Don’t y’all think it’s about time for a camping trip? Once the crazy spring weather calms itself down and we can be reasonably assured that strong winds won’t try to carry us off or flash flooding won’t attempt the same, we’re all going to want to log a little time in some of the Natural State’s incredible campsites. Below there are 15 campgrounds right here in Arkansas that you should mark off your camping bucket list, along with one extra entry. Ranging from primitive campsites to more luxurious spots with toilets nearby, you’re going to find that this list runs the gamut between places that are popular because of their beauty and places that have been overlooked by most folks.
1. Kyle’s Landing (Buffalo National River Area, near Harrison)
There are 33 campsites at Kyle’s Landing, but you probably want to get there as early as possible on the weekend to make sure you get one of them. Kyle’s Landing is absolutely beautiful and its place on the Buffalo National River makes it an incredibly popular place to camp. Though "popular" might not make a campsite seem that appealing, you need to know that Kyle’s Landing isn’t popular just because it’s popular—it’s popular because it’s gorgeous and it allows for easy access to the stunning Buffalo River. You can find Kyle’s Landing on County Road 56 near Harrison.
2. White Rock Mountain Recreation Area & Campground (near Mulberry)
Once you’ve camped at a good sized, incredibly popular campground on a river, how about retreating to a mountain that’s far more secluded? You can do just that at White Rock. There are only eight tent sites at White Rock, which means even when it’s full it would be a stretch to call it busy. The Ozark National Forest covers the mountain and Shores Lake is nearby, so no matter what kind of outdoor adventure you’re looking for, it’s never far from your campsite on White Rock Mountain. You can find White Rock Mountain on Forest Service Road 1003 near Mulberry.
3. Petit Jean State Park (near Morrilton)
Petit Jean makes number three on this list because of the sheer volume and diversity of the 125 campsites available there. Ranging from campsites on the water to campsites in the woods to fully equipped glamping areas where you can stay in a yurt, there are plenty of places to camp on Petit Jean, and there are plenty of gorgeous trails to explore, too. Petit Jean State Park is located at 1285 Petit Jean Mountain Road in Morrilton.
4. Richland Creek Wilderness Area (near Witts Springs)
Camping at the eleven sites in the Richland Creek Wilderness is seriously primitive, but roughing it up there is so worth it. Richland Creek Wilderness Area is known as Arkansas’s waterfall paradise. That’s because you couldn’t find a romantic period drama with more scenic beauty or exquisite, tumbling falls, and waking up next to all that beauty in one of the eleven campsites there allows you to explore the wilderness from a home base. The Richland Creek Wilderness is located on Campground Road, in the Ozark National Forest near Witts Springs.
5. Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area (near Hagarville)
This one is Pam’s Grotto.
Here we have Haw Creek Falls.
I can’t mention waterfall campgrounds without bringing up Haw Creek. That’s because at Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area you can enjoy the waterfall from your campsite. You see, the nine family campsites there are just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the exquisite waterfall on Haw Creek. The Haw Creek campground is also super close to two other beautiful waterfalls, Pack Rat Falls and Pam’s Grotto. Short hikes yield gorgeous rewards from the campground at Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area, which is located on Highway 123 near Hagarville.
6. Steel Creek (Buffalo National River region, near Jasper)
Steel Creek isn’t far from Kyle’s Landing, and it’s just about as popular too. The campground at Steel Creek has 26 places where you can pitch your tent. You can see some of the scenic bluffs that characterize the upper Buffalo River region from there, including towering Roark Bluff. This campground also allows for easy access to the river and such beautiful views to wake up to. You can find Steel Creek Campground off of AR-74 near Jasper.
7. Lake Chicot State Park (near Lake Village)
Lake Chicot has an insane number of campsites, which makes sense because Lake Chicot is renowned for fishermen and the birders alike. It’s the largest oxbow lake in North America, and it’s a place everyone needs to experience at least once. There are 122 campsites in Lake Chicot State Park, so lots of us can experience it at the same time. You’ll find Lake Chicot in the Delta, right near the Mississippi, eight miles northeast of Lake Village on AR-144. It’s truly one of the natural wonders of Arkansas.
