With its lakes, rivers and municipal pool, it’s easy to shake the summertime blues in Arkadelphia and its surrounding communities. The heat of summer shouldn’t keep us confined to the indoors. Before summer turns to fall, be sure and check off several, if not all, of the activities included on this list.
Dive in at DeGray
Sure, the views of DeGray Lake are gorgeous from its shoreline, but take a look beneath the surface of one of Arkansas’ most crystal-clear lakes in a state park-guided snorkeling adventure. From the state park marina, groups boat out to an island and snorkel along the shoreline in search of fish, rocks, plants and more. Masks, fins, snorkels and lifejackets are provided. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children 8-12 (sorry, little ones, you’ll have to wait until you’re 8 to snorkel). Call 501-865-5841 or visit the park’s website for more information.
Drive in for a movie
Have an early dinner at one of Arkadelphia’s many restaurants, then head over to the Arkadelphia Recreation Center, 2555 Twin Rivers Dr., to catch a free movie. Movies in the Park is a summer-long program from Parks and Rec, which shows family-friendly movies in the Rec Center parking lot. Movies begin at 7 p.m., and concessions are available for purchase inside. Stay posted at the city’s website for announcements of each showing.
Sell lemonade for a cause
During June and July (and August, depending on participation) have your children set up a lemonade stand, with proceeds benefitting The CALL of Clark County. Participants hosting a lemonade stand have the option of going it alone, with a sibling or friend, or even joining forces with their peers with a stand at a church. Click HERE for more information.
Take a hike — or a bike
See why so many tourists from neighboring states visit the Arkadelphia area by taking a hike or a mountain bike ride along any portion of the Iron Mountain Trail System. The well-marked paths take you along many moderate ascents and descents, with countless rock gardens and, depending on the trail, occasional lake views. There are several trailheads to choose from. Just a pick a color and head out for some adventure. Don’t forget the bug spray, especially if you’re walking. For starters, we suggest the 2-mile loop of Jolly Green Giant at the Skyline Drive trailhead.
Stroll along Lower Lake
If getting off the beaten path isn’t your style, take a leisurely stroll along the 1.4-mile Sunset Trail. This paved trail is ideal for walking, trail running, birdwatching or even fishing! A wooden pier with guardrails juts out and over Lower Lake, offering opportunities to wet a hook. Tip: haul your tackle and an ice chest to the pier on a beach wagon and stay for a while. If it’s just a little peace and quiet you’re looking for, this tranquil trail is perfect, and takes less than half an hour to complete. To get there: Take state Highway 390/Lower Dam Pike Road toward the Lower Lake Recreation Area. Keep straight until you find the trailhead parking lot.
Float the Caddo
Set an alarm and get to Caddo River Rats in Caddo Valley early for an easy, relaxing float on the Caddo River. For a small fee you can park your vehicle and catch a shuttle to the boat ramp below the dam at Lower Lake, then enjoy a casual, three-hour float with gravel bars along then way. Once you’ve gone under the I-30 bridge, be prepared for the take-out dock past the Highway 7 bridge on river left. Tip: rent a kayak or tube as close to 9 a.m. as possible in order to beat the midday and afternoon crowd.
Grab a snow cone
If a float on the river isn’t enough to cool you off, pay a visit to one of the two flavored ice locations and enjoy a snow cone. Situated on the same lot as Caddo River Rats, Cajun Snow at 116 Valley St. has lots of unique flavors to choose from, some of which were designed by the shop owners or employees. We’re partial to the Henderson Reddie (cherry and coconut) and the American Flag, which is vertically layered with cherry, coconut and blue raspberry. A local favorite is the Sweet Tea flavored cone. Still not cooled off? Add a scoop of ice cream to your order! Additional add-ons include chocolate syrup or sweet cream. Goofy Greg’s is a local shaved ice business on wheels, so be sure and check its social media posts to find out where they’ll be open for shop.
Grab a margarita and go!
If for nothing else but the ability to say you did it in Clark County, do yourself a favor and order a margarita at Walk & Taco, 2909 Pine St., and then drive away (for goodness sake don’t drink the thing until you’ve made it safely home). Choose from one of five flavors — mango, peach, strawberry, lime or piña colada — or mix flavors in a 16- or 32-ounce serving. The margaritas come sealed to be compliant with open container laws. You’ll have to purchase a meal in addition to the libations, and each customer is limited to 64 ounces of margarita. Tequila not your thing? Buy a six-pack of beer with the same rules. The best part about it? You can do this seven days a week, so make a fun day out of a Sunday!
Take a sunset cruise
Embark on an hour-plus “voyage” on DeGray Lake and watch the sun dip slowly below the horizon. Prepare to be mesmerized by stunning colors as the sunset reflects on the light ripples of the lake’s surface. Discover the lake’s history, and view rock outcrops, unique islands and lake wildlife on the relaxing, scenic cruise. Cost is $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12 (children under 6 ride for free). Seating is limited and reservations are required. Phone the Marina at 501-865-5841 for reservations and additional information.
Beat the heat at the Aquatic Park
No Arkadelphia summer is complete without spending a few hours at the municipal Aquatic Park. A family-favorite in Arkadelphia, the park features a newly installed play structure, water slides, diving boards and infinity edge pool and more. The play structure installed in 2021 is the first upgrade to the park in 18 years and features dual racer kiddie slides, water blasters, deck jets and a 4-foot-tall tipping bucket, which dumps 280 gallons of water every three to five minutes. Open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. each Sunday and Wednesday, the park operates throughout the summer, closing for the season after Labor Day. Daily admission ranges from $7-10, with season passes available for families of four, five and six.