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Arkansas's Natural Beauty: A Guide to Prime Camping Locations

camping in Arkansas

Arkansas is a hidden gem when it comes to natural beauty and prime camping locations. From picturesque lakes and rivers to stunning mountains and caves, this state offers outdoor enthusiasts a plethora of options for camping and adventure.

With over 600,000 acres of lakes and 9,700 miles of streams, Arkansas is a haven for water lovers. Many campgrounds and RV parks are located in or near these water bodies, providing easy access to fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, and other water activities.

A serene campsite nestled in the Ozark Mountains, surrounded by lush green trees and a shimmering lake in the background. The sun is setting and casting a warm golden glow over the landscape, with a few scattered clouds adding texture to the sky. A couple of campers sit by their tent, roasting marshmallows over a campfire, while a family can be seen fishing on the lake. The scene emanates peace, tranquility, and natural beauty.

Key Takeaways:

  • Arkansas is home to numerous prime camping locations.

  • The state offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from fishing to hiking.

  • Water enthusiasts will find plenty of campgrounds near lakes and rivers.

  • Arkansas's natural beauty includes stunning mountains, caves, and hot springs.

  • Planning ahead and checking park websites is essential for a smooth camping experience.

Daisy State Park

Located in the scenic Ouachita Mountains, Daisy State Park is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. This picturesque park offers a tranquil setting with breathtaking views of Lake Greeson and the winding Little Missouri River.

At Daisy State Park, visitors can immerse themselves in a wide range of outdoor activities. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines into the crystal-clear waters of Lake Greeson, which is known for its abundance of bass, crappie, and catfish.

If you're a fan of kayaking or canoeing, you'll love exploring the calm waters of the Little Missouri River. The park provides boat rentals and guided lake tours that will take you on a scenic journey through stunning rock formations.

"Daisy State Park offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains and the serenity of Lake Greeson make it an ideal destination for outdoor recreation." - Adventure Seeker Magazine

For those seeking a relaxing camping experience, Daisy State Park offers well-equipped campsites nestled in the midst of nature. From RV sites with hookups to primitive tent sites, there's an option for every type of camper. However, it is recommended to make reservations in advance, as availability may vary.

Facilities and Amenities

Daisy State Park provides a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable stay for visitors:

  • Modern restrooms and showers

  • Picnic areas with grills

  • Playgrounds for children

  • Visitor center with interpretive exhibits

  • Hiking and nature trails

  • Group picnic shelters

If you're planning a day trip to Daisy State Park, don't forget to pack a picnic and enjoy a meal surrounded by the beauty of nature. The park's picnic areas provide the perfect spot to unwind and recharge.

Exploring the Ouachita Mountains

The Ouachita Mountains offer a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities beyond Daisy State Park. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can explore the numerous trails that crisscross the mountains, offering stunning vistas and glimpses of wildlife.

For a more challenging adventure, consider embarking on the Ouachita National Recreation Trail, a 223-mile trail that traverses the entire length of the Ouachita Mountains.

Hiking Trails



Ouachita National Recreation Trail

Moderate to Difficult

223 miles

Little Missouri Trail


14 miles

Cedar Creek Trail


2 miles

Whether you're seeking outdoor adventure or a peaceful retreat in nature, Daisy State Park and the Ouachita Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for unforgettable experiences.

Petit Jean State Park

Petit Jean State Park holds the distinction of being Arkansas's first state park. Nestled in the heart of the state, this natural oasis showcases the breathtaking beauty and ancient geology that makes Arkansas a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Visitors to Petit Jean State Park are treated to a mesmerizing array of natural wonders. Majestic sheer bluffs rise from the forested landscape, offering awe-inspiring vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. The park's crown jewel, the stunning 95-foot Cedar Falls, cascades gracefully, creating a serene and picturesque scene.

As you explore the park's trails, you'll encounter unique formations that showcase the ancient geology of the region. The Bear Cave and Natural Bridge provide a glimpse into the mysterious world beneath the surface, while the carpet rocks and turtle rocks add an intriguing touch to the landscape.

