Bask in the Ozark Mountain views, lush forests, beautiful lakes, and springs surrounding Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The town keeps families busy with a host of outdoor adventure and diverse attractions that go beyond the springs that give the town its name. Unforgettable activities range from ghost tours to train rides, with options for all ages. Book a stay at one of many incredible Eureka Springs vacation rentals for your family getaway. Check out these 11 things to do while enjoying your family time in Eureka Springs.
1. Take a Tour
Hop on the Eureka Springs Tram Tours for a leisurely drive around town to see the sites. Kids enjoy the open sides of the tram and the unique mode of transportation. The 1.5-hour tour includes two stops, so little ones can get out and stretch their legs. Older kids and adults learn more about the city from the narration provided by local guides. See if you can spot your vacation rental from the tram tour.
2. Ride the Railway
Another kid-friendly mode of transportation in the area is the Eureka Springs and North Arkansas Railway, a privately run train ride through beautiful scenery. Lasting just one hour, this 4.5-mile ride is short enough to keep kids of all ages entertained. The conductor narrates the trip, so you learn more about the area. For a unique meal option, book a trip on the lunch or dinner train, where your family can enjoy a meal while watching nature whiz by the train windows.
3. See a Big Cat Refuge
A trip to the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge gives your kids a chance to see a wide range of big cats. The feline residents of the 459-acre sanctuary are rescued from abusive situations or after being neglected or abandoned. Lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, servals, bobcats, and other animals who cannot be returned to the wild live out their days at the refuge. Young and old kids enjoy this stop.
4. Take a Ghost Tour
Older kids get a playful spook when you take the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour. A fully functioning hotel, this Eureka Springs attraction is known as America’s most haunted hotel, but you don’t have to reserve a room to take your bravest family members on the ghost tour. The guided tour is recommended for kids 8 and older due to the ghostly nature. Expect your kids to search for ghosts in your vacation rental after this exciting activity.
5. Enjoy Nature
You don’t have to look far to find natural beauty in Eureka Springs, but the Blue Spring Heritage Center is a popular spot to take in a little nature. Just outside the city, this nature area features 33 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, and hillsides. Enjoy some relaxing time around the lagoon, or wander the grounds to see diverse nature. Pivot Rock is another popular natural spot. The unique rock formation sits in the Pivot Rock Park just outside of the city. Paved pathways lead you to a variety of unique rock structures in the park.
6. Head to the Lake
Beaver Lake attracts visitors to its beautiful shoreline for the great views and the recreational opportunities. One thing visitors notice when they arrive is how clear the water is in the lake. Limestone bluffs add to the beauty of the area. Pack your fishing poles for an afternoon of fun at the lake. Opt for a vacation rental nearby with a garage to store your fishing gear or kayaks.
7. Tour a Unique Chapel
Thorncrown Chapel fits perfectly into its natural surroundings with a tall, slender profile that mimics the height of the trees. Native stone and colored flagstone add to the natural element, and huge panels of glass on all sides connect the chapel with the natural world. It’s a beautiful spot to wander with kids, and older kids may enjoy some reflective time inside the chapel. Stop by St. Elizabeth Catholic Church for a view of another unique place of worship. Visitors enter through the bell tower to take in the Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic influences in the architecture.
8. Go Ziplining
Check out the beauty of the Ozarks from above with a trip to Ozark Mountain Ziplines. The canopy tour takes you safely through 10 ziplines with suspended tree platforms. You also get in some hiking and cross a suspended sky bridge on a tour that takes about two hours total. The zipline company requires a minimum age of 3, so most of your family members can enjoy this adventure.
9. Explore a Cave
Springs and caves are two common natural features in Arkansas. Eureka Springs offers up plenty of springs, but it also features a nearby cave where families can explore underground. Onyx Cave sits just east of the city and offers 30-minute self-guided tours. Grab jackets for the kids because the cave stays a cool 57 degrees year-round. You may feel like turning on the heat when you return to your vacation rental. The tour follows a relatively easy trail, so all ages can enjoy the trip.
10. Visit the Historical District
The downtown area of Eureka Springs offers the perfect spot to wander and take in views of the town’s historical district. Kid-friendly shops offer fun stops along the way. Spend some time in Basin Spring Park, where you can sit by the relaxing spring and enjoy the surrounding natural environment.
11. Explore History
A trip to Quigley’s Castle gives you a unique look at the history of Eureka Springs. This historic house is now a museum surrounded by beautiful gardens. The house itself is what makes this stop unique. Original owner Elise Quigley enlisted her husband and their neighbor to build the house using lumber on the property. Stone and rocks from Quigley’s travels since childhood cover the home’s exterior. The Eureka Springs Historical Museum in the downtown area displays artifacts that showcase the area’s cultural history. Older kids can learn more about the area inside this historic 1889 building.
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