Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas is a fabulous place for a family trip. With plenty of outdoor activities in and around the lake, you can book a cabin in a scenic location that puts you right at the center of the action. Many waterfront vacation cabins offer private mooring for your own boat or a shed full of kayaks for you and your kids to get out on the water. Alternatively, you can head out into the woods for hiking expeditions. For cultural activities or a shopping fix, it’s a short trip to cities such as Rogers or Eureka Springs. Check out these 10 family activities in addition to Beaver Lake vacation rentals.
Cruise Around the Lake
A great way to start your family vacation is to climb aboard the Belle of the Ozarks for a 12-mile cruise around Beaver Lake. Enjoy an informative narration as you view more than 60 miles of shoreline including an ancient Indian burial site, and look out for wildlife such as deer and bald eagles. Arrive early enough to feed the fish at the dock before setting off on your adventure. Make sure you take your camera.
Be sure to pack your fishing gear as Beaver Lake offers plenty of opportunities to catch bass, crappie, catfish and bream. If you’re new to the sport, why not hire the services of a family friendly fishing guide such as Bailey’s Beaver Lake Striper Fishing Guide Service. Owner Mike Bailey enjoys helping young anglers make their first catch.
Swim or Kayak in Shark-Free Waters
Head off to one of the lake’s swim beaches to cool off in crystal clear waters that are free from sharks and jellyfish. Take a picnic to enjoy a full day out and don’t forget to pack plenty of inflatables for water fun. If you’re feeling more adventurous, strap a couple of kayaks on the roof your SUV and take a paddle.
Take a Hike
Pull on your walking boots and get out into the trails that surround the lake. The White River, Beaver Lake Dam to Houseman Boat Ramp, is an easy seven-mile kid- and dog-friendly trail for all the family to enjoy, offering fabulous views of the lake. The shorter, slightly more challenging Lost Bridge Trail is a loop that takes you past ancient Indian bluff shelters, a homestead and, at certain times of the year, a waterfall.
Go on a Treasure Hunt
Arkansas is a geocache hot sport so if you’re not already hooked, why not get the family involved in this fast-growing hobby that brings all of the fun and excitement of a treasure hunt. Simply check for locations and clues on your GPS, you may well find a hidden cache within walking distance of your vacation home. This hobby gets you heading out on a shared adventure, teaching you navigation skills along the way as you explore the scenic area around Beaver Lake.
Soar Through the Treetops
Take a trip to Eureka Springs for an exhilarating two-hour treetop adventure. Friendly and experienced guides at the Ozark Mountain Zipline take you on a tour that covers suspended tree platforms, a sky bridge and some short hikes that connect 10 zip lines. Soar through treetops 300 feet above the ground for a unique and breathtaking view of the Ozarks’ forests and cliffs.
Hang out with Some Cool Cats
Head into Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge to meet the animals. Open year round (except Christmas), this organization provides a welcoming environment for rescued big cats such as tigers, lions and leopards, and also takes in other animals including grizzlies. Enjoy a self-guided visit or take a tour with one of the knowledgeable staff members to learn how these beautiful animals ended up in care and the dangers that our wild animals face from the exotic pet trade.
When its time to stock up on provisions for your home-from-home, or to enjoy some retail therapy, it’s a short trip to some high-class shopping centers. Pinnacle Hills Promenade in Rogers offers an open-air pedestrian-friendly environment where you can continue to enjoy the great outdoors while parking close to your favorite store if the weather’s bad. Younger kids enjoy visiting the Build-A-Bear Workshop to create a very special memento of their vacation. Nearby indoor malls include the Scottsdale Center, also in Rogers, and the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville.
The hands-on activities and interactive exhibits at the Scott Family Amazeum in Rogers help your family learn more about the land and industries of Arkansas. Whether they are exploring the Homestead Cabin and Farm, dabbling with technology 3M Tinkering Hub, or carrying out scientific experiments at Hershey’s lab, your kids of all ages will find plenty ot keep them occupied.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville lets you enjoy magnificent works of art from Rockwell to Warhol while you kids take part in activities such as art classes or bead making. Afterwards they can let off steam in in 120 acres of trails and grounds. Check the museum website for Family Day, Pre-School Playdates and workshops for children, teens and families.