NWA community members have a plethora of parks, lakes, and recreational activities to choose from.
If you love the outdoors, NWA is the perfect place for you! If you love sports, fishing, water fun, shopping, then this area is still perfect! Everything from mountain bike riding trails to Civil War battle sites is well-kept and easily accessible. Arkansas has been titled The Natural State, and the name couldn’t be more fitting. Nature trails and natural art are a big part of NWA, and great tourist attractions for those visiting.
One of the most popular NWA parks, Devil’s Den, is located on the outskirts of Fayetteville, and adjoins with Ozark National Park. Devil’s Den covers 2,500 acres of land in Washington County, and has amenities galore. This park has over a dozen cabins to rest and relax in, 135 camp sites, and 11 different trails for hiking or backpacking. Devil’s Den also has a swimming pool, nature programs, and is a safe and accommodating place for equestrian lovers and their horses. Another well-known park that is considerably larger, Hobbs State Park, covers 12,056 acres, with an amenity-packed visitor center that covers an additional 17,500 square feet. Within all of those acres, Hobb’s holds 35 miles of hiking and biking trails. Camping and swimming are easy options, and if you’re looking to let off some steam, Hobb’s even has a shooting range! As if that wasn’t enough, Withrow Springs State Park is another option on the other side of NWA, just outside of Huntsville. Withrow Springs has several points of access to War Eagle Creek, as well. Within these parks there are fun canoeing opportunities along with camping, swimming, a vast array of sports, picnicking and even a shuttle service for when you’re just too worn out from all the fun.
Along with the options for fun and games, NWA also has several military parks. If you’re interested in learning about the history of this area and the historic battle sites peak your interest, you can choose one side or the other of the NWA area to do your learning. In Pea Ridge, Arkansas, just south of the Missouri border, you can find the Pea Ridge National Military Park. This park is the site of the American Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge that took place March 7-8, 1862. This park is also considered to be one of the best preserved battlefields in the nation! There is a lot of information to take in and learn in the interactive museum they have on site, but you will have to visit to find out! On the other side of the metro area, you can find the Prairie Grove National Military Park, which was the site of the last major Civil War battle on NWA soil. Prairie Grove also has a museum on site, as well as a one mile battlefield tour and a five mile driving tour. This park even puts on strategic and lifelike battle reenactment plays bi-annually (on even years).
If water is your primary passion, you won’t be disappointed in the selections you have to choose from to entertain yourself here in NWA. Many people love to play in natural water, out of town, with bluffs to jump off of and campsites to make new friends at. NWA’s largest lake, Beaver Lake, is a 28,000 acre man-made lake that is the perfect place for all of those things. There are resorts on or near the water, as well as marinas, and restaurants scattered along the shores of this beautiful body of water. You can hike on the miles of trails around it, or birdwatch by the water. Beaver Lake is loved by the local and visiting fisherman and anglers! There are boat docking access points along the water line as well as many beautiful homes built on the water that elegantly look over the lake. There are many campsites, a plethora of nature to observe, and an infinite amount of beauty to be taken in all around the lake. Water skiing and boating are regular happenings in Beaver Lake in the summers. Beaver Lake is the largest around, but still only one of the many lakes in the area. Bella Vista, a town in northern Benton County, has 7 lakes scattered throughout! On warm days, many of these lakes are merrily buzzing with homeowners and friends taking advantage of their backyard lake access. Other lakes, such as Bella Vista Lake in the 132-acre Bella Vista Lake Park, are often busy with community members kayaking and fishing in the water with their neighbors. On the other side of NWA you can find Lake Wedington, in Washington County. This lake is 102 acres with a 424 acre recreation area. You can swim, camp, or get a cabin for the weekend. There are horseshoes to play with, walking trails, as well as volleyball courts and playgrounds! North Shore at Lake Fayetteville is a great place to enjoy all the outdoors NWA has to offer. Lake Fayetteville is packed with amenities like a disc golf course a hiking trail, along with a multiple purpose trail. To top it off they have a pavillion, picnic areas, and swings for a fun day with any kiddos! The Natural State’s NWA is just chock-full of wonderful lakes to take the family, or business friends to.
