Northwest Arkansas is an amazing destination for families. The area (consisting of Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, and the surrounding area) is packed with lakes, rivers, hiking and biking trails, parks, and other fantastic recreation areas for families. Today, Executive Team member and Arkansas mom of two, Nichole Holze, is here sharing her family’s favorite kid-friendly adventures in Northwest Arkansas. These recommendations are sure to take your exploration to the next level! We hope this post (and all these incredible outdoor activities for kids) will inspire you to add Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas to your travel bucket list! 

10 kid friendly outdoor adventures in nw arkansas

Why Bentonville, Arkansas?

Northwest Arkansas is an ideal playground for outdoor families! Whether you’re into art, hiking, biking, exploring, or a foodie, there’s something for every member of the family. Bentonville, in particular, is a delightful destination for families seeking a relaxing, affordable, and easy vacation. You may have heard of Bentonville, as it’s the home and headquarters of Wal-Mart, but it’s so much more than that! It’s become famous for being a top-notch outdoorsy destination with so many fun things to offer families. 

While there are always new places popping up around Bentonville, and the surrounding areas, we’ve put together a list of our top ten kid-friendly outdoor adventures and fun activities in northwest Arkansas. Keep reading for more! 

the momentary at night bentonville arkansas

1. Crystal Bridges art museum and grounds

The Crystal Bridges Art Museum is world-class, and (the best thing about it), it’s totally FREE! If you have the time, it’s absolutely worth taking a stroll inside to view the galleries. The permanent collection features works by well-known artists from the US and around the globe. Plus, the rotating exhibits and special events are always worth seeing as well. There is sometimes a minimal fee for traveling exhibits.

The outdoor grounds and walking trail around Crystal Bridges are worth visiting, too! The trail through the North Forest is filled with fascinating sculptures, and the path is easy to walk. Most of the trails surrounding the museum are stroller friendly. Finally, be sure to check out the walkway around the west side of the upper pond by the museum; it will lead you a stone cave that’s filled with Arkansas quartz crystal!

The Crystal Bridges trail also connects up to Compton Gardens, which you can walk through any time of year, and will eventually lead you toward downtown Bentonville. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the trails surrounding are great places to visit for kids of all ages! 

crystal bridges museum of art trails northwest arkansas

On the trails around Crystal Bridges Museum of Art by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

2. Historic Bentonville square

This beautiful square is in the center of downtown Bentonville. It’s a fun place to explore all year round, connecting to downtown businesses and nearby trails. The original Walton Five & Dime sits just on the square, which is a super fun photo op for the whole family. You can even take a tour of the Walmart museum or grab some ice cream a the general store there.

During the warmer months, the Bentonville Farmer’s Market happens every Saturday, and it’s such a fun way to spend your morning exploring. The downtown square also boasts some fantastic dining, and nearby are two of my favorites: Onyx Coffee Lab and Sunny’s. Be sure to check also check out Ozark Bagel Company, just off the main square.

There are also all kinds of biking and running events that begin or end in the square, so be sure to check the community calendar to see what’s going on during your visit. Downtown Bentonville keeps a great calendar. 

waltons five and dime bentonville arkansas

Walton’s Five & Dime on the Square by Desiree Macke (@desireemacke)

3. Railyard Park in Rogers

Railyard Park is a kid-friendly adventure in northwest Arkansas that you do not want to miss! This park is located along the Razorback Greenway trail in downtown Rogers, and you’ll know it when you see it. The park has ample space to sit for a picnic, an amphitheater, and the most epic playground!

There are a series of decorated water towers that designate the splash pad area. The playground features tunnels and climbing structures, and best of all, clean bathrooms! If you’re ready for a bike ride, nearby, the Railyard Bike Park has a pump track for younger children, plus more challenging trails for older kids and adults. There is a two-story, shaded viewing area to watch the action.

Pro tip: stop at Onyx Coffee Lab’s headquarters to pick up coffee and a treat before you walk over to the park. This park is the perfect place to enjoy an outside treat while the kids play! 

