Although most people don’t instinctively link Arkansas with natural beauty, this hidden gem of a state has a lot to offer.
The state currently has 52 state parks, and each boasts its own unique features that make for a worthwhile trip.
However, not all of these wonderful parks offer camping accommodations.
While you will still have many options, check out this list of the best 30 state parks for camping to find the right place for you.
Table of Contents
- 1. Bull Shoals-White River
- 2. Lake Fort Smith
- 3. Cane Creek
- 4. Lake Dardanelle
- 5. Cossatot River
- 6. Mount Nebo
- 7. Crater of Diamonds
- 8. Lake Frierson
- 9. Crowley’s Ridge
- 10. Daisy
- 11. Davidsonville
- 12. Logoly
- 13. Degray Lake Resort
- 14. Mississippi River
- 15. Delta Heritage Trail
- 16. Millwood
- 17. Devil’s Den
- 18. Petit Jean
- 19. Hobbs
- 20. Lake Catherine
- 21. Withrow Springs
- 22. Moro Bay
- 23. Lake Charles
- 24. Woolly Hollow
- 25. Jacksonport State Park
- 26. Mount Magazine
- 27. Queen Wilhelmina
- 28. Village Creek
- 29. White Oak Lake
- 30. Lake Chicot
1. Bull Shoals-White River
Known primarily for its world-class fishing opportunities, Bull Shoals-White River is easily one of the best state parks in Arkansas to spend a weekend camping.
Within the park, you have access to both the Bull Shoals River and the White River with a riverside marina that has everything you could need for a busy day on the water.
Swing by the visitor center to learn more about the park and its habitats, and make sure to take a minute to admire the view overlooking the Bull Shoals Dam.
Here you will also learn about a variety of ranger-led activities that are available to you like the campfire cooking class, fishing workshops, and even a few nature walks.
Feel free to explore the park at your leisure as there are plenty of hiking trails scattered throughout with many of them offering breathtaking river views.
There are 113 campsites up for grabs. A majority of them are designed for RVs and other types of trailers, but there are also 20 designated tent sites for anyone looking for the full experience.
The campsite offers anything you could need, from showers to kayak rentals and everything in between. Head over to the picnic pavilion to enjoy lunch while you take in the views of the White River.
2. Lake Fort Smith
Home to the wide-sweeping Lake Fort Smith, Lake Fort Smith State Park offers a plentiful amount of outdoor recreation, and their small campground allows guests to enjoy a less crowded experience.
This pristine lake is located deep within the Ozark Mountain range so there are plenty of hiking trails for exploring the surrounding area.
There is even the 240-mile Ozark Highlands Trail for backpackers looking to take their trip in Arkansas to the next level.
But for those who would rather just relax by the lake, the 30-site campground is probably where you will spend most of your time.
If you don’t feel like pitching a tent or hitching your RV, you can always opt for a glamping experience by staying in one of the ten rental cabins.
You’ll have unlimited access to the swimming pool, picnic pavilion, and food halls with a marina nearby for those looking to rent a motorboat and get out on the water.
3. Cane Creek
Located in an area where two different environments meet, a trip to Cane Creek State Park is like exploring two different parks in one – and their camping happens to be top-notch.
This state park is known for its impressive trail system. Locals and tourists alike go out of their way to spend time exploring it, whether it be by hiking, running, or biking.
The iconic trail takes you around the lake for beautiful views of the water and across three suspension bridges so you can admire the woods below you.
When you are not hiking to your heart’s content, you can enjoy a day of fishing on Cane Creek Lake or venturing over to Bayou Bartholomew – the longest of its kind in the world.
You will have access to 29 campsites suitable for RVs, and there is even one rent-a-RV for anyone who came unprepared.
Backpackers can take comfort in knowing that there are a few shelters for rest stops along their journey and pavilions to stop at for lunch.
4. Lake Dardanelle
Spread out over two areas along Lake Dardanelle, Lake Dardanelle State Park has so much to offer – you can easily spend weeks here taking it all in.
