Not surprisingly for a city named for its rock bluffs, there are many different outdoor activities in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1722, after exiting the Mississippi River, French explorer Jean Baptiste Benard de La Harpe named the first rock bluffs he saw "La Petite Roche" or "little rock." The name remained for this capital city, which is also the largest city in Arkansas. Parks such as Riverfront, Murray, Burns, Kanis, Pinnacle Mountain, and Crater of Diamonds offer plenty of outdoor activities in the area.
Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro, offers one of the most popular and unique activities in this region. The park has the only diamond mine open to the public in the world where casual miners can keep what they find. Many different colors of diamonds have been found here, with white, yellow and brown being the most common. Garnet, amethyst, hematite, peridot, jasper and quartz crystal have also been found in the park's search area. Other outdoor activities in Crater of Diamonds State Park include camping, playing in a mining-themed water park, and fishing for large mouth bass, bream, and catfish.
There are a large number of city parks in or near Little Rock, and all are less than a 30 minute drive from the city. Pinnacle Mountain, in Roland, is a state park that is known for activities such as camping, hiking, and bird and wildlife watching. Kanis Park is popular for the skateboarding, jogging, biking, basketball, softball, and tennis.
People who's idea of outdoor fun includes amusement parks and playgrounds may want to consider going to Burns Park. This is a well-known, large municipal park that has an amusement park, playgrounds, and a water slide, as well as racquetball courts and tennis courts. Burns Park also has a softball field, a miniature golf course, and a disc golf course.
Outdoor activities in Little Rock near the Arkansas River include both Murray Park and Riverfront Park. Riverfront Park, right in downtown, features many paths and walkways, while Murray Park has two playgrounds. Murray Park is also known for outdoor activities such as fishing and soccer playing.