Big Cedar Lodge
Big Cedar Lodge is a world-famous resort dripping with natural beauty and offering every conceivable amenity. It’s routinely named the best resort in the Midwest by national travel pubs. The resort recently opened the first public golf course in the country designed by Tiger Woods. Among the lesser-known lodging options are the resort’s posh glamping tents pictured on our cover.
Table Rock Resorts
Tucked into the scenic Ozark foothills, Table Rock Resorts is rising in popularity and features miles of shoreline to explore. Waterfront cabins and luxury condos are big enough for families of any size, ranging from one to seven bedrooms. Cozy up around community fire pits, or enjoy an afternoon exploring from a free kayak. Experience Table Rock Lake with a rental boat, or bring your own and dock in one of eighty-eight slips on-site. Amenities include adjacent hiking trails, paddleboard yoga, and fishing and swimming platforms—plus proximity to Silver Dollar City.
Flamingo Springs Trailer Resort
Prairie Grove, Arkansas
Until my Prius chugged up the long and steep driveway at Flamingo Springs, I felt like I was in true Ozark Mountain territory. On Greasy Valley Road, I passed pastures of cows, went up and down forty-five-degree hills and along skinny roads that reminded me of the ones I navigated in rural Ireland. And, ultimately, I lost cell phone service.
But as soon as I pulled into the gravel parking lot at Flamingo Springs, I was taken to midcentury-era Palm Springs like the kind I’d seen in vintage ads. Inspired by a trailer resort that they spotted in Joshua Tree National Park, Laura and Zack Kraus—who met bartending in Los Angeles and had backgrounds in theater and production design—decided to buy a plot of land in the rolling foothills of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, and create this colorful and secluded getaway popular with bachelorette parties and couples retreats alike.
Flamingo Springs isn’t your typical trailer park. Each of the six trailers has a different theme, from Friends to nineties hairband to tacky Christmas, Clark Griswold-style. The trailers circle a pool and are set against fifty acres of wooded mountains. And don’t even ask for a Wifi password, because there isn’t one; to Laura and Zack, this resort aims for human interaction, whether that’s singing songs around the campfire, shooting cans with BB guns, playing oldies on the restored jukebox or watching a grainy movie on the VHS player in the community room.
“The first weekend we were open, there were four couples, all strangers, that came here,” Laura says. “Now they come back every year on the same weekend.”
Zack passed away in February after a yearlong stomach cancer battle, and Laura is sure that his hardworking and creative legacy will live on through the resort and the memories to be created there.
“He has every part of every ounce of this space,” she says. “It is beautiful that I can go out and see him anywhere.” —Nicole Bradley
Haunted Hotels of Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Eureka Springs is an artsy community full of historic buildings on a steep hillside in Northwest Arkansas. The Crescent Hotel, overlooking the city, is known as America’s Most Haunted Hotel and has been featured on the show Ghost Hunters. The Basin Park Hotel opened in downtown Eureka Springs in 1905. A previous hotel on the spot burned during a rash of fires in 1890. So when Basin Park was built, iron catwalks were added to connect every floor to the neighboring mountainside, making the Basin Park Hotel the only hotel in the world where each floor is the ground floor. Some believe the hotel is haunted because it sits where another hotel burned; others believe it’s because of the proximity to a Native American healing spring.
If you’re looking to really get away from it all and just relax, this is the place. They offer four secluded and comfortable cabins in the Missouri Ozarks that are private with a view of the Meramec River. The cabins at Murphy’s Place are comfortable, well-stocked and feature personal touches like hand-made log beds.
Buffalo Outdoor Center
Buffalo Outdoor Center is located in a tiny community with huge beauty. They offer many cabins close to both the Buffalo National River and various hiking trails, ziplining and bike trails. Cabins are fully furnished with linens and kitchen gear, down to the coffee pot. You’ll also find extras like beautiful native stone fireplaces, porch swings and charcoal grills. In addition to cabin rentals, BOC offers kayak and raft rentals and a retail store/gas station where you can grab snacks, souvenirs and fuel.