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Upon arrival we were asked if we’d prefer a slot next to the bathrooms or away from the road. The road does seem a bit noisy so I enjoyed the option to be away from it. The owners offered us lots of suggestions an tips about the area. They are very knowledgeable and had many fliers and maps available. There is a cute picnic area with strung lights that is perfect for watching the many fireflies in the field behind the park. We had a pull through gravel site with full hookups for $38/night. They take online reservations and with all the fees and taxes it came out to $90 for two nights. There is laundry for $2.75 for a full load. They also have a game room and nice pool. This park is a gem about 40 minutes north of all the river activities.
While in college, and subsequent thereto, I frequently visited Sugar Loaf Mountain for day hikes. The locations and names of “parks” are confusing on Dyrt so I would note that the camping area is called Sugar Loaf Park. I think this is a beautiful area of the state and the mountain is located W-NW Greers Ferry Lake and Dam. There is a $5 day entry fee if you drive in and $2 for walk in. The camp sites are $16 (no hookups) & $18 (30/20 amp) per night. Overnight camping is only allowed mid-May through mid-September but is otherwise available for day use year around. I personally think this is the preferred camping area around Greers Ferry Lake bc of the hiking and views, which I am more into. If that is your thing, Sugar Loaf is a solid spot for you to visit. Plenty to do and see within a 10-15 mile radius that can keep you busy for several days. Would recommend.
I completed my undergrad and graduate degrees in Arkansas about 30ish miles north of Little Rock. While living in Arkansas, my brother and I traveled all over the state, including a visit to the Blanchard Springs Caverns and recreation area. Hiking through the caverns and around the recreation area is phenomenal. The caverns make you feel like you’re looking at something made my aliens. It’s really pretty amazing. It’s also enormous inside the cave. For us, it was a day trip excursion. However, we did explore all around the recreation and campground area. I’ve camped all over Arkansas and what I’d say is that this is probably a great place for primitive tent camping and/or backpack/hammock camping. I have three small boys and it wouldn’t be my first choice for a family camping trip, albeit very very cool. The campground is small, maybe 30 or so spots and heavily wooded. The terrain isn’t conducive to kids unless you’re ok constantly being concerned about injuries. There are lots of cool swimming holes, moving water and falls nearby with it’s close proximity to Mirror Lake and Sugar Loaf Mt. definitely worth a trip if you’re close by, but not something I’d make a multi-hour trip for. Also wouldn’t stay there more than maybe two nights. I’d say if you’re camping somewhere relatively close, work in a day trip to Blanchard Springs. If you are like me and have kids, and you’d have to travel anything beyond an hour or two to get there, it’s not worth it. There are too many beautiful places in AR and you’d probably drive by more than one of them to get to Blanchard Springs. I’m giving it 3 stars for that reason alone. If I were rating based solely on the sites, activities, etc. I’d give it 5.
This area is beautiful. The campground is located in the Ozark National Forest. Beware of flooding during the rainy seasons. When it rains a lot, the creek floods and covers the road into the campground.
The sites are primitive. There is a decent amount of space between the sites. Most have fire rings and a great view of Haw Creek Falls. There are toilets but no bathhouse.
Enjoy the nearby trails while you are here! Pam’s Grotto was my favorite.
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!
On a two day float with kids, made a reservation for tent camping at Buffalo Point for the overnight. I hadn't been there before, but it looked beautiful and on a nice beach at the river. Plus with two pre-teen girls, I thought a chance for a bathroom and maybe some ice cream at the store would be a nice break.
The beach is nice, and right before you get to it there's some cool rock formations to paddle your kayak in and around, BUT the campsites are a good hike uphill from the river. Even if you're comfortable leaving your canoes out of your sight on the beach (I'm not), you've still got to haul all your gear up a pretty good hill and depending on your site, multiple hikes to move your gear unless you're going backpacking light.
We still hiked up to the overlook which was a nice way to stretch our legs, but ultimately decided to stay at a gravel bar further downriver. The sites in the campground were shady, the roads were all in good shape, and the river is always beautiful, so if I'm not floating I'll definitely go back.
Kyles will be busy on the summer weekends especially when floating season is in full swing, but it's still a beautiful campground. During that time try and get a site away from the launch/takeout spots. There are several good outfitter options nearby to make the float trip easy.
The road from the highway down into the campsite is inexplicably poor given the traffic this gets. Not sure if it's because it's part federal and part county, but you would think they'd maintain it better or, to be really optimistic, pave it. It's passable in any vehicle if you take your time, but be prepared.
I travel with 4 kids usually, and Kyles is a great spot for a number of family activities. Cell service is minimal to nonexistent, so it also reduces screen time and gets the teenagers re-engaged!
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.
As the oldest State Park in The Natural State, in my opinion, Petit Jean sets the standard to which other parks should aspire. We frequently visit Petit Jean every year (2-3 times) and often joke that it serves as “home base” for our camping adventures. It’s just that good. If we’re unsure about where to head next, we always fall back on Petit Jean. By analogy, I view Petit Jean like a PB&J or a grilled cheese. Both are solid options every time, and you can’t go wrong with either. The same is true of Petit Jean. The campgrounds are generally clean and well kept. I also really like the spacing of the sites, as sometimes the sites in state parks make you feel like you’re right on top of your neighbor. Loop A is typically filled with larger campers, as those sites have sewer, and those sites are generally much larger than other areas. Since we have a PUP, I personally prefer Loops B or C. I have camped in D but it is the oldest camping area in the park and it shows. The bathhouse in that area isn’t as nice. Conversely, the bathhouses in Loops B and C are great. Even if the only site available is in D, I’d say it’s still absolutely worth going. The bathhouses are nice and clean, the amenities are numerous, and the scenery is unbelievable. The trails are fantastic, playground is great, and the food at the Lodge is phenomenal. We make it a point to eat in the Lodge at least one night of any trip. However, I would add, there is also a breakfast buffet in the mornings that’s a can’t miss for the price and convenience. Essentially, it is unequivocally the perfect park for a family with kids. However, it’s also perfect for anyone who may think they may want to go camping. In fact, even the most experienced camper would love this park and what it offers. It’s an absolute can’t miss and anyone debating whether they should go should pull the trigger immediately! (NOTE: I would note that you should be aware of a HUGE car show that occurs in the park every Fathers Day weekend. It is absolutely packed and unbelievably loud with old cars and motorcycles. If you go on Fathers Day weekend, do not expect any peace and tranquility whatsoever - you won’t find it.).