Hammock on rock beach looking over a beautiful sunrise at lake Ouachita, Arkansas.

Arkansas's Most Charming Beach Towns

Arkansas is in the southern part of the United States with the Mississippi River to its east. The state shares its borders with Mississippi and Tennessee to the east, Oklahoma to the west, Texas to the southwest, Louisiana to the south, and Missouri to the north. Acclaimed for its natural beauty, the state is home to the stunning Ouachita Mountains and the Ozark Mountains, thick forests, scenic lakes, and rivers. Arkansas does not have a natural oceanfront or coastline but has several reservoirs and lakes that serve as beach towns for recreational activities. There are also many state parks located along the rivers and lakes that give rise to many charming beach towns.


Geese on Degray Lake Resort State Park in Arkansas
DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Arkansas.

The small town is Bismark is only minutes away from one of the larger lakes in Arkansas. Spanning over 900 acres of land and water, the DeGray Lake Resort State Park is set along DeGray Lake near Hot Springs and Little Rock. The United States Army Corps of Engineers constructed the reservoir in 1972. It offers outdoor activities such as snorkeling trips, sunset cruises, birding tours, and guided hikes. The abundance of fish in the lake such as bass and catfish renders it a popular destination for those who enjoy fishing. The scenic beauty of the area along with facilities like boat ramps, a marina, and fishing docks makes it an attractive tourist spot. 

While in Bismark, enjoy a relaxing holiday and explore the sandy beaches and swimming areas, or rent kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboats to discover the lake. Visitors can choose from many accommodation options that include cabins, lodges, and campsites. The lodges and cabins are also comfortably equipped with heating, air conditioning, television, Wi-Fi, and other comforts for a home-like stay. Outdoor lovers can also explore other recreational activities such as biking, hiking, horseback riding, and more. Hiking trails tailored for easy-to-moderate difficulty levels attract many hikers to experience the breathtaking views of the surrounding forest and lake. Guided nature walk tours provide opportunities to appreciate nature and wildlife in surrounding areas.


Cadron Creek, by Conway, Arkansas
Cadron Creek, near Greenbrier, Arkansas. Image credit Findaview via Shutterstock

Greenbrier, located near the 400-acre Woolly Hollow State Park, offers easy access to Lake Bennett, a 40-acre lake named after the first director of the US Soil Conservation Service Dr. Hugh H. Bennett. It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration in 1935 as the first Soil Conservation System watershed project in the US to study the scientific aspects of water run-off, silt, and erosion control. 

Today the lake is a famous place among visitors for recreational activities like swimming, camping, boating, and picnicking. You can rent boats, canoes, and motors at the state park for pursuing water-based recreational activities. Lake Bennett is a fantastic fishing beach for small-time fishing enthusiasts. The park also has tent sites, campsites, and a bathhouse for hot showers. There is the Woolly Cabin for history lovers, a 9.4-mile Enders Fault for mountain bikers, and at least four trails for hikers.

Hot Springs

Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA town skyline from above at dawn.
Downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas.

Hot Springs offers residents and tourists alike two beautiful lakes, Lake Catherine and Lake Hamilton. Surrounded by lush greenery amidst the Ouachita Mountains, the town is a popular destination for nature lovers. The two lakes were built after the dam in 1924 on the Ouachita River and the area is a famous place for boating, swimming, fishing, and other recreational activities. 

While the abundance of fish makes it a special place for those who enjoy fishing, visitors can rent a kayak, paddleboat, and other boating gear to explore the scenic beauty of the lakes. The calm waters of the lakes make it a good spot to enjoy wakeboarding and skiing depending on when visitors choose to visit. The Lake Catherine State Park on the eastern shore of Lake Catherine has a 2,180-acre public recreation area equipped with a marina and other amenities that provide opportunities for camping, picnicking, and hiking. During appropriate seasons, visitors can reserve a spot for guided horseback rides. A short hike along the lake will treat visitors to the sights of Creek Falls, an absolutely stunning experience with the sight of the lake and waterfall. The park has twenty fully equipped cabins and many native stone and wood buildings on-site.

Mountain Pine

Lake Ouachita, Arkansas, seen from Blakely Dam
Lake Ouachita, Arkansas.

Mountain Pine is one of the lucky towns to call the stunning Lake Ouachita home. The lake is the largest in the state covering over 40,000 acres of clean water nestled within the Ouachita National Forest. Lake Ouachita State Park is close to Hot Springs and Hot Springs Village. The scenic views make it a perfect destination for outdoor activities like fishing, boating, water skiing, and swimming. Tourists can rent jet skis, pontoon boats, kayaks, and other water sports equipment from the marinas surrounding the lake.

Many camping sites and hiking trails offer trails for all levels of hikers allowing visitors to enjoy the views of the forest and the lake in the heart of nature. All year-round visitors can also pursue interpretive programs like eagle cruises, guided hikes, and kayak tours. The campsites are well-equipped with restrooms, showers, and picnic areas. Crystal Springs, Twin Creek, and Brady Mountain are some of the beach areas at the lake which present visitors with opportunities to swim, relax and sunbathe on the shores of the lake. Scuba diving is a popular sport owing to the area's sparkling clean waters that offer excellent visibility. Dive shops offer certification courses, equipment rentals, and guided dives. Other places to explore within the park are the Three Sisters Springs and a gift shop at the visitor center.


