Petit Jean State Park was Arkansas’s first state park. It is truly a lovely place. The park is full of both historic and natural treasures. We were impressed by the beautiful rock formations, old historic log and stone buildings, and the breathtaking overlooks. My family and I absolutely loved it here, and we had a great couple of days camping in the park in our tiny camper. This was an unforgettable stop on our a 10-day family road trip from Minnesota. We felt we were able to see a lot of the beautiful park during our short stay, but looking over maps now, I know we will need to go back someday!
- 2 Nights, Camping in Tiny Camper
- May 2018
- 2 Adults, 2 Kids (Age 2 & 4)
Below you will find five highlights from our stay! I hope you enjoy.
Cedar Falls Overlook
This was a short walk to an amazing lookout. The Cedar Falls overlook gives you a great vantage point above the beautiful, 95-foot Cedar Falls. This walk was stroller friendly and had little exhibits to read along the way. A nice walk for a family, complete with an amazing waterfall. This is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Arkansas.
Stouts Point Overlook & Petit Jeans Gravesite
This is the most popular overlook in the park and with good reason. There is a lot of history and beauty here. While it is the state parks most popular viewpoint it was not crowded at all! In fact, we only saw one other group of travelers as we hiked around and explored the area. This was a peaceful place to enjoy some family time and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Arkansas River. We had a lot of fun exploring and climbing around the rocks and in the old rock house. While at Stouts Point, we were able to visit Petit Jeans Grave, you cannot get close, but it is very cool to see. Taking the moment to learn about her and her romantic story was great. Petit Jean was a young French girl who disguised herself as a cabin boy so that she could secretly join her fiancé in the “New World”. When she became fatally ill, she requested to be buried at this point. I can see why. It is a beautiful, peaceful, and breathtaking place.
Park & Picnic
In every Arkansas state park we stayed at along our trip we had numerous close racoon encounters. The parks are very well maintained and clean, so it was unexpected at first. Not something we are used to in Minnesota. After it happened at a few parks in a row we came to expect it. This was truly the only negative of our stays. We like to cook a lot at camp, but it was getting to be a little crazy. So, we decided to grill out at the park. It was a great idea! The kids loved it and we enjoyed coming home to a clean campsite 😉
Bear Cave Hike
I think this was my favorite highlight from the park. This was a super cool, short (less than a mile), family friendly hike. The rock formations along this hike were rad. There were narrow passageways through rocks and a small cave to explore. It was all really interesting, and the landscape was different than other hikes we had taken on the trip, so it was a fun change. There were so many cool things to take photos of and so many interesting areas to explore along the way. The kids loved this hike, and we loved it! Click here if you are interested in my tips for “The 10 First Things to Teach Your Kid About Hiking.
Barnyard Friends Petting Zoo & Stables
I think this was the kids highlight of the park! They did not want to leave. Barnyard Friends Petting Zoo & Stables is located just outside of the park, but they do a lot of work with the park. We stopped here on our way out of the park and it worked perfectly. We did not do horseback riding, just enjoyed their petting zoo and play area. The staff was all amazing and they had a ton of excited animals! The kids were able to feed the animals a huge variety of vegetables. I have to say the animals were a bit rowdy for me, (I’m totally afraid of animals) but the kids and my husband were laughing and loving it! To be honest, I even had a lot of fun! Haha! As a bonus there was also a great playground area for the kids to run out some energy.
We had a great time at Petit Jean State Park and are so happy we decided to make it park of our road trip. I definitely recommend this park and I feel we only scratched the surface! Have you been to Petit Jean? What should we do next time? Let me know in the comments!
Much Love & Happy Travels,