Lake Ft. Smith State Park is a beautiful park in the Boston Mountains. We drove over from Memphis to meet my brother’s family (who lives in Tulsa). We stayed in campsite 9 which was a pull through site and had stunning views of the lake. My brother stayed in site 8. Sites 1-20 have full hook-ups with sewer. The bathhouse was clean and fully functioning.
Pros: Many activities at the Visitor Center for children. Ozark Highland Trail is directly behind the campsites on the lake side. Recreational area with a playground that is updated. Sites have gravel which limits how much dirt/mud you have to deal with.
Cons: Many of the campsites are on a grade. They all have multiple levels with stairs and have no railings. We had 5 children <6 years of age and the sites were somewhat perilous. If you are a parent with small kids, sites 17-20 and sites 2-3 are better. The other sites are excellent, but not necessarily best for small kids. Last, the playground requires that you drive to it which is inconvenient.
Overall: Great family park with updated amenities. We’d like to give it a try in the spring/summer when the pool and splash pad are open! If you’ve got small kids, Petit Jean State Park would be my suggestion in this area of Arkansas.
An excellent park. With $12 million from Fort Smith and $10 from the state the renovation is all first class. There is a covered wagon in the new visitor center. The sites are lovely. No swimming in the lake but the pool is great.
This is a nice modern park on the shore of the man made Lake Fort Smith. To me, the most interesting parts of the park were destroyed in order to make the lake (and thus, the park); the Works Progress Administration (WPA) had several cabins and shelters on the property from building the dam and surrounding areas. However, they were flooded under when the lake filled. The ranger in the visitor’s center said the buildings were not able to be moved. There was a nice exhibit about the building of the park and the role of the WPA in the surrounding area. The campsites are all really RV only with water and electric, although most sites also have a tent pad. There were no other tent campers while I was there. The campground is really clean and well maintained; it seemed that the trash cans were emptied almost hourly by the nice fellow buzzing around in his golf cart. The bath house was super clean, too. There are some nice hiking trails, although none very long. However, this park marks the western end of the Ozark Highlands Trail that stretches across northern-ish Arkansas for 150+ miles. This might be a good starting or ending spot. The boat ramp seemed quiet, but that might have been the weather. If you are into group glamping, there are several lodges that are available that could house a small family to a small army.
We stayed in early November so the lake was beautiful in the morning fog! Nice RV sites with water and elec. I don't know about staying in the summer if you're looking forward to swimming,,There's no swimming in the lake. All in all, it was a perfect place to camp in our trek to Maine!
Large campground, ok for family activities. Cabins are alright. Be careful - don't stay in the cabins if they are expecting bad weather.
The one thing you notice as you pull into this park is the updated facilities. The state of Arkansas has put in a real effort to make the outdoor experience a nice as possible in their state parks. All sites were level for both campers and tents Each site had a good table, fire pit and lantern pole. The only drawback is the limited hiking options but the lake offers opportunities to fish and boat. This park was a surprise as we were scouting the area. We will be back
I have to say, Lake Fort Smith is Awesome! The State must have recently dedicated some very real resources to the facilities at this State Park. The tent/camper/RV sites are new. The shower house looks new. The cabins are big and look new. Everything about this park is clean and attractive.
The forests that surround the park create excellent scenery and the lake is gorgeous. There is a marina where you can rent boats and an awesome pool with a waterslide for the kids to play. This is where you can have the best of both worlds. An amazing outdoors experience with the comforts of home.
If you want more hiking trails Devils Den State Park is only a 30 minute drive. I am already looking at planning a family reunion and holding at Lake Fort Smith. If you have a large group, they have a dining hall and conference center for rent. This is a legitimate destination and has something for everyone. It is not ofter that you find a five star State Park, this is one of those rare moments.