Arkansas, also known as the Natural State, is home to some of the most beautiful camping spots in the country. From the rolling hills of the Ozark Mountains to the clear waters of Lake Ouachita, Arkansas offers a diverse range of camping experiences for every type of camper. Whether you prefer to pitch a tent in a secluded forest or park your RV in a developed campground with modern amenities, Arkansas has it all.
In this article, we will explore the top camping spots in Arkansas, each offering a unique and unforgettable experience. We will take a closer look at the most scenic locations in the state, including national parks, state parks, and recreational areas. From the breathtaking views of Petit Jean State Park to the rugged terrain of Devil’s Den State Park, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the best camping spots in Arkansas.
Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or an extended camping trip, Arkansas has something to offer every type of outdoor enthusiast. So, grab your camping gear, pack your bags, and get ready to explore the natural beauty of Arkansas through camping!
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Ozark National Forest is one of the most picturesque locations in Arkansas, offering a unique and unforgettable camping experience. The forest covers over 1.2 million acres and is home to many natural wonders, including waterfalls, caves, and scenic overlooks. It has many campsites, ranging from primitive sites to developed campgrounds, making it a great destination for all types of campers.
Camping in Ozark National Forest is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the tranquility of nature. There are several developed campgrounds in the forest, such as the Mulberry Mountain Lodging & Events campground, which is equipped with modern amenities such as hot showers, flush toilets, and fire pits. Additionally, primitive camping is available throughout the forest, offering a more secluded experience for those who prefer to rough it in the great outdoors.
One of the highlights of camping in Ozark National Forest is the opportunity to hike the many trails throughout the area. These trails offer stunning views of the forest and its natural beauty. For example, the Ozark Highlands Trail is a 165-mile-long trail that winds through the forest, offering hikers a challenging but rewarding experience. Additionally, there are many other trails, ranging from easy to difficult, that offer opportunities for hiking, backpacking, and exploring.
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Queen Wilhelmina State Park is a beautiful park located in the Ouachita Mountains in western Arkansas, and it is a great spot for camping enthusiasts looking for a peaceful and serene outdoor getaway. The park is named after Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who visited the park in 1910 when it was still a hotel. It has since become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a relaxing retreat.
The park offers several campsites that can accommodate tents, RVs, and campers. The campsites are well-maintained and include basic amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, and access to water and electric hookups. Additionally, there are cabins available for those looking for a more comfortable camping experience. These cabins are equipped with modern amenities such as air conditioning, heating, and a kitchenette.
The park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, biking, and fishing. Several trails wind through the park and offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The park is also home to the famous Talimena National Scenic Byway, which provides a stunning drive through the mountains and forests.
Visitors to Queen Wilhelmina State Park can also enjoy the park’s lodge, which offers a restaurant, gift shop, and beautiful views of the surrounding area. The lodge was recently renovated and features a cozy fireplace and comfortable seating areas.
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White Rock Mountain Recreation Area is a stunning location in Arkansas that offers a unique and memorable camping experience. Located in the Ozark National Forest, White Rock Mountain Recreation Area is known for its panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
Camping at White Rock Mountain Recreation Area is perfect for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse themselves in nature. There are a variety of camping options available, including RV sites, tent sites, and cabins. The tent sites are located in a secluded and peaceful area that offers privacy and a sense of tranquility. The RV sites are equipped with electrical and water hookups and are spacious enough to accommodate large RVs.
One of the highlights of camping at White Rock Mountain Recreation Area is the breathtaking views. The campsite is situated on top of a mountain, providing stunning views of the valley below. The area is also known for its stunning sunsets and starry nights, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Aside from the beautiful scenery, White Rock Mountain Recreation Area also offers a range of recreational activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. The nearby trails offer varying degrees of difficulty, making it accessible for hikers of all levels. The area is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including black bears, bobcats, and deer.
Lake Fort Smith State Park is a picturesque camping destination in the heart of the Arkansas Ozarks. Located just 10 miles from the town of Mountainburg, the park offers visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area while enjoying a variety of outdoor activities.
