Arkansas is known for its abundant wilderness, pristine landscapes, and diverse terrain. You will want to visit state parks in Arkansas you if love camping, hiking, fishing in crystal clear lakes and rivers, wilderness, mountains, forests, and hot springs. Then you have come to the right place!
The best state parks in Arkansas are worth exploring year round for their natural beauty as well as recreational and educational experiences. Did you know there are state parks in Arkansas in the only region in the USA where diamonds are found? From the Ozark Mountains to the Mississippi River valley, keep reading to uncover the most beautiful state parks in Arkansas you cannot miss!
15 Best State Parks in Arkansas You Must Visit
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Located on the Little Missouri River in Murfreesboro, AR, this state park of Arkansas is the only site in the world where the public can obtain diamonds from their original volcanic source. This experience attracts visitors from around the world to search the surface of an ancient volcanic crater and is one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas!
Around two diamonds that come in a variety of colours are found per day by visitors. It is common to find amethyst, quartz, or one of 40 other types of rock, any gemstones you find are yours to keep!
Other amenities include the park’s gift shop, walking trails, picnic sites, and seasonally the Diamond springs water park, perfect for when you need to cool down on a hot day after digging for diamonds!
This is one of the best Arkansas state parks in terms of accommodation. There are over 45 campsites and several walk-in tent sites as well. Nearby, you can find many cute vacation rentals or AirBnB’s for a quick trip while you enjoy the area’s natural beauty!
Mammoth Spring State Park
There is something for everyone at Mammoth Springs it is one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas. The state park is home to one of the world’s largest natural springs and the largest spring in Arkansas, nine million gallons of water flow hourly through the nearby dam.
This is the one of best state parks to visit in Arkansas with a family. There are so many amenities to take advantage of around Mammoth Springs! Including picnic areas, a baseball diamond, playground and the 1886 Frisco train depot and museum which has recently been fully restored!
The nearby town of mammoth springs bolsters quaint local businesses where there are loads of shopping and dining options. Visiting the state park and the town is perfect for a weekend getaway! If you have already chosen Arkansas as your next destination check out this list of other awesome activities in the state.
Mount Magazine State Park
This AR state park is aptly named, with views straight out of an outdoors magazine! The sheer beauty of this region is reason enough to visit, but there are many unique things to do when visiting Mount Magazine and it is one of the most beautiful state parks in Arkansas!
Home to the state’s highest point at 2,753 feet Mount Magazine is one of the best Arkansas state parks for hiking. There are over 14 miles of hiking trails throughout the park perfect for a day trip or a multi-day stay. This state park is popular for relaxation, and nature activities such as bird watching.
One of the best aspects of state parks in Arkansas is how diverse they are. Mount Magazine is also a prime destination for extreme sports, and outdoor adventures such as mountain biking, horseback riding or ATV riding. This spot is also known to be a great location for recreational rock climbing as well!
The lodge at Mount Magazine has first-class facilities with over 60 rooms, a restaurant, conference and business centers, a heated indoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a game room. The accommodations and beautiful surroundings make this of the best romantic getaways in Arkansas!
White Oak Lake State Park
White Oak Lake State Park is a year round destination with loads of amenities and is one of the best Arkansas state parks for camping! Nearby White Oak lake is known to locals a as prime fishing location.
The natural rich environment will make you want to explore other AR state parks, and take advantage of all the south has to offer. Planning a southern getaway? You might be interested in this list of the best day trips from Dallas. There are lots of attractions and things to do near White Oak Lake State Park. Poison Spring Battleground State Park is only 8 miles away, which in the summer offers amazing historical reenactments.
State parks of Arkansas are all quite peaceful. White Oak Lake is one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas if you wish to be fully immersed in nature. If you are lucky during your visit you may even spot a Bald Eagle! There are also several trails that showcase the state wildlife. Visiting White Oak you will experience the best of state parks in Arkansas!
