Since 2016, we've made it our family tradition to take a roadtrip every summer. Not just any roadtrip, but the ones who'd take about more than 10 hours! Since then, we've driven to Chicago, Charleston, New Orleans, and so many other fun places. But this year, we wanted to go somewhere closer. So when we got the call from our friends at the Hot Springs Diamond Lakes Tourism Association to come visit Arkansas, we couldn't say resist
It took us about 4 hours to get to Iron Mountain Lodge & Marina, where we stayed on the first night of our trip. The drive there from Dallas was not bad at all, it was rather beautiful! We loved the greeneries and the hilly roads. Check out the highlights of our trip by playing the video BELOW! And don't forget to subscribe to my channel :)
It was so sweet of them to welcome us with with this sign right up front! We checked into our cottage and oh my gosh, it's just darling.
We love the ambience, it's cozy and very family-friendly. Owner Vickie Egleston brought us some pecan brittles and t-shirts later that evening, and we're just so grateful for the warm welcome. "Are you sure we're only staying here for the night?," asked my mom as she reached for her phone and take selfies with J.
After we unpacked, it was time for us to grab dinner! So headed over to the beautiful DeGray Lake Resort State Park. We savored steak, salmon, and blackened mahi-mahi, with the stunning lakefront view as our backdrop. We then explored the lake a little bit before returning to the cottage to rest, because we had a big day ahead of us tomorrow!
We started our adventure here at Crater of Diamonds State Park, which is the world's only diamond-bearing site accessible to the public. We learned about wet-sifting and dry-sifting, different types of rocks, and the fact that J loves digging for diamonds. He actually didn't mind the heat!
We still had a little bit of time before checking in to Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, so we decided to visit this hidden gem called Little Missouri Falls. I said "hidden gem", because it is quite secluded! In order to get there, you'd have to drive down the steep hill. It was such an exciting experience for J! He sat there just staring at the cascading waterfalls, didn't want to do anything else, didn't even ask for his cookies. Just mesmerized.
Next! We checked in to Mountain Harbor and we fell in love with the classic decor (they even have a giant vintage radio by the fire place)! The hot tub with the lake view on the patio? Oh yes...But that's not the best part!
We had the chance to borrow a boat and learn to drive it on Lake Ouachita. Surprisingly, it was not that hard at all, we were good to go after a 15-minute lesson from the resort's staff! The sunset view was captivating. I love the calmness of it all, on the lake. There's nobody else but you, your family, God, and His beautiful creations. The tall trees, the hills, the water, the colors -- just magic.
We had breakfast at the resort (they taste as good as they look!), checked out, and headed to the Arkansas Alligator Farm & Petting Zoo. Tickets are $9/adult, $7/child (FREE admission for kids 2 and under).
Oh J loved every minute of it! We fed the goats, said hi to an ostrich, pet an alligator (not one of the 40 year-old ones, those are huge! A younger one), and bought some fun merchandises at the gift shop.
Fun fact learned that day : alligators do not attack humans. Crocodiles do.
We had grilled/boiled/fried shrimps + hush puppies + loaded baked potatoes and grilled catfish for lunch at Cajun Boilers, where you can sit back and enjoy a lakefront view while enjoying your lunch/dinner.
We then explored the Hot Springs Historic District, took photos by the murals and the gorgeous bathhouses, before we finally headed home at 5 pm.
It was so cool so take my family to Arkansas for a little weekend getaway. We hope to do it more often in the future, spending more time on the lake and the resorts for sure. I know life gets busy, but never forget to take some time to get away and soak in serenity. Because remember:
"The work is good, but the rest is holy" - Crystal Stine
With that being said, it's time for a Hot Springs Diamond Lake VACATION GIVEAWAY!!!!
- 1 Night lodging at Mountain Harbor in a Harbor North Cottage with lake views and a hot tub
- 1 day party barge boat rental
- Express spa service at Turtle Cove Spa
- Horseback riding for two
- Two pizzas from the Joplin Market
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS :
- Leave a comment on THIS BLOG POST, letting me know, out of the places I've mentioned here, which one is the one you'd love to visit with your family the most?? Why??
- Follow me on instagram/facebook
- Follow HOT SPRINGS DIAMOND LAKES on instagram/facebook
Giveaway ends on Saturday 7/21/18 - winner will be announced at 10 pm that Saturday!
In the meantime, you can also order a FREE vacation guide here
Have an awesome day, friends :)