For those that don’t enjoy the natural water scene as much, there are many pool options in the area as well! Arkansas’ largest water park, currently, is located in Benton County, just a short drive from the highway, in Rogers. Rogers Aquatic Center is a 3 acre water park, and they’re packed full of fun with the water park works! They have a cement pond to play in, an area for the very small children, concessions for when you’re hungry, amicable family changing rooms, and picnic areas. Additionally, they have group pavilions, sand volleyball courts, and the very relaxing Lazy White River Run. You could spend hours here and it would be a wonderful day-getaway. Bella Vista property owners have access to community pools and facilities in their area as well, and can bring family and friends to enjoy the Bella Vista amenities! There is also the Bentonville Community Center that has a huge and interactive community pool. Whether you’re a natural water fan, or prefer the clear fishless waters of a lifeguarded pool, NWA has you covered!
If art is a hobby of yours, you’re still looking into the right area to relocate! The Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville is a Performing Arts Center and nonprofit organization, and serves as a cultural center for the Northwest Arkansas area. The building was opened in 1992, mostly because of funds donated by the Walton family. This center has workshops and classes in all forms of art. Whether your interest is in drama, or music, they have you covered! The revenues from their programming at Walton Arts Center and affiliates support learning and education programs that insure that the arts remain an essential part of the lives of students, teachers and families in NWA. Through the generous and caring support of their sponsors, most of the school programs are offered at low or no cost. Aside from the education, there is also entertainment to be found at the Walton Arts Center. They regularly have plays and art events, as well! Not to mention the wine festivals, and music festivals, that they host. Conveniently, the arts center also provides venue rentals!
Outside of parks, lakes, and art centers, there are still other recreational activities to choose from! If you love animals, then you’re in luck. NWA is home to the Gentry Wild Wilderness Safari and Zoo. This zoo and safari is on 400 acres of land in Benton County, and was voted #4 Best Drive-Through Safari. In 2018 it was awarded the Certificate of Excellence. There are picnic tables, and petting areas. You can purchase snacks, and drinks at the pavilion on site. They provide food to give the animals for only a dollar! There are exotic animals of all kinds to witness and watch! Everything from water buffalos to spider monkeys, this safari has some of the most elegant and fascinating animals. The kangaroo petting area is a favorite for visitors!
As technology progresses, video gaming has become a pretty common hobby. In NWA there is a place where you can take it back a beat, and go into arcade heaven! When you visit Arkadia Retrocade in Fayetteville, you enter a different era. There are 130 vintage arcade games in this one building, and in the year 2019 you only have to pay $5 a person to enjoy all of them for as long as you want. They provide a birthday party area, as well. This blast from the past is a great place to take the kids, or any adult that wants to go back to simpler times for just a moment, or for the whole day! Arkadia Retrocade would be a great place to drop off the game-lovers so the shopping-lovers can get out and about at the Rogers Promenade Mall in Benton County. This is the largest outdoor mall in the state, measured at 933,984 square feet, and located in the heart of NWA. There are 100 stores to choose from and every kind of department resides there. Little ones? Clothing is covered. Teenagers? There are many stores for them! Jewelry, ear piercings, animal lovers, book lovers, whatever you love, this mall has everything for everyone.
If you love the outdoors, love nature hikes, lakes, malls, or golfing, feel comfort in the knowledge that NWA has all the things you need. NWA is known for the beautiful landscapes and parks, as well as the shopping and arts to experience. There is no shortage in entertainment available in the area, especially since the Walmart Arkansas Pavilion, or the Walmart AMP, was built. World-renowned artists like Matchbox 20 and Pentatonix are visitors there. NWA loves art, music, nature, and family, and it shows continuously with their vast collection of entertainment, parks, and recreational activities for all of their neighbors.