For starters, there is an impressive fishing pier fully equipped with a Sport Fishing Weigh-in station for those who are really serious about the activity.
A swimming beach makes it easy for folks to spend a day of sunbathing with the occasional dip in the crystal cool waters.
Go for a walk along the boardwalk that wraps around the lake or opt to take one of the hiking trails to explore the surrounding area.
At the end of the night, rest your head at one of the 57 campsites, all of which are accessible to RVs and similar trailers.
Just make sure you save time to check out the visitor center to learn more about the park’s history and understand how they have become listed as a Trail of Tears National Historic Site.
5. Cossatot River
Stretching out across 12 miles of the Cossatot River, the Cossatot River State Park provides the ultimate outdoor experience and every inch of it is truly breathtaking.
There are plenty of hiking trails to choose from and many of them border the river where you can admire features like the impressive Cossatot Falls.
Speaking of the falls, this rugged canyon is home to some pretty intense rapids, and experienced kayakers from near and far come to paddle in its waters.
Brushy Creek Recreation Area is the place to go for a quick restroom stop, a scenic picnic along the water, and quick access to the riverbed.
Camping here is a fun experience because it is spread out across the park with six tent sites by the Falls, 15 sites by the Sandbar, and another two sites by Ed Banks.
It is important to note that this state park is only accessible to tent campers and has no hookups available.
6. Mount Nebo
Nestled high about the mountain of Nebo, Mount Nebo gives you the opportunity to spend a night camping 1,350 feet above sea level.
Once home to the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, you will find remnants here from their cabins and pavilions. Fourteen miles of designated hiking trails offer plenty of nature to explore.
And speaking of hiking trails, a fan favorite is the Rim Trail as it takes you around the bluffs and provides panoramic views of the iconic Arkansas River.
One interesting feature is that you are able to spend a night in any of the fifteen historic cabins and twelve of them provide unparalleled views of the river down below.
Many of the 34 campsites available also have these impressive views of the river valley and grant you access to amenities like a swimming pool, tennis court, and picnic pavilions.
7. Crater of Diamonds
Tucked away in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, you would never guess that people from all over the world travel here for a chance to discover diamonds hidden in the remnants of a volcano.
The state park grants visitors access to a 37-acre field filled with volcanic craters and allows them to mine away at what’s left in search of minerals and gemstones.
You can bring mining tools of your own or rent them from the park itself, but the good news is that whatever you find along the way is completely yours to keep.
Stop by the visitor center first to check out some of the impressive diamonds that have been found here throughout the years to motivate you before your hunt.
With over thirty thousand diamonds discovered since the park’s opening, it is no wonder that people bunker down at one of the 53 campsites to spend as much time as they can mining for treasure.
8. Lake Frierson
With the 335-acre Lake Frierson at its center, you are guaranteed to have a great time at Lake Frierson – but just make sure you plan accordingly because campsites are limited.
There are only seven campsites available throughout this extensive park, which may be disappointing to some, but it also means that you will get to enjoy a more secluded experience.
This is the place to be for people who enjoy fishing with year-round opportunities to catch catfish, bass, bream, and more, but is also a great place for people just looking to relax on the water.
Didn’t come prepared with your own boat? No worries! There are kayak, canoe, and fishing boat rentals available right at the visitor center.
When you are not on the water, you can explore some of the park’s many hiking trails, just make sure to be on the lookout for wildlife!
9. Crowley’s Ridge
Another past project of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, Crowley’s Ridge State Park offers both natural beauty and historic significance.
This northeastern gem is tucked away deep within the thick forests of Arkansas and is home to plenty of natural features that make it an ideal place to bunker down for the night.
There is a large lake at its center – perfect for fishing – and the park has a kiosk where you can rent kayaks and fishing boats that getting out on the water as easy as can be.
Plus, part of the lake is a designated swimming zone so you can take a cool dip after a busy day of hiking in the surrounding area.
Have your pick between 36 different campsites or opt for something more unique like staying in one of the historic cabins or bunkhouses.
