It’s that time again, friends: increasingly hot days are upon us, and it’s time to find the most exciting ways to cool off. For those who are tired of water parks, Arkansas offers up many chances for swimmers to have fun the natural way on a camping trip or day visit to a state park. Check out the all-time best
swimming holes in Arkansas which are great for cooling down on a hot day.
1. Cedar Creek: Anyone who visits Petit Jean State Park can remember the 95-foot Cedar Creek Falls, and swimmers should also visit the "Blue Hole" where CCC workers used to swim.
Cedar Creek, AR 72950, USA
Park visitors should know the trip requires about a two-mile round trip hike starting behind the Mather Lodge. Watch your step and enjoy the water! This is one amazing
hiking trail in Arkansas
you won't want to miss.
2. Steel Creek Campground: This popular spot is home to scenic Roark Bluff and serves as access points for the Buffalo River Trail and the Old River Trail.
Steel Creek Campground, Arkansas 72641, USA
campground in Arkansas
is one of the more popular spots on the Buffalo, featuring horse and tent camping in addition to excellent opportunities for photography.
3. Richland Creek: One of the most scenic streams of the Natural State, this creek features Richland Falls, a 100-foot-wide cascade that drops six to eight feet.
Richland Creek, Arkansas, USA
One good way to experience Richland Creek is to hike the Ozark Highlands Trail, a 178-mile long (and expanding) path which includes an interesting route through Richland Valley.
4. River Bluff Float Camp: This picturesque swimming spot is a part of the Ouachita River.
River Bluff Float Camp is located off of AR Hwy 27 north of Mt. Ida, and is right on the banks of the Ouachita River approx. 32 miles downstream from the Pine Ridge Access.
5. Big Spring Park: This spot is a second magnitude spring flowing into the White River.
Big Spring Park, Big Spring Pkwy, Cotter, AR 72626, USA
Bull Shoals Dam was completed in 1951 and as Bull Shoals Lake filled the flow at Dew Spring increased. In 1954 it was determined that the source was an arm of the lake called Jimmy's Creek. Now called Big Spring it flows 28.9 million gallons every 24 hours. There is a nice sitting area with park benches overlooking the spring and the White River.
6. Woolum Camp: Located on the Buffalo National River, Woolum camping area is open year round for swimmers and floaters.
Woolum Campground, Arkansas 72675, USA
Buffalo National River has three federally designated wilderness areas within its boundaries. Totalling over 30,000 acres, the three areas capture the essence of the wild Ozarks.
7. Spring River: This popular swimming spot has been described as Arkansas's most dependable natural stream.
Mammoth Spring, AR 72554, USA
, flowing at over nine million gallons of 58-degree water per hour, serves as the headwaters for the river and provides plenty of fresh water throughout the year. The river is crystal-clear, with long pools and whitewater falls. The scenery is mostly hardwood forest with some rocky bluffs. Access is from U.S. 63, which parallels much of the upper Spring. The constant flow from Mammoth Spring makes the Spring River one of the state's best year-round floats even during the summer months when river levels tend to fall.
8. Sugar Creek: This swimming spot is on the Cossatot River in Mena, Arkansas.
Sugar Creek Township, AR 72927, USA
This swimming destination is also popular with campers and day-trippers on ATVs. We personally can't get enough, either, so we get it.
9. Tanyard Creek:
Tanyard Creek is located in Bella Vista, Arkansas, below the Windsor Lake Dam with the entrance being off Highway 340/Lanshire Boulevard.
Tanyard Creek Nature Trail, Waterfall Trail, Bella Vista, AR, USA
Snakes are a common site in the creek (and sometimes sunning themselves beside the paths) but are mostly harmless and not a threat if they are left alone. Contrary to popular belief, water moccasins are not a common snake in Northwest Arkansas and nearly all the snakes you will see in the creek is the harmless midland water snake or another harmless water snake species. When it comes to the best swimming holes in Arkansas, this one is toward the top of the must-do list!
10. West Fork White River: This swimming spot is a part of the Upper White River, a long river that flows northwest through Fayetteville, Arkansas and into Lake Sequoyah then north into Beaver Lake before crossing the Missouri State Line.
West Fork White River, Arkansas 72959, USA
Forming south of Fayetteville, along US Highway 71 near Winslow, the West Fork of the
Upper White River
flows as a Class I stream with Class II potential at high water levels. The river flows south to north through Fayetteville to Beaver Lake, where it meets the flow from the Upper White River to the east.
11. Sylamore Creek: This gorgeous spot for swimming is located in Blanchard Springs Cavern State Park northwest of Mountain View, Arkansas.
