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Statewide Travel 0

12+ Fun Camping Activities In Arkansas

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Camping is a great opportunity and a chance to experience new activities, spend time with family and enjoy the great outdoors. Sleeping in a tent or an RV is fun, but the real fun comes during the day and evening hours when you fully immerse yourself in nature. Everyone should experience boredom once and a while, but heading into the woods with a list of activities will keep your trip fun and exciting. Planning and packing for your camping trip is only half the battle. This list of fun camping activities will ensure a good time once you get to the campground.

Building A Campfire

Learning how to build a campfire can be a bit of a learning curve, but while on a camping trip is the perfect time to hone your skills. There are different methods for building a campfire and various tools for lighting a fire, and experimenting with various tactics can be a lot of fun.

Just don’t move firewood! Moving firewood between counties can transfer The Emerald Ash Borer and several other pests. Instead of taking firewood with you, purchase some from a local source or check your campground rules regarding collecting firewood onsite. Also, check for burn bans in the county you are visiting.

Hiking

There is a good chance that your campground has a few trails, but even if they don’t, there are probably several great options within a short drive. Arkansas has thousands of miles of hiking trails just waiting to discover. Pack some trail mix and explore.

10 Tips for Hiking With Kids in Arkansas
Lost Valley Trail
Rattlesnake Ridge
Villines Homestead Trail
Spectacular Fall Hikes
Ozark Highlands Trail

Swimming

We love to pick a campsite located right beside the water. We can cool off on a hot day, enjoy fishing and easily watch wildlife. Nothing is better than jumping into the lake on a hot summer day or seeking out a hidden swimming hole off the beaten path. If you can’t find a natural swimming spot, a campground pool, city pool or splash pad can also be a lot of fun, and day-use fees are usually reasonable.

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Lake Ouachita, Arkansas’s Largest Lake
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Splash at 5 Arkansas Water Parks
27 Arkansas Splash Parks and Aquatic Centers
7 South Arkansas Water Parks and Splash Pads

Playing Yard Games

We added several yard games to our camping supplies, which always provide lots of fun. Spike ball, cornhole, ladder ball and washers are all lightweight and easy to transport. We also keep a collection of small card games and dominoes on hand to play inside if it rains.

Birdwatching

Arkansas is a year-round home to an incredible number of bird species. Our location along the Mississippi Flyway means we get loads of temporary avian visitors throughout the year. Bird watching is a simple activity no matter your age, and it’s free! You can use binoculars if you like, but they aren’t necessary. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has a free bird guide available at nature centers statewide. The guide highlights some of Arkansas’s most common bird species, including the Mockingbird, Arkansas’s state bird.

Native Birds of Arkansas
8 Winter Birds to Observe in Arkansas
How To Rescue a Baby Bird
Arkansas Ducks
Eagle Cruise on Beaver Lake

Hunting For Wild Food

Hunting for wild food should be done with extreme caution, but it’s a lot of fun to forage for berries, seeds and edible plants. It’s important to check with your campground or state park regarding their rules for foraging. If they give you the okay, grab a guidebook from the gift shop and hunt for some tasty treats to supplement your campground meals.

10 Wild Edible Plants in Arkansas
The Surprisingly Exciting World of Mushroom Foraging
Finding the Elusive Morel Mushroom

Learning About Arkansas Wildlife

Arkansas is home to incredible wildlife, from enormous elk to mosquitoes that may carry you away in the summer months. You are most likely to spot deer, squirrels, raccoons and possibly even a skunk in the campground. Get up early for a sunrise stroll or head out at dusk for the best opportunity for some wildlife viewing.

Elk Viewing 101
Arkansas Coyotes
Alligators in Arkansas
Armadillos in Arkansas
Opossums in Arkansas
Butterflies in Arkansas
S-s-s-snakes in Arkansas

Fishing

Fishing is a great camping activity because the equipment doesn’t take up much space, and you don’t need much experience to have fun. The best part about fishing while camping is that you can catch your own dinner.

It’s Always Fishing Season in Arkansas
Arkansas Fishing Spots
5 Beautiful Fishing Holes in Northwest Arkansas
Fishing the Little Red
Fishing with Dad in the Natural State

Boating

Boating and camping seem to go hand in hand. When I stroll through the campground, I always notice that nearly every family has kayaks, a canoe, or a small inflatable boat so they can venture away from shore and enjoy some time on the lake. When you go boating, you can take a leisurely cruise, enjoy the excitement of tubing, or reach the prime fishing spots that aren’t accessible from the shore.

13 Pontoon and House Boat Rentals in Arkansas
Arkansas-Made Boats
Lake Chicot from a Pontoon Boat
Kayak Fishing in Arkansas
Rock Town Outfitters Takes You Cruising on the Arkansas River
Canoeing the Caddo
4 Places for Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Geocaching

Everyone can get behind the idea of looking for buried treasure, and geocaching makes that possible for all of us. You will love geocaching if you like the sound of hunting through the woods, digging in the sand, and looking under rocks for a hidden treasure. Geocaching is a fun activity in which you use GPS coordinates, sometimes along with clues, to locate a box, film canister or container that holds a logbook, at the very least, and possibly trinkets (treasures) you can collect. Check out our guide to Geocaching in Arkansas for all the details, tips and tools you need to get started.

Scavenger Hunting

A scavenger hunt is a fun activity for kids of all ages. I always send my son on a scavenger hunt of the site while we get the RV parked and set up so he’s occupied and not underfoot. You can write a list or look for a printable scavenger hunt online. It’s a great way to become familiar with the area, pay attention to details and notice things you may have overlooked.

Creating Arts and Crafts

In general, my family tries to avoid TV and electronic devices but especially when we are camping. A great way to pass the time is to provide some arts and crafts activities. Our favorites include paper and colored pencils or watercolors, bracelet making, or simply collecting natural materials and arranging them into pictures and designs.

More Fun Camping Activities

Don’t let the fun end there! Here are a few more camping activities to enjoy:
Practice skipping stones.
Bring a wading pool.
Ride bikes.
Play disc golf.
Catch fireflies.
Swing in a hammock.
Listen to nature sounds.
Look at the stars.
Sing campfire songs.
Make s’mores.

What are your favorite camping activities?

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Julie Kohl works from home as a writer and virtual assistant while raising her young son. A former Yankee who was "converted" to the south by her husband, Julie has grasped on to rural life in a sleepy, blink-your-eyes-and-you'll-miss-it town in central Arkansas. Julie loves adventure. Not necessarily "scare-your-pants-off" adventure but the kind where you seek out new and exciting things. New foods, new places, new experiences. On her blog, Seek Adventures, Julie shares about the outdoor and travel adventures of her family as they camp and standup paddleboard across the South. You can also learn more about her writing on her site Seek Adventures Media.

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