8. DeGray Lake Resort State Park (near Bismarck)
There’s certainly no better place to go glamping than at one of Arkansas’s clearest lakes, but there are 113 less glamp-y campsites on the premises as well, and they’re all just as lovely as can be. Adding a little extra awesome to this state park is that it’s located on its own little island. You can find Degray Lake State Park at 2027 State Park Entrance Road in Bismarck.
9. Crowley’s Ridge State Park (near Paragould)
Crowley’s Ridge State Park happens to be one of the coolest state parks in the eastern part of the state. It has twenty-six campsites, and with a fishing lake, a swimming lake, a baseball field, trails, and just tons of opportunities for recreation, Crowley’s Ridge State Park is a family-friendly camping adventure you need to check out. Crowley’s Ridge State Park can be found at 2092 State Highway 168 North near Paragould.
10. Lake Catherine State Park (near Hot Springs)
Of the nearly eighty campsites at Lake Catherine State Park, which include one rent-a-yurt site, seventy of those sites offer lakefront and woodland views. Lake Catherine is an incredibly scenic place to spend your time not only because the lake itself is gorgeous, but because Falls Creek Falls is only a few minutes from the beach of that clear, cool lake. You can find Lake Catherine State Park at 1200 Catherine Park Road in Hot Springs.
11. Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area & Campground (near Witts Springs)
Imagine for a moment that you have the opportunity to camp near some of the most impressive geological wonders in the Natural State. Now stop imagining that and pack the car, because you totally can camp near Arkansas’s incredible Pedestal Rocks. Your campsite there is going to be primitive, but it’s still an experience you need to check off your bucket list. You can find Pedestal Rocks off of Highway 16 near Witts Springs.
12. Village Creek State Park (near Wynne)
Village Creek State Park is another Delta state park, and boy-oh-boy is it a cool place to spend some time. If you’re looking for a place to explore miles and miles of trail on horseback, Village Creek is a good choice. The 96 campsites give you the perfect chance to explore the rolling hills in the forest and the beautiful sandy beaches of Lake Austell. Campers there even have access to a 27 hole golf course that makes use of the gently rolling hills of Crowley’s Ridge, which is one of the Delta’s most impressive and rare geologic regions. Village Creek State Park is located at 201 County Road 754 near Wynne.
13. Devil’s Den State Park (near West Fork)
Devil’s Den is a triple threat. You can explore the forested land and sweeping of the Ozarks, enjoy the spillway and Lee Creek, and it’s pretty cool from a historic perspective as well. Devil’s Den is chock full of structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, which is definitely part of its appeal, but there really isn’t a part of Devil’s Den State Park that’s unappealing. One of the more overlooked features of Devil’s Den is the high number of caves there, and there’s nothing quite like them, either. Devil’s Den is located at 11333 West Arkansas Highway 74 near West Fork.
14. Gunner Pool Recreation Area (Fifty-Six, near Mountain View)
Did you know that Mountain View is the Folk Music Capital of the World and home to a state park devoted entirely to the preservation of Ozarks culture? It’s also a gorgeous little town in the North Central part of the state, and you should visit. A good home base for that visit is one of the twenty seven campsites at Gunner Pool Recreation Area, which is positioned on gorgeous Sylamore Creek. You can find Gunner Pool Recreation Area near Fifty-Six.
15. White Oak Lake State Park (near Bluff City)
White Oak Lake State Park is located in south Arkansas, and it really is all about that lake and the incredible forest that surrounds it. You’ll also find Chidester Canyon in the park, which is also known as the Little Grand Canyon of Arkansas. The fishing on White Oak Lake is absolutely fantastic, making this frequently overlooked state park and its forty-five campsites a good place to spend some quality time with your boat and fellow fishermen. White Oak Lake State Park is located at 563 Highway 387 near Bluff City.
16. Find a nice spot and pitch a tent.
Sometimes the best adventure is the one you take on your own, totally off the grid. Make sure you've got permission from the landowner if you're on private property, of course, but do try this method of communing with the outdoors. There's nothing quite like really being out in the wild, literally away from it all.
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