Did you spend winter dreaming about all of the warm-weather travel possibilities in North America? Now it’s time to turn those dreams into a reality. We’ve got a slew of under-the-radar spots in the South Central States that explode in color with the arrival of spring.
Out-of-the-way forests, hills and lakes help Arkansas live up to its nickname as the “Natural State.” Explore unspoiled landscapes in a fun, easy-going getaway in the state’s north.
Boat, Fish and Golf in Horsehoe Bend
Away from the busy highways and interstates, Horseshoe Bend is a refuge for travelers seeking a woodsy escape. Drop a line or go canoeing in the strawberry river. The 640-acre Crown Lake is an unspoiled water recreation hot spot, and the nearby Turkey Mountain Golf Course offers 18 holes with championship-caliber fairways and greens.
For a family-friendly adventure, head out to Horsehoe Canyon Ranch to the east for horseback riding, rock climbing and canoeing. The park’s ziplines — the longest zipline in Arkansas — travels nearly a half-mile at heart-pounding speeds exceeding 50 mph.
Stay: Crown Lake RV Resort, Horseshoe Bend
The Sunflower State is home to several off-the-beaten-path spots that are perfect for spring travel. Discover Dorothy’s home or discover sprawling lakes and woods on the prairie on the prairie.
Fish Clinton Lake and Meet Dorothy
Southeast of Topeka, Clinton Lake has all the ingredients for a prime spring vacation. Fishing ponds jump with smallmouth bass and crappie, and 50 miles of hiking trails around the water lead to great views of the lake. The 2.8-mile North Shore Loop is a dog-friendly route that’s great for birdwatchers and suitable for mountain bikers.
Just east of Topeka, the Oz Museum pays tribute to the books and movies devoted to the world created by author Frank Oz. Follow the Yellow Brick Road through the museum and experience centuries of Oz history, with exhibits from the iconic 1939 MGM movie production.
Stay: Deer Creek Valley RV Park, Topeka
If Cajun flavors tempt your tastebuds, then you’ve come to the right place for spring. Travelers can explore bayous and dine on shrimp, po’boys and gumbo in between fishing trips.
Float Fish and Game in Allen Parish/Kinder
Float fishing is a top pastime on the rivers and creeks of Allen Parish, with boat launches located at many of the bridge crossings. Kayakers will find plenty of places to paddle. Take in the lush natural surroundings or drop a line for catfish, striped bass and crappie that flourish in the waters here. Check out Ouiska Chitto Creek, a great spot for fishing.
Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder draws gamblers and recreation seekers to thousands of slots and table games. Guests also will discover 10 restaurants, a water park and one of the state’s best 18-hole golf courses. The destination also is home to an annual summertime Coushatta Powwow, which celebrates the art and culture of the region’s deep Native American roots and includes dances, food, and arts and crafts.
Make Time for Marksville
With a population of around 5,000 people, Marksville gives visitors a taste of small-town Louisiana living. But the big attractions here are the surrounding freshwater lakes and rivers, which offer fantastic fishing and hunting. The Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area and Grande Cote National Wildlife Refuge provide vast tracts of protected wilderness to explore. The robust population of American bald eagles in the area makes this a great spot for birdwatchers.
In town, the Paragon Casino Resort offers an action-packed gaming floor and a tropical pool with a swim-up bar. Check out the full-service spa, golf course and live entertainment.
Hunt and Golf in Livingston Parish
Northwest of Louisiana, Anglers can explore more than 600 miles of waterways in Livingston Parish. Cast lines for largemouth bass, perch, crappie and speckled trout. Hunters will find lots of game on the 67,000 acres of the Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area. Golfers will find outstanding fairways at Carter Plantation, a 7,000-yard, part-72 course named one of the “Top 10 Courses You Can Play” by Golf Magazine.
After an active day, belly up to a plate of authentic Cajun cooking. At the Taste of Louisiana Cafe, the 1/2 Catfish & 1/2 Shrimp plate will send your tastebuds to the stratosphere. Get a big bowl of steaming sausage, shrimp, rice and other tasty flavors at the Pot & Paddle Jumbalaya Kitchen in Denham Springs.
Choose from the following Louisiana RV parks:
|Coushatta Luxury RV Resort at Red Shoes Park, Kinder||Paragon Casino RV Resort, Marksville|
|Lakeside RV Park, Livingston|
Beyond the Sooner State’s famous plains, visitors will discover tall mountains, rich forests and lakes rich with fish. You’ll also find one of the most exciting cities in the nation.
Go Ziplining and Boot Shopping in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City makes the most of its location on the Oklahoma River. Check out the Riversport Adventure Park in the heart of the city in the Boathouse District near the intersection of interstates 40 and 35. Here, visitors can catch a wave on a simulated ocean at Surf OKC. Fly high over the river on the SandRidge Sky Zip, which carries riders 700 feet across the river at a height of 80 feet. Also part of the complex, the 80-foot-tall SandRidge Sky Trail has six levels of challenges like rope bridges, balance beams and zig-zag elements (a safety harness keeps guests from falling). Elsewhere in the Boathouse District, visitors can go whitewater rafting and tubing.
Add Western flair to your wardrobe in Stockyards City, home to the Oklahoma National Stockyards and a hive of Western shops. Drop into Langston’s Western Wear, where you’ll discover a prairie-size selection of boots, jeans, western shirts and cowboy hats for men, women and children.
Drop a Line or Roll the Dice Near the Texas Border
In the south section of Oklahoma north of Dallas, Texas, a cluster of lakes keeps boaters, anglers and wildlife watchers busy. Near Ardmore, Lake Murray is hidden gem is known for being part of the largest state park in Oklahoma and for its crystal clear spring-fed waters. Around the shore of the 5,700-acre lake, visitors can enjoy horseback riding, tennis and water sports. Scenic State Highway 77 circumnavigated the lake, dishing out stunning views of the water from all sides. Take this route to find the perfect fishing or launching spot.
Straddling the border between Oklahoma and Texas, Lake Texoma consists of 89,000 acres of fishing and batting fun. Launch a jet ski, towboat, Waverunner or pontoon boat, or charter a fishing trip for trophy bass. In Eisenhower State Park, hikers can explore caves and look for fossils along the trails.
Feeling lucky? On Interstate 35, the WinStar World Casino and Resort has a whopping 370,000 square feet of casino floor, packed with slot machines and gaming tables. The Gran Via Buffet puts world cuisine at your fingertips and the Global Event Center features top acts from around the world.
Choose from the following Oklahoma RV parks:
|By The Lake RV Park Resort, Ardmore||Rockwell RV Park, Oklahoma City|
|Do Drop Inn RV Resort, Calera||Fun Town RV Park at WinStar, Thackerville|