Best Camping in Arkansas
Camping in Arkansas — which is known as “The Natural State” — is an easy choice given the wide range of breathtaking scenery that the state has. Undoubtedly, camping is one of the most popular and fun activities for anyone who visits Arkansas. The mild weather in the state also makes it a natural camping destination for people looking for a relaxing camping trip.
While other camping destinations exist in the country, Arkansas stands out because of the campgrounds near gorgeous lakes, fantastic wildlife, and captivating views. Finding another state with a complete lineup of great camping locations can be challenging. Setting up a campfire in any of the stunning campgrounds in the state can be a memorable experience, especially for families.
Aside from camping, there are plenty of other offerings from the many campsites and state parks in Arkansas. If you want to try different outdoor activities, there are plenty to choose from in this state, regardless of the camping spot you choose. If you are still researching the internet about the best camping destinations in Arkansas, then you will find this guide useful. Here, various state parks and campgrounds will be listed to give you a multitude of options when you go here for your camping trip.
1. Petit Jean State Park
Cost: $23-$58 per night, depending on campsite class
Location: Petit Jean Mountain Rd, Morrilton, AR
Petit Jean State Park is a must-visit when camping in Arkansas. The treasured camping destination has accommodated Arkansas guests and travelers for many years. The beauty of Petit Jean Mountain inspired the creation of the state’s first-ever state park and inaugural state park system. If you love the rustic vibes brought by the view of the mountains, you will surely enjoy camping here.
The state park’s 125 campsites consist of 35 Class AAA and 90 Class B sites. The former has provisions for water, a 50 amp hookup, and sewer, while the latter has a water connection and a 30 amp hookup. The park is ideal for friends and families who want to camp in an area with picnic tables and grills.
2. Bull Shoals-White River State Park
Cost: $14 for a Class D tent site and goes as high as $90 for an RV rental
Location: Dam Overlook Lane, Bull Shoals, AR
If you want to go camping in Arkansas and experience trout fishing, the Bull Shoals-White River State Park is an excellent destination. Located in north central Arkansas, Bull Shoals is a favorite among travelers and campers alike. Seeing the magnificent clear water in the area and hearing it running through a thousand miles of breathtaking mountain panorama is the definition of a perfect getaway from the city. You can try wakeboarding and water skiing here if you love water sports and activities.
Guests will find the 113 campsites ideal for a night of s’mores and a campfire with friends. Those who prefer the ultimate camping experience can opt for the 20 primitive campsites at the Bull Shoals-White River State Park. Campers who want the RV camping experience will not be disappointed with the rent-an-RV sites.
3. Crater of Diamonds State Park
Cost: $14 for Class D and $36 for Class AAA campsite
Location: State Park Rd, Murfreesboro, AR
Do you want to go to a campsite where you can search for natural diamonds? Crater of Diamonds State Park is an excellent camping location for anyone who wants a unique camping experience in Arkansas. Campers can explore the area for various gemstones and minerals. The great thing about this experience is you keep any unique rock you find here! The park even has tools for mining that can be rented if you want to use one. Serious collectors can even bring their own mining tools, as long as it’s not motor-driven or operated by battery.
The 47 Class AAA camping sites and five walk-in tents are excellent for family and friends who want to spend a night camping after searching for diamonds during the day. If you ever find a rock or mineral you don’t know about, the park staff can help you identify your find free of charge.
4. Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Cost: Average nightly rate of $14-$29
Location: AR-88, Mena, AR
The breathtaking views of Queen Wilhelmina State Park make it a favorite among anyone searching for the perfect camping location in Arkansas. The state park is located at Rich Mountain’s top, offering some of the best panoramic views. Campers heading to Queen Wilhelmina will enjoy the 41 campsites on offer, with five tent sites connected to a water supply.
Campers who want to try other activities can go hiking on the trails in the park. Queen Wilhelmina State Park is truly a campsite royalty when it comes to the best camping destinations in all of Arkansas.
5. DeGray Lake Resort State Park
Cost: $14-$58 depending on campsite preference
Location: State Park Entrance Rd, Bismarck, AR
The lovely DeGray lake is your backdrop when you choose the DeGray Lake Resort State Park for your camping trip. As the only resort state park in Arkansas, this excellent camping destination near Bismarck is a popular choice among guests who want to experience camping and while enjoying the amenities of a resort. Guests who stay here for an overnight camping experience can choose from the 113 campsites in the area, all with electrical and water hookups. You can choose which location you prefer, as there are campsites in the woods and by the lake shore.
Those who will visit in large groups and have more in their budget can rent the tent yurts available at the DeGray Lake Resort State Park. Other activities here include water sports, fishing, biking, and hiking, among other things.
6. Mount Nebo State Park
Cost: $23 per night for camping sites
Location: West State Hwy. 155, Dardanelle, AR
Choose from the 34 campsites on top of Mount Nebo for your camping getaway at Mount Nebo State Park. If you want to hike here and are up to the challenge, you can traverse 14 miles of trails that run around the mountain. The hike will be worth it when you witness the stunning view of sunrise and sunset up close at the top of Mount Nebo. Campers who want to bring their mountain bikes will find the four-and-a-half-mile trail perfect for biking.
