Lakeside Camping in Arkansas

We found the state of Arkansas to be quite a gem. Having never visited before we had no expectations. With only a month spent in Arkansas it quickly became apparent we need more quality time with this beautiful state.

For two glorious weeks we had lakeside camping on scenic and large Lake Ouachita. This 40,000 acre lake is home to 200 islands and is surrounded by trees with little development. A kayaker’s paradise thus my kind of lake.

When I say lakeside, I mean lakeside. The waters of Lake Ouachita lapped gently on the shore within a few feet of Ralphie. To top things off, both campgrounds we stayed at were completely free! They are primitive with no hookups or flush toilets. Luckily, we are self sufficient with solar, lithium batteries, a shower, and our own bathroom. To have this amazing view for free makes me feel immense gratitude for this life we chose.

Big Fir Use Area

Pictured above is our view from Big Fir, located on the western side of the lake. This area is remote but during our stay there were a fair amount of people here. One weekend the place was full with a militia group and other campers enjoying a lakeside retreat.

We had the privilege of meeting up and camping with friends. One, a dear friend from Indiana who also went full time in her RV around the same time we did. She was on her way back from being out west all winter and the timing worked perfectly. The other, the couple we met at Wilderness Landing in the Florida panhandle. They too were passing through, on their way back to Iowa.

Our last evening with the group, combined dinner and a lovely sunset, all lakeside.

Something to note about Arkansas, there are many dry counties throughout. Meaning, no liquor is sold in those counties so come prepared. Jackie and Tom were unaware and needed some supplies. You should have seen me at the checkout in the liquor store as I was buying for all of us. When we arrived Jackie and I spent some time setting up all the booze for a photoshoot. It was a hoot. We said the RV booze delivery has arrived!

We spent time getting work done (with a view). Kayaked with our friend, Corrine. Enjoyed shared dinners around a nice campfire. Dogs lounged and played together. It was truly a wonderful week spent with quality fun people. I didn’t take a lot of photos here as I was simply enjoying the moments with friends. Laughing, drinking, eating, chatting, and enjoying the wonderful views all around. We all plan to hook up again somewhere down the road.

Buckville Use Area

For the second week we camped closer to Hot Springs on the northside of the lake. The closer proximity made it easier to head into Hot Springs to see some friends we haven’t seen in several years and to explore the city.

This spot was also on the lake, not as many spots and also primitive. However, this area was under attended even on the weekends. In fact we had the entire campground area to ourselves Friday night into most of Saturday. With only one other camper there for a day or two during our stay. It was glorious. Remote, lakeside, free, and the place to ourselves!

The water level was up during our stay. Anyone up for a swim to the picnic table or to retrieve a courtesy life jacket?

Meals with a view and fires lakeside made me a very happy camper.

And plenty of beautiful sunsets to enjoy each evening.

The kayaking here was heavenly with several islands nearby to explore. I enjoyed it so much I went out another time on my own with Josie and found an island with a plethora of crystals to bring back.

My favorite thing was seeing Ralphie from the water as we approached in our kayaks. He looked good parked up there lakeside.

Hot Springs

Our time in Hot Springs was really a whirlwind. We packed in too much for one day but with an hour drive one way we didn’t want to venture back a second time. Between a quick tour of downtown, a short hike in the national park, lunch, laundry, groceries, and visiting our friends in Hot Springs Village we were wiped out at the end of the evening.

We made time to enjoy some refreshing beers and tasty ice cream.

Leaving Lake Ouachita was hard for me as I enjoyed this lakeside retreat dearly. I have many fond memories and look forward to returning to this spot in the future. However, our next spot did not disappoint. Stay tuned for our adventures in the Ozarks.

Sunset on Lake Ouachita from my kayak.

Here are a few short videos from Lake Ouachita.

Ralphie from the water
Josie Island Exploring
Josie Island Exploring II

3 responses to “Lakeside Camping in Arkansas”

  1. Another great post! I especially love the pics of the liquor and Josie/Shane in the upper sleeping area! Thanks for posting these stories… would love to see pics of the crystals you found! ❤️❤️❤️


    1. Thanks Anne. I tried to get a picture of the crystals but none of them turned out well enough to post. I may try again though and post them in an upcoming post.


  2. […] We landed back at Big Fir on Lake Ouachita, a favorite of ours during the spring. In case you missed that post, click here. […]


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