Best Camping in Arkansas

What’s the Best Camping in Arkansas?

Camping is a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature. When it comes to camping, Arkansas is a state that has a lot to offer.

Arkansas offers a wide range of camping options, from primitive campsites in the mountains to full-service RV parks with all the amenities. Some popular campgrounds include Petit Jean State Park, Buffalo National River, and Mount Magazine State Park.

Merino wool t-shirts can be a great choice for camping in Arkansas or any outdoor activity where comfort, performance, and durability are important considerations.

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best camping spots in Arkansas. We’ll also provide tips on what to bring, what to expect, and how to make the most of your camping trip.

Let’s get started discussing the best camping in Arkansas.

Reasons to Camp in Arkansas

Arkansas is a nature lover’s paradise, offering some of the most beautiful natural settings in the Midwest. From the towering peaks of the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains to the winding rivers and lush valleys, Arkansas has something for every outdoor enthusiast.

Reasons to Camp in Arkansas

There are plenty of reasons to go camping in Arkansas. Here are a few.

Mountainous Regions.

The state’s western half is mountainous, including Magazine Mountain, which stands at nearly 3,000 feet. The Boston Mountains and the Ozark Plateau are north of the Arkansas River, while south of the river, you’ll find the Ouachita Mountains. These areas offer some of the state’s best hiking and camping opportunities, with stunning views and rugged terrain.

Eastern Arkansas.

Eastern Arkansas borders the mighty Mississippi River and features Crowley’s Ridge, which is a fantastic spot for hikers who aren’t looking for a mountain to climb. The region is also known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with the White and Little Red rivers being particularly popular among anglers.

Diamond Mining.

Diamond mining is another unique attraction in Arkansas, with Crater of Diamonds State Park being the only place in the world where visitors can dig for diamonds and keep what they find. This is a must-visit for anyone interested in geology or looking for a unique outdoor adventure.

Hot Springs.

Another top destination in Arkansas is Hot Springs, known for its natural hot springs. In Arkansas, you will find lots of hot springs, fishing, bears, and much more, making it the perfect place to visit when traveling between the Midwest and the Deep South.

The Best Camping Spots in Arkansas

Arkansas’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes make it an ideal destination for camping enthusiasts. With numerous state parks, lakes, and rivers, the state offers a variety of camping experiences, from rugged backcountry camping to family-friendly campgrounds.

Here are the 12 best places to go the best camping in Arkansas.

1. Mount Nebo State Park: Arkansas’ Adventure Destination

Located in Arkansas, Mount Nebo State Park is a must-visit destination for adventure enthusiasts. This park is unique because it is one of only two state parks in Arkansas that offers hand gliding opportunities, with Mount Magazine being the other.

Mount Nebo State Park: Arkansas’ Adventure Destination

Hikers will be thrilled that Mount Nebo has 14 miles of trails, offering stunning views of sunrise and sunset points. Mountain biking enthusiasts can enjoy the 4.5-mile bench trail, which passes through pine and hardwood forests, lakes, and springs.

Aside from its thrilling outdoor activities, Mount Nebo is also known for being one of the best camping sites in Arkansas. The park offers 34 campsites, including 10 hike-in tent-only sites and 24 Class B sites perfect for smaller RVs.

Additionally, the park has a swimming pool, a gift shop, a visitor center, pavilions, picnic areas, and tennis courts. If you’re looking for a more rustic experience, Mount Nebo State Park has 15 cozy cabins. Cabin 1 was the first cabin rental in the history of American state parks. The 12 cabins along the slope offer spectacular views of the valley below.

Mount Nebo State Park, however, is an excellent choice for a getaway due to its numerous recreational activities and comfortable accommodations.

2. Discover the Wonders of Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas

Located just under two hours from Little Rock, Greers Ferry Lake is a stunning natural playground that allows visitors to unwind and enjoy the great outdoors.

Discover the Wonders of Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas

With crystal-clear waters and pristine shorelines, it’s no wonder that Greers Ferry Lake is a top-rated camping destination in Arkansas.

Crystal-Clear Waters and Recreation: One of the main attractions of Greers Ferry Lake is the crystal-clear water that makes it ideal for water sports such as swimming, water skiing, boating, and sailing. Cliff jumps are also popular for adventure seekers, making them a great spot for fishing enthusiasts.

Camping at Choctaw: If you’re planning to stay overnight, the Choctaw campground, located at the western edge of the upper part of the lake, is a favorite among campers. With 146 sites to choose from, 91 of which have water and electrical hookups, there are plenty of options for all campers.

Amenities include a trailer dump station, drinking water, showers, a vault, and flush toilets. Plus, there’s even a swimming area, a boat launching ramp, a marina, a picnic shelter, and a playground. The campground also offers winter camping opportunities, complete with flush toilets and electricity.

