Drivable Destinations from Little Rock
First things, first: We love Little Rock!
We always find plenty of fun for families right here in the city, but don’t forget another big check mark in the metro’s pro column: its central location in the state and country.
As the weather warms, take time to explore these drivable destinations.
COVID-19 safety smarts: Make sure to keep your distance, mask up and find outside fun when you can.
We organized our guide by travel time. So first, choose how long you’d like to be in the car and explore our list there. We teamed up with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism for amazing photos and their top picks for family-friendly things to do. Look for their starred recommendations★ to start planning your next trip.
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Travel time: 56 minutes
No matter if you come for the shopping or stay for the sites, you have plenty of options to fill a day (or two) in Hot Springs. On one hand, you have Bathhouse Row,★ Magic Springs Theme Park and the Mid-America Science Museum. On the other, lakes, trails and Garvan Woodland Gardens. Don’t miss Garvan Gardens Daffodil Days & Tulip Extravaganza★ this spring!
Petit Jean State Park
Travel time: 1 hour 8 minutes
As Arkansas’ first state park, Petit Jean earns a place of honor on any must-see list in the Natural State. Families can explore more than 20 miles of trails and discover breathtaking spots like Cedar Falls.★
Hope, Arkansas + Historic Washington State Park
Travel time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Zip down Interstate 30 West to visit the boyhood home of Arkansas’ only native president, Bill Clinton.★ Make a day of it by driving another 8 miles to Historic Washington State Park. Step into living historical sites with park employees in period character and costume.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Travel time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Truly a local gem, this park is one of the only diamond-producing sites in the world where the public can search for diamonds. The best part: any diamonds you find are yours to keep. Tickets are required, and do sell out — so it is best to plan ahead.
Mount Magazine State Park
Travel time: 1 hour 56 minutes
Mount Magazine is a (literal) high point in the Natural State. Those seeking adventure or relaxation will be equally pleased. You can hang glide, rock climb, mountain bike and more.
Mountain View, Arkansas
Travel time: 1 hour 59 minutes
Mountain View offers an inviting mix of natural beauty and local charm. Adventurous families can fly high at Loco Ropes in Ozark Folk Center State Park★ or take a joy ride on scenic Push Mountain Road.★
Travel time: 2 hours 3 minutes
Get to know Arkansas’ Delta region with a visit to Helena. First, take a deep dive into the region’s history at the Delta Cultural Center.★ Then, bike or hike the Arkansas Delta Heritage Trail★ or enjoy the sights on local scenic byways like the Great River Road★ and Crowley’s Ridge Parkway.★
Travel time: 2 hours 4 minutes
Barbecue and blues are just the beginning of Memphis fun. Kids of all ages will enjoy the Memphis Zoo and spacious Children’s Museum of Memphis. You could go for the day or stretch your trip to last a weekend.
Travel time: 2 hours 9 minutes
Did you know that Texarkana is home to a premier family water park? Take the quick trip and discover other hidden treasures like the state line,★ Four States Auto Museum★ and the Scott Joplin Mural.★
Travel time: about 3 hours, depending on your destination
Whether you come for biking, hiking, eating or a little bit of all of the above, you’ll find it in northwest Arkansas. Some family-friendly highlights include the Razorback Regional Greenway,★ Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville and the Scott Family Amazeum,★ Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art★ and Museum of Native American History★ in Bentonville.
Travel time: 3 hours 12 minutes
You can spend the day at Silver Dollar City, take in a show or enjoy a museum in Branson. Nestled in the Ozarks, this vacation spot also offers plenty of free, outdoor fun.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Travel time: 3 hours 29 minutes
In Eureka Springs, families can wander through the Victorian-era historic district, take a tour of Thorncrown Chapel,★ visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge★ and explore Kings River.★
Travel time: 3 hours 58 minutes
Checking out The Gathering Place, a park that spans more than 100 acres, is worth the trek for family fun. Tulsa also offers museums, planetariums and minor league baseball.
Travel time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Visit Six Flags over Texas for high-speed thrills or LEGOland for hours of indoor fun. The metro also features aquariums, a zoo, museums, parks and water parks, including the Great Wolf Lodge.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Travel time: 4 hours 56 minutes
OKC offers some Wild West fun for even the smallest travelers with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. The whole family will find something they enjoy at Brickopolis, a spot with a mini golf course, arcade and more.
Travel time: 5 hours 6 minutes
Take in all that Nashville has to offer while enjoying outdoor attractions like the Nashville Zoo and iconic Centennial Park.
St. Louis, Missouri
Travel time: 5 hours 22 minutes
Kids can burn energy at the one-of-a-kind City Museum as they explore and climb miles of tunnels, slides and more. Families also can enjoy free admission to the zoo and the Saint Louis Art Museum.
Kansas City, Missouri
Travel time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Kaleidoscope, a top attraction and free art-making spot, is set to re-open this spring. Baseball lovers can go cheer on the Royals.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Travel time: 6 hours 52 minutes
Enjoying new flavors as a family is worth the trip to New Orleans. Take a daytime tour of the French Quarter and make sure to treat the kids to beignets and chocolate milk at Cafe du Monde.
Travel time: 6 hours 55 minutes
There’s no problem filling a weekend with Houston fun. Aspiring astronauts will love visiting the Houston Space Center.
Travel time: 7 hours 37 minutes
Austin is a family-friendly hub for food (can you say Tex-Mex?), music and exploration. One of their top attractions is actually underground. Budding geologists can take a guided tour of the Inner Space Cavern to spy Ice Age fossils.