The park’s campground features 30 campsites, each with water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. There are also ten walk-in campsites available for those who prefer a more secluded camping experience. Restrooms, showers, and a dump station are also available on site.
One of the main attractions of Lake Fort Smith State Park is the lake itself, which offers excellent fishing opportunities for a variety of species, including bass, crappie, and catfish. Boating is also popular on the lake, with rentals available at the park’s marina. The park also boasts several hiking trails, including the Ozark Highlands Trail, which passes through the park and offers backpackers a chance to explore the rugged beauty of the Ozarks.
Other recreational activities available at the park include mountain biking, swimming, and birdwatching. The park’s Visitor Center features exhibits on the history and natural features of the area, as well as a gift shop and interpretive programs.
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Camping at Crater of Diamonds State Park is a unique experience that combines outdoor recreation with the thrill of a treasure hunt. Located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, this state park is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public. Visitors can explore a 37.5-acre plowed field that is the site of a volcanic crater where diamonds were formed millions of years ago. The park offers visitors the chance to hunt for diamonds and other gems, with the possibility of finding a valuable diamond to take home.
The park offers a variety of camping options, including tent sites, RV sites, and cabins. The campground is located in a quiet, wooded area that provides a peaceful retreat from the excitement of diamond hunting. The campground features amenities such as water and electric hookups, picnic tables, and fire rings. In addition to diamond hunting, visitors can enjoy hiking trails, fishing, and swimming in the park’s lake.
Camping at Crater of Diamonds State Park is a great opportunity to unplug and connect with nature. The park’s unique geological history and the possibility of finding a diamond make it a one-of-a-kind destination. Whether you are a seasoned camper or new to camping, Crater of Diamonds State Park offers an unforgettable experience that combines the great outdoors with the thrill of discovery.
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Lake Catherine State Park, located in the Ouachita Mountains of central Arkansas, is a beautiful and popular camping destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This state park offers a variety of camping options including 70 campsites, 18 cabins, and 5 yurts. Whether you prefer traditional tent camping, the convenience of an RV, or the comfort of a cabin, Lake Catherine State Park has something for everyone.
The campsites are situated near the lake and offer beautiful views of the water. Each site includes a picnic table, fire ring, and grill. The campground also features modern amenities, including flush toilets, hot showers, and a dump station.
In addition to camping, Lake Catherine State Park offers a variety of recreational activities. Visitors can swim, fish, boat, and kayak on the lake. The park also has several hiking trails ranging from easy to strenuous. For a more leisurely activity, visitors can take a scenic boat tour of the lake.
For those interested in exploring the surrounding area, the park is located near several popular attractions, including the Hot Springs National Park, the Garvan Woodland Gardens, and the Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort.
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Cossatot River State Park is a beautiful and serene destination for campers in Arkansas. The park is located in Howard County, Arkansas, and covers over 5,000 acres of land. The highlight of this park is the Cossatot River, which is one of the most popular whitewater rafting destinations in the southern United States. The park offers visitors a range of activities, including hiking, fishing, swimming, and, of course, camping.
The camping experience at Cossatot River State Park is truly unique. The park has two camping areas, including one that is located near the river. This camping area is perfect for those who want to be close to the water and enjoy the sounds of the river as they fall asleep. The campsites are spacious and include a fire pit, picnic table, and grill. There are also restrooms and showers nearby for added convenience.
Cossatot River State Park is a great place to experience the great outdoors and connect with nature. The park has miles of hiking trails, including the River Corridor Trail, which follows the river and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, black bears, and migratory birds.
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Blanchard Springs Recreation Area, located in the Ozark National Forest in northern Arkansas, is a stunning camping destination that offers a variety of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. The campground is nestled in a lush valley and surrounded by the beautiful Blanchard Springs Caverns, which is a must-visit for any camper in the area.
