This recreation area is part of Bull Shoals Lake
Quiet, relaxing, peaceful, beautiful. Very clean and the other campers were quiet and nice. Great fishing and the scenery was spectacular.
-Beautiful river with a blanket of mist over it each morning
--Quiet atmosphere(because everyone is there to fish)
--Clean and well cared for
--Not much space between sites
--Can't swim in the water(more of a heads up than a"con")
If you're an angler, this looks like the place to be. We're not of the fishing sort, but we enjoyed waking up early and watching the fishing boats cruise up the river and float back down. The incredible mist on the water each morning(yes, all those pictures everyone takes of it are real) is reason enough to stay for a couple of nights.
Just a heads up, if you're looking for a wooded spot to camp, this isn't it. Sites are packed close together and there's probably as much asphalt as there is grass. But Bull Shoals is all about the fishing, so this wasn't too surprising
Clean, well kept and a beautiful park to stay at anytime of year. Had an awesome trip!
I had heard that Bull Shoals- White River State Park was beautiful, but I didn’t fully understand until I saw it. All of the campsites face white river and there’s plenty of space between sites to allow for some level of privacy. All the campsites are flat with nice concrete pads. Each campsite has a fire ring, picnic table, and trash pole.
There is a newer section of the campground that is north of the marina. These campsites have newer asphalt and fire rings and have better access to the updated ADA bath houses. These bath houses are the single-quad bath houses where the toilet and shower are individualized into four quadrants. They are excellent for those campers that might not have travel trailers or self-contained units.
We were able to hike and fish most days. there is a playground and a basketball court that are functional and easy to access for families. The campground is mostly flat which makes it very easy to ride a bike. There were a lot of kids and adults riding bikes or scooters in the campground. There are also three trailers that have been converted into mobile homes near the marina for those campers that don’t have access to a pop-up or a camper for rent. They look very nice. The marina is also very nice and has a lot of simple supplies and merchandise.
When the dam is not releasing generators, you can wade out into the river from your campsite and fish; however, when they release the generators this is going to be very difficult. The only drawback is that you are inundated all day long with boat motors going up and down White River. It is very tranquil and peaceful in the mornings and evenings.
There are many different outfitters that do fishing trips. We chartered the afternoon with a local outfitter and had a great time. We caught a number of trout and were able to eat them for dinner on our last night. If you like to fish, enjoy camping, and enjoy doing both of those things, Bull-Shoals-White River state park is the place to go. I will definitely be going back!
First off, I don't know what is going on with this site but holy cow, let's get the name of the State Park correct - its the Bull Shoal-White River State Park. Not plural Shoals.
With that cleared up, this is a gem of a park that follows along the White River just south of the Bull Shoals Dam. You will pass the visitor center on the north side of the dam, go over it, and down into the park. Definitely stop at the visitor center. It's one of the best I've been to in Arkansas.
As the titled to my review indicated, this park is like watching the flyfishing scenes from the movie A River Runs Through It over and over (if you're lost, just Google images from the movie). The park is so picturesque that at times it seems like it can't be real. There is dense fog in the early morning because the water in the river stays about 40 degrees even in the heat of the summer. You can access the water from any site along the river as the terrain is sort of a gentle slope from each site down to the river. However, on the west side of the river, it is basically straight rock face, where the river has carved out its path in a mountain through the years.
The park is relatively small but the camp sites are large. The rv sites along the river are very large. Some have sewer, some don't; all have water/power. The marina and bait shop is in the center of the park. The tent and smaller pad sites are further from the river, but quite nice. The bath houses shine at this park. They are super clean, large and private. It is a "family-style" bathhouse with 4 separate and large bathrooms, all of which have a toilet, sink, mirror and outlet. I have only visited this park with my brother, but as a father of 3 little ones, I can say it would be very easy to get your kids clean in these bathrooms without feeling rushed. Each shower room has a separate door and locks. You can take as long as you need.
As for the campground, I'll just start with the fishing since most of the visitors to this park come for that reason alone. This is obviously a fishermen's paradise. Trout fishing galore all year. We fished the river along the campground and we also went on a guided fishing trip. Piece of advice, pay the money and take a guided trip if you go to Bull Shoals. You'll catch more fish than you can keep and you'll have a blast. Unless you're literally a borderline professional angler, you won't have any luck without a guide. We ourselves had almost no luck fishing from the bank and/or in waders, and we watched many a dejected fishermen walk back to their site after appearing so hopeful when heading to the water.
