Arkansas has 52 state parks—and each offers its own unique attractions. With so many beautiful places in the Natural State, it’s easy to overlook a few. Even when visiting some of the more popular parks, it’s easy to forget just how lucky we are to live in this gorgeous place. Take a look at these 12 state parks, and plan a visit to some of them soon!
1. Wooly Hollow State Park
Wooly Hollow State Park is a great blend of history and nature. You'll see Wooly Cabin, where the area's first settlers lived. Then, explore Lake Bennett. You can rent a paddle boat, swim, fish and more. Fishing boats are also available for rent so that you can search the whole 40-acre lake for the perfect angling spot. More than 10 miles of trails keep hikers and mountain bikers happy all afternoon.
2. Devil's Den State Park
This beautiful valley of the Ozark Mountains offers unparalleled beauty. Rent a canoe and paddle around on the eight-acre Devil's Lake, hike along any one of the many trails that take you through lush forest, and explore the many caves in the region.
3. Crater of Diamonds State Park
Admittedly, this park doesn't look like much when you first arrive. It's basically a plowed field. But this field is special; it covers an area that was once one of the world's largest diamond-bearing volcanos. First, visit the Diamond Discovery Center to learn about this place and get some tips on prospecting. Then, get digging! You could find real diamonds, and they're yours to keep.
4. Mount Magazine State Park
The view from Mount Magazine should be on everyone's Arkansas bucket list. Plan to spend the day hiking and picnicking, and see what ranger-led opportunities are available during your visit. This park is very popular for rock climbers. If you're not a climber yourself, you might enjoy watching them! You might also see hang gliders here.
5. Louisiana Purchase State Park
In 1803, Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, which doubled the size of the United States. Years later, a survey of the 900,000 acres was conducted, starting in Arkansas. The National Historic Landmark of the first survey point is right here in this state park. Walk down the boardwalk to located the survey marker and read about why this place is so important in U.S. history. Enjoy the beauty of the swamp as well!
6. DeGray Lake Resort State Park
This stunning resort is on an island near Bismarck, a little oasis in the Diamond Lakes region. The 13,800-acre DeGray Lake offers so much recreation that you'll want to spend an entire week here, fishing, boating and exploring by boat, kayak and paddleboard. If you enjoy golf, you've got to check out the 18-hole course.
7. Daisy State Park
Nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, this pretty park sits on the banks of Lake Greeson. Spend the day fishing, hiking or mountain biking. Rent a kayak to explore the lake. You can even take a guided kayak tour. Stay overnight at the campground, or in the yurt.
8. Lake Catherine State Park
Stay overnight in one of he nice cabins at this park so that you'll have even more time to enjoy its beauty. Hike the four trails. (Three of them take you right to this gorgeous waterfall.) Explore the lake, too. Go swimming, fishing and boating. You can even take a guided lake tour!
9. Lake Frierson State Park
This place is an angler's paradise with plenty of bass, bream, crappie and other fish species. Plan an overnight camping trip here, then explore by renting a canoe or kayak. You'll also find a visitor center with more information.
10. Moro Bay State Park
This gorgeous state park definitely deserves your attention. Not only is it an excellent place for fishing and water sports, it's a great place to connect with nature while spending time with loved ones. Camp at one of 20 campsites, or stay in one of the fairly new cabins here - they're 1,100 square feet and include all the amenities of home.
11. Petit Jean State Park
This might be the most beautiful state park in all of Arkansas. Hiking trails lead you through this place of natural wonders, which include Bear Cave, The Grotto, The Natural Bridge and more. You'll see sweeping views and enjoy camping, swimming, hiking, picnicking and exploring.
12. Toltec Mounds State Park
At this little park, you'll find three remaining mounds - the tallest in Arkansas. This quiet place was inhabited by native people between 650 AD and 1050 AD. Take the walking tour; you can choose the barrier-free path that's just 3/4 mile, or the turf trail that takes you 1.6 miles. You can also take a Guided Archeological Site Walking Tour for just a few dollars.