Petit Jean State Park
The picturesque Petit Jean Mountain inspired the creation of Arkansas’s first state park! The park located in Morrilton AR has a long history of welcoming travellers and is regarded as a historic and natural treasure. Visitors to Petit Jean often feel compelled to return to take in the mystical qualities of the park. It is one of the most beautiful state parks in Arkansas!
Cedar Falls in Petit Jean State Park is one of the prettiest and most photographed waterfalls in Arkansas, it get its name from the attached cedar river. The 95-foot waterfall flows into Cedar Canyon and the almost mile-long cedar creek. These areas in the park can consume anyone for hours with stunning locations all along the creek.
The most well known viewpoint is Petit Jean’s Gravesite at Stout’s Point on the eastern point of the mountain. From here you can enjoy peaceful views of the Arkansas River below and learn about the romantic and historical legend of Petit Jean!
Petit Jean state park has many natural, and historical features that make it one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas. The park is situated in one of the most beautiful areas of the Ozark mountains, you do not want to miss it!
Devils Den State Park
This well regarded park has been one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas since its creation in the 1930s. Some of the park’s original cabins and wooden structures are still intact. You do not want to miss one of the most unique state parks in Arkansas!
Devil’s Den is known for world class mountain biking, and magnificent trails, have a park interpreter tell you about the region or explore the area on your own! Devil’s Den is located in western Arkansas near many amazing waterfalls. If you love waterfalls check out this list of the ones you must visit while in Arkansas.
The state park has extremely diverse sites and amenities, Devils Den gets its name from the onsite devil’s cavern. This is also one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas for camping! There are campsites, cabins and a general goods store, all campsites must be secured in advance to ensure your visit!
Crowley’s Ridge State Park
Nature is woven through this state park in northwestern Arkansas. One of the most unique state parks in Arkansas Crowley’s Ridge features special geographic landscapes. The ridge is actually an island formed by the ancient Mississippi and Ohio rivers.
The magnificent views at Crowley’s Ridge are definitely picture worthy! The site is one of the best state parks in Arkansas to visit during autumn. This state park features foliage and trees that cannot be found anywhere else in the state. Planning a trip in the fall? See this list of the 12 Best Places to Experience Fall In Arkansas.
The park has a few bodies of water! Lake ponder is the perfect spot to use a swimming hole, while the park’s Walcott Lake has a pier that is a great spot for fishing.
With the Ozarks on one side and vast natural landscapes on the other as well as the park’s infrastructure. Crowley’s Ridge is the perfect rustic setting that you will not find anywhere else. It is one of the best state parks in Arkansas!
Daisy State Park
Located in the picturesque Ouachita Mountains, near the diamond crater state park and Lake Ouachita State Park. These are some of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas and are easy to combine for a weekend camping trip!
Daisy state park is a dream spot for outdoor recreation, this AR state park it is an amazing spot for fishing and kayaking with onsite rentals available. Booking a lake tour offers visitors the opportunity to view hidden and magnificent rock formations, and will make for an unforgettable experience!
If you are aiming for a unique camping experience then look no further. Daisy state park has yurts available to rent. Visitors say that they are must do for accomodations, make sure to book in advance as they are quite popular.
This is one of the best state parks in Arkansas state that is pet friendly! All members of the family are welcome on the trails, and picnic areas. Do not forget to visit daisy state park the next time you are in Arkansas!
Pinnacle Mountain State Park
The main focal point of this state park is a 1,011 foot tall summit known as pinnacle mountain. This is one of the state parks in Arkansas known for its hiking, with over 22 miles of trails that scale the areas high elevation.
If you are looking for a challenge look no further than the west trail that leads up the mountain. The difficult hike comes with the reward of the amazing views from the top of Pinnacle Mountain!
Pinnacle Mountain State Park is also certified as part of the Trails of Tears National Historic Site, several state parks of Arkansas have a similar historical designation. Learn more about the Trail of Tears in Arkansas State Parks.
This well known Arkansas landmark is just west of Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas. If you are planning a visit make sure to check out this list of the best things to do around Little Rock. There is no shortage of activities in this area guaranteed to be something for everyone!
