There are many winter activities in Arkansas to choose from!
However, what you need to know is that winter weather in the state tends to be, shall we say, capricious. One day it will be freezing and spitting sleet and the next is positively balmy with baby blue skies.
Snow is rare in Arkansas, but it does happen. Ice storms sometimes occur as well. Around these parts we love snow and dread ice. You can learn more about what to expect from the weather in Arkansas here.
You should also be aware that the memes that you see about southerners when it snows are 100% true!
Arkansas is quintessentially southern in that if there is even a threat of snow or ice you can expect schools (and almost everything else) to close down and for there to be a run on milk and bread in the grocery stores.
In other words, watch the weather when you are planning an outdoor winter activity in Arkansas. However, the good news is that most winter days are not that cold and there are plenty of things to do in Arkansas in the winter!
Here are some fun winter activities in Arkansas
Attend a Razorback Basketball Game
Basketball is my favorite season and there is nothing more fun than “calling the hogs” in Bud Walton Arena at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Razorbacks might not always win but it is always a raucous good time to watch the hogs play basketball.
Take in a Holiday Light Show
There are many places in the state to enjoy the holiday lights in Arkansas.
- The Lights at Garvan Woodland Gardens are some of our favorite.
- You can also enjoy the lights on the Bentonville town square.
- Riverside Park in Batesville has the White River Wonderland.
- The town of Paris dresses up its courthouse and town square and Eiffel Tower Replica with lights.
- Finney’s Christmas Light Wonderland has over 1,000,000 lights.
- Experience Lights of the Ozarks in downtown Fayetteville.
- Harding University in Searcy has a beautiful walkable light display.
And these are just a few of the light displays that you can enjoy during the Christmas season in Arkansas!
Go see the Trumpeter swans at Magness Lake
One of the most interesting winter activities in Arkansas is to pay a visit to the Trumpeter swans. A group of swans over winter on a few small lakes near the town of Heber Springs. In fact, these swans winter farther south than any other group in the US.
Do some winter hiking
Winter in Arkansas is one of the best times to go hiking. No heat, no bugs, and no snakes.
Because the summer foliage is so lush the fully leafed out trees can obscure your line of sight. Pick a pretty winter day to hike to one of the stunning bluffs or overlooks in Arkansas to experience the glorious views.
Another fun winter activity in Arkansas is to do a “first day hike.” Many of the state parks in Arkansas offer guided hikes on the first day of January.
If you want to hike when it is REALLY cold there is not much more spectacular than seeing a frozen waterfall.
Try some iconic Arkansas food
Winter is a perfect place to try out some new restaurants.
Make a drive to one of the iconic restaurants in Arkansas or try one (or all!) of the dishes that are famous in the state.
Soak in the warm thermal waters in Hot Springs
Two of the bath houses in the Hot Springs National Park still offer guests an opportunity to soak in the mineral waters. These are the Buckstaff Bathhouse and the Quapaw Bathhouse.
Winter would be a perfect time to enjoy relaxing in the warmth of these waters.
Stay in a cozy fireplace cabin in the Ozarks
A winter getaway to the mountains is a wonderful way to relax. Many of the cabins in Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas and North Central Arkansas have nice fireplaces that you can enjoy in the winter.
Imagine being in front of a cozy fire while you look out a window at an Ozark Mountain view. A perfect winter activity in Arkansas.
Visit a museum
A visit to a museum is a great Arkansas winter activity. In the capitol city of Little Rock you can visit the Clinton Presidential Library downtown. The Esse Purse Museum is a fun place to stop in the SOMA area. If you are interested in seeing a submarine we also love the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.
In Northwest Arkansas the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a must visit. The Momentary is also an interesting stop as is the Walmart Museum. Kids will love the Amazeum in Bentonville.
Here is a list of 39 of the most interesting museums in Arkansas.
Look for Bald Eagles
Winter is the best time to see bald eagles in Arkansas. This is when the migrating birds arrive from up north. Several of the Arkansas State Parks offer eagle tours during the winter months.
Ride the Holiday Express on the Arkansas Missouri Railroad
The Arkansas and Missouri Railroad offers scenic roundtrip train rides through the Boston Mountains of the Ozarks.
In addition to their normal tours in the winter they offer the Children’s Christmas Train, Holiday Express Train and the New Years Eve Train.
Cut your own Christmas Tree
Cutting your own Christmas Tree is a special tradition. We have a list of some of the best Christmas tree farms in Arkansas where you can select and cut your own tree.
Ice Skate at The Rink at Lawrence Plaza
An amazing winter activity in Arkansas is to ice skate at this wonderful plaza.
Lawrence Plaza, located in downtown Bentonville is a splash pad in the summer months. But in the winter they turn on the chillers and it becomes a 7,000 foot outdoor ice skating rink that opens in late November through early February.
Go to the Theater
Winter is a great time to enjoy a play. In Little Rock you can experience an excellent repertory theater called The Rep. They are especially beloved for their annual Christmas play. You can also attend a show or a Broadway Play at the newly renovated Robinson Center Music Hall.
In Northwest Arkansas you will find Theater Squared as well as amazing shows at the Walton Arts Center.
Visit One of the Arkansas State Parks
Most of the Arkansas State Parks are open year round and winter is the perfect time to visit! Not only are the crowds much smaller, but many of the parks offer a variety of winter activities.
Whether you are camping or staying in a cabin, spending time in a state park in winter can be a cozy and personal way to experience the natural beauty of this season in Arkansas.
Mail a love letter from the town of Romance
February is the month of Valentine’s Day. If you are wanting to send a letter to your love you can mail it through the small town of Romance. You might be surprised to learn that people send letters to be mailed from Romance from all over the state and even the world.
When you mail your letter from this tiny post office it will receive a hand stamp to show that it is from Romance.
Attend the Ozark Mountain Music Festival
The Ozark Mountain Music Festival is a 4 day event held in the quaint mountain town of Eureka Springs in the month of January. This musicians play on several indoor stages where the music can be enjoyed in an up close and personal setting.
Do A Little Digging
One of the best winter activities in Arkansas is to dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. The reason you should go in winter is because it is not too hot like it is in summer and and not too muddy like it can be in the spring.
Select a warmish day when there hasn’t been too much rain and head to the diamond field. You can bring your own shovel or rent one at the park.
Oh, and you can keep whatever you find!
I hope that you have enjoyed this list of things to do in Arkansas in the winter! Winter truly can be a beautiful season in The Natural State.
Here is a list of some great things to do in Arkansas in the summer and another one of magical things to do in the spring, and one more about amazing things to do in the fall.