Cool places to stay warm this winter
When the cold wind blows and old man winter takes control of the outdoor thermostat there’s only one thing to do — curl up in the warmth of a cozy cabin. And it’s only natural that The Natural State offers a wide variety of cabins, each a memorable spot for a winter getaway.
While all Arkansas cabins offer beautiful surroundings and outdoor recreation, each is also unique in its own way, whether located on a mountaintop, by a river or on a lake.
Mountain retreats provide the perfect place to refresh and renew the spirit, and the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas are a number one destination for cabin rentals. Hilly terrain and clear streams provide beautiful backdrops for hikes, wildlife watching, or just for sitting back and taking in the view.
StoneWind Retreat in Chester is situated on 160 mountain-top acres midway between Fort Smith and Fayetteville. Its luxurious yurt cabins have hot tubs on the deck and are ideal for relaxation, rest, and romance. In addition to overnight cabin rentals, Deer Mountain Ranch in Ozark offers wildlife tours, corporate events, reunions, customizable day trips full of fishing, skeet and trap shooting, and more. This 3,300-acre mountaintop paradise has entertained guests such as Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Jones.
Petit Jean State Park, whose 2,658 mountainous acres in Morrilton encompass miles of trails with scenic overlooks, bluffs, canyons and the 95-foot Cedar Falls, is a legendary park in the state. Along with hosting the legend of Petit Jean, Petit Jean Mountain inspired the creation of Arkansas’s first state park, and with it our state park system. Cabins include 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps rustic-style and others are modern duplex designs. Choices include one-bedroom, three-bedroom, and studio cabins. The cabins are fully-equipped, and some options include kitchens. Most of the cabins are spaced along the bluff of Cedar Creek Canyon. A restaurant can also be found at the park at Mather Lodge.
Watching the fog roll in and hearing the flow of rippling water can make a riverfront cabin the perfect escape. A river location can stimulate all the senses while still providing a tranquil atmosphere. It also lends itself to fishing, which is great year-round in Arkansas.
On the Little Red River in Heber Springs is Lindsey’s Resort, home to rustic cedar cabins (many with fireplaces and hot tubs), boat rentals, guided fishing services, and a restaurant. Gaston’s White River Resort near Mountain Home, is located on another premier trout stream. The resort offers numerous cabins, a restaurant overlooking the river, boat rentals, guide services, a game room, walking trails and more to ensure a trip with as little or as much to do as desired.
Near Pocahontas, you’ll find Shady River. Located along the beautiful, spring-fed Eleven Point River, the cottages, including the beautiful “treehouse cabin,” offer guests the opportunity to get away from the hectic pace of life and decompress, surrounded by the beauty of the Ozarks.
The lure of the lake is a view spreading out from the calm water lapping at the shore and the numerous outdoor activities available. It’s nature at its best, and the perfect playground for a retreat. Winter months on Arkansas lakes are also popular for eagle watching when hundreds of bald eagles migrate to the lake areas.
An abundance of deer and wild turkeys frequently join visitors at the Ventris Trail’s End Resort in Garfield. The cedar log cabins with large wrap-around decks are located on 20 wooded acres on the shore of Beaver Lake. On Norfork Lake, 101’s Place coddles guests with modern stone cottages nestled in large hardwoods.
Lake Chicot State Park is located in Lake Village and offers stunning views of its namesake, Lake Chicot, Arkansas’s largest natural lake and the largest oxbow lake in North America. Located in the Mississippi Flyway, this park offers some of the best year-round birding opportunities in Arkansas. The park offers lake tours, levee tours, and other opportunities for bird and wildlife watching. The park offers 14 cabins, many with fireplaces and stunning views of Lake Chicot.
Mountain Harbor Resort is located around 12 miles from downtown Mount Ida. This waterfront resort is located on a wooded point on Lake Ouachita, the largest man made lake in the state. There are lakeview log cabins to stay at here with features such as a fireplace, deck with a hot tub, and equipped kitchens. The cabins are pet-friendly and also at the resort you will find a waterfront restaurant, a full-service marina, and boat storage and boat rentals to explore the lake from. You can also access miles of hiking and biking via the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, which has a trailhead there. Turtle Cove Spa on site offers an array of spa treatments. If you want to keep exploring from here, around a 35 minute drive to the west is Hot Springs, home of Hot Springs National Park.