Lake Catherine State Park
Lake Catherine is one of the prettiest state parks in Arkansas. The park sits on the banks of Lake Catherine one of five beautiful lakes in the Ouachita mountain region. Ths AR state park is perfect for experiencing the sheer beauty Arkansas has to offer!
The park features over 70 campsites and cabins which makes it one of the most amazing state parks in Arkansas with camping! There is also a full-service marina for day use.
Guided horseback riding tours are available to book in the park seasonally. Book this excursion in advance or head to the stables to see if there are any rides available that day!
This peaceful state park is only 8 miles from Hot Springs Arkansas, a travel destination with loads of natural and historical activities. If you are planning a trip to this state park then you will love all the other things to do nearby!
Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park
One of four National Historic Landmarks featured in state parks in Arkansas; Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park is a wonder to behold. You do not want to miss it!
The Toltec Mounds in the park are part of one of the biggest archeological sites in the Lower Mississippi Valley. While visiting the state park and the unique mounds you will be fascinated by the history. You can learn more by visiting the park visitors centre!
This is one of the most popular state parks in Arkansas so it is a good idea to plan your trip in the morning when the park opens. Toltec Mounds State Park is a quick and beautiful 30-minute drive from Little Rock, AR. This is one of the best Arkansas state parks to add to your itinerary!
Lake Ouachita State Park
Of all the state parks in Arkansas, choosing this one means you will get to experience one of the best beaches in Arkansas! Lake Ouachita is known for its stunning clear blue water and is a popular swimming spot for locals. If you are looking for a beach this is one of the best state parks to visit in Arkansas!
The lake has over 40,000 acres of clean freshwater, with many wooded isles that you can see from the park. The beautiful landscape is one of the most regarded in all the state parks in Arkansas.
This is a destination you can enjoy year-round as there are many winter activities you will love! The beautiful scenery is transformed into a winter wonderland, perfect for anyone who loves to take pictures. You will want to remember Lake Ouachita one of the most beautiful state parks in Arkansas!
Jacksonport State Park
A short drive from Newport AR, this is a great state park to choose for a family. If you wish to enjoy picnic sites, campgrounds, and riverside trails then Jacksonport state park is for you. It is one of the best state parks in Arkansas to visit!
Jacksonport state park sits on the banks of a historic river port. The magnificent Jacksonport Courthouse was built in 1872 courthouse, now it serves as an exhibition site that details the Civil War history of the area. There are also tours available if you want to learn more!
Most state parks in Arkansas do require paid entry, however, admission at this state park is free! Due to its historical significance it is a must see! If you are planning a visit to Arkansas and need a place to stay check out these cozy cabins.
Moro Bay State Park
This is one of the most beautiful state parks in Arkansas. If you are looking for romantic activity, catch one of the beautiful sunsets at Moro Bay. This state park is perfect for a vacation!
One of the key natural features of Moro Bay State Park is the cypress trees that grow from the water in the inland bay. Take a guided boat tour, relax and take in the picturesque surroundings. If you want to see gorgeous landscapes while you are visiting the south then this state park is for you.
You could even extend your stay! Make it a weekend getaway, there are several beautiful full-service cabins that overlook the vistas of Moro bay, it has some of the best accommodations of any state park in Arkansas.
Mississippi River State Park
While you are in Arkansas do not forget to check out Mississippi River State Park. This is one of the best AR state parks because it offers peace and tranquillity.
You can rent a kayak and explore one of the seven bodies of water the park has to offer. The park has several hiking trails and is one of the best state parks to visit in the region if you love being outdoors.
One of the best things to do at Mississippi River State Park is to visit at night and watch the stars. The river is the perfect backdrop to the clear skies that allow you to easily spot constellations.
The fall is the perfect time to connect to nature when visiting state parks in Arkansas. Check out this list of places for a weekend getaway before you plan your trip. You will not regret visiting the Mississippi River, and seeing the best state parks in Arkansas!