5 Ways to Do Cherokee Village, AR, Like a Local

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A mother and daughter hold hands and stand near the water's edge at Mammoth Spring in Cherokee Village, AR.
Mammoth Spring State Park | Photo Courtesy of Travel South USA

Sparkling springs, cascading waterfalls, and expansive lakes are abundant in the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas. There’s a reason Arkansas is called the Natural State.

And situated just east of this beautiful landscape is Cherokee Village. You’ve probably never heard of this small city, but it’s worth visiting. With activities like fishing, kayaking, golfing, and hiking, you’ll find something for everyone in Cherokee Village, AR. 

Let’s look at how you can blend in with the locals when visiting this small city in northern Arkansas. Let’s dive in!

About Cherokee Village, AR

Within the limits of Cherokee Village, AR, you’ll find seven lakes and two marinas. It’s an excellent area for fishers, boaters, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Lake Thunderbird offers 7 miles of shoreline and has become a popular destination for vacationers. The area is also popular among retirees. In fact, by the 1960s, Cherokee Village was Arkansas’ leading retirement community and continues to welcome older adults to the area today.

Retreat, rest, and renew on your trip to Cherokee Village, Arkansas.

According to the 2020 US Census, about 4,600 people live in Cherokee Village, AR. The late pro golfer, Tommy Bolt, lived in later years and died in Cherokee Village. Garrard Conley, who inspired the 2018 film Boy Erased, was raised in a home on Lake Thunderbird in Cherokee Village.

Traveler’s Tip: A little over an hour southwest from Cherokee Village, the town of Mountain View, AR, beckons fishermen from all over because of its proximity to the White River.

Where Is Cherokee Village, AR? 

Cherokee Village, AR, covers a large area of land, especially for such a small population. Its almost 21 square miles, stretching into the two counties of Fulton and Sharp in northern Arkansas.

Surrounded by the Ozarks, Cherokee Village is set in a beautiful part of Arkansas, only about 20 miles south of the Arkansas-Missouri border.

Springfield, Miss., is less than a three-hour drive, Memphis, Tenn., is a little over a two-hour drive, and Little Rock, Ark., is about a two-and-a-half hour drive.

5 Ways to Experience Cherokee Village, AR, Like a Local 

Because of its location and beautiful scenery, Cherokee Village, AR, offers great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you enjoy hiking, birding, kayaking, golfing, or fishing, there’s something for everyone in this city in northern Arkansas.

1. Enjoy the Outdoors at Mammoth Spring State Park 

Address: 17 US Hwy 63, Mammoth Spring, AR 72554

About: Drive about 25 minutes north to the border of Arkansas and Missouri and spend a day exploring Mammoth Spring State Park. The spring is Arkansas’ and one of the world’s largest. Nine million gallons of water flow every hour. 

The kids will enjoy the playground, baseball field, and picnic area. Go on a hike along the Interpretive Trail loop. Stop at the overlooks and check out the Depot Museum.

The spring is a National Natural Landmark, and you’ll love spending a few hours or an entire day enjoying the beauty here.

A woman in a red raft paddles down the Mammoth Spring near Cherokee Village, AR.

2. Float the Spring River With 3 Rivers Outfitters

Address: 400 Church St, Hardy, AR 72542

About: Just a few minutes northeast of Cherokee Village, AR, is the town of Hardy. Visit 3 Rivers Outfitters to schedule a float down the Spring River.

They offer kayak, canoe, and tube rentals with several different locations for departure. For a more intense experience, you can book a rafting tour.

The Low Water Bridge to Hardy Beach tour is about 5 miles long, and the Saddler Falls to Low Water Bridge tour is about 7 miles long. Prices range from $35 to $65 to rent a canoe or kayak, $25 to $30 to rent a tube, and $25 to $35 for a rafting tour.

What a fun way to experience the Spring River!

3. Play a Round of Golf at Two Local Golf Courses

Address: 20 Omaha Cir, Cherokee Village, AR 72529

About: There are two golf courses in Cherokee Village: a north and a south location. The South Fork River divides and borders the entire north course, which is a full 18-hole course with beautiful scenic views.

In 2004, Golfweek Magazine rated the south course on its top five list of courses that allow public access. It’s also a full 18-hole golf course that was called “a hidden diamond” by Golf Digest.

If you enjoy golfing, don’t miss out on playing a round at one of these locations when you visit Cherokee Village, AR.

4. Grab a Burger at Carol’s Lakeview Restaurant

Address: 200 Iroquois Dr, Cherokee Village, AR 72529

About: A local favorite is Carol’s Lakeview Restaurant, situated near Lake Thunderbird. It offers a beautiful view of the lake and a homestyle dining experience. Try a roasted beef sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy, or dive into a juicy cheeseburger.

One guest wrote on her Google review, “My husband said the catfish was some of the best he’s ever had and the ham and bean soup is the best he’s ever had, and he won’t stop talking about it.” 

Carol’s is open daily from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Sundays, they open later and close earlier with operating hours of 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

5. Enjoy the Amenities at Southfork Resort 

Address: 7230 Arkansas Highway 289, Mammoth Spring, AR 72554

About: If you want to camp or rent a cabin, check out Southfork Resort. It’s about a 20-minute drive northwest of Cherokee Village. They have primitive and RV sites available with 11 cabins, all equipped with an air conditioner.

The store has bait and gear for all of your fishing needs. Stand on the bank and enjoy bass fishing or take a short drive to Dam 3 to fish for trout.

Southfork Resort also provides canoe, kayak, raft, and tube float trips. It’s a great place to stay and explore while visiting Cherokee Village, AR.

Enjoy Your Trip to Cherokee Village, AR

While it might not have been on your road trip list before, hopefully you’ll add Cherokee Village, AR, to it now. When traveling along Highway 412 in northern Arkansas, take a pit stop for a few days to explore the area here. Even if you’re traveling along Highway 9 to the west, it’s worth a slight detour to visit Cherokee Village.

There’s so much beauty in the Ozarks, and Cherokee Village has everything you need for an enjoyable and comfortable stay. Whether you book a tube float down the Spring River or enjoy a few hours of golf, the outdoors are calling you to Arkansas, the Natural State. 

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