The reason you need to pony up for a guide is because - literally - from sun up to sun down, there are fishing boats going up and down the river. The White River flows north through the park and toward the dam. Guide services launch by either the dam or from the marina that is located approximately right in the middle of the park. You can also rent a boat from the marina if you don't want to pay for a guide. The guide services carry fisherman south on the river right through the park (usually on the eastern side of the river closest to the camp sites) and they go as far south as they can before they cut the engine and float down the western side of the river in the deeper water. So, like I said, if you are hoping to stand in waist deep water and fish the bank, it's impossible to do so. There is a boat motoring right through your fishing spot about every fifteen minutes. When the guide service has floated as far north as they can, they turn their engines back on and speed back south down the river to take their place back in the line of floating boats that go all day every day. We ended up traveling south of the park towards Cotter, AR to Hurst Fishing Service (http://www.hurstdock.net/). We had a guide named Pete and he was fantastic. For me and my brother, it ended up being about $450, and we spent about 4 1/2 hours out on the boat. They provided poles, tackle, baited hooks, and a cooler full of drinks. Pete also cleaned our trout for us. We caught more fish than we could keep (see my pictures). It was an absolute blast. Without a guide, we wouldn't have caught anything absent blind luck. Pete put us right on top of fish, told us what to do, and we caught fish after fish, after fish, after fish. That's how every fishing trip should go - more catching than fishing. Highly recommend Hurst.
Beyond the fishing, the park is great for any kind of relaxing getaway. The constant noise of running water is unbelievably calming and, in fact, my brother gave me a hard time for sleeping about 3 hours in the hammock one day. It was amazing. There is a nice playground on the eastern side of the park away from the water, as well as a huge pavilion. There's also a basketball court. We were there in April so it wasn't too warm yet, but if you went with the intention of swimming in the river, I'm not sure how much you'd enjoy it. The temp of the water is very cold year around. Also, there are so many boats going up and down the river, I would be very, very nervous about any kids getting out in the river to swim.
One side note: when we camped at Bull Shoals, we ended up booking two sites even though we only used 1 pop up camper. We were in sites 42 & 43. The reason we did this is because they are directly across the street from the bath house, and because the sides are literally side by side - they share the same pad. We didn't want to be right next to another RV (literally maybe 2 feet away), so we just booked both sites. Doing this made for a HUGE! campsite area. For the price, if you have a family, I think it is absolutely the way to go. The sites on both sides of 42 and 43 are fairly far away so you end up having a huge area to yourself if you get both sites. I would recommend doing this for anyone camping with kids, but I'd say the same even if you had a group of 6 adults. Just gives you tons of room to spread out, set up tables, chairs, etc. without feeling like other campers are on top of you. Thats particularly true at this park because the sites are generally close together as they are set up diagonally along the river. Just look at the campground map when you book online through the Arkansas State Parks site (https://www.arkansasstateparks.com/parks/bull-shoals-white-river-state-park).
Lastly, in the event you have kids, which often requires a midtrip walmart run, you should know that this park isn't close to anything. The nearest walmart is in Flippin, Arkansas and it takes about 35 minutes to get there so it's a solid hour for a round trip to and from. I know from personal experience because we noticed that one of the tires on my brother's camper had a big bulge in it and we had to go to walmart to buy a new trailer tire. When we got back, we realized we didn't have the right size and had to go back to walmart to get the correct size. It ended up taking up about 4 hours of our last night on the trip. Yikes!! In other words, if you go to Bull Shoals, make sure you pull a santa and check your list twice, maybe a third time, and over pack everything. To that end, make sure to bring pants and a coat even if you go in the summer. The temps fluctuate about 20 degrees in the morning and evening because of the temperature of the river. You'll be cold at night without a jacket and pants.
Overall, I'd just say that as soon as we arrived and got the camper set up, my brother and I took in the view for a minute, looked at each other and said almost simultaneously: "We're gonna have to come back here again." We held the same sentiment on our last day as we drove our separate ways. This Park is yet another can't miss in Arkansas and I promise you, the Natural State will not disappoint.
I've stayed at this park a few times and I've never been disappointed. You can see the river from most camp sites. Some sites have private access to White River. The park has many hiking trails and bike trails. They have guided tours by Park Rangers that are very informative about the Ozarks and native species. This park is one of our favorites and always look forward to going back.
This was one of our favorite campgrounds so far! The campgrounds were well maintained and the bathrooms very clean. There were parks for the kids to play at and an overall friendly atmosphere.
Level sites, full hookups, right on the White River and fun trout fishing!
We come here to fly fish and enjoy the scenery. We’ve spent 2 Thanksgiving holidays here and while cold and crisp at night, it’s been great. Sometimes there is fog on the river making for great pictures. The trout are plentiful and definitely test your skill. Sitting next to a campfire at night with hot coco is one of our favorite things. Bull Shoals is a quaint sleepy little town. There is a great antique/fly shop where the owner tells good stories and will even show you how to tie a fly or two.
We had a great time camping Memorial Day Weekend. We tent camped. The campsite was really nice and everyone was very friendly. The visitor center is awesome and the park had several activities available. We went to an owl talk and a bear talk that was very informative. We also did the lake cruise. I would highly recommend this park. This is my favorite camping spot.