Sylamore Creek Camp, 214 Sylamore Creek Rd, Mountain View, AR 72560, USA
Directions: From Mountain Home, take Route 5 southeast about 40 miles to Sylamore.
North Sylamore Creek Trail
is one of the best hikes in Arkansas, and it leads to one of the best swimming holes in Arkansas, too!
12. Black River: The Black River is a tributary of the White River, about 300 miles long, in southeastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas.
Black River Township, AR, USA
In Arkansas, the Black River is joined by the Little Black River, the Current River, the Spring River and the Strawberry River. Old Davidsonville State Park offers swimming from a dock on the Black River.
13. Little Mulberry: Another stop on the Mulberry River, this swimming hole is two miles below Wolf Pen, where the river begins as a stream.
Mulberry River, Arkansas, USA
The Mulberry River is a free flowing stream unimpeded by dams. None of the tributaries are dammed except Hurricane Creek at Shores Lake. No major springs feed the river. Literally no list of the best swimming holes in Arkansas is complete without mentioning Little Mulberry.
14. Mill Creek: This jewel of the Mulberry River is a thrill for swimmers and canoeists alike.
Mill Creek, AR 72802, USA
Always check the current river level. The Mulberry is very temperamental. One day it can be a lazy meandering stream, the next it might be too full to run.
is pretty awesome, though.
Big Piney Creek: Situated in the heart of the Ozarks, the Piney is a clear mountain stream wasting little time on its journey toward the Arkansas River.
Big Piney Creek, Arkansas 72847, USA
It hurries over ledges and numerous rapids in a twisting course through Newton, Johnson, and Pope Counties. The creek and adjacent public lands provide an ideal setting for floating, fishing, camping, hiking, hunting, and swimming - not to mention other rituals like rock-skipping and plain old relaxing.
16. Little Missouri River: Also known as "Little Mo", this swimming spot is a 147-mile-long waterway that runs from the Ouachita Mountains of southwest Arkansas into the rolling hills area in the surrounding countryside.
Little Missouri River, Arkansas 71857, USA
The Little Missouri River is a rocky mountain river that flows through narrow forested canyons. This river has numerous small waterfalls, crystal clear water, and outstanding scenery including towering rocky bluffs crowned with pine.
17. Lee Creek: This swimming spot is a 64.6-mile-long river that starts near West Fork in Washington County, Arkansas and flows south to the Arkansas River passing through Crawford County, Arkansas and Sequoyah County, Oklahoma.
flows from Arkansas into Oklahoma, then returns to Arkansas before its confluence with the Arkansas River near Van Buren. In Arkansas, upstream of the Oklahoma border, Lee Creek is classified by the State of Arkansas as an Extraordinary Resource Waterway. Come see why this little spot is easily one of the best swimming holes in Arkansas!
18. Kings River: Located at the interface of the Springfield Plateau and Boston Mountains subdivisions of the Ozark Mountains, Kings River natural area includes more than three miles of the Kings River with Kings River Falls being the focus of the setting.
Kings River Township, AR, USA
The Kings' most attractive features are the flora and fauna found along the rocky banks and bluffs. The rest of the river offers excellent floating and fishing with deep pools, overhanging trees, occasional rapids, and several large bluffs.
19. Blakely Dam: This wonderful swimming spot on Lake Ouachita is located ten miles northwest of Hot Springs.
Blakely Dam Road, Royal, AR, USA
Directions: Take Albert Pike Route 270 west out of Hot Springs and turn right (north) on Mountain Pine Road - Route 227 (just after the bridge over Lake Hamilton.) Take Route 227 north, then near the town of Mountain Pine, continue onto Blakley Dam Road and follow signs to Blakely Dam.
20. Crystal Springs Beach: This cool spot is an Army Corps of Engineers swimming beach on Lake Ouachita.
North Crystal Springs Road, N Crystal Springs Rd, Arkansas 71968, USA
Directions: Take Albert Pike west out of Hot Springs then turn north onto
North Crystal Springs Road
. Follow the road down to the swimming area.
21. Big Shoal Creek: This swimming hole is at the foot of a rock cliff. The cliff is 40-50 feet high with a hole in it that is said to be about the size of a half bushel.
Big Shoal Creek, Arkansas, USA
Directions: From Fort Smith, go east on I-40 about 50 miles to Exit 57 near the town of Clarksville. From here, take Route 109 south about 15 miles (through Scranton) to Midway. In Midway go east (left) on Route 22 for about half a mile and turn south (right) on Sorghum Hollow Road. About 2 miles down Sorghum Hollow Road (in the National Forest), you will come upon Shoal Creek bridge.
