Designed as a resort town, Bella Vista offers gorgeous views of the Ozark Mountains in northwestern Arkansas. Stunning bluffs, beautiful lakes, and thick hardwood forests full of oak and hickory await when you visit Bella Vista. Book a stay at one of many cozy Bella Vista vacation rentals today. Explore the Bella Vista area with your family, and enjoy a mix of indoor and outdoor activities.

1. Visit a Unique Chapel

Source: Flickr/LearningLark

The Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel overlooks Lake Norwood from its wooded perch atop a hill. Calling on inspiration from the Gothic arches of Middle Age cathedrals, this chapel is unlike anything your kids have seen before. Huge, clear glass windows on all sides connect the church to the nature surrounding it. Pointed arches highlight the tall, narrow profile of the building. Because it is designed as a peaceful place of reflection, this stop is best for older kids if you plan to go inside the chapel. Younger kids can happily explore the trail leading to the church and the nature surrounding it.

2. Go for a Hike

Source: Flickr/bobsacks

Its home in the Ozark Mountains makes Bella Vista an ideal spot to take your kids hiking. A number of trails cut through the beautiful natural scenery, including the popular Tanyard Creek Nature Trail. The trail covering is primarily wood chips and a natural ground, so a carrier is better than a stroller if you’re hiking with young kids. Watch for wildlife and native plants as you wander the trail with your kids. Other popular hiking areas include Blowing Springs Park and Lake Bella Vista.

3. Explore Caves

Source: Flickr/Ed Kennedy

Arkansas boasts many caves, some of which you can enter and others which are blocked to protect people and natural resources. Old Spanish Treasure Cave in nearby Sulphur Springs offers one-hour tours of the caverns. The cave is relatively easy to navigate, making it suitable for younger and older kids. Gemstone panning in a sluice gives kids a chance to find their own treasures after exploring the cave.

Bear Hollow Cave is another interesting place to explore. This cave’s entrance is blocked by bars to protect the ecosystem inside, but you can look into the opening and explore the area around the cave.

4. Play at the Lake

Source: Flickr/Alfredo Carrillo

Seven lakes in Bella Vista give you plenty of spots to check out the water. Choose a vacation rental near one of the lakes for easy access to the shorelines. Skip rocks with your kids, or cast your fishing poles from shore to see what you catch. Your vacation rental kitchen is the perfect place to cook up the fish. Many lakes feature trails around the shoreline, so you can see the lake from different angles.

5. Burn Energy at a Playground

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Sometimes kids just need to run around in the park and climb on play structures. Bella Vista offers several playgrounds and green spaces where your kids can do just that. Your vacation rental may even be within walking distance of one of the playgrounds. Kingsdale Park and Lake Bella Vista Playground are two popular options. Older kids can have an educational experience by visiting the Veterans Wall of Honor near the park. Just a short drive away, Bentonville offers, even more, park options, including Austin-Baggett Park, which features lots of shade and two play areas.

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6. Take a Trip Back in Time

Source: Flickr/Jonathan Babin

Take a trip back in time at one of many local museums. Learn more about the resort community at the Bella Vista Historical Museum. The exhibits cover the history of the land from before it became a summer resort in the present day. Take the short drive to Bentonville to visit the first Walmart store, which is now a museum. The original 5 & 10 store still stands and operates as a store selling retro-style toys, souvenirs, and candy, where kids of all ages can find a treat. Additional displays cover the history of Walmart. Stop at the old-fashioned soda fountain for another treat.

7. Learn and Play

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Another stop in nearby Bentonville ideal for the whole family is the Scott Family Amazeum. Hands-on exhibits lead your child to learn with play-like activities. Young kids enjoy the market area. Older kids feel like they’re scampering among the treetops on the Canopy Climber play area high above the museum exhibits. Other exhibits touch on weather, tinkering, art, water, and caves. An outdoor play area encourages open-ended play while connecting with nature.

8. Do a Drive-Through Safari

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Hop in the car for the short drive to Gentry, Arkansas, for a wild adventure. The Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari features a four-mile drive-through trek past enclosures with black bears, lions, tigers, wolves, warthogs, hippos and other exotic animals. After the exhilarating drive, stop by the walkthrough and petting zoo portions for more animal encounters. Young and old alike enjoy spotting their favorite animals at this Northwest Arkansas stop.

9. Go Boating

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Pack up your canoes or kayaks before heading to Bella Vista. A vacation rental with a garage is the perfect place to store the boats until you’re ready to head out on the local waters. If you prefer something with a motor, several of the lakes allow motorized boats. Rent a boat once you arrive to enjoy a leisurely cruise or a faster-paced ride for tubing with older kids.

10. See a Waterfall

Source: Flickr/bobsacks

Waterfalls abound in Arkansas, and a trip to Bella Vista gives your kids a chance to see one in person. Tanyard Creek boasts a beautiful waterfall that cascades down several rocks, accessible via a short walk along a trail. Older kids can play in and around the waterfall safely under most conditions. It’s also the perfect spot to snap a family photo before heading back to your vacation rental.

 
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