People in Arkansas love camping, especially during springtime, we tell you. With one of the best climates in the US, Arkansas is a fantastic place to visit for your camping adventures. The state is filled with stunning places that make you want to escape the rush of city life. So, what are the best places to camp in Arkansas?
Before enumerating the top campgrounds and reserves in Arkansas, we’d like to remind you of your memorable camping moments – boating by the lake, grilling burgers and s’mores, sharing stories and life lessons, and watching the stars at night. All of these moments we cherished because we’re in the company of nature and our loved ones.
When Is The Best Time To Camp In Arkansas?
Camping is permitted all year-round in Arkansas. However, summers can be pretty hot and unforgiving while winters bring unpredictable weathers. Hence, fall and spring are deemed by the locals as the best times to chill out and camp in the beautiful Arkansas.
Fall features cooler temperatures and sunny environments. Also, it’s special for most campers because they can witness the beautiful golden foliage everywhere. It’s the reason why many occasional campers wait until the fall season for their rare annual camping trips.
Whether you prefer watching the scenery from the comforts of your cabin, trekking and biking through long, winding trails, setting up camp in lush forests, or simply fishing or kayaking along the river, Arkansas sure has something for every outdoorsman.
With endless options, you’ll surely have a hard time deciding where to go first. Fret not! We took on the job of compiling the 5 best campsites and camping areas in Arkansas based on suggestions of true blue Arkansas campers and of course, from our own experiences.
Top 5 Places To Camp In Arkansas
#1. Lake Ouchita State Park
With over 200 islands surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Ouachita State Park boasts crystal clear waters, 67 camping sites, 21 recreation areas, and 13 swimming beaches.
Its scenic beauty and 40,000-acre pristine manmade lake draw people from all over the world to camp in this particular place. It’s also one of the cleanest lakes in the entire America! Whatever your age group is, there’s something out here to enjoy for you.
For instance, the lake is a water sports mecca for swimmers, scuba divers, boaters, and anglers. Anglers will surely enjoy the abundance of bass, crappie, and catfish sprawled in the open waters and along the shoreline.
Furthermore, there are two hiking trails in the park, the Dogwood trail, and the Caddo Bend Trail. The two trails differ in difficulty level so make sure you’re ready for either.
#2. Petit Jean State Park
Dubbed as the mother of Arkansas State Parks, the Petit Jean State Park is one of the top camping attractions in the vicinity. It offers a lot of activities that will surely tire your bones out — you’ll soon realize that your campsite is just a place to sleep after all as numerous activities will draw you away from your campsite.
You can hike all you want within the 20-mile stretch of the Seven Hollows Trail, go kayaking or fishing on Lake Bailey, gush on the sunset in Red Bluff Drive, or take a dip at the park’s public pool. Be sure to visit the Mather Lodge! A visit here isn’t complete without dining at the lodge.
The park provides camping sites and electrical hookups for tents and RVs. They even have yurts in case you want to feel a little luxurious or you simply don’t feel like setting up a tent.
Petit Jean is an ideal family camping site. They have excellent facilities (pools, tennis courts, playgrounds), offer equipment rentals, has picnic areas and grills, and have hiking trails suitable for all ages.
#3. Buffalo National River
The Buffalo National River is one of the most unique attractions in Arkansas. It features “improved campgrounds” which floats along the shore and gravel bars. Setting up camp in one of these is indeed a great experience.
The float trip might be the most popular thing to do here in the Buffalo because aide from merely floating, you can also take a dip, fish, canoe, and observe the park’s wildlife.
Aside from the floating campgrounds, the park has 13 campsites ranging from primitive types to hookups.
Another great activity in the Buffalo is hiking in the Lost Valley. Every turn you take on the trail will expose you to magical sceneries. Also, it will take you past cascading creeks, natural bridges, waterfalls, and lots of unique vegetation.
This camping spot is truly for the adventurous. It’s a nature paradise for camping enthusiasts.
#4. Devil’s Den State Park
Devil’s Den State Park has been hosting campers and spelunkers for decades. It boasts miles after miles of gorgeous trails, caves, and massive rock formations. In fact, it has dedicated one trail for the celebration of the oldest mountain bike festival in the state.
Backpacking, hiking, and canoeing are popular activities in the park. It offers long hiking and horse trails with the Ozark Mountains as a backdrop, an 8-acre lake, luscious forests, and numerous campsites. It has all kinds of campsites including Classes A to C, hookups, hike-ins, and RVs.
Inside the park, you can find a dainty restaurant, a big swimming pool, and canoe and boat rentals if you lack any equipment.
#5. Ozark-St. Francis National Forest
The Ozark-St. Francis National Forest is comprised of two distinct forests with unique topography and geology, as well as cultural and social differences.
The 1.2-million acre Ozark National Forest lies inside the Ozark mountains. In here, you’ll find Mount Magazine, the tallest mountain in Arkansas and the Blanchard Spring Caverns, a stunning underground cave.
On the other hand, the 22,000-acre St. Francis National Forest may be small, but it’s lavishly endowed with areas designed for recreational activities such as camping, hiking, hunting, swimming, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing.
There you have it folks, 5 of the best places to camp in Arkansas. Well, the places listed above are just the tip of the iceberg — as far as we know, Arkansas has about 30 to 40 campsites available for camping. But still, those are the best of the bunch.
Hey,camper! What’s up? Have you been to any campgrounds in Arkansas? Tell us your experience in the comments section below. Cheers!