Whether you're a hiker, nature lover, or simply someone seeking tranquility in nature, Petit Jean State Park offers a myriad of outdoor activities and opportunities for exploration. From scenic overlooks to hidden waterfalls, every turn in this park reveals a new and captivating display of natural beauty.

"Petit Jean State Park is a testament to the untouched splendor of Arkansas's ancient geology. The park's unique formations and stunning landscapes make it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts."

Petit Jean State Park Highlights:

  • Sheer bluffs offering panoramic views

  • The majestic 95-foot Cedar Falls

  • Exploration of Bear Cave and Natural Bridge

  • Carpet rocks and turtle rocks

Embrace the natural wonders of Arkansas at Petit Jean State Park. Immerse yourself in the ancient geology and tranquil beauty that has captivated visitors for generations. Whether you're hiking the trails, picnicking in scenic spots, or simply taking in the awe-inspiring views, this state park promises an unforgettable experience.

Devils Den State Park

Discover the hidden wonders of Devils Den State Park, a nature lover's paradise nestled in the heart of Arkansas. This enchanting park offers a range of activities and attractions that will leave you spellbound.

One of the highlights of Devils Den State Park is the opportunity for underground exploration. Venture through trails that wind their way through various caverns and coves, leading you to the mesmerizing Devil's Den cave. With its impressive length of 550 feet, this cave offers a unique experience for those who dare to delve into its mysterious depths.

As you wander through the park, be sure to take in the majestic waterfalls that grace the landscape. These magnificent cascades create a soothing ambiance and provide the perfect backdrop for hiking and picnicking. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the beauty of these natural wonders.

But it's not just the underground exploration and waterfalls that make Devils Den State Park so alluring. The park is also renowned for its scenic views that will take your breath away. Whether you're gazing at the lush greenery or marveling at the expansive vistas, you'll be surrounded by the splendor of nature.

Devils Den State Park offers a unique combination of underground exploration, magnificent waterfalls, and scenic views. It's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Crater of Diamonds State Park

Crater of Diamonds State Park offers a truly unique experience for diamond hunting enthusiasts. Situated in Arkansas, this park allows the public to search for and keep real diamonds that they discover. It's a thrilling opportunity to uncover precious gems while enjoying the great outdoors.

Visitors to Crater of Diamonds State Park can explore more than 37.5 acres of plowed fields that are rich in diamonds and other rocks and minerals. The park provides all the necessary tools for rent, including shovels, screens, and buckets. With these tools in hand, diamond hunting becomes an exciting adventure filled with anticipation and the potential for extraordinary discoveries.

Once a valuable diamond or other valuable minerals are found, visitors are encouraged to have their finds identified and certified by park experts at the Diamond Discovery Center. This adds to the excitement and authenticity of the experience, making it truly memorable.

For those who want to immerse themselves in the diamond hunting experience for longer periods, Crater of Diamonds State Park offers full hook-up campsites. These campsites provide convenient amenities such as access to electricity, water, and sewage disposal, ensuring a comfortable stay throughout the adventure.

Join the ranks of those who have found rare diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park and create memories that will last a lifetime. Start planning your diamond hunting expedition today!

Facilities and Amenities



Full hook-up campsites available

Diamond Hunting Tools

Tools available for rent at the park

Expert Certification

Park experts can identify and certify diamond finds

Lake Ouachita State Park

Lake Ouachita State Park is situated on Arkansas's largest lake, providing visitors with a stunning natural playground to explore. Whether you're a fan of water activities or simply want to soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscape, this park offers something for everyone.

Arkansas's Largest Lake

Lake Ouachita, with its crystal-clear waters, spans over 40,000 acres, making it the largest lake in Arkansas. Its sheer size offers endless opportunities for water adventures and recreational activities.

Water Activities

Visitors to Lake Ouachita State Park can indulge in a wide range of water activities. Whether you prefer the thrill of water skiing or the tranquility of kayaking, there's something for every water enthusiast. Swim in the cool, refreshing waters of the lake or rent a boat to explore its hidden coves and peaceful inlets. Scuba diving is also popular here, with the lake providing excellent visibility and a variety of underwater features to discover.

