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Family RV Trip | Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri

Have you ever wanted to jump in an RV and travel the country? My family and I did just that this past winter holiday for a week! We rented a Class C Motorhome from RVshare and drove from Dallas, Texas to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. Read below for our full itinerary!

OKLAHOMA | Day 1

RV SITE
We drove from Sherman, TX to Broken Bow, Oklahoma which took us 2.5 hours. Just past Broken Bow you'll find Beavers Bend State Park lined with pine trees and where we booked our first RV site. We hooked up in the Cypress area for less than $30 a night. Acorn is also another great spot with stunning views of the river. We loved this secluded site with trails and tree surrounding us. There was a fun little park in the center for the kids to play as well!

FOOD
For lunch we had the most delicious southern meal from Foggy Bottom Kitchen located inside the state park. Think chicken fried steak, queso fries, cowboy ribeye, skillet fried okra and more! The wait was long, but there is a huge outdoor area great for kids to run around. You must get the hand battered zucchini chips with ranch...I'm still dreaming about this appetizer. Phenomenal sweet tea and all around entrees. They do offer breakfast and have a small gift shop in the front. 

For dinner we enjoyed s'mores and boxed macaroni after a late lunch. 


ACTIVITIES
Hiking: There are 5 nature trails and 12 hiking trails in Beavers Bend. Just down from the site is the South Park trail head for David Boren hiking trail. It's not a full circle, so you need to keep track of how long you want to hike because you'll have to walk back out the same way you entered. 

Train & Trail Rides: Located inside the park you'll find Beavers Bend Depot and Trail Rides. The train is a 1/3 replica of the C.P. Huntington S.P. train and runs twice an hour and takes about 15-20 minutes.  For guided trail rides reservations must be made by phone. The trail rides leave the stables every hour, beginning at 9am each day. The trail is about 2.5 miles out in the forest and takes approximately 45 minutes. Children 5 and over can have their own horse (under 4 may ride with an adult as a double ride). 

Kayak & Canoe Rentals: There are lots of kayak, boat and canoe rentals on the lake as well as fishing.

ARKANSAS | Day 2 - 4 

RV SITE
After one night in Oklahoma we packed up our RV and headed to Hot Springs, Arkansas which took about 3 hours. We honestly wished we would have stayed another night in Beavers Bend because the state park was beautiful! Our RV site in Hot Springs, Hot Springs National Park KOA, was located just 10 minutes from downtown. The site had amazing immunities including a dog park, playground, fishing pond, swimming pool, arcade and mini golf course. There was also a laundromat on site where we washed clothes! We rented a car and parked it at our site since we took a bunch of day trips I'll share about later. 

FOOD
Superior Bathhouse Brewery: Our first stop in Hot Springs did not disappoint! Located on bathhouse row and inside the national park you'll find Superior Bathhouse Brewery. They serve American food and craft beer made onsite. Get the Bavarian soft pretzel, it's absolutely delicious! Be prepared for a long wait as it's a very popular spot however this a large grassy area next door that's great for kids to run around. 

DeLuca's Pizzeria: You might walk right be this spot and never notice it but it's amazing! They serve New York style pizza, pasta and burgers. You MUST get the blue cheese wedge salad....best I've ever eaten! 

Kilwins': You can find Kilwins' on central avenue just down from Bathhouse row. We stopped in for ice cream but they also serve homemade truffles, caramel apples and fudge. 

Steinhaus Keller: I'm always searching for German food so I was ecstatic to find Steinhaus Keller. They have a very large menu with plenty of German inspired dishes including schnitzel, kasespatzle, goulash, curry wurst and GIANT soft pretzels! We sat outside on the patio and Alex enjoyed a real German beer in a large stein just like you would have in Munich. 

BubbaLu's: This affordable family friendly restaurant is in the heart of Hot Springs on Bathhouse row. BubbaLu's serves fresh Angus burgers, french fries, hot dogs, veggie burgers and grilled chicken. It's a no-fuss spot with minimal decor, but the staff was extremely friendly and we all loved our food. 

Pour Some Sugar on Me Sweet Shoppe: This adorable ice cream and candy shop is on Central Ave and sells a large variety of cotton candy flavors! We stopped in for ice cream and a waffle cone, and next door is their sister store, Fat Bottomed Girl's Cupcakes. Salted caramel, Red velvet, Ooey gooey buttercake, and Strawberry cheesecake are a few of their signature flavors! 

The Ohio Club: One of the most infamous spots in Hot Springs is The Ohio Club. It first opened as a casino in 1905, and today it's a bar/restaurant that once served some of the biggest American Gangsters including Al Capone and Bugsy Segel as well as famous baseball players such as Babe Ruth! You must be 21 to enter.


ACTIVITIES
Grand Promenade: Our first stop in Hot Springs was walking the Grand Promenade. It's a beautiful half mile brick trail between Bathhouse row and the nearby mountains. Along the way you can find beautiful hot springs! The city gets its name from the naturally thermal spring waters found here. Flowing out of the ground at an average of 143 degrees Fahrenheit you can soak in these waters at a historic bathhouse or gently touch at one of the public fountains. 

Mid-America Science Museum: The award-winning Mid-America Science Museum sits on 21 wooded acres in the Ouachita National Forest.  The museum presents over 100 hands-on science exhibits throughout the 65,000 sq. feet of the museum and in the woods surrounding the facility. We absolutely loved the Bob Wheeler Science Walk (40 feet off the ground), and the Rope Bowl where the kids ran around. They are only open Thursday - Sunday with limited hours so check their site as you plan your trip!