The Blanchard Springs Recreation Area offers 31 campsites with electric and water hookups, picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. The campsites are spacious and shaded, and some are located right next to the river, providing a peaceful and serene environment for campers. The campground also has modern restrooms, hot showers, and a dump station for RVs.
The recreation area offers a wide range of outdoor activities for campers, including hiking, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. The nearby Blanchard Springs Caverns are a popular attraction, where visitors can take guided tours of the underground caves and marvel at the incredible formations and sparkling stalactites.
For hikers, the Sylamore Trail and the Blanchard Springs Trail are great options, offering beautiful views of the forest and river. The recreation area is also home to Mirror Lake, which is a great spot for swimming, picnicking, and fishing. The campground is well-maintained, the staff is friendly, and the area is peaceful and serene, making it a perfect destination for a relaxing camping trip.
Camping at DeGray Lake Resort State Park is an experience that offers a perfect combination of nature and comfort. Located in Bismarck, Arkansas, this park is a popular destination for camping, hiking, boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities. It covers over 1,800 acres and offers a variety of campsites for visitors to choose from, including RV sites, tent sites, and cabins.
The park features two campgrounds: the Cypress Creek Campground and the Iron Mountain Campground. The Cypress Creek Campground is situated near the lake and features nine tent sites. The Iron Mountain Campground is situated on a hilltop and offers 69 RV and standard campsites.
The park’s many amenities make it a great place for families to enjoy a camping trip. The park has a swimming pool, playgrounds, a disc golf course, and even an 18-hole golf course. The lake itself is a popular destination for boating and fishing. Visitors can rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards, or bring their own.
DeGray Lake Resort State Park is also home to many hiking trails, including the 1.5-mile Island Trail and the 3.5-mile Caddo Bend Trail. These trails offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding hills and are great for families and avid hikers alike.
Lake Ouachita State Park is a beautiful destination for camping enthusiasts in Arkansas. Located in the Ouachita National Forest, this park offers a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities for visitors of all ages. The park is spread over 40,000 acres, and the lake itself covers over 40,000 acres of surface area, making it one of the largest man-made lakes in the country.
Camping at Lake Ouachita State Park is a popular choice among families and outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers 93 campsites, including 60 sites with water and electric hookups, and 12 walk-in tent sites. All campsites come equipped with a picnic table, grill, and fire ring, and there are several bathhouses and restrooms throughout the campground for your convenience.
In addition to camping, Lake Ouachita State Park is a great place to swim, fish, and boat. The lake is home to a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and crappie, and fishing is a popular pastime among visitors. Boating enthusiasts will also love the park’s marina, which offers boat rentals, fuel, and supplies.
For those who prefer to stay on land, the park offers several hiking trails, including the Caddo Bend Trail, which offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding forest. The park also hosts several educational programs and guided tours throughout the year, making it a great destination for families and school groups.
Camping at Buffalo National River is an excellent way to experience the beauty of one of Arkansas’s most treasured natural wonders. The Buffalo River, which runs through the Ozark Mountains, is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the United States and offers stunning scenery, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
There are several camping options available in Buffalo National River, including primitive camping, RV camping, and cabin rentals. The park’s three developed campgrounds—Buffalo Point, Steel Creek, and Kyle’s Landing—offer a range of amenities, such as fire pits, picnic tables, and restrooms. The campgrounds are open year-round, but the peak season is from March to November when the weather is mild, and the foliage is at its most vibrant.
The Buffalo River is also a popular destination for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. The park has over 135 miles of waterways, making it an excellent spot for water-based activities. The river is known for its smallmouth bass fishing, and anglers come from all over to try their hand at catching the prized fish.
For hikers, there are over 100 miles of trails in the park, ranging from easy to strenuous. The trails offer stunning views of the river, rock formations, and scenic vistas, making it an excellent spot for hiking enthusiasts.
Devil’s Den State Park is a must-visit destination for campers seeking a beautiful and peaceful outdoor experience in the heart of Arkansas. The park is nestled in the Ozark Mountains and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including dense forests, rock formations, and streams. The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit for camping is from spring to fall, when the weather is mild, and the foliage is in full bloom.
