Home to the majestic Ozark Mountains, the Buffalo National River, and significant portions of three National Forests, Arkansas abounds with spectacular camping opportunities. Many of the best campgrounds are located on one of the state's many lakes, making them perfect for people who want to fish, swim, and boat, but excellent campgrounds can also be found perched on top of mountains, in privately owned horse pastures, and nestled in the heart of the forest. Whether you want to escape into the backcountry with nothing but a tent or relax in your RV while surrounded by nature, here are the best places to camp in Arkansas. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Baby Bears Camp
If you're looking for a secluded place to connect with nature in its purest form, Baby Bears Camp fits the bill perfectly. The area has been left purposefully overgrown to provide a habitat for animals, but this only adds to its charm, and there's a good chance you'll spot a few friendly creatures. Most of the campsites on the 35-acre property can only be reached on foot, but there are a handful of drive-in and RV sites as well. Fire rings can be found in the communal area, and the campsite also offers a disc golf course and fishing ponds for guests to enjoy.
807 Mcknight Ave. West Fork, AR 72774, Phone: 479-466-2134
2.Buffalo Camping & Canoeing
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Operating out of the Gilbert General Store, Buffalo Camping & Canoeing offers a primitive campground three quarters of a mile away from the Buffalo River. Both tent and RV sites are available, and restrooms and showers are available for all guests to use. All sites have a six-person maximum, and campers must book a stay of at least two nights on weekends. The company also offers exciting float trips down the river, and due to the campground's small size, campers will sometimes be required to book a float trip in order to reserve a campsite.
1 N Frost St, Gilbert, AR 72636, Phone: 870-439-2888
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3.Bull Shoals-White River State Park
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Known for being home to one of the best trout-fishing streams in the country, the Bull Shoals-White River State Park runs along the shores of both the White River and Bull Shoals Lake. More than 100 campsites can be found along the shore of the river, including both tent and RV sites, and RVs are sometimes available to rent if you don't have your own. Campers can fish, hike, and mountain bike in the park, and there's also an excellent Visitor's Center, which features a large exhibit hall and often offers nature walks, trout fishing demonstrations, and other interpretive programs.
153 Dam Overlook Lane, Lakeview, AR 72642, Phone: 870-445-3629
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4.Crater of Diamonds State Park
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The Crater of Diamonds State Park is one of the only places in the world where visitors can search for genuine diamonds, making it a truly unique camping destination. The Visitor's Center is full of information about diamonds and why they're found here, and digging tools can be rented if needed. Most of the sites in the shady campground are suitable for both tents and RVs, and the campground offers modern amenities like a bathhouse with hot showers and campground-wide Wi-Fi. However, there are also a handful of walk-in tent sites for those who want a more rustic experience.
209 State Park Rd, Murfreesboro, AR 71958, Phone: 870-285-3113
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5.Daisy State Park
Encompassing almost 280 acres in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains, Daisy State Park is a fantastic place for all sorts of outdoor activities. Visitors can fish for trout in the Little Missouri River, go for a ride on the Bear Cycle ATV Trail, or rent a kayak and paddle around on Lake Greeson. There are more than 100 tent and RV campsites to choose from, and for a truly unforgettable experience, the campground also rents out a yurt. Other amenities in the park include a children's playground, a screened-in pavilion, and several picnic areas.
103 E Park Rd, Kirby, AR 71950, Phone: 870-398-4487
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6.Devil’s Den State Park
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Established in 1933, Devil’s Den State Park is one of the most iconic camping destinations in the state. There are several different types of campsite to choose from, including hike-in tent sites, RV sites with and without hookups, and special equestrian sites that provide access to the park's horse trails. If you want a little more comfort, you can also stay in one of the park's rustic riverfront cabins, some of which feature fireplaces, television, and full kitchens. The cabins are available for rent year-round, and a swimming pool and cafe are open on a seasonal basis.
11333 AR-74, West Fork, AR 72774, Phone: 479-761-3325
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7.Horseshoe Bend Campground
Sitting on the western shore of Beaver Lake, Horseshoe Bend Campground boasts shady, spacious campsites and easy access to the water. Kayaks can be launched from many of the campsites, and the lake is excellent for paddling, fishing, and swimming. Other popular activities in the area include fishing in the upper White River and hiking in the nearby Hobbs State Park. All sites are equipped with picnic tables and fire rings, and flush toilets, hot showers, and drinking water are available as well. If you need to stock up on supplies, there are several nearby marinas with stores and boat rentals.
