Arkansas August 23, 2018
Pick An Island For A One-Of-A-Kind Camping Experience In Arkansas
Arkansas has some truly unique overnight options from
hobbit hole lodging to open-air mountaintops. Perhaps one of the most stunning camping adventures is at Lake Ouachita. Let’s paddle around and pick an island for an experience you’ll never forget.
Most Arkansans have enjoyed staying around Lake Ouachita, but not everyone knows about the area's island camping.
Maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers, the lake's 200 islands can be used for camping. With so many to choose from, this is certainly the ultimate pick-your-own-adventure.
The islands range from sizable forests to small sandbars so you can customize your island adventure.
One of the best features of all the islands is that since they're part of the U.S. National Forest, camping is free. Just be aware that this will be a primitive camping experience.
A handful of the islands have names but most are simply numbered.
Hotel Island and Wild Child Island are popular spots but for a private island experience, you'll want to find one of the smaller numbered locations. For handy map of the numbered islands, visit the US Army Corps of Engineers’
The lake has over 200 islands to choose from but some aren't quite developed enough for camping.
The only one you would want to avoid camping on is Bird Island since it's been designated an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society. That particular island holds the record for the state's largest Purple Martin roost. The state park does routinely host a daytime kayak tour to the island.
If you'd feel more comfortable on a guided tour to one of the islands, you'll want to take advantage of the state park's signature event.
Picking out an island for camping can be daunting the first time. Luckily the state park hosts the "Kayak Campout" in the fall. This overnight stay at one of the islands includes meals and informative guided tours. To learn more about this October event, read
Once you've set up camp, the islands offer all sorts of activities.
Depending on the size of the island you chose, a hike around the woods is a great way to explore the area.
As long as the water hasn't gotten too cold, this would be a prime opportunity to snorkel in some of the United States' clearest waters.
Take out the water toys or simply swim along the shore during your camping stay. Usually after the end of September the water is too cold for swimming but you can still enjoy the area by kayaking or fishing.
A night out on a Lake Ouachita island is a one-of-a-kind experience the whole family will love.
Most importantly, be sure to always leave no trace. This is one Arkansas adventure we certainly want to keep!
To get a feel for what an island adventure can entail, watch this video:
We would love to see your island photos in our Facebook Group,
Arkansas Nature Lovers. You should join for your chance to be featured and to discover why there’s nothing better than Arkansas’ stunning nature.
For another Arkansas adventure, cross these
spectacular waterfall hikes off of your bucket list.