Camping in Arkansas

      Here’s what you need to know about camping in Arkansas.

      Your Comprehensive Guide to Camping in Arkansas

      Arkansas, the aptly named “Natural State,” throws open its arms to camping enthusiasts with a smorgasbord of outdoor adventures. From the misty embrace of the Ozark mountains to the sparkling shores of countless lakes, this state is a haven for nature lovers of all stripes.

      From the otherworldly beauty of Crater of Diamonds State Park to the thrill of exploring hidden waterfalls in Devil’s Den State Park, Arkansas offers unique experiences around every bend. Ditch the daily grind, pack your gear, and get ready to embrace the magic of Arkansas’s campsites. Nature’s waiting to welcome you with open arms and memories that will last a lifetime.

      Best Places To Camp In Arkansas

      Buffalo National River

      Arkansas’ crown jewel, the Buffalo National River, is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and crystal-clear waters. Canoe or kayak down the river, cast a line for fish, or explore hidden caves. Hike the challenging Goat Trail or the scenic Mill Creek Bluffs Trail, marveling at the stunning vistas. Campgrounds range from primitive riverside sites to developed options with showers and laundry facilities, catering to different preferences.

      Buffalo National River Arkansas

      Devil’s Den State Park

      Devil’s Den is a naturally formed grotto with cascading waterfalls, winding streams, and fascinating rock formations. Hike numerous trails, cast your line in Lake Devil’s Den, or delve into history at the onsite museum. Developed campgrounds offer full hookups, tent sites, and even cabins, making it a comfortable base for your adventure.

      Devil’s Den State Park Arkansas

      Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

      Immerse yourself in the untouched beauty of the Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area. Paddle down the pristine Cossatot River, hike through the ancient bottomland hardwood forest, or explore the cascading waterfalls and hidden bluffs. Primitive campsites like the Bluffton and King Creek sites allow you to truly connect with the wilderness.

      Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area Arkansas

      Ozark National Forest

      Discover a world of adventure in the Ozark National Forest, covering over 1.8 million acres of mountains, valleys, and rivers. Hike the challenging Alum Cove Trail, explore the mysterious Blanchard Caverns, or go spelunking in the numerous caves. Developed campgrounds like the scenic Sam’s Throne Campground and the family-friendly Beaver Bend Campground offer convenient bases for your exploration.

      Ozark National Forest Arkansas

      Hot Springs National Park

      Hike through the surrounding Ouachita Mountains, marvel at the iconic Bathhouse Row architecture, and soak in the naturally heated pools for a truly unique experience. Campgrounds like Gulpha Gorge Campground and Lake Catherine State Park Campground offer convenient access to the park’s wonders.

      Hot Springs National Park Arkansas

      Pea Ridge National Military Park

      History buffs will find themselves captivated by Pea Ridge National Military Park. Hike through the Civil War battlefield, learning about the pivotal Battle of Pea Ridge through interpretive exhibits and the visitor center. Explore the park’s unique ecosystems and immerse yourself in the rich history of the land. A developed campground with basic amenities provides a convenient base for your exploration.

      Pea Ridge National Military Park Arkansas

      Things To Do In Arkansas

      The Ozarks

      Lace up your boots and explore the breathtaking trails snaking through the Ozark Mountains. Hike to the summit of Mount Magazine, the highest point in Arkansas, for panoramic views or delve into the otherworldly landscape of Whitaker Point for heart-stopping cliffside vistas. Breathe in the crisp mountain air and immerse yourself in the verdant wilderness.

      Whitaker Point Trail

       Calling all adrenaline seekers! This cliffside trail jutting out from the Ozark Mountains offers heart-pounding excitement and unparalleled views. Hike along the narrow ledge, gaze down at the dizzying drop, and capture stunning photographs of the dramatic scenery. Remember to wear sturdy shoes and practice caution.

      Devil's Den State Park

       Step into an otherworldly landscape of towering sandstone bluffs, cascading waterfalls, and hidden grottos at Devil's Den State Park. Hike the moderately challenging Devil's Den Trail, winding through the natural amphitheater and past bubbling springs. Explore the aptly named Bear Cave and be amazed by the impressive formations within.

      Ouachita River

      Paddle through the serene waters of the Ouachita River, winding its way through the lush Ouachita National Forest. Glide beneath a canopy of cypress and tupelo trees, teeming with diverse birdlife. Observe majestic herons perched on branches, playful ducks gliding across the water, and listen to the symphony of birdsong filling the air. Enjoy a truly immersive nature experience as you explore hidden coves and discover the hidden gems of the Ouachita ecosystem.

      Lower Saline River

      The Lower Saline River is perfect for families and beginners. Rent an inner tube or inflatable kayak and bask in the sunshine as you drift along the calm waters. Cool off in the refreshing water on a hot summer day, and admire the scenic landscapes adorned with lush vegetation and rolling hills. Stop for a picnic at one of the designated sandbars along the way and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

      Razorback Greenway

      Embark on a longer cycling adventure on this 36-mile paved trail traversing through the heart of northwest Arkansas. Starting in Fayetteville and winding its way to Bentonville, the Razorback Greenway offers scenic countryside vistas, charming towns like Rogers and Springdale, and interesting attractions like the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Pack your bike and explore the diverse landscapes of the region at your own pace.