Mount Nebo State Park is not limited to camping amenities and hiking attractions. There is also a swimming pool, pavilions, picnic spots, and tennis courts that guests can use (although some come with a fee like the swimming pool).
7. Lake Ouachita State Park
Cost: $14-$68 per night depending on the campsite
Location: Mountain Pine Rd, Mountain Pine, AR
Camping in Arkansas’ largest lake, Lake Ouachita, offers thousands of acres of crystal-clear water with the gorgeous Ouachita National forest on the horizon. If you are interested in other activities aside from camping, you can try kayaking, fishing, swimming, skiing, and even scuba diving in the lake.
The park’s 93 campsites include Class AAA, Class D, and walk-in tent sites, with some located near the lake. Eight fully-furnished cabins are available for those who do not wish to engage in primitive camping, with some offering a breathtaking view of Lake Ouachita.
8. Mount Magazine State Park
Cost: $32-$36 average nightly rate
Location: AR-309, Paris, AR
Campers who want to explore and camp at Arkansas’ highest point have a chance to stay at one of the best campgrounds in the state. Mount Magazine rises over 2,700 feet above sea level. Aside from the awe-inspiring view at the peak, campers visiting here will also see various wildlife. You may see a black bear during your time here, as the mountain is home to these beautiful creatures. Make sure not to approach these animals in the wild!
The incredible mountain — famous for its unmatched views from the peak — offers other activities, including hiking, biking, rock climbing, and more.
9. Lake Sylvia Recreation Area
Cost: Price starts at $15
Location: AR-324, Perryville, AR
Nestled between the oak-clad mountainous region and a spectacular view of the pines at the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Sylvia Recreation Center features an 18-acre lake perfect for campers who want to go fishing. Set up your campsite and explore the surrounding area, which features over 37 miles of trails west of Little Rock. Gather your family and friends at the available picnic sites and enjoy a hearty meal with the beautiful sky and visually striking lake as your backdrop.
Lake Sylvia Recreation Area has 14 campsites with electricity and water for guests who want an overnight stay for only $25 a night. If you are the type who likes the camping experience that genuinely brings you close to nature, you can go to the primitive sites for only $15, good for one night.
10. Millwood Lake State Park
Cost: $14-$36 per night on the average
Location: AR-32, Ashdown, AR
If you enjoy or want to try bass fishing, then Millwood Lake State Park is an excellent choice for you. Imagine setting up camp near the lake while cooking your catch on a campfire with your closest friends and family. Now, that’s the definition of a great outdoor experience!
You can also enjoy bird watching at the Millwood Lake State Park, so bring your binoculars if you want to spot some rare species of migratory and local birds in the area. The park’s 45 campsites are the perfect place to unwind and forget about the busy life in the city. Prepare snacks and refreshments at the nearby picnic area to complete the ultimate outdoor experience.
11. Lake Dardanelle State Park
Cost: $23-$36 per night
Location: Marina Rd, Russellville, AR
Lake Dardanelle State Park is a reservoir spanning 34,300 acres in two areas on Lake Dardanelle. The lake is well known in the state for hosting tournaments on bass fishing. There are 57 campsites in the state park, complete with amenities like showers with hot water and restrooms.
Travelers who want to experience other fun activities in the area aside from camping can go on picnics with loved ones. The scenery surrounding the lake sets a perfect background for anyone who wants to relax and unwind.
12. Lake Catherine State Park
Cost: $23-$58 average rate
Location: Catherine Park Road, Hot Springs, AR
Camping in a calm and peaceful place makes for a very relaxing getaway. If you want to enjoy your camping trip, consider visiting Lake Catherine State Park. The park has picnic areas, a pavilion, and even playgrounds for families camping with their kids. Guests can also hike here and locate the waterfalls marked by directional signs placed strategically in the area.
Friends and families visiting for a camping trip will not run short of sites to choose from, with 70 campsites offered at Lake Catherine State Park.
Arkansas is home to plenty of camping destinations that are perfect for groups or individuals. The unique offerings and unmatched picturesque views featured in each destination make camping in Arkansas an outstanding choice. Where in the country can you find another state park that allows you to mine precious rocks and diamonds and keep them? This unique camping trait is just an example of the diverse offerings that can only be found in camping destinations here.
Do you want to explore nature and camp during the day but want more comfortable accommodations overnight? You can head to a resort state park in Arkansas. Do you prefer the ultimate camping experience where you are one with nature with minimal provisions for necessities? There are plenty of primitive campsites on offer.
You can’t go wrong camping in Arkansas. There are many destinations and activities that can be done here that guarantee a memorable time for anyone. Grab your camping bags and get in touch with an Arkansas campground of your choice. There is plenty of fantastic fun to be had, so don’t miss the opportunity of camping in one of the country’s most beautiful state parks. Go camping in Arkansas now!