Lake Catherine State Park will always hold a special place in my heart because it was one of the first places I stopped when I started fulltime RVing in June, 2001.
Nostalgia time: Here I am near the beginning of my journey. I think back now of that time and still get a thrill. This was the dock right by my site – I was in heaven!
My first lakefront property – I was living the high life for sure! This is site #31 in Area A. I tried to get this site again on my second visit, but it’s a popular one and was booked months in advance. I guess I had beginner’s luck in more ways than one when I first hit the road!
For my next visit in September, 2006, this was my backyard (Area C – #60). Nice, huh? From here you can see sites in Area B.
Looking from the dock near the beginning of Area C – that’s my house in the middle. One thing I could hardly believe is that I could get satellite TV here. I didn’t even try the first night because it looked impossible with the heavy tree cover. But it seems there’s just enough of a hole in this spot to get through. Verizon cell phone and air card worked great, too.
Malia’s 2 cents: Besides my having a soft spot in my heart because of early memories here, this just really is a neat park. All the things I fell in love with about RVing when I first set out are still here. A nice woodsy setting right next to a lovely lake, spacious sites, hiking trails, nice folks to visit with, and nearby attractions such as Hot Springs (14 miles) and Garvan Gardens (10 miles).
I had a nice conversation with the Park Superintendent, Bill Saunders, about the history of the park and the current plans to upgrade it. He’s seen a lot in his 26 years in the parks service, and loves this park so much, he’s been here 17 years. He says this park really has a special feel to it and he’s seen how camping here has impacted families, some who have been coming here for over 30 years. He loves to watch dads teaching their kids to fish, and parents running behind their kids on bikes with training wheels. And grandma and grandpa going on nature walks with the grandkids. He said, “Quality of life – that’s what it’s all about – that’s why I do this.” He was one of the last holdouts to install TV sets in the cabins. Feedback he had gotten over the years from families is that not having that familiar distraction gently forces them to interact with each other. They actually sit and talk, and play silly games – these are the times treasured memories are made from – not sitting and flipping through channels.
His perceptions were very interesting as he explained he knows the park needs upgraded services, but he hates the thought of the trees that will have to be sacrificed to do so. Not only will some be uprooted to make more room and easier access to the sites, but the necessary digging will surely kill others. Plans are for Areas A and C to be better leveled, wired for 50 amp service, sewer hookups, moving the water hookups to the right place, and for new picnic tables. The end loop at Area C will be expanded for easier turn-arounds. The new sales tax recently implemented will hopefully pay for these improvements, and the work is planned to begin next year.
Location/Contact: 1200 Catherine Park Road; Hot Springs, AR — 501-844-4176
All Lake Catherine State Park pages: