In the summertime, Northwest Arkansas’ state and national parks, lakes and rivers provide the ultimate escape to some of the most spectacular mountains, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, water sports and scenery around.
Devil’s Den State Park
Devil’s Den State Park – Washington County
This iconic park for camping, hiking, backpacking, and equestrian and mountain bike trails consists of 2,500 unspoiled acres adjoining the Ozark National Forest. A swimming pool, nature programs and cabins add to its rustic appeal. More info at arkansasstateparks.com.
Hobbs State Park – Benton, Madison and Carroll Counties
With 12,056 acres and limited development, this massive park truly explores the diverse Ozarks landscape. It offers 35 miles of hiking trails, including multi-use and ADA routes; a 17,500-square-foot visitor center with interactive exhibits; a wildlife viewing area and educational programs. More info at arkansasstateparks.com.
Withrow Springs State Park – Madison County
Hiking trails offer charming views and access to War Eagle Creek, where fishing for catfish, bream and bass is a favorite pastime for park visitors. Park activities include camping, swimming, baseball, softball, tennis and picnicking. Canoeing is another prized pastime, and shuttle service for canoe rentals is available. The park has a visitor center and gift shop. More info at arkansasstateparks.com.
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park – Washington County
This expansive park was the site of the last major Civil War battle in Northwest Arkansas. Fought on December 7, 1862, the Confederate defeat here paved the way for control of the region by the Union Army. The park features a museum, visitors center, the one-mile Battlefield Trail and a five-mile driving tour. Battle reenactments take place biennially in December of even numbered years. More info at arkansasstateparks.com.
Pea Ridge National Military Park – Benton County
Protecting the site of the American Civil War Battle of Pea Ridge (March 7-8, 1862), this national military park is one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields. Spanning 4,300 acres, it includes a visitors center and museum, a driving tour, approximately 2.5 miles of the Trail of Tears, restored battlefields, and more. And with the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service this year, it is the perfect reason to visit today! More info at nps.gov.
Beaver Lake – Benton, Carroll and Washington Counties
A glistening treasure for boaters, water sports enthusiasts, anglers, hikers, campers and birdwatchers, Beaver Lake is NWA’s largest lake with key access points in or near Rogers, Eureka Springs and Springdale. There are 28,000 acres of clear water surrounded by beautiful forests, bluffs and meadows. Campgrounds, resorts, marinas, restaurants and outfitters are plentiful in this prize of a lake. More info at arkansas.com.
Lake Wedington – Washington County
Surrounded by lavish hardwood forest and the 424-acre Lake Wedington Recreation Area, this 102-acre lake is regularly stocked with fish. The area is buzzing with anglers, canoeists, campers, hikers, mountain bikers, and wildlife watchers. Amenities include a swim beach, air-conditioned cabins, playgrounds, volleyball courts, trails, a boat ramp and horseshoes. More info at arkansas.com.
Loch Lomond in Bella Vista
Bella Vista Lakes – Benton County
The northernmost city in Northwest Arkansas, Bella Vista offers seven stunning lakes for fishing and water sports. Use of the lakes and facilities is available to all Bella Vista Village property owners and their guests. More info at bellavistapoa.com.
White River – Carroll, Madison and Washington Counties
Flowing through mountainous regions of the Ozarks, the White River is home to a string of pools and shoals with overhanging trees, tight turns, and gravel bottoms among bluffs, forests and peaceful pastures. Below Beaver Dam, near Eureka Springs, the White is a prime cold-water trout fishery with numerous guides and outfitters to serve tourists. More info at arkansas.com.
Kings River – Carroll and Madison Counties
A top pick for canoeists and kayakers, the Kings River provides about 50 miles of easy floating water. Rare flora and fauna are found on its rocky banks and bluffs, and deep pools provide first-rate fishing for smallmouth bass, channel catfish, rock bass and other fish. More info at arkansas.com.
Siloam Springs Kayak Park
Illinois River – Benton and Washington Counties
This spring-fed, scenic-designated river starts in the northwest corner of Arkansas near the town of Hogeye and streams into northeast Oklahoma. Near Siloam Springs, enrichments that are part of the Siloam Springs Kayak Park have made the Illinois a lovely Class II play spot for kayakers year-round. Canoe and kayak outfitters, campsites, hiking and horseback riding trails and cabin rentals are available. More info at arkansas.com and siloamspringskayakpark.com.
Holiday Island Marina & Campground – Carroll County
Nestled amidst glorious trees and brilliant rock formations, the Holiday Island campground overlooks the impressive Table Rock Lake straddling the Arkansas/Missouri border. It hosts 31 campsites with full water, sewer and electric hookups offering both 30 and 50 amp services, restrooms, showers, a pavilion and horseshoe pits. It is within minutes of the marina, golf course and the many other amenities of Holiday Island. More info at holidayisland.us.