22. Trigger Gap: This spot is on the Kings River outside Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Trigger Gap, Arkansas 72616, USA
Directions: Take Route 62 east to Berryville then Route 221 southwest several miles until you cross the over bridge spanning the Kings River. Then turn left on Star Lane, (it's a dirt road.) Follow the signs to the Kings River Outfitters.
23. Blue Hole: This scenic spot is located just north of Jerusalem, Arkansas.
Blue Hole, Arkansas 72141, USA
This is also a special interest area in the Bayou Ranger District of the Ozark National Forest.
Greers Ferry Lake: This beloved water playground is located in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Greers Ferry Lake, Arkansas, USA
The lake is surrounded by an abundance of rock outcropping, trees, and wildlife making it a leading tourist destination.
25. Crowley's Ridge: Try out the spring-fed swimming hole in Crowley's Ridge State Park; two swinging bridges are also located at the spot.
Crowley's Ridge State Park, 2092 AR-168 North, Paragould, AR 72450, USA
Directions: From Jonesboro, Arkansas, take Route 141 north 15 miles to signs for the park.
26. Cossatot River: The Cossatot is known for its largely challenging whitewater kayaking but swimmers can have a great workout here as well.
Cossatot River, Arkansas 71846, USA
The river may be reached via two state highways (278 and 246), Weyerhaeuser roads (particularly #52000 which leads to Ed Banks Bridge and #52600 which goes to the Sandbar low-water bridge above Cossatot Falls), and Forest Service Road 31.
27. Cadron Creek: Several swimming places are at bridge crossings on Cadron Creek at State Fish and Game access points.
Cadron Creek, Arkansas, USA
Like most spots on this creek, they are rain dependent and can dry up into swampy conditions for a couple of months each year, usually July and August.
28. Buffalo Point: Swim in the clean, clear waters of the Buffalo River!
Buffalo Point Arkansas, 858 Hamil Rd, Ravenden Springs, AR 72460, USA
Swimmers should be mindful of the current when the river is high. Downstream from Buffalo Point is Rush Landing, and many people canoe between the two.
29. Walnut Creek: Located in Charlton, Arkansas, this spot is an historic CCC recreational site.
Walnut Creek, Arkansas, USA
The town of Charlton is three miles past the town of Crystal Springs on Route 270 from Hot Springs.
Well, this list should keep your calendar filled with all the best swimming holes in Arkansas to keep you busy (and chilled). These places and more offer up plenty of summer fun for natives of the Natural State as well as travelers all over America. How many of these swimming holes in AR have you visited? Which ones would
you call the best swimming holes in Arkansas? If you know there are any other awesome swimming places that we forgot to mention, sound off in the comments!
Otherwise, if you know of a hidden swimming hole or other natural attraction that you think we should know about, be sure to nominate it
by filling out this form for a chance to be featured in an upcoming article!
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More to Explore
Best Swimming Holes in Arkansas
What are the most beautiful beaches in Arkansas?
Despite Arkansas being a landlocked state, it does offer a few beautiful beaches to sink your toes into and catch some rays. While Arkansas may not be the first place you think of when you want to enjoy a beach day, there are plenty that might just end up on your favorite summer attractions list. One of the most beautiful and popular beaches in Arkansas is Lake Charles in Powhatan. Visitors to this lovely area can enjoy the 654-acre lake, enjoy a hike down Cedar Trail, and sprawl out on the beautiful beach overlooking the lake. Lake Austell in Wynne is a hidden gem of a beach that’s nestled within the Village Creek State Park. A favorite for bass fishermen, those that prefer a more relaxing experience can lay down a towel and sunbathe on the sandy beach with gorgeous treelined views of the lake.
What are the top trails in Arkansas to add to my bucket list?
With its varied terrain, the Natural State is home to countless beautiful hiking trails that are perfect for the outdoor explorer. Some of the top trails in Arkansas that you should add to your bucket list include Pack Rat Falls Trail in Clarksville which is ideal for waterfall chasers. The moderate trail features a stunning 24-foot waterfall that’s simply mesmerizing after a hard rainfall. If you prefer tree-top views, the Goat Trail in Ponca is an absolute must. The 6-mile trail will take you up 350 feet, giving you incredibly gorgeous views of Big Bluff and the Buffalo River.
How many state parks are in Arkansas?
Arkansas is home to 52 state parks, each one more beautiful than the next. Arkansas’ oldest state park, Petit Jean State Park, opened in 1923 and is one of the state’s most visited state parks. One of the newest state parks, the Mississippi River State Park, was established in 2009, and features 536 acres within the St. Francis National Forest.