Arkansas was one of the first states I visited when I started fulltime RVing in 2001. I remember being surprised at how beautiful this state was then, but I was blissed out anyway at the start of my journey. So a return visit was welcome and I was anxious to explore more of its state parks and to go back to Hot Springs for a nice soak. I wanted to see if it was all as nice as I remembered – it was!
My notes on leaving Arkansas:
Well, I tell ya – this is a state that is dedicated to living up to its motto “The Natural State.” The parks I visited were prime examples of what state parks should be. The people that worked there did so out of love for their home’s natural resources and sharing them with us. And Arkansas voters put their money where their mouth is by approving an 1/8 cent conservation tax that partially funds state park projects.
I met many fellow RVers here who are from Arkansas and they know what treasures they have within the state parks in their own backyard. Generations return again and again, believing it an important asset to their quality of life here. The state encourages them, giving them resident discounts and great organized programs for children and adults alike.
First time visitors, especially those from states that charge day use fees in addition to camping fees, appreciate that Arkansas doesn’t. They remark on how well kept the parks are, how clean and well maintained. That was certainly my own impression as well. I only had a chance to stay in 3 state parks and they just whetted my appetite for more.
Lake Ouachita is a park that proves you can have the best of all worlds – lakefront property, 50 amp full hookups and satellite TV through the gorgeous tree cover! Its superintendent, Lee Howard, and his entire staff made me feel so welcome it was easy to have fun there. The sunset cruise on that pristine lake will always be a treasured memory.
Lake Catherine and its quiet, graceful charm was like coming home to where I really began to understand the joys of RVing – campfires right on the lake in a quiet forested setting with the added perk of being close enough to explore Hot Springs easily. I really enjoyed my talks with the Park Superintendent, Bill Saunders. With 26 years in the park service, it always does my heart good to hear someone who really loves their job and wouldn’t rather be doing something else – it’s a rare enough thing, that’s for sure!
Village Creek was the last Arkansas park I stayed at this trip and I will definitely be back. Already special in many ways, not the least its location on a unique piece of land called Crowley’s Ridge with the only remaining preserved portion of the Trail of Tears, there are many planned improvements in store there. When the golf course, clubhouse, lodge/restaurant, and full-service spa is complete, it will certainly live up to the name Village Creek Resort. Mike Brawner and his staff are the perfect hosts for this park and I hated having to leave there without being able to spend more time with them.
I learned a lot here about Arkansas and its different environments during my visit to this beautiful state. I recommend you do your own research and find your favorite parks on Arkansas State Parks’ website. If you visit any of the parks I did, please be sure to tell the friendly folks there Malia sends her regards.
See the links to the right for the places I visited here.
I’d love to hear from you about your favorites in Comments below!