Remember the post How to Dig for Diamonds? This past weekend we had some summertime fun by trying our luck at the Crater of Diamonds state park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! For a town with a population of only about 1700 and definitely off the beaten path, there is plenty to do to fill a weekend trip and a perfect place for small town vacationing.
There are also plenty of places to stay while in this little town. My top pick would be Diamonds Old West Cabins! There are 18 units available to rent with an upstairs and downstairs room in each building. We were upstairs in the Mercantile building in the “Prospector’s Cabin” with two queen sized beds, twin bunk beds, a mini fridge with freezer, microwave, flat screen TV, bath with shower only, our own fire pit, a picnic table, and a giant porch with two adirondack chairs. When we go back I want to stay in the Livery Stable because the bunk beds look like they are in a horse stall and I think the kids would get a kick out of that.
Other amenities of this 2013 new boutique resort are the giant teepees where there is a campfire each night to roast hot dogs and make s’mores – YUM! Lucky for us, these were located right beside our cabin.
There are also many many things for the kids to do like the giant Noah’s Ark playground, old timey outdoor games, pedal car race track, giant bouncy thing, giant spider’s web, an archery range, and a bubble party for the kids and me. I’m still not sure why all the other adults just stood around instead of running through the bubbles like a lunatic like us! That was too fun! The property does also have a “general store” where guests can check out bow and arrows, footballs, and croquet sets. The general store is where check in and out are taken care of and snacks, drinks, and souvenirs can be purchased. I do suggest bringing food for breakfast, lunch, and snacks for a trip to Murfreesboro as dining options are limited.
Even though there was a bunch to do at the cabins, this wasn’t our main reason for the whole trip! We spent all day Saturday at the state park. Since we had been there before we only took a couple minutes to look through the displays on how to spot a diamond at the discovery center and made our way to the muddy, very muddy, fields. While we were there, someone found a 2 carat diamond! Unfortunately, we didn’t find Uncle Sam’s mate(waaaa!) but there were plenty of other stones to be had like jasper, agate, and some other geological names I can’t remember!
The entire time we were digging for
diamonds rocks, my youngest kids were whining about going to the mini waterpark which is kind of beside the walkway that goes from the discovery center past the shovel rental place. I’m pretty sure that was strategic planning on the part of the parks designers. LOL So after lunch, we visited the oversized pool and watched as our kids turned into freezing blue popsicles who refused to get out until they were exhausted from playing for over an hour. (The below picture doesn’t show the waterfall or two waterslides.)
The rest of Saturday, we spent getting cleaned up, visiting the town square for ice cream and shopping, going to the bubble party at the resort, going out for dinner, and watching a couple of episodes of Bubble Bubble Gup Gup Guppies on NickJr(oooh that song in my head!).
Sunday, we spent at KaDoHa Indian Village. This place was COOL! There was a “trading post” with all sorts of fun things and Indian artifact displays mixed in. The real reason we were there was to see the historical Indian burial mounds and to dig in the giant plowed field for “artifacts”. They put out some arrowheads, but there’s quartz to be found and possible authentic artifacts like a shard of pottery a guy found while we were there. One of my favorite classes in college was History of Native Americans so getting to see the history of Native Americans that was discovered by an amateur archeologist in the 1960s was fascinating to me. I also liked the mini museum on site with pottery, a diorama, arrowheads and more. We did find a couple things while digging in the dirt like arrowheads and the kids though that was awesome! We also visited the four mounds on site three of which were likely people of high importance in the tribe over the many many years and one mound that was burial for buffalo bones. Visiting KaDoHa village was my favorite part of the trip.
(My second favorite part of the trip was driving through Old Washington, Arkansas and seeing the oldest tree in the state – a giant magnolia.)
Murfreesboro was the perfect place for a weekend trip for our family! There’s plenty to do to fill a weekend in this little town. If you have more than a weekend for a vacation, nearby there are also Old Washington and Lake Greeson.
There’s plenty of small town vacations to enjoy all throughout the US! What’s your favorite little town to visit for small town vacationing in your neck of the woods? Let me know in the comments below. We’re always looking for a new adventure to explore. 🙂