Arkansas- The Natural State

Arkansas, bet you thought we went straight to Hot Springs and made a time of  it, huh? Well, you’re wrong. We went Ft Smith, then Lake Ft. Smith, then Fayetteville, then back to Ft. Smith, back to Fayetteville, then up to Rogers, then over to Eureka Springs, then back to Rogers then headed out of state.

Did you get all that?

Yeah, I know.

In actuality though, our planned stop was Hot Springs, so I’m about as basic as it gets in my planning.

Better luck next time I suppose.

We ended up running in what felt like circles, but it worked out just fine. Sometimes when men are involved it gets a little confusing, am I right?

Ryan had a couple of stops for work and it let us see some beautiful scenery around Northwest Arkansas!

Benjamin at the pool at Fort Smith Lake State Park – they had an absolute blast at this pool which included a splash pad, slides, and a great small pool for kiddos as well.

The first night we took quite a scary and twisty ride through the mountains to get down to Lake Ft Smith. Had a great time at the park but only stayed one night. It isn’t too far from Devil’s Den State Park which Ryan and I visited a while back and I could remember the switchbacks in the road to get down there….VERY DIFFERENT IN A BUS!

And by different I mean Scary as all get out!

Of course, on the ride out of the park our great google maps told us a different route. A scarier route. Like, I was sweating and couldn’t take my eyes off the road, and (in Ryan’s words) had our cheeks clenched tightly!

It was the closest to a heart attack I’ve ever been I’m sure.

Asher looking adorable as ever
James dressed up as a pioneer at the Nature Center

So after surviving that we had a day at Fort Smith riding the trolley and eating some scrumptious food at Brickhouse. Sea Salt Caramel Sweet Potato Fries with bacon. Seriously? I’m not even ashamed to say we licked the plate. And how small is this world? Small enough that our waitress knew people from our church. She text them while we were there. So strange that you can be so far from home and still have these connections!

Checking out the trains at the Trolley Museum

After exploring the Fort and the kids earning their Ranger badges, we headed to a park in Fayetteville. This was the most enchanting little park we’ve ever seen. And the houses around the park were gorgeous! Wide front porches, ceiling fans, beautiful rock walls with stunning landscaping and rocking chairs. I could just imagine how amazing it would be with a blanket of white snow over it! A great porch for hot cocoa or iced tea!

Fort Smith
Earning their badges and taking their oath

But this park, guys. A local artist designed and crafted the entire thing. It was rocks and water and so many “hazards” in modern day thinking but it was pure magic with spires and faces and bridges and butterflies.

This picture does not do the park justice at all, but seriously guys, a moat? Awesome!
Asher hanging out staying dry


Next was Eureka Springs – a super cute little place. But again. Bus. Twisting little narrow roads. Not enjoyable. Beautiful, but more of a motorcycle kind of trip.


Gorgeous church down the hill

Then we stopped at the Crescent Hotel and walked around. Google the hotel, super interesting stuff, that one. And what do you know, they had a piano in the lobby that Walt Disney himself had purchased for WaltDisneyWorld’s Mainstreet.  The owner of the hotel purchased it when Mainstreet retired it.  Leave it to me to find Disney in the hills of Arkansas!

Anyways, lots of Bed and Breakfasts and walking hand in hand is what Eureka Springs calls for. Not chasing kids downhill as they splatter on the sidewalk catching momentum and screaming – which Benjamin and James both did a handful of times.

We stopped at the War Eagle Mill and Hobbs State Park. Both fantastic little spots. The Mill had a great working mill where you could watch the process and also purchase gifts and local artisan doodads. We picked up delicious salt water taffy and a bag of Cinnamon Pecan waffle mix with some sweet potato butter (Had the waffles and the sweet potato butter the next morning. YUM!). Then headed upstairs to grab lunch at the restaurant. All in all it was worth the stop to check out the Mill and the Park – which had a fantastic Nature Center and Lookout for birdwatching.

James and Benjamin checking out the water wheel
Jude (looking grumpy for some reason), Elisha (with her fake smile) and Noah (looking sassy as always)

So there was a lot for Arkansas to show us in a short amount of time really. We were on the road more than we would have thought or planned, but the kids did great and we had a great time.  It is very clear to see that the states motto is something they strive to bring to life as well which is great!

Fantastic parks, beautiful panoramas, great ole Arkansas, the Natural State.




  1. prepping2prep

    Beautiful 🙂 I remember when we went to Virginia two years ago. Matt was completely out of sorts driving through the mountains.
    It wasn’t just the switchbacks and cliffs. I finally realized he was really freaked out that he couldn’t see what was coming. He was used to the wide open/flat sky where you can see for miles.

  2. Yvette

    Love love love! I know the drive is scary we usually have a big trailer and now you know why I would want to revert back to smoking after the drive😵 But worth it! It’s funny how you can go to a place time and again and each time find something new. So glad you got to explore that park with all the statues and whimsy! Prayers continue for your safety!💕

  3. Kendra

    We stayed in Fayetteville during spring break! My cousin and aunt lived there, and recently moved to Rogers where they teach. I’m so glad your trip is going well!!! Miss you guys!

  4. Chris Jeffery

    What an adventure! Beautiful scenery and the kids looked like they were having a great time! Gary was born and partially raised in NW Arkansas. Very beautiful there.

Leave a Reply