The 5 Best Places to Camp in Arkansas this Summer

Written by Cindy Rasmussen
Published: June 14, 2022
© Niwat panket/Shutterstock.com
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Arkansas is known as “The Natural State” with the Ozark mountains, Mississippi River, the Arkansas Delta and Hot Springs there is so much to see and do. Enjoy hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing swimming and boating at many of the 52 State Parks. There are also some amazing campgrounds, both rustic and modern, for you to stay while you visit. From Lakeside sites to mountain top views, here are the 5 best places to camp in Arkansas this summer!

1. Gulpha Gorge Campground, Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park
One of the best places to camp in Arkansas this summer is Hot Springs National Park.

©Bram Reusen/Shutterstock.com

Hot Springs National Park has a 4,000 year old natural spring that comes out of the ground at 147°! In the park there are several pools where the water has cooled enough that visitors can touch the warm waters. There are also two private bathhouses that allow visitors to soak in a bath of the crystal clear hot spring water. To camp at the springs you can stay at the Gulpha Gorge Campground which has 40 sites with full hookups including 30/50 amp electric, water and sewer. The site are large and suitable for RV’s or tents. They do not take reservations and have a 14 consecutive day limit. Although it is rare to see one, there are black bear that live in Hot Springs parks so be sure to keep your food in bear proof containers.

Gulpha Gorge Campground
LocationHot Springs National Park
Nearest CityHot Springs, AR
RV Sites40 RV/Tent sites with hookups
Tent Sites40 Tent/RV sites with hookups
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, no showers, no laundry
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsNo, all sites are first-come-first-serve
What makes it one of the bestRight in the Hot Springs park!

2. Lake Ouachita State Park Campground

Lake Ouachita is a highly ranked bass fishing lake and has been called the “Striped Bass Capital of the World.”

©iStock.com/Kathy Byrd

Lake Ouachita is the largest lake in Arkansas at 40,000 acres for swimming, boating and some amazing fishing. Fish for largemouth bass, crappie, bream, catfish and it is known for its striped bass. You will have penty of luck catching some to fry up for dinner at the Lake Ouachita State Park Campground. This campground has 93 campsites total with 71 for RV’s and 12 walk-in tent sites. The walk-in tent sites are on a peninsula and all of the sites are lakeside sites!

The park has restrooms, showers, picnic tables and fire pits. At the center of the State Park is a visitor center, playground, swimming beach, marina and boat launch. You can pack a lunch and go for a hike on the Caddo Bend Trail which is a 4 mile loop out to the Point 50 Overlook where you can see the Hickory Nut Mountain in the background. Then settle back into a campfire, right on the lake!

Lake Ouachita State Park Campground
LocationIn the Ouachita National Forest
Nearest CityMountain Pine, near Hot Springs
RV Sites Class AAA58 sites
RV Sites Class D23 sites
Walk-in Tent Sites12
Fully-equipped cabins8
Basic camper cabins4
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestStay right on Arkansas’s largest lake!

3. Wooly Hollow State Park

mountain bike on sunny day in forest
After swimming in Lake Bennett, check out the Enders Fault Mountain Bike Trails.

©iStock.com/LuckyBusiness

For a smaller campground, visit Wooly Hollow State Park. It is located on Lake Bennett, which is a 40-acre recreation lake that has some of the best swimming beaches. They also have boat rentals so you can try out the pedal boats, canoes, kayaks and fishing boats. The campsite has 40 sites with 30 that have 50 amp electric, water and sewer. The other 10 sites are Class D with no hookups and work great for tenting. Make time to take the Huckleberry Trail to see the dam or try the challenging Enders Fault Mountain Bike Trails. So much to do and see! With such a variety of activities this really is one of the best places to camp in Arkansas this summer!

Wooly Hollow State Park
LocationAbout an hour north of Little Rock, AR
Nearest CityGreenbrier, AR
RV Sties Class AAA30
Tent Sites no hook-ups10
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, Showers, visitor gift store, boat rentals
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestEverything is all in one spot! Boating, Mountain biking, hiking, swimming and fishing.

4. Daisy State Park

If you want one of the best camping experiences in Arkansas this summer, try Daisy State Park. It sits on the shores of trout-stocked Lake Greeson.

©Renee Foskett/Shutterstock.com

If you want access to the mountains, lakes and rivers of Arkansas, Daisy State Park has all three. It sits on Lake Greeson in the Ouachita Mountains and is also on the Little Missouri River. The campground has many lakeside sites so you are right on the water. Have you ever stayed in a Yurt? Daisy State Park has three of them that you can rent while you stay at the park. There are 100 campsites total with a mix of RV and tent sites. Kayaking and fishing are some of the most popular activities at the park with rentals available. The best fishing is for trout with several spots known to produce good size fish. There is also an ATV trail, the Bear Cycle Trail, which many people enjoy exploring!

Daisy State Park
LocationAbout 100 miles southwest of Little Rock
Nearest CityDaisy, AR
RV sites Class A26
RV sites Class B56
Tent Sites18
Yurts3
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, visitor center, playground, boat ramp
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestMountains, lakes and rivers in one park!

5. Crater of Diamonds State Park

Bonfire
After digging for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds Park you can relax by an evening bonfire!

©iStock.com/Dmytro Aslanian

The Crater of Diamonds State Park is the only place in the world where the public can search for real diamonds! There is a 37.5 acre field that you can pay to sift through the field in search of diamonds. The park sits on an old diamond-bearing volcanic crater and diamonds are still found there today. In 2021, there were 354 diamonds found, 8 of which were more than a carat!

Besides the diamond field, the park itself is beautiful. The campground has 52 sites including RV and tent sites that are in nice large shaded areas. There are fire pits at each site for a relaxing evening campfire. Take a hike through the woods to a wildlife observation blind where you can try to get amazing photos of deer, turkeys and hawks. As one of the best places to camp in Arkansas this summer, you can cool off in the onsite water park after a day digging for your fortune!

Crater of Diamonds State Park
LocationSE corner of Arkansas
Nearest CityMurfeesboro, AR
RV Sites Class AAA47 with water/electric/sewer, most have tent pads as well
Walk-in Tent sites5
Picnic Tables at each siteYes
Fire Pit at each siteYes
AmenitiesRestrooms, showers, Info Center, dump station
Pet FriendlyYes
ReservationsYes
What makes it one of the bestYou can dig for your own diamonds, and keep it if you find one!


The Featured Image

Hot Springs In National Park And Natural Mineral Water.
Hot Springs In National Park And Natural Mineral Water.
© Niwat panket/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

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