Exploring History Underwater: For history and archaeology enthusiasts, scuba diving is a fascinating activity to enjoy at Greers Ferry Lake. The lake was created for flood control in the region, but it covers the remains of a once-thriving city, Higden, which existed in the 19th century.

Frequent floods eventually led to the creation of the constructed lake, and today, the city’s remains lie at the bottom of the lake. The lake’s clear waters allow divers to explore the underwater city and uncover its hidden history.

Whether you’re looking for a place to enjoy a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, Greers Ferry Lake offers something for everyone.

3. Charlton Recreation Area in Arkansas

Charlton Recreation Area, located just 30 minutes west of Hot Springs, is a natural gem that offers visitors a chance to experience the great outdoors. With crystal-clear waters, lush scenery, and various recreational activities, Charlton is one of the best camping places in Arkansas.

Charlton Recreation Area in Arkansas

Crystal-Clear Waters of Walnut Creek: One of the best assets of Charlton Recreation Area is the crystal-clear waters of Walnut Creek, which is part of the Ouachita National Forest. This cold, spring-fed mountain stream is perfect for fishing, swimming, or simply picnicking by the water’s edge.

The water remains cold even on the hottest days of the year, making it a refreshing spot to beat the heat. Families will love the native stone dam that forms a swimming area with a grassy beach, which is perfect for spending a lazy afternoon.

Camping at Charlton: This seasonal campground is open only during the summer months, and there are 46 campsites spread over three loops at Charlton Recreation Area.

Of these, 10 sites offer sewer, electricity, and water, 20 have water and electricity, and 27 are primitive sites without utilities. Common amenities include flush toilets, a bathhouse with warm showers, and fire rings and grills at each campsite. Pets must remain leashed while at the campground.

Recreation Activities: For those who love hiking, the 1-mile nature trail near the campground connects to the 40-mile Lake Ouachita Vista Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Additionally, bikers will enjoy the highly regarded Womble Trail, which offers miles of scenic trails through the Ouachita Mountains. It’s no wonder that this natural oasis is a beloved spot among locals and tourists alike.

4. Buffalo National River Park in Arkansas

Buffalo National River Park, located in Arkansas, is a must-visit destination for those who love hike-in and primitive campsites. From float trips to hiking and wildlife watching, there’s something for everyone. With plenty of campsites and facilities, this is a must-visit destination for campers in Arkansas.

Buffalo National River Park in Arkansas

Float Trips and More: One of the most popular activities at Buffalo National River Park is taking a float trip down the Buffalo River, America’s first national river.

Along with floating, you can engage in other outdoor activities like wildlife watching, swimming, hiking, fishing, and more. However, be sure to check the river flow and pack your kayaking life vests for safety.

Campsites at Buffalo National River Park: Buffalo National River Park has many campsites available for visitors, including 42 at Tyler Bend, 40 at Steel Creek, and 108 at Buffalo Point Campground, which is considered the best of the three.

Buffalo Point Campground offers electrical, and water hookups for RVs, and some sites are available for reservation while others are first-come, first-served.

Amenities and Facilities: Buffalo Point Campground is the most developed and largest campground at Buffalo National River Park, offering amenities such as electricity, water, showers, a dump station, and flush restrooms during summer. For primitive camping during winter, Loop B campsites are available with no electricity or flush restrooms.

5. Discover Devil’s Den State Park: A Natural Haven in Arkansas

Devil’s Den State Park is a natural and historical gem in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Despite its ominous name, it offers some of the most breathtaking views in the state.

Discover Devil’s Den State Park: A Natural Haven in Arkansas

This park is a nature lover’s paradise with its lush oak-hickory forests, abundant coves, caves, caverns, and stunning hiking trails.

Location and Features: Located just an hour south of Springdale, Devil’s Den State Park is easily accessible by car. The park sits in a valley surrounded by the Ozark Mountains, renowned for their natural beauty. Forests, streams, and rocky bluffs dominate the park’s landscape.

Camping Options: Camping enthusiasts will have a wonderful day at Devil’s Den State Park. With 135 campsites to choose from, there’s something for everyone. The campsites include eight hike-in, tent-only sites, 44 Class AAA, four Class B, 13 Class C, and 24 Class D sites.

For those who prefer RV camping, there are 42 sites with electric and water hookups at the horse camp, complete with a bathhouse. Families and larger groups can take advantage of the group camping area, which includes a meeting room, a store, and a standard pavilion.

Park Activities: Devil’s Den State Park is full of exciting visitor activities. Hiking enthusiasts can explore over 20 miles of trails that wind through the park’s dense forests, leading to breathtaking overlooks and secluded waterfalls.

The park also offers rock climbing, rappelling, and mountain biking opportunities. Several caves and caverns in the park are popular among spelunkers, including the unique Devil’s Den Cave.

During summer, visitors can cool off in the park’s swimming pool or rent a kayak and paddle along the peaceful Lee Creek. The park also hosts a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including nature walks and guided cave tours.