Star burst sun over the White River, Arkansas with early morning mist in a tranquil scenic landscape
Morning sun over the White River, Arkansas.

Jacksonport is a flourishing riverport located along the White River at its confluence with the Black River in Newport, Arkansas. Constructed in the 1800s, the town served as an important transportation hub for steamboats that would stop at the port to unload and load cargo. The town had a significant role during the Civil War. It was also a site for many battles and skirmishes marked by monuments and historical markers throughout the area celebrating the town’s rich history. The town of Jacksonport believes in the legend of The White River Monster.

The White River allows visitors and locals to enjoy fishing with opportunities for guided fishing trips and the availability of fishing equipment and gear to rent for solo fishing. Other outdoor activities that tourists can explore are camping, kayaking, hiking, and wilderness areas such as the Ozark National Forest and the White River National Wildlife Refuge. The town is an excellent destination for anyone looking to experience the outdoors, the White River’s beauty, and the town’s history. Some iconic destinations are the historic district, 19th-century buildings, the Jackson County Courthouse, and the Jacksonport State Park. The state park was once a famous central hub of industry and trade and also had the most significant communities along the White River.


 19th century commercial building served as the center of commerce of the river port town of Powhatan Arkansas
The center of commerce of the river port town of Powhatan Arkansas.

The town of Powhatan is mere miles from, Lake Charles, a 645-acre reservoir built by the US Soil Conservation Service and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission in the 1960s. The state park opened around 1967 and sits along the Black River in the Ozarks. It lies about 1.5 hours away from Memphis and about a half-hour away from Jonesboro. The peaceful place is a perfect destination for fishing, boating, swimming, and camping. Fishing is popular with people angling the large bass in addition to other species like catfish, and crappie. The visitor center provides fishing equipment like bait and tackles for fishing from March through October. Visitors can rent boating equipment and gear at the marina to explore the calm waters.

The hiking trails are also famous for their breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding forests. Popular trails include White Oak Trail and Cedar Trail. The park has many other facilities for its visitors such as campsites with electricity, playgrounds, picnic areas, pavilions for special gatherings, and a swimming beach. The park is open all year round, during springtime with wildflowers and bright sunshine there is much to explore, fall brings in stunning foliage scenes and for those visiting during winter, prepare for some relaxing views of the lake and snow-covered forest.


Beautiful sunset over Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas
Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas.

Russellville rests along the Arkansas River, not far from Lake Dardanelle, a stunning reservoir that stretches about 50 miles as part of the Arkansas River Navigation System. Its attractive recreational areas are midway between Little Rock and Fort Smith. Constructed in 1964 on the Arkansas River, the main purpose of the lake was to enhance flood control and facilitate hydroelectric power generation and navigation. The lake is set amidst natural scenery including forests, hills, and wetlands making it an ideal place for outdoor enthusiasts.

Covering an area of over 34,000 acres, it has a Sport Fishing Weigh-in Pavilion, swimming beach, boardwalk, trail, fishing pier, and a visitor center with the Lakeview Room meeting facility and five aquariums. The visitor center provides useful information about the lake and recreational areas that surround the lake. Besides fishing, boating, and swimming visitors can reach out to park interpreters for lake tours and more programs. The park and campgrounds including the Lake Dardanelle State Park are great places for hiking trails, and picnics. Back in town, for train enthusiasts, check out the Historic Train Depot.


Sandy beaches at Village Creek State Park south of Wynne, Arkansas.
Village Creek State Park, south of Wynne. Image credit https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Village_Creek_State_Park_Wynne_AR_43.jpg

Wynne is a charming small town, surrounded by several small lakes, including the beautiful reservoir, Lake Austell built in the late 1960s by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The lake lies inside Village Creek State Park, which provides educational programs, multi-use trails, horseback riding, and camping and lodging options. The park also has Lake Dunn, another great spot for fishing and kayaking.

Lake Austell plays a significant role in flood control and water management, it is also part of a larger system of reservoirs built to reduce flood damage along the L'Anguille River. Named after its neighboring community, the lake spans over 55 acres and is home to an abundant population of fish which makes it a popular fishing spot with the possibility of hooking large fish. The lake has two boat ramps hence an ideal place for visitors to launch their boats while boating. The picnic areas and camping grounds make it a great place for a weekend getaway or a family outing. Visitors can stock up on camping supplies, visit restaurants, and access medical facilities close to Wynne if needed.

Arkansas’s beach towns offer many exciting experiences for tourists and locals to enjoy. Every beach town is well-equipped with facilities that offer a comfortable stay as well as an abundance of recreational activities. Whether you enjoy catching a great variety of fish, boating, hiking, and kayaking along the scenic backdrops of scintillating waters and lush green forests, or if you prefer a more relaxing getaway, you will find what you seek with a visit to any of these beach towns.

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