Petit Jean is the oldest state park in Arkansas and it has it all. Our family makes a trip to Petit Jean at least twice a year. So many trails, recreational areas and breathtaking views to enjoy. It is one of the best FAMILY state parks we’ve been too.
The sites in A and B loop are often booked a year in advance so plan your trips strategically. C and D loop are accommodating but will be a tighter fit for most rigs >30’.
The visitor’s center is being completely redone to enhance the experience. If you haven’t been, make the trip.
Quick info on alcohol. Petit Jean is in a dry county (yes that exists). If you aren’t bringing your own alcohol, make sure and stop at Petit Jean Liquor right off I-40.
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.