Railyard park in northwest Arkansas

Railyard Park in Rogers, Arkansas by Emily Allen (@theuntetheredlife)

4. Lake Atalanta City Park

This incredible city park in Rogers, Arkansas, has been renovated and restored since it originally opened in 1936. Lake Atalanta City Park features over ten miles of trails (hiking and biking), plus a beautiful (paved) two-mile loop around the lake. One of our favorite features is the boardwalk over the lake with places for fishing. There’s also a great spillway toward the back of the lake, just off the trail.

The delightful playground has unique climbing structures, a pavilion, and a garden. It’s easy to spend a few hours or even half a day at this park, and it’s great for kids of all ages. There are plenty of nature trails that connect in and out of Lake Atalanta if you’d like to explore even further. Be sure to check out the cistern, and follow the paved path next to the creek as it runs under the road. Added bonus: tire all the kids out as you walk back up the hill toward Railway park. 

Lake Atalanta kid friendly park in northwest Arkansas

Lake Atalanta Park playground by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

5. Osage Park and Lake Bentonville 

One of the newest parks in the Bentonville area, Osage park, is right at Lake Bentonville. This brand-new 12-acre park features pickleball courts, hiking trails, a wildflower prairie, wetlands, and even an archery range. The boardwalk over the wetlands is a great place to observe nature. See if your kids can spot the beaver home, along with snakes, waterfowl, and other water-loving creatures.

The Quiver, has twenty archery lanes and offers hourly rentals or memberships for ages eight and up. If you follow the walking trails over toward Thaden Field airstrip, you’ll find a fantastic playground, and a spot to rent kayaks or paddleboards. For food, stop by Louise at Thaden Field to eat your meal while you watch airplanes take off and land. Osage park also features various food trucks and a permanent coffee hut by Java Dudes

Osage Park in northwest Arkansas by Nichole Holze

Osage Park Boardwalk by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

6. Coler Bike Park

One of the best kid-friendly adventures in northwest Arkansas is Coler Bike Preserve. This incredibly unique natural space features over 17 miles of single-track biking trail, plus easy-flow trails for all ages. It’s a great place for kids to try out their skills on mountain bike trails. There is a paved walkway that runs the entire length of the park, from the north to the south, connecting parking lots.

Airship Coffee is located in the very middle of the park, one mile from either parking lot, and is only accessible by trail. (How fun is that?!) There’s a beautiful stream running through the entire property, and a spot to explore while you enjoy some coffee or a snack. At the coffeehouse, there’s also a play structure hidden inside a historic barn.

If you’re ready to tire the kids out, be sure to check out the newly opened “The Rise,” a staircase that is equivalent to 11 stories of stairs and takes you to the Hub part of the park. Plan on spending at least half a day at Coler. The preserve has a campground with elevated platforms for tents and a few spots for van-type campers. 

Coler Bike Park in Northwest Arkansas by Nichole Holze

Paradise found at Coler Bike Park by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

7. Tanyard Creek Nature Trail in Bella Vista

Blowing Springs park is located in Bella Vista, Arkansas, just to the north of Bentonville. The trail systems that run through there connect up to the Back 40 and other trails. For a hiking adventure, take the Tanyard Creek loop trail. The two-mile loop features a waterfall and a beautiful meandering creek. The creek is an especially fun place to play on a hot day. We recommend wearing shoes that can get wet and packing a picnic lunch. Take your time exploring all the trails, and see if you can stumble across the swinging suspension bridge! 

Tanyard Creek loop suspension bridge in northwest Arkansas by Nichole Holze

Tanyard Creek Loop by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

8. 8th Street Market and The Momentary

Another unique and kid-friendly adventure in northwest Arkansas is the 8th Street Market area in Bentonville. The market features various restaurants, breweries, and shops. The outside of the market also has some incredible murals and public art, so be sure to walk around the whole building. At the north end of the market, there’s a massive boulder that you can climb on! The bouldering rock is meant to be played on, and it’s a great place to let the kids try their skills. See if you (or your kids) can (safely) reach the top and grab a great view of the park surrounding the market.

