Thanks to our friends at Explore Northwest Arkansas, 417 Magazine, and Only In Arkansas, we were able to compile a list of summer activities that are sure to make any of those friends and family outside of the region envious. Below you’ll find links to summer concerts, festivals, swimming holes, zipline parks, canopy tours, and even directions to a historic town that is now underwater. Let the fun begin!
Summer in the Ozarks
Explore Northwest Arkansas just published their new summer e-newsletter, highlighting Northwest Arkansas’ hottest summertime activities, attractions and events! From signature festivals, ultimate bike trails and an epic lineup of concerts, to blockbuster art exhibitions, stunning nature escapes and so much more. Here are a few things that caught our eye:
Summer of Music: Major Concerts and Music Festivals
Over 50 musicians, 5 music festivals, and 5 outdoor summer concert series! Everyone from Chris Stapleton to Janet Jackson, from Weezer to Slayer, rap to opera, jam bands to folk music, ragtime to jazz to polka…yes, we said polka.
Beyond music festivals, they have compiled a list of festivals and events designed for the foodies, the car enthusiasts, the wine connoisseurs, the cyclists, the runners…and on, and on! There is quite literally something for everyone.
9th Annual Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts + Nature Festival
Rightfully so, they singled out Artosphere. Taking place June 10th-23rd, Artosphere celebrates art, music and nature with dozens of free and low-cost performances, activities and events that the whole family can enjoy. If you’ve never experienced this one-of-a-kind festival, go check it out now!
Recognizing the potential for paralysis of choice one might experience from a list of activities this all-encompassing, they did us all a solid and handpicked some of their favorite.
Swimming Holes in the Ozarks
This feature by 417 Magazine highlighted the 13 Best Swimming Holes in the Ozarks, and while Missouri isn’t too far away from the region, our interest lies within the bounds of Northwest Arkansas. Within those bounds, you will find Steel Creek, Falling Water Road, and Kings Falls. Below we’ve shared some teasers and finally, the link to the full article.
The Buffalo River’s characteristic bluffs are part of what makes this spot worthy of a visit. Roark Bluff runs down along the campground, and it’s a real stunner. In addition to gorgeous views, the swimming holes here are deep, so there should be good water even late in the season. However, it never hurts to call and check the water level ahead of time. Once you’re done swimming, take a two-mile hike up to Steel Creek Overlook for some killer views of Roark Bluff, considered by many to be the most beautiful bluff on the river. Steel Creek is close to other noteworthy locations. Whitaker Point, Big Bluff and Lost Valley are within a short drive.
Falling Water Road
Of all the swimming holes I’ve visited, this is far and above my favorite. With its 10-foot waterfall, rope swing, turquoise water and lush scenery, Falling Water Falls is a little slice of swimming hole heaven. You can see the spot from the road, and from there it’s just a short climb down an embankment to the water. The swimming hole here is deep and wide, and it’s surrounded by small bluffs on three sides. Depending on how high the water is running, there could be several waterfalls flowing, but the water tends to be pretty decent here all season, so you should get to see at least one.
Kings River Falls
This tends to be a pretty popular spot, and it can get quite busy. If you can swing it, visit on a weekday. This is also a spot that is better visited earlier in the season or when the water is up. The swimming area isn’t huge, and when the water is low, it can feel crowded. The big draw to King River Falls is, unsurprisingly, the falls, and when the water is up, there can be several shoots pouring over the rock ledge. There are also several large, flat rocks surrounding the pool, so in between jumping and swimming you can enjoy a catnap or partake in a picnic.
Only in Northwest Arkansas
Actually, these two posts were published by Only in Arkansas, but as we mentioned earlier we are overtly biased.
Zipline Parks and Canopy Tours
The first post was entitled “Arkansas Zip Line Parks and Canopy Tours”, and in it, they detail eight aerial adventures located throughout the state. Now here for the best part; If you were to change that title to “Northwest Arkansas Zipline Parks and Canopy Tours”, you would still be left with four of the eight!
- Ozark Mountain Ziplines – Eureka Springs
- Fort Rock Family Camp – Combs
- Horseshoe Canyon Ranch – Jasper
- Buffalo River Canopy Tour – Ponca
Monte Ne: Arkansas’ Underwater Resort Revealed
The final piece is about the remains of William Hope “Coin” Harvey’s community of Monte Ne, some of which becomes visible when Beaver Lake recedes during the summer. This post is worthy of a quick read alone, but for those in the area, it’s also located just up the road. This story contains so many interesting tidbits, including mentions of:
- A bestseller that was second only in sales to the Bible.
- The very first indoor swimming pool in the state
- Italian gondolas
- The largest log buildings in the world
- 130-foot pyramid
- The only presidential convention to be held in Arkansas
Read about this unique bit of history that can be found Only In Arkansas!
All of this heat can work up a thirst! Lucky for you (if you are 21+ and a fan of craft beer!), the best summertime beer in the state calls our very own, Rogers, Arkansas home. Popular Mechanics just named the Ozark Pale Ale the #1 Summertime Brew in the State! Cheers to Summer in Northwest Arkansas!