Best Camping in Arkansas

Close up of Arkansas state on a map marked with a red pin
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Escape to the captivating landscapes of Arkansas and immerse yourself in the best camping experiences this beautiful state has to offer. From the majestic peaks of the Ozark Mountains to the serene shores of its crystal-clear lakes, Arkansas boasts an array of camping destinations that will enchant nature lovers of all kinds. Wake up to the soothing sounds of nature, hike along scenic trails that lead to breathtaking vistas, and unwind around a crackling campfire under a starlit sky. Whether you seek adventure, tranquility, or simply a chance to reconnect with the great outdoors, camping in Arkansas promises unforgettable moments and cherished memories amidst its natural wonders. Get ready to pitch your tent, explore hidden gems, and embark on a journey to discover the best camping in Arkansas.



Buffalo National River

Buffalo National River, America’s first national river, is a pristine haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking a remarkable camping experience. Nestled in the heart of Arkansas, this captivating campsite offers breathtaking vistas, crystal-clear waters, and diverse wildlife. With numerous campgrounds dotting its picturesque length, campers can immerse themselves in the serene beauty of this remarkable river while enjoying a variety of recreational activities and exploring the surrounding natural wonders.

Reasons to Camp in Buffalo National River:

  • Stunning Natural Beauty: Buffalo National River is renowned for its breathtaking scenery. From towering limestone bluffs to pristine riverbanks lined with lush vegetation, the campsite offers unparalleled natural beauty that provides a serene backdrop for your camping adventure.
  • Outdoor Recreation: The campsite offers a wide range of outdoor activities to enjoy. From kayaking or canoeing along the gentle currents of the river to hiking scenic trails that meander through the surrounding forests, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploration.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Buffalo National River is home to a rich variety of wildlife. As you camp, keep an eye out for deer, elk, wild turkey, and even the occasional river otter. Birdwatchers will also delight in the diverse avian species that inhabit the area.
  • Peaceful and Tranquil Atmosphere: Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Buffalo National River. The campsite offers a peaceful atmosphere, allowing you to relax, unwind, and connect with nature.
  • Campground Variety: Whether you prefer primitive camping or desire more modern amenities, Buffalo National River has campgrounds to suit every preference. From secluded riverside sites for a back-to-nature experience to campgrounds with facilities such as restrooms and picnic areas, you can find the perfect spot to set up camp.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Stove Camping Chairs, Cooler, Hiking Boots, Water Filtration System


Petit Jean State Park

Perched atop Petit Jean Mountain, Petit Jean State Park invites camping enthusiasts to immerse themselves in a captivating natural retreat. With its sweeping vistas, enchanting waterfalls, and well-maintained campgrounds, this scenic haven in Arkansas offers the perfect escape into nature. Explore the park’s diverse hiking trails, witness the awe-inspiring beauty of Cedar Falls, and indulge in a rejuvenating camping experience surrounded by the park’s timeless charm.

Reasons to Camp in Petit Jean State Park:

  • Scenic Beauty: Petit Jean State Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. From the picturesque views atop Petit Jean Mountain to the breathtaking Cedar Falls, the campsite offers a visual feast of lush landscapes, vibrant colors, and captivating vistas.
  • Outdoor Recreation: The park provides a wide range of outdoor activities for campers to enjoy. Hike along the park’s numerous trails, go fishing in Lake Bailey or the Arkansas River, take a scenic boat tour, or even try your hand at rock climbing on the park’s unique geological formations.
  • Rich History and Culture: Petit Jean State Park is steeped in history and offers a glimpse into the region’s past. Visit the historic Mather Lodge, explore the Rock House Cave, or learn about the fascinating legends and folklore surrounding the park’s namesake, Petit Jean.
  • Wildlife and Nature: Nature lovers will appreciate the park’s abundant wildlife and diverse ecosystems. Keep an eye out for deer, turkey, and other wildlife during your camping adventure, and take the opportunity to spot a variety of bird species that call the park home.
  • Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Petit Jean State Park is a fantastic destination for families. With designated picnic areas, playgrounds, and interpretive programs for children, the campsite offers a family-friendly environment where everyone can create lasting memories together.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Stove, Cooking Utensils, Hiking Boots, Binoculars, Camping Lantern


Mount Magazine State Park

Rising majestically above the Arkansas landscape, Mount Magazine State Park beckons camping enthusiasts to indulge in a remarkable outdoor adventure. Located atop the highest peak in the state, this extraordinary campsite offers breathtaking vistas, enchanting forests, and a tranquil atmosphere that invites visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace. From exhilarating hikes along scenic trails to panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see, Mount Magazine State Park promises an unforgettable camping experience in the heart of Arkansas.

