Ah, the fall. The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are starting to show off with their brilliant annual autumn display, and jack-o-lanterns and decorative gourds adorn many of the front steps and porches around town.
For me, and probably a lot of you, this time of year always makes me want to pack up my tent and a sleeping bag, and head into the woods for a weekend around the campfire with family and friends.
There are a ton of places here in Arkansas to do just that, and thanks to some of these unique accommodation options offered at Arkansas State Parks, you don’t even have to expend much effort to head out and enjoy the outdoors for a weekend or overnight stay and enjoy a little bit of nature in the Natural State.
Here’s a roundup of some of the “other” options for camping at Arkansas state parks.
In addition to all of these, there are countless places for tent camping, including hike-in, or “car-camping options” at state parks all over Arkansas.
For more information, or to book a stay, visit arkansasstateparks.com.
Rent a Yurt
One of the Yurts at Petit Jean State Park / Courtesy
Did you know there are several places you can rent a Yurt in the state of Arkansas?
Yurts are portable round tents that have been used by nomadic peoples of Central Asia for more than 3,000 years.
In Arkansas, you can rent a more modern version of the yurt, complete with electricity, wood floors, a lantern, a stove, and an ice chest, at several state parks around the state.
They are available at DeGray Lake Resort State Park (about a 40 minute drive south of Hot Springs), at Lake Catherine State Park (also near Hot Springs, about 20 minutes to the south-east), Lake Charles State Park (about 40 minutes north-west of Jonesboro), and Petit Jean State Park (about a half hour south-east of Russellville.
The Yurts rent for around $50-60 per night. For a bit more info, take a tour at this site.
Rent an RV
Ever wanted to live that RV-life, but don’t want to fork over the money/figure out where to park it when you aren’t using it?
There are also a handful of state parks in Arkansas that offer RV rentals.
The RVs have heat and air conditioning, private bathrooms/showers, refrigerators, microwaves, and working kitchen areas, decks, and gas grills. Some even offer televisions. The RVs are also already set up, and ready to use (so you don’t have to figure out how to park them).
RV rentals run at around $85 per night.
Rent a Camp
Love the idea of tent-camping, but hate the idea of buying all the necessary gear? Arkansas has you covered there as well.
Two Arkansas State Parks – Bull Shoals-White River State Park, and Lake Catherine State Park – offer already-set-up, just-show-up-and-camp tent sites, so you can enjoy the outdoors without all the packing up that comes with traditional camping.
Rent a camp sites offer a 9×12 tent with a wooden floor, and includes 2 cots, 2 lockable storage boxes, a lantern, propane stove, and an ice chest. All you’ll need are linens for the two beds.
Rent-a-camp sites run around $40 per night.
Rent a Camper Cabin
Camper Cabins at Devil’s Den State Park / Courtesy
Camper cabins are another alternative to regular tent camping, but are generally less expensive than full-service cabins.
Camper cabins still offer heat/air conditioning, beds, a dining table, along with a screened in porch, and an outdoor picnic area with a dining table. Camper cabin users will have to supply their own bed linens, and will need to use a nearby bathhouse for restrooms.
Camper cabins are available at Devil’s Den State Park (near West Fork in northwest Arkansas), Lake Ouachita State Park (near Hot Springs), and Crowley’s Ridge State Park (in East Arkansas north of Paragould).
Camper cabins will run you around $65 per night.
Camp With a Horse
Remember the wild-west days, when cowboys would ride the range on their horses, and stop alongside a stream to make camp and a pot of beans?
Well, you can do some of that in Arkansas, too. Arkansas has horse camp facilities at two state parks – Devil’s Den State Park (near West Fork), and Village Creek (in East Arkansas near Wynn).
Devil’s Den offers complete campgrounds for equestrians to camp with their horses, featuring electrical hookups, a bathhouse, and wash bays for horses.
Village Creek State Park offers 30 campsites with water and elctrical hookups, with a picnic tables, grills, a bathhouse, orhse wash bays, and two on-site horse stables complete with water, electric, and ceiling fans.