Nestled amongst the Ouachita Mountains, Daisy State Park is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Aside from the many hiking trails that explore the surrounding wilderness, the park is also home to Lake Greeson and the Little Missouri River, so the opportunities for outdoor recreation are plentiful.
You will see many people out and about on the water enjoying a day of kayaking or fishing and there are rentals available if you want to join in on the fun.
Lake tours are available as well for those who are interested in seeing some of the cool rock formations that border the river’s banks.
With one hundred campsites to choose from, you are almost guaranteed a spot at this lovely park and its many amenities.
Filled with the remnants of structures that play a significant role in Arkansas’ history, Davidsonville State Park is the place to go for those looking to blend a history lesson with a natural experience.
While excavation is still underway to uncover even more of this past town, current highlights include the remaining shells of Arkansas’ first post office and one of its very first courthouses.
When you are not diving into the park’s history, you can be out on the water exploring the Black River or the wide-sweeping fishing lake.
The 20-site campground has just recently gone under renovation, so you can enjoy the luxury of all new amenities during your stay.
Known for being one of the first educational parks in the state, Logoly State Park offers a camping experience unlike any other, with various opportunities to learn something new.
The park stretches out over 370 acres and of that, much of the land is dedicated to the education of plants and minerals.
Explore a variety of interpretive trails where you will get a better understanding of the species that live here and how the park’s geological formations came to be,
There are only six tent sites available so make sure to book ahead of time and enjoy the amenities like bathhouses, pavilions, and picnic areas.
13. Degray Lake Resort
Nestled alongside the banks of Degray Lake and just a short distance from the iconic Hot Springs, Degray Lake Resort State Park is the ideal location to camp out during your time in Arkansas.
This is one of the most luxurious state parks of the bunch, so if you are not feeling a night of camping then you could always opt to stay in one of the 96 rooms at the lodge.
But there are also 81 campsites and three yurts for anyone looking for a more nature-friendly experience.
This state park has it all, from an 18-hole champion golf course to horseback riding experiences to an extensive swimming pool, and so much more.
The marina has everything you need, from bait to tackle, and offers fishing boat rentals for those who do not have access to their own watercraft.
The Shoreline Restaurant is available for anyone who doesn’t feel like cooking their own meals, and their full menu is sure to please everyone.
14. Mississippi River
A new edition to Arkansas’ list of state parks, the Mississippi River State Park is quickly becoming one of the best places to explore the state’s many natural wonders.
It is not hard to see why, with seven different bodies of water granting visitors access to a wide variety of water-based activities.
Bring your kayak along for the ride because you are bound to run into some fellow kayakers, boaters, and fishermen along the way.
And after a long day of exploring the park’s many hiking trails leading to all kinds of beautiful scenery, you can rest easy knowing that your campsite is never too far away.
15. Delta Heritage Trail
Considering this state park is named solely after its iconic trail system, the is no denying that the Delta Heritage Trail State Park is the best place to go for avid hikers.
The trail system is currently a whopping 44.4 miles long and efforts are being made to extend it to an impressive 84.5 miles over the following years.
As of right now, there are eight separate trailheads to get to the famous Delta Heritage Trail and each provides its own unique features.
Regardless of whether you are attempting the entire trail system or simply want to take a leisurely stroll, you can’t go wrong with a visit here.
The trailhead you decide to start from will decide which campsite you will use, but it is important to note that all sites here are primitive.
With Millwood Lake stretching out nearly 30,000 acres, it is safe to say that there are plenty of ways to enjoy your stay at Millwood State Park.
This is the place where people come to fish and the incredible bass fishing opportunities are undeniable, so make sure to bring your rod.
And since the lake is so extensive with very little traffic, there is a chance that you will get to enjoy being out on the water all by yourself.
Fishing not your style? Birdwatchers also rave about this park and how almost all of the state’s bird species can be found in this one location.
After a peaceful day by the water, head back to one of the 45 camping sites where you can spend a relaxing night under the stars while you listen to the surrounding wildlife.
17. Devil’s Den
Any local will tell you that Devin’s Den State Park is one of the most famous parks in Arkansas and it’s not just because of the astounding rocky dam that created Devil’s Lake.