Reasons to Camp in Mount Magazine State Park:

  • Spectacular Scenery: Mount Magazine State Park boasts breathtaking scenery that includes panoramic views of the Arkansas River Valley. From the summit of the state’s highest peak, campers can take in awe-inspiring vistas that showcase the surrounding forests, rolling hills, and distant horizons.
  • Outdoor Adventures: The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities for campers to enjoy. From hiking and mountain biking on scenic trails to rock climbing the unique sandstone bluffs, there are plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploration in the rugged wilderness of Mount Magazine.
  • Tranquil and Serene Environment: Nestled amidst nature’s tranquility, Mount Magazine State Park provides a serene atmosphere that allows campers to relax, unwind, and escape the noise and stress of everyday life. The peaceful surroundings make it an ideal destination for those seeking a rejuvenating camping experience.
  • Abundant Wildlife: The park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including deer, wild turkey, black bears, and various bird species. Nature enthusiasts and wildlife watchers will appreciate the opportunity to observe and appreciate the natural inhabitants of Mount Magazine.
  • Campground Facilities and Amenities: Mount Magazine State Park offers well-maintained campgrounds with a range of amenities to ensure a comfortable camping experience. Campers can find both developed and primitive campsites, picnic areas, restrooms, and even cabins for those seeking a more cozy retreat.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Hiking Boots, Backpack, Camping Stove, Headlamp, Binoculars


Devil’s Den State Park

Tucked away amidst the majestic Ozark Mountains, Devil’s Den State Park invites camping enthusiasts to embark on an extraordinary journey into nature’s embrace. This remarkable campsite captures the essence of rugged beauty with its towering rock formations, serene lakes, and dense forests. From awe-inspiring hiking trails to fascinating geological wonders, Devil’s Den State Park offers an unforgettable camping experience where adventure and tranquility intertwine in perfect harmony.

Reasons to Camp in Devil’s Den State Park:

  • Natural Beauty: Devil’s Den State Park is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. From the impressive rock formations and unique geological features to the tranquil lakes and lush forests, the campsite offers a captivating and picturesque environment for campers to enjoy.
  • Outdoor Recreation: The park provides a wide range of outdoor activities for visitors to partake in. Explore the extensive trail system, go hiking or mountain biking through scenic landscapes, enjoy fishing or swimming in the park’s lakes, or try your hand at rock climbing on the park’s challenging bluffs.
  • Wildlife and Nature: Devil’s Den State Park is teeming with diverse wildlife and abundant natural wonders. Nature enthusiasts will have the opportunity to observe wildlife such as deer, squirrels, and a variety of bird species. The park’s rich biodiversity and scenic landscapes make it a haven for nature lovers.
  • Historical Significance: The park holds historical significance, with structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Campers can explore these architectural treasures, such as the CCC-built stone dam and the picturesque cabins, which add an extra layer of charm and history to the camping experience.
  • Family-Friendly Atmosphere: Devil’s Den State Park offers a family-friendly environment, making it an ideal destination for campers of all ages. The park features picnic areas, playgrounds, and interpretive programs that cater to families, providing opportunities for shared experiences and creating lasting memories.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Hiking Boots, Backpack, Camping Stove, Insect Repellent, Camping Chairs


Ozark National Forest

Enveloping vast expanses of rugged terrain, Ozark National Forest beckons camping enthusiasts to embark on an unforgettable wilderness adventure. Spanning across the enchanting Ozark Mountains, this captivating campsite is a nature lover’s paradise. With its towering ancient trees, cascading waterfalls, and meandering rivers, Ozark National Forest offers a serene retreat where visitors can immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of the wilderness and experience the true essence of outdoor exploration.

Reasons to Camp in Ozark National Forest:

  • Breathtaking Natural Beauty: Ozark National Forest is renowned for its awe-inspiring natural beauty. From dense forests and scenic vistas to stunning waterfalls and winding rivers, the campsite offers a picturesque backdrop that captivates the senses and invites exploration.
  • Outdoor Adventures: The forest provides a wealth of outdoor activities for campers to enjoy. Hiking, backpacking, and mountain biking trails weave through the landscape, offering opportunities for adventure and discovery. Fishing, kayaking, and canoeing in the rivers and lakes provide exciting water-based experiences.
  • Wildlife and Flora: Ozark National Forest is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species. Nature enthusiasts can encounter white-tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, and a variety of bird species while exploring the forest. The rich flora includes towering hardwoods, colorful wildflowers, and unique plant life.
  • Seclusion and Tranquility: With its expansive wilderness, Ozark National Forest offers a sense of seclusion and tranquility. Campers can escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, revel in the peaceful ambiance, and rejuvenate their spirits in the embrace of nature.
  • Stargazing Opportunities: The dark night skies of Ozark National Forest provide excellent stargazing opportunities. Away from city lights, campers can marvel at the brilliance of the stars, witness meteor showers, and connect with the vastness of the universe.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Hiking Boots, Backpack, Camping Stove, Water Filtration System, Camping Hammock


