Jan 28, 2023 - Things to Do

3 must-do road trips less than 4 hours from NWA

Oklahoma City skyline. Photo: Visions of America/Getty Images

Now's the time to make travel plans for 2023, so let's dive into three prime locations to plan a weekend getaway.

1. Kansas City

Photo: Adam Lacy/Getty Images

Known for great barbecue and its two-time Super Bowl champion football team, Kansas City is a lively metropolis about 3.5 hours from Fayetteville.

  • Here's how to spend the perfect weekend in the heart of America.

Stay: Spacious shipping container Airbnb with a rooftop deck for $90+ per night.


  • Kick off the summer at the largest free Memorial Day weekend event in the Midwest Celebration at the Station. This year's bash will be Sunday, May 28.
  • Ride the KC Streetcar. It's free and the 2.2-mile route runs through numerous hot spots in the city.
  • Go to a game. KC is home to a trio of professional sports teams: the Chiefs of the NFL, the baseball Royals and Sporting KC of Major League Soccer. College basketball fans can watch the Kansas Jayhawks play at iconic Allen Fieldhouse less than an hour away in Lawrence.


  • Head to Kansas City magazine's top-ranked barbecue joint, Harp Barbecue in nearby Raytown.
  • Grab some steak sauce and enjoy a Kansas City strip at Golden Ox.
  • Dine on the rooftop at The Well, located in Historic Waldo.

2. Hot Springs

Photo: Visit Hot Springs

About 3.5 hours south of NWA is Hot Springs, known for its thermal springs, hiking trails and bathing facilities. Here's some tips on how to experience it.

Stay: An upscale Airbnb on Lake Hamilton for 16+ guests.


  • Attend the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade on Friday, March 17. Justin Moore is this year's celebrity grand marshal, and The Village People will be performing. Details.
  • Tour the historic Fordyce Bathhouse, which now serves as the visitors center for Hot Springs National Park.
  • Enjoy panoramic views of the Ouachita Mountains, Hot Springs Mountain and the Diamond Lakes area from Hot Springs Mountain Tower.


  • Grab a burger, hot dog, sandwich or salad at Superior Bathhouse, which claims to be the only brewery inside a U.S. national park.

3. Oklahoma City

Photo: Visions of America/Getty Images

Oklahoma City is 3.5 hours west of NWA and has plenty to explore. Here's how to spend your time there.

Stay: A private lakefront villa in The Village for $269 per night.


  • Put on your cowboy hat and head to the Chuck Wagon Festival. This year's event is May 27–28. Details.
  • Learn the history of the region's native population at First Americans Museum.
  • Hang out in Bricktown, OKC's original warehouse and distribution center turned business and entertainment district.


  • Order the Coyote Chicken Sandwich at Cafe 501.
  • Sit down for soul food at Florence's Restaurant, a 2022 James Beard American Classics award winner.
  • Enjoy a prime ribeye, rack of lamb or Australian lobster tail at Mahogany.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to say Justin Moore is this year's grand marshal; he will not be performing.


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