16165 AR-94, Rogers, AR 72758, Phone: 479-925-2561
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8.Gulpha Gorge Campground
Located in Hot Springs National Park, the Gulpha Gorge Campground offers 40 sites with full hookups, although both tents and RVs are welcome. A small creek runs through the property, and there are several walking trails leading to the historic town of Hot Springs, which is approximately two miles away. Every site is equipped with a fire ring, but if you're camping with a larger group, you can get a permit to have a fire in the fire pit at the Campground Amphitheater. All sites are available on a first-come first-served basis, and camping fees must be paid with credit or debit rather than cash.
305 Gulpha Gorge Road, Hot Springs, AR 71901, Phone: 501-620-6715
9.Hot Springs National Park KOA
Although it's not located right in the national park, the Hot Springs National Park KOA is another great place to stay, particularly if you're camping in an RV. The park is only a few minutes' drive away, and the RV sites are equipped with full hookups and cable TV. Some also have concrete decks equipped with patio furniture and brick fire pits. Other fun amenities include a seasonal outdoor pool, a fishing pond, and a children's playground, and for an additional fee, you can also play a round of golf on the 18-hole mini golf course.
838 McClendon Rd, Hot Springs, AR 71901, Phone: 501-624-5912
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10.Kings River Falls Camping
Hidden away down a dirt road with almost no cell phone service, Kings River Falls Camping is the place to go if you're seeking peace and quiet. There are only a few campsites available, each of which can accommodate up to 8 guests, and some sites can only be accessed by walking across a shallow creek. The 7-acre property is dotted with beautiful caves and rock formations, and campers will also be able to swim in the Kings River and a beautiful swimming hole. Campfires are permitted, and firewood can be purchased from the campground staff.
1543 Madison 3500, Witter, AR 72776, Phone: 501-324-9619
11.Lake Charles State Park
Only half an hour outside Jonesboro, Lake Charles State Park can be found on the shore of a 645-acre man-made lake. The campsite is perched on a bluff overlooking the lake, and in addition to tent and RV campsites, it also offers a yurt and two RVs for rent. The lake is known for its excellent fishing, and bait and tackle can be purchased between March and October. Interpretive programs and nature walks are offered through the Visitor's Center in the summer, and between November and February, there's also a 3D archery range open to the public.
3705 AR-25, Powhatan, AR 72458, Phone: 870-878-6595
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12.Lake Fort Smith State Park
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Nestled in the scenic Boston Mountain Valley, Lake Fort Smith State Park is an excellent destination for camping, hiking, and fishing. Pedal boats, canoes, and fishing boats can be rented from the park marina, but visitors should be aware that stand-up paddle boarding, swimming, and jet skiing are not permitted on the lake. Campground amenities include a swimming pool, a children's playground, and several picnic areas, and there are 30 campsites to choose from. One- and two-bedroom cabins are available as well, and if you're traveling with a group, there are two spacious lodges that can accommodate up to 32 people.
15458 Sheperd Springs Rd, Mountainburg, AR 72946, Phone: 479-369-2469
13.Lake Ouachita State Park
Situated on the shore of the largest lake in Arkansas, Lake Ouachita State Park is one of the state's best fishing destinations. There are more than 90 campsites to choose from, some of which are located right on the water, and there are communal bathhouses with hot showers for campers to use. Four rustic camper cabins can be found right in the park as well, and for an even more luxurious option, there are also several fully equipped cabins with kitchens and satellite TV. Boats can be rented from the marina, and there are plenty of hiking trails near the campground.
5451 Mountain Pine Rd, Mountain Pine, AR 71956, Phone: 800-264-2441
14.Millwood State Park
Created so that people could enjoy the beauty of Millwood Lake, Millwood State Park is a family-friendly park with easy access to outdoor recreation both on and off the water. There are only 45 campsites, but there's something to suit everyone, with options ranging from simple tent sites to sites with full hookups. A beautiful walking trail can be found right next to the campground, and canoes and fishing boats can be rented from the marina. Birdwatchers should bring their binoculars; the park is an Important Bird Area, and more than 300 species of birds have been spotted here.