      Hobbs State Park Conservation Area

      The Devil's Den Trail is a 1.5-mile loop weaving through a natural amphitheater formed by towering sandstone bluffs. Marvel at the breathtaking Devil's Den, a cavern adorned with stalactites and stalagmites. Ascend the strenuous War Eagle Bluff Trail, a 2.5-mile journey offering panoramic vistas of the valley and glimpses of the rushing War Eagle Creek below. Unearth hidden waterfalls and historical structures like the Civilian Conservation Corps-built stone bridge, remnants of a bygone era.

      Arkansas Post National Historic Site

      Travel back to the 16th century and explore the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Arkansas. Immerse yourself in the rich history of French colonial exploration and trade through interactive exhibits, reconstructed buildings like the 1722-era French Barracks, and archaeological remnants showcasing everyday life from centuries past.

      The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa

      The historic Arlington was built in 1927 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Step back in time as you enter the opulent bathhouse, featuring intricate tilework, marble floors, and stained-glass windows. Indulge in traditional thermal bath treatments, soaking in the naturally heated waters known for their therapeutic benefits.

      Heber Springs Heritage Museum

      Uncover the unique history of Heber Springs, a charming town nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Browse through exhibits showcasing Native American artifacts, early settler tools, and fascinating relics from the Civil War era. Learn about the town's pivotal role in the spa industry and the rise of tourism in Arkansas, gaining a deeper understanding of the region's cultural heritage.

      Fort Smith National Historic Site

      Step into the Wild West at this former frontier army post established in 1817. Explore restored buildings like the commissary and courtroom, delving into the fascinating stories of soldiers, outlaws, and pioneers who shaped the region's history. Witness thrilling reenactments of historical events like blacksmith demonstrations and cavalry drills, bringing the past to life in a captivating way.

      DeGray Lake

      Rent a paddle boat or kayak and explore the vast 13,800-acre DeGray Lake, surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests. Cast your line for largemouth bass or crappie, cool off with a refreshing swim in the designated areas, or enjoy a picnic lunch on the shores while soaking in the breathtaking scenery. Be on the lookout for bald eagles soaring overhead and deer grazing on the nearby banks, creating a truly immersive experience in the heart of Arkansas nature.

      Featured Arkansas Parks

      Inspiration From Our Nearby States

      Book an RV in Arkansas

      An RV unlocks freedom: go where you please, enjoy familiar comforts on the road, and create lasting memories with loved ones (furry friends included!). Explore hidden gems, escape tourist traps, and experience the Natural State authentically. Don't wait – book your RV rental today and embark on your unforgettable Arkansas adventure! Insider tips and must-see destinations await on our blog – click here to start planning!

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Absolutely! Arkansas, also known as "The Natural State," boasts diverse landscapes from the majestic Ozark and Ouachita mountains to sparkling lakes, rivers, and even a diamond-bearing crater. This variety translates to a wealth of camping options, from primitive, off-the-grid sites to modern campgrounds with amenities.

      This depends on your preferences! Do you crave mountains and lakes? The Ozarks and Ouachita National Forests offer stunning scenery and numerous campgrounds. Prefer something unique? Check out Devil's Den State Park with its otherworldly rock formations or Crater of Diamonds State Park where you can search for real diamonds!

      Arkansas offers a variety! Choose from primitive, hike-in sites to full-service RV parks with hookups. Glamping options are popping up for those seeking luxury under the stars. State parks, national forests, and private campgrounds cater to diverse budgets and styles.

      Amenities vary widely. State parks generally offer restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and fire rings. Some have playgrounds, boat launches, and hiking trails. Private campgrounds might have pools, laundry facilities, and convenience stores. Research specific sites for details.

      While camping is possible year-round, the peak season runs from spring to fall with pleasant temperatures and optimal outdoor activities. Winter camping requires proper gear and preparation due to potential freezing temperatures.

      Costs vary depending on your desired experience. State parks offer campsites ranging from $15-$40 per night, while private campgrounds might charge between $20-$100.

      Primitive camping on public lands like national forests can be significantly cheaper or even free but requires proper permits and self-reliance. Remember to factor in additional costs like gear rental, food, and park entrance fees, if applicable.

      Yes, limited free camping is available in Arkansas. National forests like Ouachita and Ozark allow dispersed camping (camping outside designated sites) with a permit, often free or at a minimal cost. However, these sites typically lack amenities and require responsible practices to minimize environmental impact.

      Some state parks offer primitive campsites with minimal facilities for a lower fee, which might be considered "free" depending on your budget.

      Yes, with proper permissions! Dispersed camping is allowed in designated areas of national forests. Remember to obtain a permit beforehand and adhere to regulations regarding location, fire restrictions, and waste disposal.

      Camping in undesignated areas or on private land without permission is illegal and harmful to the environment. Always prioritize responsible and respectful camping practices.

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