In fact, this state park is primarily known for being the most intact of all the Civilian Conservation Corps projects that took place in the early 1930s.
Admire some of these historic formations on hiking trails and be sure to stay on the lookout for other impressive features like unique rock formations and hidden caverns.
Partake in some fishing on the lake, take some photos of the dam, and go for a horseback riding session in the neighboring Ozark National Forest.
After a long day, head back to one of the 135 campsites that are available, or opt for something more luxurious like the 17 cabins fully equipped with kitchens and fireplaces.
18. Petit Jean
Another park development by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s is Petit Jean, and it is everything you could hope for in a state park.
Throughout the park, you will find roads, trail systems, and bridges that were built during the ’30s, walking through this bit of history is an amazing experience.
However, the most notable result of this CCC project is easily the Mather Lodge, where you can spend a night in one of the 24 lodge rooms that overlook the breathtaking Cedar Creek Canyon.
There is also a restaurant in the lodge, so you can enjoy a quick snack in between hikes or end your night with a gourmet meal for dinner.
There are 33 cabins scattered throughout the park that are fully equipped with kitchens, and stellar views make for the ultimate glamping experience.
But don’t let that stop you from spending the night at one of the 125 campsites, where you can enjoy peaceful evenings by Lake Bailey.
Known for being Arkansas’ largest state park, you can’t go wrong with spending a weekend camping in Hobbs State Park, where the outdoor recreation is endless, and views are even better.
The park is spread out over 12,000 acres, and much of the area is extremely remote and untouched by humans, making it a great place to spend quality time with nature.
With such an expansive size, it’s no surprise that there are over 50 miles worth of hiking trails to explore and plenty of opportunities to observe wildlife.
Surprisingly, there are very few campsites available, which make it an even better experience for people looking to spend some quiet time away.
All of the park’s eleven sites are primitive, and about half of them can only be accessed by backpacking or mountain biking.
20. Lake Catherine
Nestled along the banks of one of the Ouachita Mountain regions five lakes, Lake Catherine State Park is the perfect place to plan a camping trip for people who enjoy a quiet place to unwind.
Even with its remote feel, the park still offers amenities like a full-service marina so that visitors can make a quick getaway to the beautiful waters of Lake Catherine.
There are 70 campsites to choose from, many of which are located right along the water, but there are also other options here as well.
Consider glamping in one of the yurts or check out any of the 20 cabins that are fully equipped with everything you need for an enjoyable stay.
There is even a two-bedroom cabin that has a deck overlooking the lake with private access to a fishing pier so you can enjoy your days in solitude.
21. Withrow Springs
Although this is not one of the larger parks in Arkansas, Withrow Springs State Park has everything you need to enjoy a relaxing weekend on the water.
While the waters slow to a trickle in late summer and freeze over in the winter months, March through June makes for an awesome time floating along the stream.
Have your pick between 29 reserve-ahead campsites or take your chances with one of the ten walk-up sites that are available throughout the park.
Head out on any of the three hiking trails for scenic views but make sure to be on the lookout for one of the rare Ozark trillium flowers that grow around the area.
22. Moro Bay
Home to some of the most breathtaking cabin rentals in Arkansas, Moro Bay State Park is the perfect place for a private getaway amongst the trees.
The park has various bodies of water accessible, and fishing is most popular in the area where Moro Bay and Raymond Lake connect with the Ouachita River.
There are 23 campsites to choose from with full hookups available and other amenities like picnic tables, pavilions, and a playground.
Head over to the marina for a boat rental so you can get out on the water with ease and take comfort in the fact that gas is never too far away.
If you are interested in one of the luxury cabins you should know that each one is made up of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a screened-in porch overlooking the bay.
23. Lake Charles
Just a short drive from the town of Jonesboro, Lake Charles is a fan favorite for tourists and locals when it comes to finding a place to unwind with nature.
This state park never seems to get too crowded, and there will be times when you are walking around its 645-acre lake completely alone.
