Where to Camp in the Natural State
Arkansas’ nickname is “The Natural State,” so what better place to go out and explore nature?
No matter what you’re looking for in a campground, you’re likely to find it in Arkansas, which boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the South. Whether it’s mountains, forests, hot springs, caves, the mighty Mississippi or the Ozark trails, you’re sure to be enchanted by what this state has to offer an adventurer such as yourself.
Here is our list of the 10 best campgrounds in Arkansas. Check them out and get exploring!
1. Catherine’s Landing – Hot Springs
Catherine’s Landing sits on 400 pastoral acres and a mile of water frontage on Lake Catherine. Take your ideal natural environment and mix it with your favorite hotel experience, and you have Catherine’s Landing – an RVC Outdoor Destination. Learn more.
2. DeGray Lake – Arkadelphia
The DeGray Lake area is rich in birdlife and wildlife which are protected within the park. The rustic natural beauty and pristine setting are ideal for a wide variety of outdoor pastimes. Bicycle through the park, rent a boat, kayak or paddleboard at the full-service marina, go birdwatching, fish in a secluded cove on the lake, enjoy the hiking trails, play disc or sling golf, or lounge on the beach. Learn more.
3. Lake Ouachita State Park – Mountain Pine
Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Ouachita is known for its scenic natural beauty and the clarity of its waters. These pristine waters form the largest manmade lake within Arkansas’s borders. Named one of the cleanest lakes in America, 40,000-acre Lake Ouachita is a water sports mecca for swimming, skiing, scuba diving, boating, and fishing. Angling for bream, crappie, catfish, stripers, and largemouth bass can be enjoyed in open waters or quiet coves along the lake’s 975 miles of shoreline. Learn more.
4. Mt. Magazine State Park – Paris
Mount Magazine State Park is on the state’s tallest mountain, the 2,753-foot Mount Magazine. Sweeping vistas of broad river valleys, deep canyons, and distant mountains welcome outdoor enthusiasts to Arkansas’s highest point. The park is a place to enjoy sightseeing, exploring the mountain and nature study. It’s also a destination for outdoor sports and extreme adventure enthusiasts that offers rock climbing, rappelling, hand gliding, mountain biking, horseback riding, backpacking and ATV adventure. Learn more.
5. Charlton Campground – Hot Springs
Picnic, swim, hike, and fish along picturesque Walnut Creek, a cold, spring-fed mountain stream in the heart of the Ouachita National Forest. This historic recreation area features a captivating native stone dam that forms the swimming area and rustic bathhouse built by the Civilian Conservation Corps federal work program in 1935. Learn more.
6. Devil’s Den State Park – West Fork
Devil’s Den State Park is an Arkansas icon. It is a beloved natural and historic treasure where over the decades park visitors have made memories to cherish a lifetime. Nestled deep in an Ozark valley, Devil’s Den connects you to picturesque Lee Creek Valley and the craftsmanship and conservation legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the “Tree Army” of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Devil’s Den is the perfect blending together of nature and CCC-Rustic-style park architecture that mirrors its natural settings.When you experience a park like Devil’s Den, you, too, will understand why these parks built in the 1930s by the CCC are among America’s most popular park facilities. Learn more.
7. White Rock Mountain Recreation Area – Mulberry
Step into the past by visiting the three natural stone cabins and the lodge on White Rock Mountain built in the 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). White Rock Mountain is 2,260 feet above sea level. White Rock Mountain offers a 13.4-mile loop trail south to Shores Lake and returns to intersect with the Ozark Highlands Trail. Around the rim of the mountaintop is a 1.5-mile loop trail. Learn more.
8. Richland Creek Recreation Area – Pelsor
Located deep in the Ozark National Forest, miles from any paved road, and even further from civilization, the Richland Creek campground offers access to some of the most beautiful country in the Ozarks or Ouachitas, possibly even in the entire midwest. The campground sits next to Richland Creek, and is surrounded by the Richland Creek Wilderness Area, home to hiking trails, swimming holes, cascades and waterfalls, wildflowers, fall color, bluffs, rock formations and so much more. Learn more.
9. Millwood Lake State Park – Texarkana
A series of boat lanes meander through submerged timber, marshes, and oxbow cutoffs making Millwood Lake a “tree-filled” fishing favorite. Famous for bass tournaments, this 29,260-acre lake abounds in largemouth, catfish and crappie. Spring and fall offer anglers great crappie fishing here, and catfish and bream fishing in summer. Bird watching is another popular activity here because of the lake’s variety of year-round inhabitants that include eagles. Learn more.
10. Choctaw Recreation Area – Clinton
Choctaw Recreation Area & Campground is located on the western end of the upper part of Greers Ferry Lake south of Clinton, AR. Facilities include 146 campsites (91 with electric, 55 without), flush and vault toilets, showers, drinking water, trailer dump station, launching ramp, swimming area, playground, picnic shelter, and marina. Learn more.
Check out the rest of our series on the best campgrounds in the U.S.
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Best Campgrounds in Arkansas