Arkansas State Parks have some of the most family-friendly outdoor adventure opportunities available in all of the State Park system. Rockhounding, watersports, and natural history exploration will keep everyone in your crowd entertained.
Located on the world's eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater, Crater of Diamonds State Park has a 37.5-acre field for rock hounding. Fun for the whole family will be found searching for white, brown and yellow diamonds, amethyst, garnet, and other rocks and minerals. The park's Diamond Discovery Center staff instructs how to mine for and identify the various gems.
Lake Catherine, one of Arkansas's five Diamond Lakes, is the centerpiece of this gorgeous park. The park offers a variety of boats for rent including, kayaks and canoes, small and medium motorboats, as well as, large party barges. Alternatively, you can explore the 1,940-acre lake from the shore with ranger-guided hiking and horseback trips, or with a visit to the park's interpretive visitors center.
The Talimena National Scenic Byway winds through the east/west mountain ranges between Oklahoma and Arkansas. Along this route, you will find various historical markers, natural points of interest, and Queen Wilhelmina State Park.
Lake Fort Smith State Park is an excellent place for families to spend a day enjoying their numerous ranger-led interpretive programs. These programs are offered year-round and include kayaking tours, hikes, and outdoor workshops. Also, you can rent various watercraft, and enjoy fishing from the shore.
All of Arkansas State Parks have exciting and educational hikes to enjoy. Some of the best hiking, however, will expose you to the clearest water in the country, some extraordinary historical landmarks, and unusual and unique topography and plant life.
There is rich history to be explored at Petit Jean State Park, the first in the Arkansas State Park system. Twenty miles of hiking trails wind through the park and Petit Jean Mountain, where an overlook at Petit Jean's gravesite will explain the dramatic tale of the park's name. A series of trails, easy, moderate, and strenuous offer options for all ages and experience levels.
Lake Ouachita is one of Arkansas most well-known and popular recreation locations. Caddo Bend Trail is a four-mile trail leading out to the end of the state park's peninsula and back. This trail is considered strenuous, and if you are up for a bit of a work-out, with camera in hand, you will not regret the photo ops that you will get of this man-made beauty of a lake.
There are four hiking trails that you can take to view the unique natural landscape known as Crowley's Ridge. The Dancing Rabbit Trail leads hikers through an area that was named, and formerly occupied by the Native Americans that originally settled here. Anyone that is interested in the history of the area will love the hiking opportunities to be found at Crowley's Ridge State Park.
Adventure seekers looking for something to get their adrenaline pumping will be in luck in Arkansas. Rafting, climbing, hang gliding, and mountain biking enthusiasts will all have their fill.
Sitting atop Arkansas highest mountain peak, Mount Magazine State Park is ideal for adventure and extreme sports. Experienced technical climbers, as well as those wanting to learn, will find challenging terrain to tackle. Class 3 and 4 certified hang gliders will enjoy taking flight from Mount Magazine to indulge in views of the river valleys below.
Devil's Den is one of the most popular destinations in the state of Arkansas for mountain biking. The Fossil Flats Trail is a moderate three-mile loop that is an excellent place for beginner mountain bikers to get a feel for the sport. More experienced bikers enjoy the rocky terrain challenges presented by the Holt Road Loop.
Adventure seekers looking for water based activities will want to explore the river at Cossatot River State Park. Class IV and V rapids attract many experienced paddlers. Although it is not recommended for beginners.