Summertime Adventure in Arkansas
The warm months have arrived, bringing with them longer days and the promise of new family memories to be made.
An affordable getaway to The Natural State is the perfect excuse to soak up all the fun and sun this time of year offers. The state is open for business despite the recent, isolated floods.
Centrally located and naturally beautiful, Arkansas is the ideal location for all types of families. Whether you’re drawn to the spa-like thermal baths and thrilling family activities in Hot Springs, the unmatched dining and historical significance of Little Rock, or the incredible underground caverns and endless watersports in northern Arkansas, there is something special for everyone to explore.
As you begin planning your next family adventure, keep these top destinations in mind:
Blanchard Springs Caverns: Located in northern Arkansas’s Ozark National Forest, Blanchard Springs Caverns is a living cave constantly growing and changing, a result of flowing mountain spring water. This attraction features beautiful views of the cave’s glistening formations, an underground river and the world’s largest flowstone. With a year-round temperature of 58 degrees, it’s a great place to explore during hot weather season. Ranked among the best cave systems in North America by USA Today and Travel Channel, it’s a can’t-miss destination for kids and parents alike.
Garvan Woodland Gardens & Treehouse: Nestled in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas, the stunning botanical gardens represent Arkansas at its best. From its dynamic architectural structures to its whimsical botanical landscapes, Garvan Woodland Gardens provides an unforgettable escape to a serene paradise. The gardens also feature an engaging Children’s Adventure Garden including a uniquely modern treehouse designed to teach children about nature through engaging and interactive exhibits.
Bathhouse Row: One of the most historic attractions in Hot Springs, Bathhouse Row was designated as a National Historic Landmark District in 1987. This significant destination is composed of eight individual bathhouses offering visitors relaxing amenities ranging from traditional and modern spa services to a remodeled brewery and distillery.
Johnny Cash Boyhood Home: Fans of American music icon Johnny Cash and his legacy are invited to explore the 11-mile stretch of music greatness on Highway 67 in eastern Arkansas where Cash and other artists such as Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison and Jerry Lee Lewis launched their careers. Visitors will also have the chance to see Cash’s restored childhood home in Dyess, which was featured in his 2005 biopic “Walk the Line.”
Crater of Diamonds State Park: Located in Murfreesboro, Crater of Diamonds State Park is the world’s only diamond-producing site open to the public. Visitors get a true one-of-a-kind experience — the adventure of hunting for real diamonds in the park’s 37-acre field that is the eroded surface of the world’s eighth largest diamond-bearing volcanic crater. The park also includes 47 Class AAA campsites and five walk-in tent sites with free Wi-Fi, an enclosed pavilion with air conditioning and heating, picnic sites, gift shop, trails, and the Diamond Springs Water Park, a play pool for visitors of all ages.
To learn more about the wide variety of adventures available in The Natural State, check out Arkansas.com.
About Arkansas Tourism
Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.
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Courtesy of Arkansas Tourism. Visit www.ozarkgateway.com for more area information.
Cathy Drew is a lifelong resident of the region that she loves to promote. As a matter of fact, she was born in downtown Batesville in the late ’60s, which is in one of the eight counties she now enjoys encouraging people to visit.
Jeff Drew is her husband of almost 29 years. They have a son, Jonathon (Jon) Drew, his wife Devyn Stewart. Drew is also grandmother to Jon and Devyn’ s son, Jase Drew.
However, Drew can’t skip the other part of her family: the pets! Lady Bird (a stray dog welcomed into their home in June 2012) and of course, Howard – – a puppy compliments of Lady Bird shortly after arriving at the Drew home. They also have Kasha whom Drew inherited when her mother passed in 2016, and they adopted Bullet, a stray in November of 2016.
Drew, became associated with the Ozark Gateway Region in 1990 while working at the ad agency (The Media Market Inc.). The agency handled marketing for the regional association where she along with her co-workers produced an annual tabloid publication. She began work as the director of the Ozark Gateway Region In June 2000.
After Drew became director, she took the region to the next level by helping the tourism organization create a new website and moved it from the old newspaper paper tabloid publication to a color magazine format.
Over the years Drew has helped the organization meet new marketing goals, such as in- and out-of-state marketing, assuring that all 105,000 copies of their magazines are distributed each year.
Drew also helped the region create a heritage trail map that is still on posters in many establishments across the region and Arkansas. She oversaw development of a motorcycle route map that folds into a credit card format for riders, as well as those seeking scenic routes to enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains.
She has attended several AARP Shows across the U.S., representing Arkansas. She helped open a visitor center for the Ozark Gateway, allowing visitors to pick up information from across the entire state 24/7.
In 2016, she assisted creating the first Ozark Gateway Region Golf Classic and the tournament continues to grow each year, allowing the organization to grow its co-op program, helping each county have dedicated promotion. Drew stays busy at Ozark Gateway as the ad sales manager, magazine editor, day-to-day office operations, trade show representative, as well as magazine distribution representative all while making sure that the region is represented all over Arkansas and southern Missouri.
Drew has been featured in several local and statewide publications over the years as well as the 1997 cover of the Ozark Gateway Region tabloid along with her then 4-year-old son, Jon. She has received several awards such as the Batesville Rotarian of the Year in 2010 as well as a three-time Paul Harris Fellow.
She also has served as an Independence County election commissioner for several years and now serves as their co-election coordinator, helping with behind-the-scenes management of voting equipment, day-to-day election deadlines as well as poll worker training.
Drew serves on the Arkansas Travel Council Board of Directors, Ozark Foothills Film Fest Board of Directors, Batesville Rotary Club Past President and is the Rotary Clubs current publicity chair.
In March of 2018, Drew was honored with induction into the Arkansas Tourism Hall of Fame for her many years of dedicated service to the tourism industry.