Bentonville Bike Playground

Biking northwest arkansas

We moved to Northwest Arkansas last winter. One of the things we’ve enjoyed most about the move is taking advantage of the vast bike trail system in our new home state. My husband and I have been going on frequent ‘Bike and Brewery‘ dates on the Razorback Greenway. We’ve also enjoyed watching our girls gain confidence in riding their bikes by practicing around our neighborhood and on trails like the loop around Lake Atalanta in Rodgers. Our latest biking adventure was trying out the Bike Playground in Bentonville.

bentonville bike playground

The Bentonville Bike Playground is located off of the North Bentonville Trail (right by the Bark Park) in Bentonville, Arkansas.

North Bentonville Trail

I was curious if the playground would be age-appropriate for my girls who are 2.5 and approaching 5-years-old.

Bentonville Bike Playground

We found that the new surfaces like wooden bridges, tunnels, and dirt provided a fun challenge for them.

In the middle of the playground there is a concrete course that was too difficult, so we staid on the outside track. The playground looked similar to other bike parks I’ve seen, everything is just mini-sized for young riders.

Family friendly biking destination in Bentonville Arkansas

My younger daughter rides a balance bike. She was able to ride through several of the obstacles without much assistance.

Bentonville Bike Playground

My older daughter was determined to practice every ramp and slope. She had a couple of tough falls, but she landed in the grass and kept trying.

Bentonville Parks and Recreation Bike Playground

Despite a few crashes, my daughters told me that they want to go back soon. We left the park grassy, muddy, and smiling.

Bentonville Bike Playground

I appreciate that the Bike Playground has amenities like picnic tables, park benches, a bicycle repair station, abundant parking, and restrooms nearby.

Bentonville Bike Playground

The city of Bentonville offers a ton of great parks and bike riding trails to explore. Here is a map.

We made a fun little video with more pictures that you can watch here.

What We are Adding to our Favorite Restaurants and Breweries List Near Estes Park, Colorado

One of the most popular questions we get from friends and family who are traveling to Estes Park, Colorado is where we like to go out to eat. To help answer that question, we’ve added a page under ‘Estes Park’ to list our favorite restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and winery.

Some of the restaurants that I’m most excited about are new finds for us this year. I’m also adding a few suggestions in the nearby towns of Lyons and Boulder where we often stop for lunch on our way into town.

New Picks: Restaurants and breweries Near Estes Park, Colorado

Latitude 105 at the Ridgeline Hotel in Estes Park – This modern mountain restaurant has a good lunch and dinner menu. There was something for everyone from juicy burgers to flavorful salads. We liked the laid back atmosphere of the restaurant so much, that we went twice during our last trip. I appreciate that they serve beers from local Estes Park breweries, while also offering items on their bar menu that are gluten free. On our second visit, we sat outside in red andirondack chairs with friends and family.

Latitude 105 outdoor seating restaurant in estes park. gluten free options

Waterfront Grille in Estes Park – We enjoyed a great lunch at Waterfront Grille. The highlight was the gorgeous views of Lake Estes and the proximity of a playground to burn off energy after lunch.

restaurant with a view in estes park. waterfront grille

Mojo Taqueria in Lyons – Mexican food is my favorite. We sat out on their patio and enjoyed fresh chips and salsa and tacos. The meal was delicious.

Oskar Blues Grill & Brew in Lyons – This is the original Oskar Blues location. They serve lunch and dinner. We enjoy their pizza, and of course their beer.

Avery Brewing in Boulder – We stopped in for lunch. I enjoyed their outdoor space. Ellie’s Brown is one of my favorite beers, so this was a special treat to sip a pint directly from the source.

Our full list of favorite restaurants is here. We will continue to add to this list as we find new places we enjoy. Let us know if you have suggestions by leaving a comment.

Lunch with a View: 5 Great Spots to Enjoy a Picnic in Rocky Mountain National Park This Fall

It’s officially fall! I can’t think of a better way to take in the splendor of the autumn colors than a picnic in Rocky Mountain National Park. There are over 25 picnicking areas listed on the National Park’s website. Here are some of our favorites:

Upper beaver meadows

The Upper Beaver Meadows area is a new find for us this year. It is quickly becoming one of our favorite picnic spots because it seems less crowded than other areas of the park, has gorgeous views, and fun rocks for our kids to climb around. There are 10 picnic tables available. There is also a vault toilet (which seems important to point out to my fellow potty trainers).

Upper Beaver Meadows picnic
Upper Beaver Meadows picnic area

You can read more about Upper Beaver Meadows hiking trails here.

Lily Lake

Views of Longs Peak and Estes Cone reflect off the water of Lily Lake. Lily Lake is one of my favorite spots to practice photography. You can take a stroll around the lake and enjoy a picnic at one of the 4 picnic tables. An additional 12 tables are available for group rental a quarter mile down the trail. The group picnic spot feels more secluded. There is a vault toilet in the parking area.

Lily Lake in the autumn, Rocky Mountain National Park
Lily Lake in the autumn

Lily Lake is one of the spots we visit most often, here is one of our oldest posts about Lily Lake and here is a post I wrote last month.

sprague lake

If I had to choose just one picnic spot, I’d recommend Sprague Lake. The views of the golden aspens and continental divide can’t be beat. We often see people bird-watching and fishing in this lake. We’ve also spotted a moose here. Plus, there are 27 picnic spots and several benches by the lake where you could eat your lunch right on the water. There are summer flush toilets/winter vault toilets in the parking area.