The park has three camping areas with 135 campsites in total (44 Class AAA, 24 Class D [no hookups], eight hike-in [tent only], and 42 sites with hookups in the horse camp that includes a bathhouse and access to the horse trails). The campsites are spread across the park and are surrounded by lush trees and natural beauty, providing campers with the perfect setting for a relaxing and rejuvenating camping experience. It also has 17 cabins with kitchens and fireplaces and six camper cabins. The many amenities include showers, restrooms, picnic tables, grills, and fire rings to make the camping experience as comfortable as possible.
The park also has a range of outdoor activities that cater to all ages and skill levels. These include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and fishing. For more adventurous campers, the park has a cave that can be explored through a guided tour, and rock climbing opportunities are also available in the surrounding area.
Camping in Hot Springs National Park is an excellent way to experience the natural beauty of the park and explore the surrounding areas. The park offers a variety of camping options, including primitive camping and RV camping, as well as a range of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.
For those who prefer primitive camping, the park has several backcountry camping areas, such as the Gulpha Gorge Campground. These camping areas offer basic amenities, such as restrooms and water sources, but do not have electrical or water hookups. Visitors must bring their own equipment and supplies and follow the Leave No Trace principles to minimize their impact on the environment.
For those who prefer more modern amenities, the park has several RV camping areas, such as the Catherine’s Landing Campground. These campgrounds offer full hookups, such as water, electricity, and sewage, as well as amenities like showers, restrooms, and laundry facilities.
During your stay, you can also enjoy various activities such as hiking, fishing, and boating. Hot Springs National Park also has several bathhouses, where you can enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs.
Camping in Mount Magazine State Park is a unique experience that allows visitors to explore one of the most scenic areas of Arkansas. Mount Magazine is the highest point in Arkansas and is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to escape into nature. The state park offers a variety of camping options, including tent camping, RV camping, and cabins for rent.
Tent camping at Mount Magazine State Park is a great way to immerse oneself in the natural surroundings fully. The park has several designated campsites that are surrounded by lush vegetation and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. The campsites are equipped with fire rings, picnic tables, and access to clean drinking water.
RV camping is also available at Mount Magazine State Park, with several spacious and level campsites that can accommodate large RVs. The RV campsites offer electric and water hookups, as well as access to modern restrooms and shower facilities.
For those looking for a more luxurious camping experience, Mount Magazine State Park also offers cabins for rent. These cozy cabins are fully furnished and come equipped with modern amenities like air conditioning, heating, and kitchenettes.
In addition to camping, Mount Magazine State Park offers visitors a range of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and horseback riding. Visitors can also explore the park’s natural beauty by taking a scenic drive along the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway or by visiting the state park’s Visitor Center to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
Petit Jean State Park is a beautiful camping destination located in the heart of the Arkansas River Valley. It covers over 3,000 acres of stunning natural beauty and offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, swimming, and camping. The park is named after the legendary French explorer, Petit Jean, who is said to have disguised herself as a man to accompany her lover on his journey to explore the New World. Visitors to the park can explore the historic Mather Lodge, which was built in the 1930s and offers stunning views of the valley below.
Camping in Petit Jean State Park is a popular activity, with several different campsites available for tents, RVs, and cabins. The campsites are located throughout the park, offering a variety of landscapes and experiences for visitors to enjoy. The park also has a variety of amenities available for campers, including picnic areas, restrooms, and shower facilities.
One of the most popular activities for campers in Petit Jean State Park is hiking. The park offers over 20 miles of trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. One of the most popular hikes is the Cedar Falls Trail, which takes visitors to the 95-foot Cedar Falls waterfall. Along the way, hikers can enjoy stunning views of the valley and the Arkansas River.
Arkansas is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts, and camping is the perfect way to experience all the state has to offer. We hope this guide has inspired you to plan your next camping trip to one of the top camping spots in Arkansas and explore the natural beauty of the state for yourself. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!