Garvan Woodland Gardens: By far our favorite spot of the entire trip was Garvan Woodland Gardens, the botanical garden of the University of Arkansas. From the dynamic architectural structures to the majestic botanical landscapes, the Garden offers breathtaking sights. Words can't describe how beautiful it was, and we could have spent ALL day there. They do serve food if you want to stay for lunch, and it's located 15 minutes from downtown Hot Springs. Anthony Chapel is one of the most Instagrammable spots but is currently closed to Covid. The Gardens are open daily from 10am - 6pm and children 3 and under are free. Dogs are allowed! 

Magic Springs Theme and Water Park: The park was closed during our trip but you can't miss it from KOA! They have an amphitheater, water rides, kids park and thrill rides. Find out more here

Bathhouse Row: Comprised of eight bathhouses constructed between the years of 1892 and 1923 are owned by the National Park Service. The Fordyce Bathhouse was the grandest and largest when it opened in 1915 (three floors with two courtyards) and is now the visitor center and museum. Buckstaff Bathhouse is still operating and offers whirlpool mineral baths, Swedish massages, and deluxe bathing packages. These are located in the center of town which you can't miss. My kids enjoyed running around on the lawns.

Lake Catherine State Park: This peaceful park is located on Lake Catherine and 20 minutes from downtown Hot Springs. We hiked the Falls Branch Trail which is moderately difficult and takes about an 1.5-2 hours. It's a loop trail and leads to a scenic waterfall on Falls Creek. Even though it was freezing out, this hike was absolutely beautiful! They do offer camp and rv sites, as well as boat rentals during the summer. 

Hot Springs Mountain Tower: The scenic drive up to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower was honestly our favorite part of this activity. If you want some extra exercise you can hike the 1.5 mile trail from Fountain street. It cost about $40 to ride up the elevator and wasn't an overwhelming experience but it was cool to see a panoramic view of Hot Springs. 


MISSOURI | Day 5-6

RV SITE
We headed to Branson, Missouri early in the morning which took a little over 4 hours. We set up our RV at Shenanigans RV Park which was in the perfect central location and surrounded by trees.  I didn't notice a playground/area for kids. The owners and staff were extremely kind and helpful! 

ACTIVITIES
Silver Dollar City: Our first stop in Branson was Silver Dollar City, which was by far our favorite activity in Branson. They are RV friendly so we were able to park there no problem. It was VERY expensive, and most of the rides were closed due to the freezing temperatures but we had a blast! The 6.5 million lights were jaw dropping, and they had a Christmas parade that ran every hour the kids loved. We were able to see some live shows, try lots of delicious foods, and ride the steam train. One of my favorite activities there was taking an old time family photo. The boys were hilarious and Whitney was giddy with excitement when she got to wear a bustier. It's a must stop if you ever visit Branson.

Dolly Parton's Stampede: There are lots of live music shows in Branson, but the most popular has to be Dolly Parton's Stampede. It's a live dinner show that lasts about 2 hours. The performance includes 32 horses, a cast of trick riders and a 35,000 sq. foot arena. Included with your ticket is a four-course meal (not amazing in my opinion), but that's not the point of the show. Tickets for their Christmas show do sell out pretty quickly so you'll want to book in advance. Children under 2 are free.

Fun Mountain at Big Cedar Lodge: Big Cedar Lodge, owned by Bass Pro, offers 50,000 square feet of entertainment including a full arcade, bumper cards, underwater-themed bowling, laser tag and more! Just down the road you'll find Top of the Rock which is a beautiful scenic spot that overlooks the Ozarks. Activities include a nature trail, Lost Canyon cave and a natural history museum.

Go-Karts: You can find go-kart tracks everywhere in Branson! Branson Tracks has multiple go-kart tracks for different levels throughout the city. Some tracks have arcades, carnival rides and a ferris wheel.

FOOD:
Mr. G's:
To be honest the only place I think worthy of mentioning is Mr. G's which served Chicago style pizza. The wait took a bit, but it was 100% worth it! We also loved the fried ravioli. 


If I could plan the trip again I would have stayed longer in Broken Bow and never have visited Branson. I think Branson in the summer would be much better since we could spend time at the lake and trails, but we visited when it was snowing and freezing. 

We drove about 8 hours back to Dallas from Branson, and returned our RV the next day. I was anxious to see how Alex would drive in such a large vehicle, but he did amazing and I sat shotgun most of the trip. We had a guide provided by the owner that gave us step-by-step instructions for everything, and he even gave us a helpful walk-through when we picked it up on the first day. I think the hardest part was when the kids were stir crazy in the morning and night and the weather wasn't great and we couldn't go outside. My kids are LOUD so a confined space can be tough, however I 100% see us doing another RV trip in the future especially in the summer. I packed the RV with lots of snacks and activities to keep the kids busy while we drove.

RVshare is a hassle-free way to book an RV, and has so many options that fit your families needs. You can pick up at locations all across the U.S. (search here for a location near you). I highly recommend using them for your next road trip!

1 comment:

Wendy Baxley said...

I loved this trip so much for y’all. Going home to Hot Springs next month and you made me appreciate Hot Springs even more!!! ❤️😁