Sprague Lake in the fall. Rocky Mountain National Park top destinations
Sprague Lake

Want to know more about Sprague Lake? I posted about it here.

coyote valley

My first few choices were on the East side of Rocky Mountain National Park near the town of Estes Park, Colorado. Coyote Valley is on the West side of the park. Coyote Valley has a family-friendly hiking trail along the Colorado River in the Kawuneeche Valley. This is a great place to spot wildlife. There are 7 picnic tables available. There are no toilets.

picnics in rocky mountain national park
Coyote Valley picnic

Read more about the Coyote Valley here.

lake irene

Lake Irene is located off of Trailridge Road on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is mostly surrounded with evergreen trees, so the fall colors won’t be as visible. However, if you are going on a scenic drive and are looking for a peaceful place to stop, this is an ideal spot. There are 8 picnic tables. There is also a vault toilet near the parking lot.

Lake Irene Rocky Mountain National Park
Lake Irene

We recently enjoyed a hike around Lake Irene. You can read all about it here.

building your ITINERARY

Some of our most popular posts include 1 day itineraries of what to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. What I appreciate most about these top picnic destinations is the ability to ‘park and play’. By this I mean, once you get to your destination you can add on a hike, bird-watching, fishing, photography, scenic drive, or other outdoor recreational activity to transform a simple picnic into an enjoyable half-day adventure.

Arkansas Day Trip: Hobbs State Park and War Eagle Mill

Hobbs State Park Visitors Center

Hobbs State Park is the biggest state park in Arkansas. It is located in Rogers, Arkansas and is known for hiking, biking, and its miles of shore line along Beaver Lake. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Hobbs State Park visitors center is filled with educational exhibits about animals and plants you may find in the area

The visitors center is filled with educational exhibits about animals and plants you may find in the area. The cave exhibit was my daughters’ favorite.

cave exhibit at Hobbs State Park visitor center

They also enjoyed the Kids Corner which is stacked with games and books about nature. I appreciated the clean restrooms and friendly staff who answered all of my questions about near by hiking trails.

mother nature story time

The center hosts a variety of family-friendly activities including a Mother Nature story time held each second Saturday of the month at 10:30 am. Mark your calendar: Upcoming 2019 story times include: ‘Bats – Not Really Scary’ on October 12; ‘It’s Turkey Time’ on November 9; and ‘Who Goes There? Footprints and Animal Signs’ on December 14.

kids corner and mother nature story time at hobbs state park

Outside of the visitors center there is a small pond and a viewing deck. This is a good place to watch wildlife.

pond hobbs state park

We spotted a snake from the deck. I convinced myself that it was a Western Pigmy Rattlesnake (because I’m terrified of snakes). However, it was most likely a nonvenomous water snake innocently enjoying the late summer sun.

snake arkansas, rattle snake?

Right outside the visitor center there are several picnic tables that rest under the shade of towering pine trees.

picnic hobbs state park

Ozark plateau trail

Beyond the picnic area, there is a half mile paved trail called the Ozark Plateau Trail. The trail is easy, well shaded, and includes several benches to rest on if little feet get tired.

OZARK PLATEAU TRAIL

We enjoyed seeing the variety of trees, mushrooms, and plants along the trail.

hobbs state park fall festival

Mark your calendar: Hobbs State Park is hosting a Fall Festival on October 6, 2019 from 1-4 pm. This free event is located at the Historic Van Winkle Hollow and includes activities such as blacksmith demonstrations, old-timey games, and music.

OZARK PLATEAU TRAIL paved trail. half mile long. short family-friendly

war eagle mill

After our fun morning at Hobbs State Park Visitor Center and hiking the Plateau Trail, we worked up an appetite. We stopped at the War Eagle Mill which is a short five-minute drive away.

The War Eagle Mill dates back to 1832. The mill is open daily for guests to purchase flours, mixes, jams, gifts, and other hand crafted items in their gift shop. Tours are available to learn more about the history of the active mill.

war eagle mill

bean palace cafe

We enjoyed lunch on the 3rd floor in the Bean Palace Cafe. Lunch is served daily from 10:30 am – 4:00 pm. There is a kids menu with prices ranging from $5-$6 per meal which include a souvenir cup. We also tasted their famous beans.

bean palace cafe at war eagle mill
Silly sisters at the Bean Palace Cafe

We were lucky to get a table that looked out over the War Eagle Creek and the one-lane bridge that crosses over it.

war eagle creek bridge

Mark your calendar: The War Eagle Mill will be hosting a Fall Craft Fair next month on Thursday, October 17 through Sunday, October 20, 2019.

Since moving to Northwest Arkansas last winter, I’m eager to explore all that our area has to offer. I appreciate that Hobbs State Park offers beautiful scenery and educational experiences so close to our new home. Our time at the War Eagle Mill felt charming, authentic, and historically relevant. I’m looking forward to our next trip!

If you have suggestions for fall day trips near Northwest Arkansas, please comment below.