Travel Tips for NW Arkansas

Our family just spent seven days in northwest Arkansas and it was truly one of the best family vacations we've ever taken! We stayed in Bentonville at this adorable Airbnb that we loved and would recommend for families.
When I announced that we were traveling to Arkansas for vacation, several people asked, "Arkansas? For vacation?" For many people who have never visited this part of the country, northwest Arkansas is a hidden gem. Bentonville, Arkansas is the headquarters for Walmart, and because of that, millions of dollars have been poured into the town to create miles of bike paths, a world-class art museum, and other local attractions for families. The area is very family friendly, safe, affordable for visitors, and there is so much to do outdoors that is 100% free. Beyond that, this area of the country is naturally beautiful with waterfalls, tree-covered hills, and clear water creeks (many originating from fresh springs) everywhere you turn. Coming from Fort Worth, Texas, in a part of town that boasts lots of power lines and not much natural beauty, the 5.5 hour drive is completely worth it. And when you visit, you'll see exactly why it's worth going!
This is our second trip to this area for vacation, and I wanted to share our favorite spots that we recommend. 



  • Crepes Paulette - This delicious crepes restaurant in downtown Bentonville serves all kinds of savory and sweet crepes and all can be made gluten free! I loved La Salsa with chicken and the boys loved La Beast. The French owner is always kind and helpful. I recommend going for dinner to beat the crowds. We went twice on this trip, we all loved it so much!
  • Olly Makes Bakery - A dedicated gluten free bakery in a lovely old house just off the Bentonville Square, you'll find new offerings every day that they're open and they're all delicious.
  • Yeyo's Mexican Grill - This is the most delicious Mexican street food in a restaurant setting that's part of 8th Street Market, which has lots of other dining options as well (including several food trucks). There's a free rock climbing wall for kids out back, which is really fun!
  • Spark Café Ice Cream Truck - This permanent ice cream truck is parked in the downtown Bentonville square with very affordable cups and cones of ice cream. It was perfect for a very hot day.
  • Eleven at Crystal Bridges - This is the restaurant at Crystal Bridges Art Museum, so it's a bit pricey. But since we were there at lunch time and it would have been arduous having to leave to find another spot for lunch, it worked out perfectly and the food was surprisingly good. They also had a lot of gluten free options available (even for kids). 



  • Onyx Coffee Lab - We visited two locations, but if you're able to make it to the one in downtown Rogers, it's an incredible experience! It's by far the most beautiful coffee shop I've ever seen (and it's fun to watch them roast their own beans). 
  • Airship Coffee - Another great coffee shop in multiple locations. Their matcha latte was delicious!



  • Coler Mountain Bike Preserve - This is a gorgeous bike trail that is level and easy for families, and halfway through, you'll find an Airship Coffee Shop that's only accessible by walking or biking. You can stop along the way and play in creeks, or grab something cool to drink at the coffee shop. It is such a beautiful spot!
  • Tanyard Creek Nature Trail + Waterfalls - This is a beautiful place to hike and see some amazing waterfalls in Bella Vista, which is just 10 minutes north of Bentonville. The hiking is easy enough for families, even with small children.
  • Park Springs Park - This park in downtown Bentonville has a "hidden" creek below. If you take the stone steps to the left of the park, you'll find a beautiful creek and trails for some play time. (It's fun to catch crayfish there!) There are even some spring-fed cisterns that you can play in!
  • Pinion Creek Falls in Bella Vista - We just stopped here for a few minutes to look at the waterfalls (which are stunning!), but you could hike around this area if the weather is right. 
  • Crystal Bridges + Compton Gardens - This is a world class art museum with free general admission, surrounded by Compton Garden, which has walking trails and mountain biking trails. This is a must-see if you've never been! We opted to visit the paid exhibit at the museum, which was by Diego Rivera. It was well worth it! 
  • Railyard Bike Park + Railyard Park in Rogers - If you visit downtown Rogers, it's worth checking out both of these spots (which are right across the street from each other). The bike park has mountain biking hills and ramps, even for little ones! It also has a bike washing station. Then across the street is the Railyard Park which is fenced off and has a splash pad and wonderful playground.
  • Bentonville Farmer's Market - Every Saturday morning, you can visit the bustling farmer's market in downtown Bentonville. We loved buying fresh produce and eggs and just walking around, looking at the arts, crafts and home-grown food.
  • Blowing Springs Park - We visited this spot twice because of the amazing natural springs (the water is ice cold!) and the caves that you're able to explore with an easy hike.  



  • Once Upon a Time Books - This used bookstore in downtown Bentonville is so charming and even has a bin of books where they allow each child to choose one for free. The back room is full of well curated picture books at wonderful prices, and they have quite a few classic books in great condition, too.



  • Shoes: Because there are so many creeks to play in, I recommend everyone having a pair of water shoes that can be worn to go bike riding as well. Here are the shoes we have and recommend: Liam's water shoes (age 10), Lanie's water shoes (age 8), Bear's water shoes (age 6), and Beck's water shoes (age 4). Here are the shoes I have and love and can be worn in water.
  • If your kids are the ages that they can bike, this area is incredibly bike friendly and bringing bikes (or renting them locally) allows you to explore even more! I highly recommend bringing bikes and helmets, if at all possible.  
I hope you'll consider visiting northwest Arkansas for an upcoming vacation!