Seasonal Information: Devil’s Den State Park is open year-round, but some of its facilities and attractions are only available seasonally. For instance, the cafe, pool, and certain trails are closed during winter. Visitors should plan accordingly and bring all the necessary camping gear, including food and supplies.

6. Exploring the Ozark National Forest.

The Ozark National Forest offers the best camping in Arkansas Ozarks with its crystal clear lakes, soaring limestone bluffs, and natural forests.

Exploring the Ozark National Forest.

Discovering the Natural Wonders: The Ozark National Forest spans four states, including Arkansas, and offers visitors a wide range of outdoor activities.

You can explore Blanchard Springs Caverns, which offers guided tours of wild cave adventures or embark on the 14-mile North Sylamore Trail, which boasts a variety of forested landscapes. For equestrians, the Moccasin Gap Horse Camp provides hitching posts and well water for horses.

Camping in the Ozark National Forest: Gunner Pool is the most popular drive-in/walk-in campground developed by the U.S. Forest Service, followed by Blanchard Springs and Barkshed.

Tent camping Arkansas: The tent and RV campground at Gunner Pool is private and shaded but primitive. The campground has no water or electrical hookups, but it does have tent pads, lantern poles, picnic tables, and grills. Additionally, there are fire rings and pit toilets, as well as trash and recycling collection.

Enjoying the Outdoors in Ozark National Forest: The Ozark National Forest offers something for everyone. You can hike along the many trails, go fishing in the crystal-clear lakes, or simply relax by the campfire. With its unique blend of natural beauty and historic significance, the Ozark National Forest is a must-visit destination in Arkansas.

What to Pack for a Camping Trip in Arkansas.

When packing for a camping trip in Arkansas, it’s important to consider the activities you’ll be doing and the weather conditions. Here are some essential items to pack for a camping trip in Arkansas:

Tent: Unless you plan on sleeping in a camper or RV, a tent is a must-have for camping in Arkansas.

Sleeping Bag and Sleeping Pad: For a comfortable night’s sleep, pack a sleeping bag and pad appropriate for the temperature range you’ll be camping in.

Clothing: The weather in Arkansas can be unpredictable, so it’s important to bring clothing appropriate for all types of weather conditions. Pack plenty of layers, including a waterproof jacket, rain pants, and warm clothing for chilly evenings.

Merino wool clothing is a great choice to keep you comfortable in changing weather conditions. Merino wool is known for its softness, moisture-wicking properties, and temperature-regulating abilities, making it ideal for outdoor activities.

Merino wool garments are also lightweight and breathable, making them easy to wear in a variety of conditions.

Merinoprotect is a great place to shop for merino wool clothing for your Arkansas trip. They offer a range of high-quality products to keep you comfortable and protected during outdoor adventures.

Hiking Boots/Shoes: Arkansas has a variety of hiking trails, so bring sturdy hiking boots or Merino shoes with good traction. Hiking socks are also necessary for hiking trails.

Insect Repellent: Mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects can be a nuisance in Arkansas, so be sure to pack insect repellent.

Sunscreen and Sunglasses: Arkansas has plenty of sunshine, so be sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes.

First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen on a camping trip, so pack a basic first aid kit with items like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers.

Camping Stove and Fuel: Bring a camping stove and fuel if you plan on cooking on your camping trip.

Water Bottles and Water Filters: Arkansas has plenty of natural water sources, but it’s important to purify the water before drinking it. Bring water bottles and a water filter to ensure access to clean drinking water.

Headlamp or Flashlight: Arkansas has plenty of wildlife, so bring a headlamp or flashlight to navigate camp at night.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the best camping in Arkansas in 2023 depends on individual preferences. There are several excellent camping spots in the state, each offering a unique experience.

From the Ozarks in the northwest to the Ouachita Mountains in the southwest, the abundance of natural beauty and outdoor activities make Arkansas a great place to camp.

Whether you are looking for a rustic retreat, a family-friendly destination, or a more adventurous experience, there is sure to be a camping option that is perfect for you.


1. Is Arkansas Good for Camping?

Yes, Arkansas is a great state for camping. There are many scenic outdoor areas, such as the Ozark National Forest, Buffalo National River, and Ouachita National Forest, where campers can enjoy a variety of activities. These areas have many trails, rivers, and lakes for swimming, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Numerous campgrounds and RV parks offer amenities such as restrooms, showers, and picnic areas.

2. What is Your Favorite Campground in Arkansas?

My favorite campground in Arkansas is the Ozark National Forest. This campground offers many activities like hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and more. The beautiful scenery and great amenities make this campground perfect for an enjoyable camping experience.

3. Is Camping Free in Arkansas?

Yes, camping is free in Arkansas. Many of the state’s national forests and wildlife management areas offer free camping in Arkansas on a first-come, first-served basis.

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