Three Sisters Springs

A notable feature of Lake Ouachita State Park is the historic Three Sisters Springs. These springs were once part of a private resort known for their healing properties. Today, they serve as a fascinating attraction for visitors to explore and experience. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and therapeutic qualities of these unique springs.

Water Activities



  • Swimming

  • Water skiing

  • Scuba diving

  • Kayaking

  • Boating

  • Three Sisters Springs

  • Tent sites

  • RV sites

  • Cabins

Plan a visit to Lake Ouachita State Park and immerse yourself in the natural wonders and recreational opportunities it offers. From thrilling water activities to the historic Three Sisters Springs, this park has it all. Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a casual nature lover, you'll find something to enjoy at this Arkansas gem.

Planning Ahead

When it comes to planning a camping trip in Arkansas, preparation is key. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience, it's important to take the time to plan ahead and gather all the necessary information. Here are some essential steps to consider:

Check Park Websites

Before embarking on your camping adventure, visit the official websites of the state parks and campgrounds you wish to visit. These websites provide valuable information about the facilities, amenities, and services offered at each park. You can also find details about the available camping options, such as tent sites, RV hookups, and cabin rentals.

Make Reservations

To secure your spot at the desired campground, it is recommended to make reservations in advance. This ensures that you have a designated campsite upon arrival and eliminates any potential frustration of a fully booked campground. Check the park's reservation system or call ahead to reserve your camping spot and inquire about any specific reservation policies.

Be Aware of Camping Fees

Each state park and campground in Arkansas may have different camping fee structures. It's important to be aware of the camping fees and any additional charges that may apply. This information can be found on the park's website or by contacting park staff. Knowing the camping fees in advance allows you to budget for your trip accordingly.

Stay Updated on Park Closure Alerts

Occasionally, state parks or specific campgrounds may be closed due to maintenance, weather conditions, or other unforeseen circumstances. Checking for park closure alerts before your trip can save you from disappointment and inconvenience. Park closures are typically announced on the park's website or through park management channels.

Planning ahead is essential for a smooth and enjoyable camping experience. Checking park websites, making reservations, being aware of camping fees, and staying updated on park closure alerts can help you avoid any surprises and make the most of your time in the great outdoors.

By taking the time to plan ahead, you can maximize your enjoyment of Arkansas's pristine natural beauty and make lasting memories with friends and family.

Benefits of Planning Ahead

1. Ensures availability of desired camping spot

2. Allows budgeting for camping fees

3. Minimizes the risk of encountering park closures

4. Reduces stress and frustration during the trip

State Parks as Meeting and Event Venues

Arkansas state parks provide the perfect setting for various meetings, retreats, conferences, weddings, and family reunions. With their scenic locations and versatile facilities, state parks offer a unique blend of natural beauty and modern amenities.

Whether you are planning a small gathering or a large-scale event, state parks offer a range of options to suit your needs. From intimate meeting rooms to spacious auditoriums, there are venues of different sizes available. These venues are equipped with modern amenities such as projection systems, sound equipment, and Wi-Fi connectivity, ensuring a seamless event experience.

One of the key advantages of choosing Arkansas state parks as event venues is the breathtaking beauty that surrounds them. Your guests will be treated to stunning landscapes, serene lakes, and lush greenery that create a picturesque backdrop for any occasion. Whether it's a wedding ceremony, a company retreat, or a family reunion, the natural beauty of the state parks adds a touch of magic to your event.

In addition to the event venues, many state parks also offer overnight lodging options. This makes it convenient for out-of-town guests to stay on-site and fully immerse themselves in the park's atmosphere. From cozy cabins to spacious lodges, there are accommodations available to suit different preferences and group sizes.

Furthermore, state parks often have dining facilities or partner with local caterers, providing a variety of food options to enhance your event. Whether it's a formal banquet or a casual barbecue, you can cater to your guests' tastes and preferences, ensuring a memorable dining experience for everyone.

