Decorating the Christmas tree is a family tradition that looks a little different in each household. There’s certainly no right or wrong way to do it, but if you normally pull out a fake tree from the attic, or grab a real one from Home Depot, what if you changed it up this year? What if you cut your own tree? A fresh cut Christmas tree ushers in an ambiance that a fake just can’t mimic, and acquiring it provides a day chalked full of family fun! Let’s dive into all the reasons you need a live tree this year and the best Arkansas Christmas tree farms in which to find the perfect one!
Why Cut Your Own Tree?
Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you go tramping off into the woods and bring home some Charlie Brown-looking nightmare. Rather, I highly suggest a day at one of Arkansas’s Christmas tree farms. Tree farms are becoming more and more popular in recent years, and they not only offer a plethora of amazing trees to choose from, but they’re incredible spots for family-friendly holiday fun!
Disclaimer: I’m not saying you can’t go in the woods and cut down your own tree in Arkansas, but there are a lot of limits. Depending on the designation of the land, the location of the tree in relation to water, (etc., etc.), the tree may or may not be cuttable. For instance, you may need a permit if you’re searching on BLM land, which includes a lot of the forests in the state. Then, there are personal property issues. If you choose to go that route, check with your local BLM office or the Arkansas Forest Commission before cutting down any trees!
Back to the fun stuff…I was lucky enough to grow up just a few miles from a fantastic Christmas tree farm, and going to pick out our tree was one of our favorite family traditions. There are several reasons why opting for the Christmas tree farm offers a more valuable experience than a Hobby Lobby tree. Here are just a few of the big ones:
1. Cut Trees Are Individuals!
There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh-cut Christmas tree! The aroma emanates through your home, transforming your space into a Christmas wonderland immediately. Each real tree is an individual with a unique shape, size, smell, and needle pattern. That means you get something a bit different each year! Do they last as long? Well, no, but a well-watered cut tree will more than last the full holiday season!
2. Full-Family Involvement
Going to a good tree farm gets the whole family involved in the tree-picking and decorating process. My family would wander the rows, each person picking their favorites. Mom saying “That one’s a bit too big” or “Well, that one has a big hole in the middle, see?” We’d eventually settle on the perfect one, and Dad would crawl under and cut it down with the provided hand saw. I’m 40 years old now, but I still remember the excitement of watching it fall, having it wrapped up, and putting it in the truck to take home. It was so fulfilling.
3. Fun Family Activities
Now, when I was a kid, the activities at the Christmas tree farm mostly involved getting a candy cane from the owner and marveling at the cool machine that shook out the pine needles and wrapped the tree in mesh. Oh, how things have changed!
Most great Christmas tree farms now have coffee or hot cocoa stands, petting zoos, holiday trains, photo booths, and much more. They’re fantastic spots for family photos, and weather permitting, a great way to spend a winter weekend day. If your family is anything like ours, the kids are bored two days into the Christmas holiday. A day at the farm is a break for mom and dad from the dreaded, “I’m bored” whining, and you come with a fat, full tree, a full belly, and a full heart!
4. Supports Local Business
Let’s be real. Home Depot and Hobby Lobby have enough money, and they could care less about your holiday experience. Local tree farms put their heart and soul into their crop, year-round, and even more effort into providing a fun holiday atmosphere for families. Many of these farms also offer seasonal jobs to local teens as petting zoo keepers or tree cutters. Let’s throw them some dollars instead!
5. Encourages Exploring
While there are tree farms in urban areas, many of the best ones are located in rural Arkansas, because, well… you know…they’re farms! Taking a drive to your nearest farm allows you to explore some of the adorable small towns in Arkansas and partake in their Christmas festivities, eat in local cafes, and sample the local shopping.
The Best Christmas Tree Farms in Arkansas
Now that you’re (hopefully) convinced of the perks, let’s dive into the absolute best tree farms in the Natural State. I’ve tried to include at least one farm in each region, so there should be something within driving distance for you.
I’ve also done my best to ensure the information provided is up to date for 2023, but most of these farms are family-owned operations and may choose to change things. Make sure to check the website or call ahead to your intended farm before planning your day. Let’s go tree hunting!
1. Papa Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm-Benton, Central Arkansas
- Location: 4976 Warford Rd, Benton, AR, United States, Arkansas
- Dates: Select days in November and weekends in December. Check their Facebook page for specific dates. Open from 8am to 5pm.
Papa Santa’s describes themselves as “a quaint little Christmas tree farm located on the outskirts of Benton.” They offer a cute photo booth with onsite photographers, wagon rides, hot cocoa, and visits with Santa on Saturdays! You can cut your own tree with provided saws, or get some help from the staff. If you prefer a small, traditional experience in Central Arkansas, then Papa Santa’s is a great option!