Lake Ouachita State Park

Nestled along the shores of the magnificent Lake Ouachita, Lake Ouachita State Park offers a breathtaking camping experience surrounded by natural splendor. With its crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and abundant wildlife, this captivating campsite in Arkansas entices visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of the outdoors. From boating and fishing adventures to scenic hiking trails, Lake Ouachita State Park beckons campers to explore its scenic wonders and indulge in a serene retreat amidst nature’s embrace.

Reasons to Camp in Lake Ouachita State Park:

  • Spectacular Lake Views: Lake Ouachita is known for its stunning beauty and crystal-clear waters. Camping in the park allows you to wake up to breathtaking lake views, enjoy tranquil sunsets, and immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of the water.
  • Water-Based Activities: With its vast expanse of water, Lake Ouachita offers a myriad of water-based activities. You can go boating, kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing, creating endless opportunities for fun and adventure on the lake.
  • Scenic Hiking Trails: The park features a network of scenic hiking trails that meander through the surrounding forests. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, the trails offer a chance to explore the natural beauty of the area and observe its diverse flora and fauna.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Lake Ouachita State Park is home to a rich variety of wildlife. From birds and turtles to deer and small mammals, nature enthusiasts will have ample opportunities to spot and appreciate the park’s native inhabitants during their camping adventure.
  • Peaceful and Relaxing Atmosphere: Camping in Lake Ouachita State Park provides a serene and tranquil atmosphere that allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s an ideal setting to unwind, connect with nature, and enjoy moments of peace and relaxation in the heart of Arkansas.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Cooler, Kayak/Canoe, Fishing Gear, Water Shoes


Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area

Embracing the untamed spirit of the Cossatot River, Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area welcomes camping enthusiasts to immerse themselves in a remarkable outdoor haven. With its meandering river, rugged terrain, and unspoiled wilderness, this captivating campsite offers a thrilling escape for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. From conquering challenging rapids to exploring scenic trails, Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area promises an exhilarating camping experience in the heart of Arkansas’s natural splendor.

Reasons to Camp in Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area:

  • Whitewater Adventure: Cossatot River is renowned for its thrilling whitewater rapids, attracting experienced kayakers and whitewater enthusiasts from far and wide. Camping in the park allows you to embark on an adrenaline-pumping adventure, navigating the challenging rapids and experiencing the rush of the river firsthand.
  • Scenic Beauty: The natural beauty surrounding Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area is simply breathtaking. From the lush forests and rocky cliffs to the sparkling river and picturesque waterfalls, the campsite offers awe-inspiring vistas and opportunities for stunning nature photography.
  • Hiking and Nature Trails: The park features a network of hiking and nature trails that traverse the diverse landscape. Whether you’re interested in a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, you can explore the park’s scenic trails and discover hidden gems along the way, including unique rock formations and tranquil spots by the river.
  • Wildlife and Bird Watching: Cossatot River State Park-Natural Area is home to a rich array of wildlife species. Birdwatchers can delight in the opportunity to spot various bird species, while nature enthusiasts may encounter white-tailed deer, turtles, snakes, and other fascinating wildlife during their camping adventure.
  • Tranquil Riverside Camping: Camping along the Cossatot River offers a serene and peaceful experience. Fall asleep to the soothing sounds of the flowing river, wake up to picturesque river views, and enjoy the tranquility of nature’s embrace in a riverside campsite. It’s the perfect setting to unwind, relax, and escape the busyness of everyday life.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Waterproof Dry Bag, Hiking Boots, Camping Stove, Water Shoes, Safety Helmet


Lake Catherine State Park

Surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the Ouachita Mountains, Lake Catherine State Park offers a serene and picturesque camping experience. Nestled along the shores of the pristine Lake Catherine, this enchanting campsite captivates visitors with its sparkling waters, lush greenery, and abundant wildlife. Whether you seek outdoor adventures like fishing and hiking or simply yearn for a peaceful lakeside retreat, Lake Catherine State Park is a haven for nature lovers and a gateway to unforgettable memories.