Below, you'll find a table highlighting some of the popular Arkansas state parks that double as meeting and event venues:

State Park

Meeting Facilities


Dining Options

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Conference rooms

Outdoor pavilions


Picnic areas

Vending machines

Mount Nebo State Park

Meeting room


Group lodges


DeGray Lake Resort State Park

Conference center

Meeting rooms

Lodge rooms



Multiple dining options


These are just a few examples of the many Arkansas state parks that offer meeting and event facilities. It is important to check with individual parks for availability, capacity, and any specific requirements for your event.

By choosing an Arkansas state park as your meeting or event venue, you can offer your guests a truly memorable experience surrounded by the natural beauty and tranquility that the state has to offer.

Choosing the Right Camping Gear

When planning a camping trip, it's important to choose the right gear. The type of camping you'll be doing, whether it's tent camping, RV camping, or hammock camping, will determine the specific equipment you'll need. Each type of camping has its own unique requirements and considerations.

Gear for Tent Camping

If you're opting for tent camping, it's crucial to have a quality tent that suits your needs. Consider the capacity, weather resistance, and ease of setup. Additionally, don't forget essentials like sleeping bags, sleeping pads or air mattresses, a camping stove, cookware, lighting, and camping chairs.

Gear for RV Camping

For RV camping, make sure you have all the necessary amenities for a comfortable trip. This includes a fully stocked kitchen with cookware, utensils, and a refrigerator, as well as bedding, bathroom supplies, and outdoor camping furniture. Don't forget to pack leveling blocks, a water hose, and a sewer hose.

Gear for Hammock Camping

If hammock camping is your preferred choice, invest in a good-quality hammock with a reliable suspension system and mosquito netting. You'll also need a tarp or rainfly for protection against the elements, a sleeping bag or hammock-specific quilt, and tree-friendly straps. Additionally, consider a bug net and camping bug spray for added comfort.

Packing Essentials

Regardless of the type of camping you choose, there are certain packing essentials that should never be overlooked. These include:

  • First aid kit

  • Map and compass

  • Firestarter

  • Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries

  • Knife or multi-tool

  • Extra clothing and rain gear

  • Food storage containers

  • Water bottles or hydration systems

  • Insect repellent

  • Sunscreen

Properly planning and packing camping gear is essential for a safe and enjoyable outdoor adventure. Choose gear that is suitable for your camping style, consider the specific needs of each type of camping, and don't forget the essential items for a successful trip.

Meal Planning for Camping

When it comes to camping, a well-thought-out meal plan can make all the difference. Whether you're cooking over a campfire or using an RV stove, having a plan and packing the necessary ingredients can ensure that you and your fellow campers enjoy delicious and fulfilling meals throughout your outdoor adventure.


Start your day off right with a hearty and energizing breakfast. Consider easy-to-make options that require minimal cooking equipment, such as:

  • Campfire Pancakes: Whip up a batch of fluffy pancakes using a portable griddle or skillet. Top them with fresh berries and maple syrup for a delightful morning treat.

  • Breakfast Burritos: Prep your burritos ahead of time by filling tortillas with scrambled eggs, cooked bacon or sausage, cheese, and your favorite veggies. Wrap them in foil and heat them over the campfire for a satisfying meal.

  • Yogurt Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh fruits in a cup or mason jar for a quick and nutritious breakfast option.


Keep your midday meal simple and convenient. Consider these ideas for a delicious outdoor lunch:

  • Sandwiches: Pack a variety of deli meats, cheeses, and condiments to create customizable sandwiches. Don't forget to include fresh veggies and spreads to add extra flavor.

  • Wraps: Fill tortillas with grilled chicken or turkey, avocado, lettuce, and your favorite sauce for a refreshing and easy-to-eat lunch.

  • Salads: Prep a salad at home and store it in a portable container. Bring along your favorite dressing and toss it just before serving for a crisp and refreshing meal.


Make dinnertime special with these flavorful camping meal ideas:

  • Grilled Kabobs: Skewer bite-sized pieces of marinated meat, onions, peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Grill them over the campfire for a delicious and easy-to-make dinner.