1564 AR-32, Ashdown, AR 71822, Phone: 870-898-2800
15.Mississippi River State Park
Part of the St. Francis National Forest, the Mississippi River State Park is home to one of the most picturesque campgrounds in Arkansas. Both tent sites and RV sites with full hookups are available, and all the sites have paved patios with picnic tables and grills. In a different location, there are also 14 primitive campsites with nothing but a few vault toilets to detract from the pristine wilderness. Visitors can spend their time exploring the park's hiking trails and fishing or canoeing on its seven bodies of water, and the modern Visitor's Center offers excellent exhibits about the Mississippi River.
2955 State Hwy 44, Marianna, AR 72360, Phone: 870-295-4040
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Located on a privately-owned 16-acre property in northern Arkansas, Morningstar Camping is one of the only places where you can have private access to Lake Leatherwood. There are no official campsites, but campers can pitch their tents almost anywhere on the property, and there's a restroom for guest use inside the house. Guests are welcome to relax at their campsites and explore the hiking trails on the property as much as they want, but you should also plan to spend some time in the nearby Eureka Springs, a quaint town whose historic district is lined with charming Victorian buildings.
Bear Creek No. 4 Township, AR 72650
17.Mount Magazine State Park
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Home to the 2,753-foot Mount Magazine, the highest peak in Arkansas, the Mount Magazine State Park offers more than 2,200-acres of outdoor fun. It's an excellent destination for activities like rock climbing, hiking, and mountain biking, and if you really want to get your adrenaline pumping, there are two hang gliding launch areas. There's also an excellent Visitor's Center, which offers a gift shop and a variety of interpretive programs all throughout the year. When it comes to the campground, there's a modern bathhouse with flush toilets and hot showers, and all the campsites have hookups for water, sewer, and electric.
16878 Highway 309 South, Paris, AR 72855, Phone: 479-963-8502
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18.Ouachita National Forest
Stretching from central Arkansas into southeastern Oklahoma, the Ouachita National Forest encompasses approximately 1.8 million acres of land and offers endless opportunities for camping. Primitive camping is allowed almost anywhere in the forest, although campers must stay at least one mile away from developed campgrounds. Campsites that other people have used can be found all throughout the forest, and although most of them have no picnic tables or other amenities, some of the more popular spots have toilets. Campers are required to pack out everything they pack in, and fires are permitted as long as there isn't a current fire ban.
Hot Springs, AR 71902, Phone: 501-321-5202
19.Ozark-St. Francis National Forests
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Consisting of two separate forested areas, the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests have more than 200 beautiful camping and picnicking spots for visitors to enjoy. There's truly something for everyone; RV and drive-in tent campers can park at one of the well-developed campgrounds with hot showers and easy access to one of the park's beautiful lakes, while those seeking a little more solitude can pitch their tent in the middle of the forest where they won't be disturbed. Camping fees vary from site to site, and there are many sites that charge no fee at all.
605 W Main St, Russellville, AR 72801, Phone: 479-964-7200
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20.Quarry Cove Park
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Tucked in between the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, Quarry Cove Park is located on the shore of Nimrod Lake. The campground has just over 30 sites, all of which have hookups for electricity and water, and there's a modern bathhouse with flush toilets and hot showers. Other amenities include a communal picnic area, a sandy swimming beach, and a children's playground. However, most people choose to come here because of the lake, which is excellent for everything from fishing to water skiing to skiing. If you're bringing the boat, be aware that water skiing and tubing are only permitted on certain sections.
6789 AR-60, Plainview, AR 72857, Phone: 479-272-4233
21.Queen Wilhelmina State Park
Perched on top of Rich Mountain, the second tallest peak in the state, Queen Wilhelmina State Park boasts some of the most incredible views in Arkansas. The park is known for being the site of a historic lodge that was built in 1898, and although the original building is no longer in use, a more modern version is still welcoming visitors today. There's also a campground, which offers 40 drive-in sites and one hike-in tent site. The campground is open year-round, but the restrooms are closed between the beginning of December and the end of February.