For more fun around the 8th Street Market, check out the nearby Mama Bear trail and skills park. Or, walk over to The Momentary to check out the art both on the inside and the outside. The Momentary features a coffee shop with a walk-up window to order Onyx Coffee. But, be sure to take a peek inside because the entire shop is perfectly Instagram-worthy. If you’re looking for a more traditional playground for your kids, Austin Baggett Park is just across the street from The Momentary, and walkable from 8th Street Market. 

bentonville boulder at 8th st market

The Bentonville Boulder at 8th St. Market by Emily Allen (@theuntetheredlife)

9. Park Springs Park

Park Springs Park in Bentonville is located very close to the downtown area. It’s a peaceful and beautiful park with plenty of amenities. There is a pavilion, playground, picnic tables, a dog station, restrooms, and plenty of parking.

As you explore the park, you’ll see pathways that lead down into the ravine. In the ravine, there’s a creek. The creek is spring-fed, and you can actually see where the spring water bubbles out of the side of the mountain! There are lots of neat places to explore around the creek bed and trails. There are multiple trails that run through Park Springs Park, including Black Apple Creek

Park Springs Park in Bentonville, Arkansas

Park Springs Park creek by Kate Pantier (@katepantier)

10. The Razorback Greenway

The Razorback Greenway is the longest trail in northwest Arkansas, and it’s almost entirely kid friendly! This multi-use, mostly paved trail runs from south of Fayetteville, all the way up to Bella Vista. It’s 37 miles long and connects cities along the way. The main trail connects to almost every other trail system in the area.

The Greenway makes for a great first bike-packing trip, or just a fun way to explore the area via two wheels. There are plenty of parks, restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and more just off the trail in Rogers, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and Bella Vista. 

Razorback Greenway Bike Trail in Northwest Arkansas

A section of the Razorback Greenway trail by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

Other things to check out in Northwest Arkansas

Northwest Arkansas has so much to offer for outdoor, family-friendly activities. Beyond the main cities and metropolitan areas, there are state parks and more natural centers to explore. Each of the places listed below are an hour to just over an hour away from the Bentonville area. Here are a few of our favorites:

devils den state park in northwest arkansas

Devil’s Den State Park by Nichole Holze (@coleyraeh)

Even more family-friendly adventures in Northwest Arkansas

Did you enjoy this post? Guess what? We have even more for you!

Executive Team member Nichole Holze created a Get Out Guide for Bentonville and the Northwest Arkansas area. Our Get Out Guides are curated just for outdoorsy families and feature all of the best OUTDOOR places to play, explore, learn, and dine, with a focus on nature and adventure. The Bentonville Get Out Guide is the first one we completed, and our list of cities keeps growing! We also offer Get Out Guides for St. Louis, Cape Cod, and Virginia Beach, with more coming soon!

More travel resources

Do you love finding awesome hidden gems when traveling? Want to know our secrets for finding the best outdoor kid-friendly places? We’re sharing six of our favorite (tried and tested) resources for finding unique outdoor family-friendly activities when traveling (and in your own hometown).

Click the button below to download our FREE resource – 6 Travel Resources for Outdoorsy Families. This is guaranteed to help you find unique and fun things to do outside with our kids when planning and researching trips. You’ll also be signed up to receive our weekly newsletter filled with easy outdoor activities to do with your kids, fun nature crafts, outdoor recipes, kid-friendly travel ideas, gear recommendations, favorite books, and so much more!

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About the author

Nichole is mama to two incredible adventurers, an older boy, and a younger girl, and they are in their seventh year of homeschooling. She is married to her best friend, and they share a mutual love for the outdoors. An Iowan native now living in the south, she is happy to claim Arkansas as home. She is a wanderlust (and coffee) fueled, fearless, road-tripper who has been known to take off for epic adventures at a moment’s notice.

Hiking and camping (of the backpacking variety) and crystal digging are a few of their favorite family activities. You can usually find her in the woods somewhere (probably up a creek and jumping off waterfalls), or on an epic road-tripping adventure with the kids. Nichole is also the Editor in Chief of the Run Wild My Child Get Out Guides – travel guides aimed at helping families find the best local outdoor adventures and outings in their area and while traveling. 

You can find more from Nichole online in the following locations:
Instagram: @coleyraeh
RWMC posts: Nichole