Diamonds, Crystals and Arrowheads… just some of the things you can find in southwest Arkansas. If you would like more action, there is fishing, hiking, wild game hunting, kayaking and canoeing in the crystal clear waters of the Caddo River.
The Caddo River is the first place that my family and I ever went kayaking; what a blast that was with our boys. It was so much fun to float down the river and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. We had plenty of places to get out and picnic, swim, and fish.
Want a quaint little get away? There is a cute, historic, little town in southwest Arkansas called Caddo Gap nestled in the Ouachita Forest and Mountains. It has a rich history of the Caddo Indians and evidence can be found in many areas.
The Caddo River runs through this area with its water so clear that you can see the fish swimming. A unique feature to this river is both hot and cold springs running through it. If you are standing in a part of the river that is too cold, move over a little ways and you can find a hot spring. Grab a lawn chair and place it in a shallow area of the river, sit and soak up the peaceful surroundings. If you look carefully, you may even find arrowheads along the river bed.
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Cabins, Rv’ing, or Tenting
No matter what style of accommodations you prefer, take the plunge and stay near the Caddo River. If you like to “rough it” with primitive tenting, there are many locations you can make reservations for or set up camp in the Ouachita National Forest (pronounced wash-i-tah). Please remember to pack out what your bring in.
If you like to RV camp, there are several places you may do so as well. One of the campgrounds is Arrowhead Campground on the Caddo. They are nestled in the trees along the Caddo River offering cabins, RV spots, and primitive tent camping. Plus they are a pet friendly campground.
If your large group wants to do a retreat, Arrowhead can accommodate up to 56 people in their bunkhouse which is great for church groups or any large group. Smaller groups from 2-12 people can rent one of the 7 cabins available.
For RV’ing, they have full hook ups (water, electric, sewer) for a reasonable rate. If you are a teacher, active military or a veteran, EMS, fire fighter or police don’t forget to ask for your 10% discount. As of 2018, they are open year round. If you are wanting to stay on weekends from May through July, you really need to reserve your stay well in advance. Holiday weekends usually book up a year in advance, but ask to be put on a wait list in case someone cancels.
One of my favorite places to visit in Caddo Gap is the Mercantile.
Step into history! Just 2 miles down the road from Arrowhead is the Gap Mercantile . It was built in 1932 and is still currently in operation. You can find antiques, jellies and jams, various snacks and is just fun to shop around in. If your not into RV’ing, you can rent the 2 bedroom, private apartment at the Mercantile through their AirBNB (just click on the icon below). In the early fall, attend one of the “old timers” events. This historic building is owned by Gary and Lynna McWilliams. Besides running the Mercantile, Gary loves to demonstrate homesteading techniques with his “Farm Hand’s Companion” YouTube channel.
If you book the AirBNB, please let them know you saw it on Teacher Escapes.
Photos provided by Arrowhead Cabin and Canoe and Gap Mercantile
Arrowhead and Gap Mercantile are located within a short driving distance to several great attractions. Thirty minutes to the south of Caddo Gap is Murfreesboro, Arkansas. Here you can search for diamonds at the famous Crater of the Diamonds State Park. In Mount Ida, approximately twenty minutes away, you can search and keep beautiful crystals from one of the three crystal mines. If you need a little more fast paced excitement, Hot Springs is just 45 minutes east with horse racing, bathhouses, gangster museums, theme parks and many other amazing things to see and do.
For additional accommodations within the general area are Living Waters, Caddo River Cabins, Caddo River and Canoe, Lucky’s, River Run and many more. Come check them out!
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