Grand Gulf/Mammoth Spring Mini-Vacation

This post is one of those primarily-for-myself/family members-as-well-as-memory-record/virtual-scrapbook sorts of posts. Will return to more appropriately birthy, womanist posts soon…

My college classes run on 8 week sessions, 5 sessions per year. This means I get five breaks of 2-3 weeks each during the course of the year. We have a family tradition of taking a vacation during my October break. This year, due to multiple weekend commitments (my brother got married! Yay! It was beautiful! Our close friends are building a straw bale house and the big bale-raising is this weekend. More yay! I’m really excited for them!) and due to the fact that Alaina is still too young to be a very awesome care traveler, we planned a mini vacation rather than a full-fledged vacation.

Since long before we had kids I’ve wanted to visit Grand Gulf State Park in Thayer, Missouri right by the Arkansas state line. It is billed as a “little Grand Canyon” and while the real Grand Canyon is also on my bucket list, it doesn’t make any sense to go to the big one when the little one is right in your own two-hours-away back yard! Grand Gulf is a collapsed cave system that collapsed about 10,000 years ago, leaving a true chasm behind. The Gulf is a mile long and 130 feet deep. Water flows underground in the remainder of the cave system and emerges two miles later in Arkansas at Mammoth Spring, where it produces nine million gallons of water an hour and is the tenth largest spring in the world. After driving for about 2.5 hours, we visited Grand Gulf on Sunday afternoon. Then, we continued on for 18 miles to our hotel in Hardy, AR which is a small, historic town with little shops. On Monday, we spent the morning checking out Mammoth Spring and then the afternoon visiting the shops in Hardy. On Tuesday, we ate homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast at the hotel and then headed back home, arriving in plenty of time to take the kids to taekwondo and to get me to my faculty meeting that night.

Here is a gallery of pictures from our three destinations! (if you click on any picture, it will open up a large version and then you can page through all of them like a slideshow)


Family mini-vacation officially earns a two-thumbs up from all of us. It was low-key enough of a destination to do everything in the time we had without feeling rushed at all and being able to take leisurely pace with detours as need be. It was close enough to get there in under three hours with three kids, but far enough away to be located in “exotic” Arkansas so we could feel like we actually “went somewhere.” The trip was short enough in duration that we’re not exhausted and struggling to recover and the kids didn’t get overdone in the car. We’ve already thought of some other potential destinations for future class breaks and also discussed drawing a circle on the map with a four-hour radius and see how many places we could go.

3 thoughts on “Grand Gulf/Mammoth Spring Mini-Vacation

  1. Wow, after doing the slide show, i felt like I’d just had a vacation myself! Thanks! What wonderful pics and comments. I loved the collage-woman & nifty statue too. Especially loved the uppy uppy pic! Brings back delightful memories I thought I’d forgotten 🙂

  2. Pingback: Happy Holidays! | Talk Birth

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