Spring is officially here! Trees budding, flowers blooming, birds chirping, it doesn't get much better than that unless of course, you're spending some time in the mountains of the "Natural State" Arkansas. From its pristine lakes, wooded scenery, to mountain bluffs that overlook the valley below. Arkansas has a lot to offer the outdoor enthusiast or thrill seeker looking to getaway for the weekend or a family vacation.

1. Petit Jean State Park

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Petit Jean is located near the city of Morrilton and this is a little piece of heaven on earth for me personally. This state park features more than 80 structures, trails and bridges with the focal point being the Adirondack-style historic Mather Lodge that overlooks the river valley below that includes the rugged Cedar Creek Canyon at the base of the canyon floor where hikers congregate to marvel at the huge waterfall that flows over the top of the canyon rocks. Make sure you also take in other scenic trails like Bear Cave, Seven Hollows, and the famous Carpet Rocks and Turtle Rocks that resemble turtle shells.

2. Mount Magazine State Park

Arkansas Department Parks & Tourism

If you're looking for a romantic weekend getaway or a week to just unwind and relax Mount Magazine State Park is the perfect place.This area features the state's tallest mountain rising at 2,753 feet with incredible scenic views of the rugged wooded terrain and valley below. In fact, the temperature is always cooler at the top of this beautiful mountain retreat. The Lodge at Mount Magazine reminds me of a ski resort in Colorado and there are several cabins located through the mountain side with unbelievable views. Adrenaline junkies love coming here to hang glide and rock repel off the side of the cliffs. This is one visit that is well worth the drive.

3. Devil's Den State Park

Arkansas Department Parks & Tourism

Devil's Den State Park don't let the name fool you. There is nothing to fear from this state park that is situated in the scenic Ozark National Forest near the city of West Fork, it's just minutes from Fayetteville in Northwest Arkansas. With picturesque settings of the Lee Creek Valley and the iconic Yellow Rock Overlook, this park blends natural beauty with natural settings of the rustic style wood and stone architecture surroundings. Hiking, backpacking, mountain bike trails, cabin rentals are just some of the amenities that this park has to offer. There's only one word to describe this place and it's not devilish -- it's heavenly!

4. Mount Nebo State Park

Arkansas Department Parks & Tourism

Overlooking the Arkansas River Valley near the town of Dardanelle, Ark., Mount Nebo State Park is located near Mount Magazine. Rising 1,350 feet through mixed hardwood and tall pine trees with some of the most beautiful and breathtaking sunset views in Arkansas. With 34 campsites, this park is a camper's paradise not to mention 15 fully equipped rustic cabins for a stay you won't forget. With plenty of picnic areas, a pool, tennis courts, hiking trails and bike trails, this place is a must-place to stay.

5. Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas Department Parks & Tourism

A short drive from Texarkana (90 minute) Hot Springs has always been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a kid. The spa city gets it name from the Hot Springs that runs underground and through the surrounding mountains. The European explorer Hernando De Soto visited here in 1541 and the Native Indians called this place the "Valley of the Vapors" believing the hot springs had healing powers. There are breathtaking views all over the city whether it's on the lake or west mountain overlooking the city and the beauty of the surrounding Quachita National Forests. There is plenty to see and do in Hot Springs for all ages including Magic Springs theme park, gambling at Oaklawn, taking an historic ride on the yellow ducks, tour Bathhouse Row or get a awesome view from the Hot Springs tower. A summer vacation destination or a weekend getaway you'll find it all in Hot Springs National Park Arkansas.

6. Arkansas Grand Canyon

Arkansas Department Parks & Tourism

The Cliff House Inn Jasper, Ark., offers a bird's-eye view of what is called the Arkansas Grand Canyon overlooking the beautiful Ozark mountains. This mountain retreat is situated on the edge of a mountain where guests can enjoy the sunrise from one of their decks and you'll love the photogenic scenery of the surrounding beauty and birdwatchers will see a variety of hawks and bald eagles. The Cliff House Inn was inspired by Kenneth and Fern Carter who were traveling down scenic Highway 7 in 1960 and saw a tree line that overlooked the canyon and decided at that moment he was going to build the inn in that exact spot.

7. Talimena Scenic Byway

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

The Talimena Scenic Byway near Mena is probably one of the most scenic drives you can take in the state of Arkansas. Whether you ride a bike, a motorcycle or travel by car you'll see some the most beautiful countryside with rolling hills, mountains and plenty of woods. This drive eventually crosses into Eastern Oklahoma where there are numerous cabins to stay for a night or a week. Talk about a peaceful drive in the wide open country, this is the one!

8. Buffalo National River

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

In 1972. congress designated the Buffalo River as America's first national river and by doing so no residential or commercial development is allowed thus preserving its natural beauty. This is a great river to take a family float trip with its winding river valley and rapids at various points along the way.

9. Eureka Springs

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Eureka Springs is located in North Arkansas and has been nicknamed "Little Switzerland of the Ozarks" and for good reason. With its winding mountainside streets that run right through the historic downtown area with its Victorian style architecture, this makes for one great vacation spot. With an abundance of Bed & Breakfasts, cabins, and the historic Crescent Hotel which is reported to be one of the most haunted hotels in America.   Eureka Springs is also known for its countless boutiques, unique shops, bars and art galleries. This town also has a huge hippie vibe who may be into this culture.

10. Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism

Pinnacle Mountain State Park is a 2,000 acre park with a summit of 1,011 feet. Its view overlooks the Arkansas River on its way toward the Mississippi. This state park is located in the state Capitol of Arkansas Little Rock. The park offers a wide variety of walking trails and two barrier-free trails for hiking. Two of the trails lead to the top of the volcanic cone shaped summit for a panoramic view. For bike enthusiasts, there are more than eight miles of singletrack mountain bike trails. This is the premier park for people who enjoy bike riding.