3877 AR-88, Mena, AR 71953, Phone: 479-394-2863
Found in a horse pasture only five miles off the I-40, Sawmill Ridge is a primitive campground on a privately-owned property. Both tents and RVs are welcome, and although there are no hookups, potable water is available at the property owner's house across the street. There's also accommodation for horses, and campers are welcome to bring their dogs and have them off-leash The property itself offers more than 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, and there are plenty more trails in the Ozark National Forest as well, which is only half a mile away.
14531 Raybourn Rd., Weiner, AR 72479-9043, Phone: 870-930-7755
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23.Sunlight Bay Campground
Offering almost 30 large campsites suitable for both tents and RVs, the Sunlight Bay Campground is another beautiful place to camp on Nimrod Lake. The campground is wonderfully family-friendly; there's plenty of space for your little ones to run around, and there's also a children's playground. Swimming and boating are permitted on the lake, but what it's really known for is its excellent fishing, and fishermen can expect to catch everything from bass to bluegill to crappie. The campground is open year-round, but sites can only be reserved between mid-March and the last week of October.
3 Arkansas 7 S, Plainview, AR 72857, Phone: 479-272-4234
24.Wilderness Rider Buffalo Ranch
A 2500-acre property crisscrossed with endless dirt trails, the Wilderness Rider Buffalo Ranch is an incredible place to camp if you love off-road vehicle adventures. There are sites for both small and large groups, and many sites have drive-in access. The camping fee is charged per person, but there's a special family rate for two adults and up to three kids. Off-road use of the trails requires an additional fee, and although most campers bring their own off-road vehicles, the ranch staff can help you arrange a guided tour or vehicle rental if need be.
HC 65 Box 232, Kingston, AR 72742, Phone: 870-220-2944
25.Woolly Hollow State Park
Centered around the 40-acre Lake Bennett, Woolly Hollow State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, making it one of Arkansas' oldest state parks. There are four hiking trails and a 9.4-mile mountain biking trail, but the biggest attraction is the lake. Canoes, kayaks, and fishing boats can be rented right in the park, and there's also a swimming beach that's staffed by a lifeguard during the summer months. The campground offers 40 sites, including sites with full hookups as well as basic sites for tents, and it also has a bathhouse with hot showers for campers to use.
82 Woolly Hollow Rd, Greenbrier, AR 72058, Phone: 501-679-2098
25 Best Camping Spots in Arkansas
- Baby Bears Camp, Photo: emilijamanevska/stock.adobe.com
- Buffalo Camping & Canoeing, Photo: Monkey Business/stock.adobe.com
- Bull Shoals-White River State Park, Photo: Monkey Business/stock.adobe.com
- Crater of Diamonds State Park, Photo: Robert Kneschke/stock.adobe.com
- Daisy State Park, Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com
- Devil’s Den State Park, Photo: Erica Smit/stock.adobe.com
- Horseshoe Bend Campground, Photo: Mongkolchon/stock.adobe.com
- Gulpha Gorge Campground, Photo: Kristen/stock.adobe.com
- Hot Springs National Park KOA, Photo: Gorilla/stock.adobe.com
- Kings River Falls Camping, Photo: mikhail_kayl/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Charles State Park, Photo: Rawpixel.com/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Fort Smith State Park, Photo: Maksim Šmeljov/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Ouachita State Park, Photo: kichigin19/stock.adobe.com
- Millwood State Park, Photo: Maridav/stock.adobe.com
- Mississippi River State Park, Photo: Ivan/stock.adobe.com
- Morningstar Camping, Photo: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/stock.adobe.com
- Mount Magazine State Park, Photo: Andrey Kiselev/stock.adobe.com
- Ouachita National Forest, Photo: wavebreak3/stock.adobe.com
- Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, Photo: Tyler Olson/stock.adobe.com
- Quarry Cove Park, Photo: LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/stock.adobe.com
- Queen Wilhelmina State Park, Photo: WavebreakMediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Sawmill Ridge, Photo: HildaWeges/stock.adobe.com
- Sunlight Bay Campground, Photo: AVAVA/stock.adobe.com
- Wilderness Rider Buffalo Ranch, Photo: WavebreakMediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Woolly Hollow State Park, Photo: Halfpoint/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: goodluz/stock.adobe.com
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