Even better, you might be accompanied by some of the many different wildlife species that call this area home.
The visitor’s center is fully stocked with all your fishing needs and there is no feeling quite like cruising along the water of Lake Charles.
Rest your head at one of the 60 campsites but make sure to plan ahead of time in order to score one of the spots right on the water.
24. Woolly Hollow
Nestled around the 40-acre body of water known as Lake Bennett, Woolly Hollow State Park provides the classic outdoor experience with recreational activities galore.
Head over to the boat ramp where you have access to kayak, canoe, and boat rentals. Just don’t forget to bring your fishing rod, because there are plenty of stellar catches waiting for you out on the water.
Go for a hike on any of the four trails for beautiful, scenic views and then cool off at the swimming beach where you can also grab a quick bite at the snack stand.
25. Jacksonport State Park
Once a busy river port for steamboats in the early 1800s, the Jacksonport State Park is filled with a rich historic past that can be observed through the remnants still standing to this day.
When the Civil War broke out, Union troops flooded the land because of its strategic location along both the Black River and the White River.
Because of the town’s significance in American history, the original courthouse has been labeled a historic site and a museum is now housed inside of it to provide guests with more information about its importance.
When you are not learning about this area’s incredible history, you can go for a swim on the beach, enjoy a scenic picnic, or take a leisurely stroll along the riverwalk.
26. Mount Magazine
Located atop the highest peak in the state, Mount Magazine State Park is a favorite for camping and outdoor recreation, thanks to its breathtaking views.
With an impressive height of 2,753 feet, it is no wonder that this park draws experienced rock climbers from near and far to tackle its formations.
Along those same lines, this state park is one of the only places in Arkansas where people enjoy hang gliding.
If you aren’t looking for extreme sports, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy, like hiking and visiting the many scenic overlooks.
There are 18 campsites scattered around the mountain to provide a secluded experience, but the real showstopper is the sixty-room lodge that overlooks the Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake.
Plus, thirteen cabins are available for a more personalized experience and boast special features like fireplaces and hot tubs.
27. Queen Wilhelmina
Taking second place for the tallest peaks in Arkansas, Queen Wilhelmina is another great camping destination for people who want to stand above it all.
Before you even reach the park gates you will fall in love with the scenery as you cruise along the Talimena National Scenic Byway.
From here it only gets better, as you are surrounded by sweeping views and introduced to historic landmarks that date back to the late 1800s.
The original lodge was built in honor of a Dutch Queen, and since then two lodges were built in its place. Today you can enjoy a night in the fully restored Park Inn.
The lodge is made up of 40 rooms and boasts some spectacular southern dining opportunities at its Queen’s Restaurant.
There are also 41 campsites available, so you can enjoy your time here in whichever style you prefer.
28. Village Creek
Spread across 7,000 acres of breathtaking wilderness, the Village Creek State Park is a great place to get away from it all.
This quiet park has everything you need to enjoy your time fully immersed in nature.
Take advantage of the 33 miles of hiking trails, the two fishing lakes, and the campground’s many amenities.
There is even a secondary campground for equestrians looking for a safe place to keep their horses.
29. White Oak Lake
If you are looking for a peaceful place where you can spend all your time fishing in solitude, look no further than the humble state park of White Oak Lake.
This state park doesn’t see too much traffic, so you can enjoy quiet time amongst the trees or out on the waters of this pristine lake.
Spend the day fishing to your or opt to take one of the many hiking trails where you can spend the day birdwatching.
There are 45 campsites to choose from, and the recently renovated bathhouses ensure that your stay is comfortable.
30. Lake Chicot
Known for being the most extensive natural lake in all of Arkansas, Lake Chicot State Park is the best place to spend the weekend out on the water.
Located near the Mississippi River where flyways are in abundance, this state park offers some stellar bird watching opportunities.
There is a marina with boat rentals available for those who don’t own their own watercraft and a seasonal swimming pool to help cool you off on hot summer days.
Spend the night in one of the 122 campsites peppered throughout the park or choose to stay in one of the 14 cabins for a more luxurious experience.