2. Schilling’s Christmas Tree Farm-Lonoke, Central Arkansas
- Location: 1476 Hwy 294, Lonoke, AR, United States, Arkansas
- Dates: They haven’t released 2023 dates yet, but generally they open the day after Thanksgiving. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for alerts.
Schilling’s has been in operation for more than 30 years. With over 17 acres of Carolina Sapphires, Leyland and Virginia Pines, and special-order flocked trees, they have a stunning tree for every taste. They also sell wreaths, door swags, and tree stands on-site.
For the kiddos, they offer a holiday-themed photo booth, hay rides, a brand new mascot…an adorable pot-bellied pig, named Rudolph, or Rudy for short! Guests rave that the family is incredibly warm and friendly and that the selection of trees is superb!
3. Lolli’s Christmas Tree Farm- Rudy, West AR River Valley
- Location: 6100 Christmas Tree Ln Rudy, AR, United States, Arkansas
- Dates: Thanksgiving to December 22nd, 10am to 5pm daily.
Lolli’s offers a large selection of Leyland and Virginia Pines. You choose the perfect tree, and they’ll cut, shake, wrap, and load it for you. The farm offers photography spots for outside photographers and their clients by appointment and for an extra fee. It’s a simple farm, with not too many bells or whistles, but you’ll come home with a beautiful tree, every time!
4. Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farm-Charleston, West AR River Valley
- Location: 2919 Yocum Street Charleston, AR 72933
- Dates: November 19th through December 22nd
- Saturday & Sunday: 10am to 5:30pm
- Monday-Friday: 1pm to 5:30pm
- Open Thanksgiving: 1pm to 5:30pm
- Black Friday: 10am to 5:30pm
Remember at the beginning of this article when I told you I grew up around the corner from a fabulous Christmas tree farm? Well, this is the one. Greg and Betty Eckart have been growing Leyland and Murray Cypress, Virginia Pine, Carolina Sapphire, Blue Ice, and Frasier Fir since 1978. Pine Grove Christmas Tree Farm has one of the most diverse crops in Arkansas and is the best in the business!
They offer pig races, a haystack mountain, a cow train, a magic candy cane tree, bean bag games, and tunnels. The petting zoo is complete with sheep, baby chicks, and goats! There’s a small farmer’s market that sells soft drinks, homemade cookies, blackberry jam, and pepper jelly. Hot chocolate and photo ops are free to those buying a tree, and they always have the cutest props.
You can cut your own tree, or one of the local boys will come out and help you. They shake, trim, wrap, and load it at no extra charge. All trees are marked with a price tag based on height, size, and species, so you know what you’re getting before you cut.
5. Christmas Tree Lane-Ozark, AR River Valley
- Location: 8102 S. Hwy 23 Ozark, AR 72949
- Dates: November 18th-December 17th
- Times and services vary by day, 9am to 5pm or 2pm to 5pm (See calendar)
Christmas Tree Lane is another standout tree farm in the AR River Valley. The Lane family planted their first trees in 1990, and they sell Virginia Pine, Frasier Fir, Carolina Sapphire, and Leland Cypress. They offer hot chocolate and some small snacks for tree shoppers. They also have a coop where you can buy decorations and local crafts.
The farm hosts field trips complete with an array of photo ops, a live snowman, and tons of games for the kiddos. They even have a couple of Airbnb Christmas cabins for rent on-site. Their mascot is a big and loveable St. Bernard named Moose who’ll greet you when you arrive. Professional photography is available by appointment, and they have adorable props, including a vintage, red farm truck!
6. Wonderland Christmas Tree Farm-Pea Ridge, NW Arkansas
- Location: 14821 Miser Road Pea Ridge, AR 72751
- Dates: November 18th-December 17th
- Times vary by day- See calendar for details
One of the most awarded and comprehensive on the list, Wonderland Christmas Tree Farm is Northwest Arkansas’s premier tree shopping experience. They grow Virginia Pine, Scotch Pine, Leyland Cypress, White Pine, Frasier Fir, and Turkish Fir. You do your own tree cutting here with the provided tools. They’ll shake, trim, net, and load it for you. Each tree is pre-tagged with price and details. Photography sessions must be booked in advance for a fee.
The family-owned farm offers a beautiful gift shop, local food vendors, a post office where you can send letters to Santa, a hot chocolate stand, and fun hay rides!
