As winter sets in and the temperatures drop, all you want to do is spend time inside enjoying the heat and a nice cup of tea. When you do get outside, you want your trip to be worth it. Luckily, the beautiful state of Arkansas is centrally located to a number of winter-friendly activities that will enrich your season and bring joy to yourself and family or friends without needing to take any days off work.
Though we all wish we had endless time to go wandering around our state and neighboring states, we often don’t have the three or four days necessary to really make the most of a road trip. Luckily, we’ve put together a series of trips that don’t require an overnight stay or a large budget, so the next time you have a free afternoon, pack some snacks and turn on your road-ready playlist because you’re going adventuring. Take one each month to start 2018 off right, and it will be springtime before you know it.
- In January, embark on a magical quest at Terra Studios
Only 13 miles east of Fayetteville, Terra Studios is a wonderland of art, a popular Northwest Arkansas tourist attraction, and a family friendly destination. Known particularly for their vast collection of glass-blown bluebirds made by local Arkansas residents, Terra Studios even offers glass demonstrations daily 11:30 – 4:30, mid-March through New Year’s weekend.) They showcase American arts and crafts, Ozark crafts, handmade collectibles, and unique gifts created by local artists. But Terra Studios is more than just a magical maze of art installations. Interact and make your own art at their Art Lab, which offers free to moderately priced arts and crafts for all ages, or take a more in-depth art technique workshop and be taught by an artisan maker to craft your own vision.
- In February, explore Branson, MO for thrill and variety
Nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains, Branson, MO is an obvious choice for a day trip originating near Fayetteville. Branson is acclaimed for its amazing 100-plus live shows, including the China Acrobats; 60s, 70s and 80s music acts; the Charlie Daniels Band; the Charley Pride show and oh so many more.
Get your adrenaline pumping at Silver Dollar City where there are 30 thrilling rides, including the Fire in the Hole, the Powder Keg, Wildfire, the Giant Swing and Outlaw Run, the world’s newest and most exciting wood rollercoaster. When your crew gets hungry, dining options are varied and delicious. No matter your eating preference, Branson restaurants will sate your appetite. Choose from a wide range of cuisine, including American, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican and many more. Many restaurants deliver right to your hotel, resort or campground. Try the famous Cantina Laredo, and enjoy the chicken or steak topped with one of a kind signature sauces like chipotle-wine and Portobello mushroom or sautéed artichoke heart and roasted red bell pepper. Pair that with an award-winning margarita.
- In March, take a trip through time at Har-Ber Village
Perfect for a family outing, Har-Ber Village is a pioneer-era village and history museum located on the shores of Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma, only 1.5 hours from Fayetteville. Visitors experience the area’s history and ecology through self-guided tours. Antiques, collectibles and reproductions are displayed in exhibitions representing the mid-1800s to the early 1900s in the local four-state region (Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas). Be the star student in a mid-1800s classroom, soup up in the log cabin dining hall, and face justice in the period-style jail. Many of the Har-Ber Village exhibits have been renovated and new, hands-on activity stations have been added to the grounds. Be sure to check out their calendar for special events and workshops. Har-Ber Village is closed for the winter, but re-opens in March.
- In April, go out of this world in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Explore the state-of-the-art planetarium, climb inside a Spartan Executive Model 12 airplane, and use a remote-controlled flight simulator to experience first-hand the thrill and the challenges of flying your own plane. All this and more at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum Planetarium. Tulsa is 2 hours west of Fayetteville, and there are plenty of things to do in the city with a few hours of time on your hands when you’ve finished getting your intergalactic explorer on. If you’re a music aficionado, you can’t miss the Woody Guthrie Center, which celebrates Guthrie’s body of work and celebrates his life and the continuation of his legacy. They provide resources to students, teachers, and academics about Woody’s important role in American history and his advocacy for social justice, but the center also hosts live performances and events, so check their calendar to find a show you’ll love and enjoy some live music, while you’re at it.