State Park Activities

Go Green This Friday

Opt-Outside and Spend ‘Green Friday’ in an Arkansas State Park

Start a new tradition! Instead of stressing out about finding a good deal on “Black Friday,” why not take the time to be thankful for all that we have here in Arkansas–clean water, air, and time with friends and family. Try “Green Friday,” a chance to give a gift that is priceless – a connection – a memory! This is an antidote to Black Friday: the shop-‘til-you-drop onslaught that kicks off the holiday shopping season. In 2019, join the thousands of folks who will opt to feast their eyes on Mother Nature’s cornucopia a day after feasting on Thanksgiving turkey instead of battling the madness at the malls. Green Friday programs will be offered at many Arkansas State Parks on November 29, 2019. Visitors can participate in a guided tour or strike out on their own in order to swap the commercial buzz for the tranquility of nature.

MTB Devil's Den State Park

The idea of Green Friday began several years ago when outdoor co-op REI shut their doors on Black Friday in order to encourage people to choose the outdoors over fighting it out in the aisles.  Their decision to close on Black Friday was originally made out of concern for its employees, said Ben Steele, the company’s executive vice president and chief customer officer.

“When we really thought about that day, and we thought about the experience that we’re creating for our employees on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we just kind of stepped back.” This year, it launched a campaign called “Opt to Act,” encouraging employees and customers to take simple actions to reduce their environmental impact.

There is true value in our natural areas, recreational activities, and traditions. Getting out and exploring them with friends and family are those priceless connections – those priceless memories. What is your “connection?” Hiking or biking in the woods? Doing a craft? Find a real value at an Arkansas state park by reconnecting with the things that many of us find important in life. A park is an ideal place to avoid the stress of crowds, long lines, and rain checks on sale items usually associated with the holidays. Consider new family traditions that you may just find priceless. The memories you make will last far longer than the latest gadget.

Green Friday Events at Arkansas State Parks

  • Mammoth Spring State Park is the perfect place to avoid the stress of the holiday season and make lifelong memories. Come out and hike Spring Lake Trail, tour the depot museum, visit the playground, or shoot hoops on our basketball court.
  • Lake Catherine State Park has a beautiful waterfall, over five miles of hiking trails, restful cabins with cozy fireplaces, and more! Take time to enjoy this state park; it’s all waiting for you!
  • Lake Dardanelle State Park will offer activity stations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lakeview Room. All ages welcome!
  • Join the Lake Fort Smith State Park staff for a family-friendly group mountain bike ride. This trail ride is good for younger cyclists and those who are new to mountain biking. This ride covers 1 ½-mile of gravel road and wooded single-track trail.
  • The Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources will help visitors learn about how the holidays were celebrated in the past, especially during the 1920s, and how different that is from today. Additionally, visitors can design and assemble their own holiday ornament with an assortment of supplies. Please call to reserve a place.
  • Mount Nebo State Park will host a hike on the beautiful Rim Trail. It offers scenic views of the Arkansas River Valley. This hike will be moderately strenuous. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water.
  • Come on out to Jacksonport State Park on Green Friday and avoid the shopping crowds! This is a perfect opportunity to walk off that Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy nature at the same time. Take a walk along the trail, examine animal tracks, collect pecans (if they’re not all gone), and maybe even see a bald eagle.
  • Relax and unwind from a hectic day of shopping with a peaceful hike around Lake Ponder Trail at Crowley’s Ridge State Park. Learn about the history of this .5-mile trail and the importance this trail has to the park. After the hike, participants will have the opportunity to sip some pine tree tea made from pine trees around the park. This trail is paved and is ADA/stroller access.

Find even more fun ways to enjoy Green Friday by going to ArkansasStateParks.com/events. Also, let us know how you spent Green Friday on social media by using use the hashtags #ARStateParks, #GreenFriday and #OptOutside.

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About Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities and unique historic and cultural resources. The system includes 1,100 buildings (including 183 historic structures), six National Historic Landmarks, a National Natural Landmark, 16 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, and War Memorial Stadium.

The state parks have 1,800 campsites, 1,050 picnic sites, 208 cabins, five lodges, and 415 miles of trails. Eight million visitors annually come from all regions of the country. Park staffs provide over 42,000 education programs, activities and special events to more than 700,000 participants each year.
Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation.