. Hands-on exhibits at the Scott Family Amazeum are a favorite with kids visiting Bentonville, as are the swimming pools and playground at Memorial Park. The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is widely considered a must-see in Bentonville, thanks to its striking architectural design and diverse collections of art mediums. You can learn about native culture at the Museum of Native American History or tour a historic home at the Peel Mansion Museum and Heritage Gardens. Head to Slaughter Pen Trail for great mountain biking and hiking trails.
8. Enjoy kid-friendly amenities at Emerald Isle Resort in Hot Springs
Emerald Isle Resort, located on Lake Hamilton, is a family resort in Arkansas known for a crazy amount of kid-friendly amenities. Condo accommodations offer 1 or 2 bedrooms and include full kitchens, washer/dryers, and balconies or patios. Resort amenities include a private beach, pool and hot tub, BBQ and picnic areas, and fire pits. Additional resort amenities range from a mini-golf course to a full game room, sports facilities, and paddleboats, canoes, and kayaks you can use on the lake. Emerald Isle Resort is located close to family-friendly dining and shopping and is near downtown Hot Springs.
9. Stay in Morrilton, Arkansas, family cabins at Petit Jean State Park
If you’re looking for a unique family getaway, you can check out Petit Jean State Park for cozy family cabins in Arkansas. Rustic cabins offer beautiful views of the park’s natural beauty, and you'll also find campsites and quirky Rent-A-Yurts. Just upstream is Lake Bailey, where you can enjoy water activities and sports as well as a seasonal boathouse with rentals, supplies, and a kid-friendly snack bar. Petit Jean State Park also offers swimming pools, playgrounds, picnic areas, and sports facilities. Scenic hiking trails lead to natural features ranging from waterfalls to sheer bluffs and diverse rock formations.
10. Splash and slide in Jacksonville
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly family vacation in Arkansas, Jacksonville is a fun spot to visit with kids. At the Splash Zone Water Park, families can cool off in the pool, race down waterslides, and play with interactive water features and splash pads. The water park also offers play spaces for toddlers and small children and is wheelchair accessible. Visit the Museum of Military History in Jacksonville for exhibits exploring major wars as well as interactive displays and memorabilia.
11. Go kayaking at Lake Forest Resort, Eureka Springs
Arkansas family resort-style lodging can be found at Lake Forest Resort in Eureka Springs. Accommodations in the area can range from cozy studios to spacious log cabins, with some offering up to 5 bedrooms, all with full kitchens and beautiful views. Most are located either lakeside or within walking distance of the lake, perfect for enjoying activities out on the water. Boat and equipment rentals are available in the nearby marina. You’ll also find tons of things to do with kids in Eureka Springs with its historic Victorian downtown area and attractions.
12. Camp on the shore in Mountain Home
The aptly named Mountain Home is a quiet town that sits among the beautiful Ozark Mountains, surrounded by multiple lakes and rivers. You can enjoy shoreside campsites along the water within Bull Shoals-White River State Park, as well as hiking trails, a children’s playground, and a full-service dock. The area is a big draw for fishing activities, with plenty of fishing spots and fishing guide services and tours. At Bull Shoals Caverns, you can explore a 350-million-year-old cave system, complete with a small waterfall.
13. Search for diamonds in Murfreesboro
Murfreesboro is best known for Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only site in the country where the public can dig for diamonds and gemstones and keep what they find. Locals recommend purchasing advance tickets for the Diamond Search Field digs, as they often sell out. At the Diamond Discovery Center, you can learn about the unique geology of the region and notable finds from the park’s past digs. You can head to the water at Lake Greeson for boating and watersports, fishing, and scenic hikes around the lake.
14. Go fishing with the kids at Klein Shore Resort in Hot Springs
Klein Shore Resort is a family resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas, on the shores of Lake Hamilton. The resort offers vintage charm across condos and single-family homes with up to 4 bedrooms, typically with full kitchens, washer/dryers, and beautiful lake views. There are plenty of activities to enjoy on and around the shores of Lake Hamilton, with boating and fishing especially popular in the area. Hot Springs is just a short drive away and offers additional family-friendly activities and entertainment, including Hot Springs National Park.
15. Explore Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View
Mountain View is known as the “Folk Music Capital of the World,” drawing visitors from around the country for traditional music and folkways. The Ozark Folk Center State Park is a living history museum preserving the Ozark cultural heritage and offering daily live music performances, exhibits, and regular family-friendly events. At Blanchard Springs Caverns and Recreation Area, you'll find beautiful underground cavern tours and exploration, as well as swimming, camping, and special events.