7. Motley Christmas Tree Farm-Little Rock, Central AR
- Location: 13724 Sandy Ann Drive, Little Rock, AR 72206
- Dates: November 18th-December 17th, closed Thanksgiving Day
- Thursday-Friday: 1pm to 6pm
- Saturday-Sunday: 9am to 5pm
Since 1982, Motley Christmas Tree Farm has been treating the people of Central Arkansas to the ultimate Christmas experience. They sell Carolina Sapphire, Leyland Cypress, and Fraser Fir. They’ll escort you on a free wagon ride to find your perfect tree. You can cut your own tree, or they’ll help you out. They’ll shake, bale, and load it while you peruse the gift shop or the Motley’s Fudge Kitchen!
For the kiddos, they offer a fun snack bar with hot dogs, caramel apples, burgers, and much more. They’ll enjoy watching the pig races and meeting all the babies at the petting zoo too! If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas tree in Central AR, Motley’s is the place to be!
8. Vandiver’s New Castle Farms- Forrest City, East Central Arkansas
- Location: 7596 Hwy 284, Forrest City AR 72335
- Dates: Open Monday before Thanksgiving
- Monday-Friday: 1pm to 6pm
- Saturday: 8am to 6pm
Vandiver’s New Castle is a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm that started in 2007. They don’t offer as many activities on their farm, but their family-owned operation includes an on-site bakery with incredibly homemade treats created with love by the family matriarch.
The farm grows Leyland Cypress, Blue Ice, and Carolina Sapphires. They also sell fresh cut Fraser Firs that they have imported in. The family offers holiday coloring books, hot apple cider, and fresh popcorn to warm you while you wait for your tree to be prepared. You can cut your own tree at Vandiver’s or flag down staff to do it for you.
9. Tidwell Christmas Tree Farm- Fordyce, South Arkansas
- Location: 3404 Calhoun 162 Fordyce, AR
- Dates: Keep an eye on the website
Last, but definitely not least, the Tidwell Christmas Tree Farm serves up Virginia Pine, Leyland Cypress, White Pine, Carolina Sapphire, and pre-cut trees. They even sell potted Christmas trees for table decor or a kid’s room. From teeny tiny to gigantic, their large supply of trees is sure to please.
The rest of the farm is pretty simple. They offer a few simple games for kids and allow them to view the animals. There’s also a small Christmas shop with ornaments and handmade gifts. You’ll be greeted with a big smile and a warm cup of cocoa before setting out to cut your own perfect tree!
Tips for Visiting Arkansas Christmas Tree Farms
As small businesses, each of these amazing farms has its own personality and rules, but when prepping to visit a tree farm, bear a few things in mind:
- Dress in layers–Arkansas winters are unpredictable.
- Recheck dates and times on the day you plan to visit. Some of the farms are weather-dependent, so it’s best to call ahead.
- Bring some cash or a check. Many of the farms do not take credit cards, or they charge an extra fee to use your card.
- Bring your camera, but make sure you ask about the photography policy ahead of time. Some farms are totally cool with candid shots, as long as you’re purchasing a tree. Others only allow photography by their on-site photographers. If you plan to have a third-party, professional photographer take your photos, then you’ll need to pay an extra fee at most farms and have a pre-approved appointment.
- If you’ve waited until the last minute, call ahead and ensure that the farm still has trees in the approximate size and species that you’re desiring before you make the drive.
- Obviously, you’ll need to drive a vehicle with a bed or a luggage rack.
- Fresh cut Christmas trees can leak a little bit of sap. You may want to wear gloves and older clothes while setting up your tree.
- View this day as an adventure day! It’s not just a task to get a Christmas tree. A day at the tree farm is about getting into the holiday spirit, enjoying the last of the fall weather, and enjoying some tasty seasonal treats!
Get out there and cut your own tree!
We sincerely hope that we’ve convinced you to check out your local Christmas tree farm this year! Nothing brings in the holiday spirit like spending the day among the pines, hunting for the perfect centerpiece for your home. You’ll dine on all things caramel and cocoa, pet cute farm animals, enjoy some fresh air, play games, take hay rides, and snap some adorable photos. We can’t think of a better fall Arkansas day than that!
For more fantastic fall adventures in Arkansas, check out “Discover Arkansas in the Fall: From Hiking to Pumpkin Picking.” It’s full of great ideas to get you out and about this autumn!
Christmas tree farms and pumpkin patches kind of go hand in hand. In fact, some of the farms on our list operate as both. November is a cross-over month, so while picking out a tree, you may still be able to enjoy some pumpkin patch activities at the same time! Check out “Exploring the Best Pumpkin Patches in Arkansas for Families” to plan the perfect November outing.
…til next time!