This article about our family travel places to go in Arkansas this summer is sponsored, but all opinions and plans are 100% our own.
It is officially summer in our house! While it may not be officially the season of summer just yet, we are finished with school for the summer and couldn’t be more excited! Usually by now we would have shared our summer bucketlist with you, but we are still working on it. Instead, I decided we would share our summer travel plans.
This summer, since I am pregnant, we will be staying closer to home in our travels. That doesn’t mean we won’t be traveling, it just means we will be exploring more of our own beautiful state of Arkansas this summer. We have a few places we would like to visit for a certainty, if we can swing them, and added a few more destinations we would like to see throughout the year.
Family Travel Places to go in Arkansas
Crater of Diamonds State Park – Who knew there was actually a place you can dig for diamonds and keep anything you find? We did! And have talked about taking the kids for the last several years. This year I am determined to make it happen. Not only can you dig for diamonds, you can learn all about the geology and history of the site. The perfect ending to a long day after spending time in the hot sun is to enjoy the on site waterpark. As a child, I have great memories of camping close by and visiting Little Missouri Falls.
Museum of Discovery – We loved visiting museums in Saint Louis and Chicago last summer, this summer I want to show the children we have some of those same treasures right in our own backyard! What started as the oldest museum in Little Rock has been transformed into a hands-on learning museum for kids of all ages.
Travel on a Train Excursion – Austin has always wanted to take a real train ride, and after traveling on the steam train at Disney World, he has decided he loves it! To start out with, we will likely take a ride on the Eureka Springs & North Arkansas Railway. They offer 1 1/2 hour excursions and feature some rides with lunch and dinner.
Visit Eureka Springs – It is a beautiful small town with lots of character and loads of fun things to do. I would love to stroll the downtown area, ride the trolley, and perhaps even take in one of the Opera in the Ozarks with the kids. They may be a bit young to truly appreciate it, but with their love of music, I can see it being a huge hit!
Go on a Safari – There are two places in Arkansas to see amazing wild animals (other than the zoo) and we have visited neither. This summer we would love to venture out to see either the Wild Wilderness Drive-Through Safari or visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge.
Go to the Beach – While it may not come with the ocean waves, at DeGray Lake State Park there is actually a sandy shoreline that you can swim in. It was a family favorite during the time we lived in the small town of Friendship many moons ago. DeGray Lake is not only beautiful, but they offer camp sites, a lodge and even Yurts to enjoy during your stay. I have always wanted to see what it was like to stay in a Yurt, so we might just give it a try.
Visit two State Parks – I would love to eventually visit all the state parks in Arkansas but this summer, I would love to take the children to at least two “new to them” state parks. Everyone has their favorites, because of my own memories, I would love to take them to Petit Jean and Mt. Magazine. Both have special family memories of our travels as a family growing up, and I would love to share that with my own children.
Staying close to home doesn’t limit us in any way, there are many amazing things to see and do in our home state that are just a tank away from home. There are so many more things to do, but the reality is, summer is only a few months and we have so many activities we plan to pack in even closer to home. A few destinations will require an overnight stay or two, which my children always welcome.
Whenever we are looking to travel, I always search to see if I can find any deals for our locations we are looking to visit. One that I frequent often is Groupon. They have just released a new division of their site that I love, Groupon Coupons. It is a great free way to save because you can choose from over 70,000 totally free coupons from more than 8,600 stores. There are even great coupons for travel, like hotwire, expedia, hotels.com and others. They add new coupons daily, so even if you don’t find something you love now, check back often.
I was reminded on my recent trip to Disney Social Media Moms that we only have 18 summers with our children. They slip away quickly and we want to make sure that we make the absolute most of them! Even if we get to half of our summer travel bucket list I will consider it a huge success! It isn’t so much about crossing off items from our list, it is about making memories that will last a lifetime.