The end of Arkansas' Scenic Highway 7

Above: Kat and Hunter reach the end of Arkansas' Scenic Highway 7.

Spring Break is a great time to travel to a destination and enjoy experiences with your family. But what do you do when you’re used to travel? For me and my daughter Hunter, it’s time for a road trip.

Last week, we traveled the entire length of Scenic Highway 7, the longest state highway in Arkansas. We found attractions along the way and share where we went.

Traveling with kids makes for a lot of fun… but a successful trip usually means working your itinerary around to fit what your group wants to do.

That’s why, when I tried to wake Hunter at 5:30 a.m. to go see the elk at Ponca and she refused, I gave up on that battle. Maybe next trip.

Traveling like this can be wearying for parent, but it might also wear your child down, too. Hunter is six and doesn't think she ever gets tired. But it was evident she needed some downtime.

We did go and get breakfast, though, around 8:30. She insisted on going down in her pajamas. One of the reason I like staying with Hampton Inns is the breakfast situation--there are options for just about everyone. Hunter had her oatmeal, yogurt and cereal and I had eggs and biscuits with cream gravy, which got us off to a good start.

The entire trip, I’d been teasing her with the idea that we’re going to go on the easiest fishing trip ever. She didn’t believe me, but it’s true. After we sorted through our stuff and packed, and after I wrote stories for the morning, we headed to the Bear Creek Springs Trout Farm. This trout farm’s been in the Raney and then the DeVito family for years, and it’s popular. You can read all about its history here.

Fishing at Bear Creek Springs Trout Farm

We met Joe DeVito around 11:30 in the morning. It was very chilly, but Hunter was immediately excited. We crossed the creek over to the trout pond, and Hunter made friends with the restaurant cat, Ashley, while Joe got a reel baited up for her.

Fishing at Bear Creek Springs Trout Farm

On her first cast out, Hunter hooked a fish. And it was a whopper. Joe helped her get it in, and when we weighed it later, it turned out to be three pounds! That’s a big fish!

Fishing at Bear Creek Springs Trout Farm

Well, she was hooked. She cast out again and again, and she managed to bring in a lot of fish. Now, you can fish and bring in a lot too, and you can have it cleaned and take it home packed on ice for a fee--or you can have your fish cooked the way you want it at DeVito’s Restaurant. Since we’d arranged in advance to go, Hunter managed to help reel in some of the night’s catch for the restaurant. If you ate there last Saturday night, you might have eaten one of her fish!

Eating the fresh catch at DeVito’s Restaurant

After that, we went with Joe up to the restaurant, where he prepared the fish for us: Italiano for Hunter, pesto for me. He also made trout fingers, which I love. Hunter tried her Italiano, and while she thought that was pretty good, she really liked my pesto, so we traded.

She also adored the lemon cheesecake, which was the cheesecake of the day.

Neighbor’s Mill Bakery in Harrison

Once we were done there, we dropped by Neighbor’s Mill Bakery in Harrison to get breakfast for the next day. Hunter decided on a huge blueberry muffin, while I picked up strawberry cream bread and a loaf of spinach feta bread to take back to Little Rock with us.

We drove back downtown and took Highway 7 north. It winds through neighborhoods on the north side of town and up through Bergman, before rolling back into big Ozark hills again. These hills are more rounded and are covered with pasture, perfect for grazing cattle and goats.

At Lead Hill, we left the road briefly to check out a bridge. Last February, Grav, Hunter and I drove Arkansas Highway 14 on a scouting trip, and I’d noticed what I thought was a weird bridge. But we didn’t stop. This time, we went out to the city’s lakeside park and there it was. This bridge used to be part of the old Highway 14 alignment, before Bull Shoals Lake was built. Now it ends in the lake, which makes it a good place to go fishing.

We drove back into Lead Hill and noticed that the place we’d stopped to eat last year is now Lisa’s Lead Hill Café, open seven days a week.

And then it was off to Diamond City, on a road that went straight up and down the hills. It only took a few minutes before we were slowly rolling through the town, which was packed with little motels and bait shops.

And then… there was a sign that said State Maintenance Ends, and Lead Hill Park on Bull Shoals Lake. That suddenly, we were at the end of our journey, the very end of Scenic Highway 7.

The beginning of Arkansas' Scenic Highway 7

But our trip wasn’t over yet. We took photos on both sides, and behind Hunter, you’ll see the Lakeshore Treehouse Resort. These two treehouses look out over Bull Shoals Lake. They’re on tree-trunk stilts, and underneath there are outdoor couches and swings and even barbecue grills to enjoy.

Lakeshore Treehouse Resort overlooking Bull Shoals Lake

We stayed in Arrowhead Ridge, the greenish treehouse. We were blown away when we walked in to find a complete kitchen, dining and living rooms. There was also a bed and a huge, two person tub overlooking the lake!

Lakeshore Treehouse Resort overlooking Bull Shoals Lake

Up a spiral staircase, there was another queen sized bed and two twins along with a big TV. This would be a great place to bring a family for a weekend.

Lakeshore Treehouse Resort overlooking Bull Shoals Lake

We relaxed at the treehouse the rest of the day. We played some of the games that were right on the shelves for us, went out to swing for a little bit (but not long, since it was about 40 degrees) and bathed in the big tub. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful week.

Lakeshore Treehouse Resort overlooking Bull Shoals Lake

If you’d like to read more about our adventures, feel free to check out my blog, Tie Dye Travels. Our spring break may be over, but we’re always looking for great things to do (and eat!) in Arkansas and all over the Mid South.