Top 10 Ways to Spend Spring in McCurtain
You’re in on the secret: McCurtain County is a springtime paradise. And why wouldn’t it be? Luxury cabins. Untouched nature. Scrapbook-worthy fun. Family-friendly food.
So you’ve booked your cabin and blocked off your calendar. Now it’s time to build that McCurtain County bucket list.
To get you started, we’ve put together the top 10 things you’ve gotta do in the spring.
But before you go, make sure to reserve any activities or rentals ahead of time. Warmer weather means more people are headed to this neck of the woods. From kayaking and ziplining to fishing guides and train rides, popular attractions fill up fast — and many are reservation only. Book now so you can play later.
Now get to it. We can’t wait for you to get here already.
1. Explore Hochatown
It may only have around 4,000 residents, but don’t let that fool you. This ain’t your average small town. Cruise down Highway 259 for family fun you can’t find anywhere else. Meet some furry locals at Hochatown Petting Zoo. Embrace your inner pirate and dig for gems at Beavers Bend Mining Co. Pick up a one-of-a-kind souvenir at Hochatime, then hop over to Uncle Charlie’s for some old timey family photos. And for the parents, there’re also wineries, breweries, artisan shops, and more.
2. Kick It in the Cabin
They don’t call it cabin country for nothing. So take advantage of your digs. Whether it’s just you and the kids, or you booked a compound for the whole neighborhood, your crew won’t want to leave. Host a movie marathon. Get a slice of silence in the hot tub. Crown a cornhole champion. Tell spooky stories around the campfire. Or just turn off your alarm and sink into that cushy king size bed. The only wrong way to cabin is to not cabin at all.
3. Zipline Through the Ouachita Forest
Ah, there’s nothing like that fresh mountain air on your face — especially when you’re zooming through the tree tops at 35 miles per hour. We’re talking ziplining, and it’s no wonder it’s a family favorite. Get a view of Broken Bow Lake usually only reserved for the trees, and prove to the kids that you’ve still got it. Be sure to book in advance. Wait times can get long, especially this time of year.
4. Get Your Sea Legs on a Tiki Boat Tour
Summer may still be a few weeks away, but the water’s just fine from the deck of a boat. Especially when it’s tiki themed. Cruise Broken Bow Lake in style, complete with grass skirts, good tunes, and unforgettable sunset views. For the parents, not-so-virgin cocktails and brews are available on board.
5. Eat Local
Feelin’ hungry? McCurtain is a foodie family’s paradise. Order a gourmet pie from Grateful Head Pizza Oven. Snag a mile-long corn dog from HochaHut. And you can’t forget the three Bs: burgers, breweries, and BBQ. Top it all off with some ice cream or fudge from a local shop. For mom and dad, there’re also upscale Italian, seafood, and steakhouse options (with local wine and spirits, of course).
6. Go Offroading
Let that new driver put that lead foot to work. Four-wheelers. ATVs. Jeeps. We’ve got ‘em all. Rent your off-road vehicle of choice, then hit 33 miles of off-the-grid open roads in the Ouachita National Forest. And yes, you’re probably gonna need a shower after. Good thing you’ve got one fit for a king back at the cabin.
7. Saddle Up
Whether you’re bringing your own pony or saddling up for a guided tour, horseback is one of the best ways to see McCurtain County. And with over half-a-million acres of the Beavers Bend area open for horseback riding, the options are endless. For the kiddos, check out the 2.5-mile Beavers Bend Depot trail. There’s even a train that goes through the woods when you get back to the stable.
8. Get Outdoorsy in Beavers Bend State Park
When you need some nature, head to beautiful Beavers Bend State Park. No matter what your family’s into, there’s an adventure for every energy level. Lace up for a family hike along the Mountain Fork River. Get some culture at the Forest Heritage Center Museum. Dig into a family picnic, then grab a picture with the Peter Toth Totem Pole. There’s also kayaking, paddleboats, fishing, and yes, BBQ. Sound like a plan? Go ahead and make reservations for any activities of interest so you can make the most of the toys and your time.
9. Book a Fly Fishing Guide
Every kid remembers reeling in their first catch. Whether your crew’s full of expert anglers or you’re just getting your feet wet, a guide service can show you the tricks of trade (and the secret spots). Fishermen of all ages flock to the Lower Mountain Fork River for trout fishing, but you’ll also find bass, crappie, walleye, and more. Don’t forget your fishing license!
10. Fire Up the Campfire
If you leave McCurtain without that campfire smell on your clothes, did you really McCurtain? It’s the best way to warm up on those chilly spring nights. Feed the cubs with roasted hot dogs or campfire cornbread. Whip out that guitar and embarrass your teens. And of course, don’t be afraid to get a little messy with those s’mores.
As a county, we’re doing our part to help keep people healthy. From social distancing and keeping cabins squeaky clean, to setting up hand-washing stations, and offering To-Go services – the efforts to help you still get the most out of your time here, while being smart – are going strong.
- Don’t travel if you’re sick or have been around someone who has been.
- Wash, wash, wash those hands. Soap. Water. 20 seconds. Get creative with a song choice. Follow it up with some alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover that cough. Cover that sneeze. Preferably with a tissue, then throw it away.
- Keep it clean. From frequently touched objects to surfaces, be sure to clean and disinfect.
- Put distance between yourself and other people. Something we’re all good at out here in nature.
As always, stay healthy.