  • One-Pot Pasta: Cook pasta in a large pot along with your choice of sauce, veggies, and protein for a comforting and filling meal.

  • Tacos: Bring taco shells, seasoned ground meat or grilled veggies, shredded cheese, salsa, and other toppings for a fun and customizable camping dinner.


Don't forget to pack some tasty snacks to satisfy your cravings between meals. Consider these camping-friendly options:

  • Trail Mix: Create your own trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, dried fruits, and chocolate or yogurt-covered treats.

  • Veggies and Hummus: Slice up fresh veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers, and dip them in individual servings of hummus for a nutritious and refreshing snack.

  • Campfire Popcorn: Pop some popcorn over the campfire in a covered pot for a fun and delicious snack to enjoy around the campfire.

With a well-planned menu, you can create memorable camping meals that suit your taste buds and satisfy your hunger. Don't forget to pack essentials like cooking utensils, plates, and cutlery, as well as any special ingredients or spices you may need. Happy camping and bon appétit!


In conclusion, Arkansas is a haven for outdoor adventures and exploring natural beauty. Whether you prefer camping in the scenic mountains, by the lakeshores, or near majestic waterfalls, the state's diverse camping destinations have something for everyone.

By planning ahead and checking park websites for reservations and closures, you can ensure a smooth camping experience. Additionally, choosing the right camping gear, whether it's for tent camping, RV camping, or hammock camping, is crucial to stay comfortable and prepared during your trip.

So, pack your bags, grab your gear, and embark on a journey to discover the breathtaking landscapes of Arkansas. From the ancient geology of Petit Jean State Park to the unique experience of diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park, you'll create lasting memories while immersing yourself in the natural wonders of Arkansas's camping guide.


What are some prime camping locations in Arkansas?

Some prime camping locations in Arkansas include Daisy State Park, Petit Jean State Park, Devils Den State Park, Crater of Diamonds State Park, and Lake Ouachita State Park.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy while camping in Arkansas?

While camping in Arkansas, you can enjoy activities such as fishing, kayaking, swimming, hiking, exploring caves, and searching for diamonds.

How do I make reservations for camping in Arkansas state parks?

You can make reservations for camping in Arkansas state parks by checking the park's website or calling ahead to inquire about availability and fees.

Can I go diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park?

Yes, you can go diamond hunting at Crater of Diamonds State Park. Visitors are allowed to keep any rocks or minerals they find.

What should I consider when choosing camping gear for my trip?

When choosing camping gear, consider the type of camping you will be doing, whether it's tent camping, RV camping, or hammock camping. Each type of camping requires different equipment and packing essentials.

How can I plan meals while camping?

It's important to plan meals and pack the necessary ingredients for camping. Whether cooking over a campfire or using an RV stove, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks outdoors while camping.

Is it necessary to plan ahead when camping in Arkansas?

Yes, it is important to plan ahead when camping in Arkansas. Check the park's website and call ahead to inquire about camping fees, reservations, park closures, and any permits that may be required for a smooth and enjoyable camping experience.

Can Arkansas state parks be used as venues for meetings and events?

Yes, Arkansas state parks offer a variety of facilities for meetings, retreats, conferences, weddings, and family reunions. Many parks provide scenic locations with amenities such as projection and sound equipment, overnight lodging, and dining options.

What should I do before visiting any state park or campground in Arkansas?

Before visiting any state park or campground in Arkansas, check the park's website and call ahead to inquire about camping fees, reservations, park closures, and any permits that may be required.

What makes Arkansas a prime camping destination?

Arkansas offers a wealth of natural beauty with its rivers, hot springs, mountains, and caves. It has numerous campgrounds and RV parks located in or near water bodies, providing opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, and more.

Why should I choose Arkansas for camping?

Arkansas's natural beauty, prime camping locations, and opportunities for outdoor activities make it an ideal destination for camping. From state parks with stunning landscapes to unique experiences like diamond hunting, Arkansas offers a memorable camping experience.

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