Arkansas Camping

With so many natural resources, you will find campgrounds in Arkansas just about everywhere you travel. Twenty-eight of the 52 state parks alone have Arkansas camping facilities. Combine these with other Arkansas camping sites, and you have more than 200 publicly-owned campgrounds in Arkansas with almost 10,000 individual sites. These include 2 national parks, 3 national forests, 19 Army Corps of Engineers sites, 3 national wildlife refuges, and 88 municipal town sites.

This doesn't include the hundreds of privately-owned sites that provide Arkansas river camping around fishing and lake resorts as well as recreational vehicle and motor home hook ups outside of parks and near other attractions. Some of these are exclusive, offering many of the amenities and facilities you might find at luxury hotels. Others are very basic and designed to get the most out of the pristine wilderness areas. You'll find everything in between as there are campsites in Arkansas that will suit every taste and budget.

State Parks

For camping in Arkansas state parks, you need to make reservations, and the sites are available on a first come, first serve basis. These 28 park sites range from primitive tent sites that require hiking in to more sophisticated drive-in family campgrounds in Arkansas with conveniences like water, electric, and sewer hook ups, and modern bathhouses with hot showers and flush toilets. Camping in Arkansas state parks is limited to one 14-day stay within a 30-day period. For great Arkansas river camping and a unique experience, you can rent a fully-equipped tee pee in Petit Jean State Park, or an RV in Millwood, Lake Charles, Cane Creek.

National Parks

While there are six national parks in the state, there is Arkansas camping only in Hot Springs National Park and Buffalo River National Park in the Ouachita Mountains. The latter park has Arkansas river camping at all the sites, as they are all located right on the river. The former has 40 sites less than a mile from the attractions of the popular town.

National Forests

There are scores of campsites in Arkansas within the Ouachita National Forest, which also includes the beautiful Talimena Scenic Byway that extends into Oklahoma. Two lakes in St. Francis National Forest in the Mississippi Delta region provide more than forty sites, and give you easy access to the town of Helena in case you want to attend the annual Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival. Scores more campsites in Arkansas will be found in the Ozarks National Forest.

Army Corps of Engineers

Beginning in the early 1940s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed dams on numerous tributaries of the Mississippi River in Arkansas. The resulting large lakes brought vast new stretches of open water that altered the state's scenery and expanded its recreational opportunities. The nineteen recreation sites administered by the Corps today are scattered across the entire state, providing camping in Arkansas with fishing, boating, water skiing, hiking, and hunting opportunities.

Wildlife Refuges

There are ten National Wildlife Refuges in the state. Since these refuges were designed to protect the wildlife that inhabit the fragile ecosystems, Arkansas camping is allowed only in three of them, and that camping is strictly primitive. The sites are in Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge on the southern edge of the Ouachita Mountains; Pond Creek in the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi River Delta; and White River National Wildlife Refuge in the southern Timberlands.

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