Reasons to Camp in Lake Catherine State Park:

  • Scenic Lake Views: Lake Catherine is a stunning centerpiece of the park, offering breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere. Camping here allows you to wake up to picturesque lake vistas, enjoy serene sunsets over the water, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings.
  • Water-Based Activities: The park provides ample opportunities for water-based activities. You can go swimming, boating, fishing, or even rent a kayak or canoe to explore the lake’s calm waters. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner wanting to try your hand at fishing, the lake offers a delightful experience.
  • Hiking Trails: Lake Catherine State Park features scenic hiking trails that wind through the lush forests and rugged terrain. From leisurely walks to more challenging hikes, the trails cater to all skill levels and offer glimpses of wildlife, cascading waterfalls, and stunning vistas.
  • Nature and Wildlife: The park is teeming with natural beauty and wildlife. Birdwatchers can spot various species of birds, while nature enthusiasts can observe the park’s diverse flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for deer, squirrels, turtles, and other creatures that call the park home.
  • Peaceful Atmosphere: Camping in Lake Catherine State Park provides a peaceful and rejuvenating atmosphere. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can unwind amidst nature’s tranquility, enjoy campfire conversations, and create lasting memories with family and friends.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Chairs, Cooler, Fishing Gear, Hiking Boots, Portable Grill


Lake Fort Smith State Park

Situated amidst the tranquil landscapes of the Boston Mountains, Lake Fort Smith State Park beckons camping enthusiasts with its captivating beauty and endless adventures. As you enter this picturesque campsite, you’ll be greeted by the glistening waters of Lake Fort Smith and embraced by the serenity of nature. Whether you seek outdoor excursions like hiking along scenic trails, casting a line for fishing, or simply relaxing in the peaceful ambiance, Lake Fort Smith State Park offers a rejuvenating retreat in the heart of Arkansas.

Reasons to Camp in Lake Fort Smith State Park:

  • Natural Beauty: Lake Fort Smith State Park boasts stunning natural beauty, surrounded by the picturesque landscapes of the Boston Mountains. From the tranquil lake to the lush forests and rolling hills, the campsite offers a visual feast for nature lovers.
  • Recreational Activities: The park provides a range of recreational activities to suit every camper’s interests. You can enjoy fishing in the lake, embark on scenic hikes along the park’s trails, go boating or kayaking, and even try your hand at mountain biking on the challenging trails.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Lake Fort Smith State Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife. While camping, you may have the chance to spot deer, squirrels, rabbits, and a variety of bird species. Nature enthusiasts will relish the opportunity to observe and connect with the park’s native inhabitants.
  • Peaceful Atmosphere: Camping in Lake Fort Smith State Park offers a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, you can unwind, listen to the soothing sounds of nature, and embrace a slower pace of life in the midst of natural serenity.
  • Scenic Camping Spots: The campsite itself provides scenic camping spots, allowing you to wake up to breathtaking views of the lake or nestled within the forest. Whether you prefer a lakeside spot or a secluded woodland area, Lake Fort Smith State Park offers picturesque settings for a memorable camping experience.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Camping Stove, Cooler, Hiking Boots, Fishing Gear, Insect Repellent


Mount Nebo State Park

Enveloped by the misty allure of Mount Nebo, Mount Nebo State Park beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike to embark on an unforgettable camping journey. Rising above the Arkansas River Valley, this enchanting campsite offers a harmonious blend of tranquility and grandeur. From its sweeping vistas and verdant forests to its winding trails and abundant wildlife, Mount Nebo State Park presents a gateway to immersive outdoor experiences and a serene retreat amidst Arkansas’s natural splendor.

Reasons to Camp in Mount Nebo State Park:

  • Spectacular Scenic Views: Mount Nebo State Park offers awe-inspiring scenic views that stretch across the Arkansas River Valley and the Ouachita Mountains. From its vantage points and overlooks, you can witness stunning sunsets, panoramic vistas, and the mesmerizing beauty of the surrounding landscapes.
  • Hiking and Trail Exploration: The park boasts an extensive network of hiking trails that wind through lush forests, picturesque valleys, and alongside breathtaking cliffs. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual walker, Mount Nebo State Park provides trails of varying difficulties, allowing you to immerse yourself in the wonders of nature.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Nature enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundant wildlife that calls Mount Nebo home. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, turkeys, squirrels, and various bird species. The park’s diverse ecosystem provides opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.
  • Rock Climbing and Paragliding: Adventure-seekers can engage in thrilling activities like rock climbing and paragliding at Mount Nebo State Park. The sheer cliffs and challenging routes attract climbers of all skill levels, while paragliding enthusiasts can soar through the skies, taking in the stunning views from above.
  • Peaceful and Serene Atmosphere: Camping in Mount Nebo State Park offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Surrounded by nature’s embrace, you can revel in the peace and serenity of the park, basking in the soothing sounds of the wilderness and finding respite in the natural beauty that surrounds you.

Recommended Gear: Tent, Sleeping Bag, Hiking Shoes, Daypack, Binoculars, Portable Water Filter, Headlamp


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