According to author John Gunther, Arkansas "...is probably the most untouched and unawakened of all American states." If you ask some folks, not much has changed since Gunther wrote those words, meaning Arkansas retains a charm that more trendy and tread-upon destinations can no longer claim. If you're planning your next getaway and looking to expand your horizons, you may just want to get off the beaten path by going RV camping near Lake Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Located at the western end of the scenic 165-mile long Ozark Highlands Trail in the Boston Mountain Valley, Lake Fort Smith State Park offers visitors the chance to — among other things — camp, mountain bike, fish, kayak, and hike to their hearts’ content. Read on to discover what new sights, sounds, and sources of satisfaction await you at and around Lake Fort Smith!
Lake Fort Smith State Park Facts
If you're one of those travelers who want to know something about a place before visiting it (and who doesn't?), then have a gander at these Lake Fort Smith facts before planning and setting out on your journey.
- Lake Fort Smith State Park's 260 acres are nestled on the shores of the 1,400-acre Lake Fort Smith.
- The original Lake Fort Smith State Park was a Fort Smith city park before becoming a state park in the late 1960s.
- Today's Lake Fort Smith Park is actually the second to carry the name, having been moved four miles north from its original location from 2002–2008 to make way for a new dam.
- A reservoir, Lake Fort Smith provides drinking water to the 280,000 residents of the Fort Smith metro area.
Best Lake Fort Smith RV Parks and Campgrounds
Now that you've familiarized yourself with a few Lake Fort Smith facts, it's time to get to know some of the Lake Fort Smith RV camping options that await you. You'll find that, once you've set up your RV rental, Lake Fort Smith has no shortage of campsites that welcome backpackers and RVers alike!
Park Ridge RV Campground
Amenities: If you're in search of RV parks near Lake Fort Smith with full 50/30 amp hookups, showers, a clubhouse for the adults, and a playground for the kids (not to mention laundry facilities), then the Park Ridge RV campground is where you want to end up. Just a half-hour drive from Lake Fort Smith State Park, this RV park is a wonderfully idyllic choice for visitors to the area.
Capacity: 57 RV campsites
More information: Park Ridge RV Campground
William O. Darby RV Community
Amenities: A secluded RV park in Chaffee Crossing (just two miles from Fort Smith), the William O. Darby RV Community offers full hookups and is close to a nine-hole golf course and several walking and biking trails. This is a great option for those who want to get away from it all while being close to it all.
Capacity: 47 RV campsites
More information: William O. Darby RV Community
Crabtree RV Park
Amenities: Just 26 minutes south of Lake Fort Smith State Park via I-49 N, Crabtree RV Park is a convenient base for your Lake Fort Smith RV camping excursion. Indoor showers and restrooms offer convenience if demand is too high for the ones in your RV. It also has a laundry room and a lobby with an assortment of entertainment activities.
Capacity: 40 RV campsites
More information: Crabtree RV Park
Fort Smith & Alma RV Park
Amenities: A swimming pool, basketball court, catch-and-release fish pond, and cable TV make this RV campground a tempting spot for families. Lake Fort Smith beckons, and the Fort Smith & Alma RV Park's electric hookups, swimming pool, and walking trails offer a place to rest, relax, and refresh when the day is done.
Capacity: 75 RV campsites
More information: Fort Smith & Alma RV Park
Overland RV Park
Amenities: Overland RV Park has full hookups, gas, laundry facilities, clean showers, and a dump station, satisfying all the basic needs for folks RV camping near Lake Fort Smith. A security fence provides the peace of mind that you and your fellow travelers need to rest safely and soundly.
Capacity: 50 RV campsites
More information: Overland RV Park
Best Time to Visit Lake Fort Smith for RV Camping
Along with deciding which Lake Fort Smith RV sites fit your plans, you need to figure out the best time to visit Lake Fort Smith. Ultimately, your trip’s timing will be up to you, but acquainting yourself with what the different seasons hold in store for visitors can help you narrow your options down.
Arkansas winters are known to be relatively mild, and visitors to Lake Fort Smith in winter can confirm that for themselves. If you enjoy a hike, you won't meet too many others on the trails at this time of year. Snowfall is a rarity, but cold temperatures aren't — especially overnight. The temperature can get down into the low 30s from December to February, so if you're visiting in the winter
, leave the bathing suit at home and pack mittens or gloves instead.
Spring is considered to be one of the wetter seasons at Lake Fort Smith Park, and not just because of the lake itself. Yes, spring is the rainy season here. The average precipitation in March sits at 6.7 inches and jumps up to 8 inches in April, and then climaxes with a whopping average of 9.5 inches of rain in May. If you don't mind the rain, you'll encounter high temperatures ranging from the low 60s in March to the low 80s in May, making this one of the more ideal times to enjoy the great outdoors with your family in relative peace; that is, before Memorial Day kicks off the busy summer vacation season.
With high temperatures averaging in the high 80s to low 90s (and there's also the humidity to consider, averaging 70% from June to August), summer may truly be the best time to visit Lake Fort Smith. Unsurprisingly, many other people have similar ideas about how to beat the heat, but with 1,400 acres, the lake can easily accommodate almost everyone. Less certain are which Lake Fort Smith RV campgrounds you'll be able to call your temporary home away from home in this popular season. So, if you're thinking about a visit in the summer, make your reservations AEAP (As Early As Possible)!
As the leaves start to fall around Lake Fort Smith State Park, so do the temperatures. But don't count on the humidity going anywhere! As September's mid-80s transition into November's low 60s, the crowds increasingly thin out, leaving more space for anglers to cast their lines in hopes of a bite. Backpackers will want to hit the trails to catch sight of the changing fall colors, but everyone should also keep in mind that autumn is the second-rainiest season for Lake Fort Smith. Bring your umbrellas along with your boots!
Things to Do in Lake Fort Smith
In the midst of all the preparations for where to stay
and when to go on your vacation, you also have to plan out your activities. To help you with that, we recommend these activities at Lake Fort Smith.
Rent a boat.
If you want to get out on the water, the Lake Fort Smith marina offers large and small boat rentals, tandem and solo kayak rentals, and pedal boat rentals at both daily and half-daily rates.
Fish the Great Outdoors.
Looking for a fishing experience with a wilderness feel? The bucolic surroundings of Lake Fort Smith do not disappoint. The clear water is excellent for catching crappie and other species of fish, such as largemouth and spotted bass.
Observe a waterfall.
If you happen to be visiting on a rainy day (more common in the spring and fall), across the lake from the boat ramp is a tiny bay that hosts a temporary rain-fueled cascade. Don't miss it!
Hike or bike the trails:
As the western terminus of the Ozark Highlands Trail, Lake Fort Smith State Park is a backpacker's delight. Your hiking boots will never be bored when venturing out from Lake Fort Smith RV campgrounds.
Tips on Visiting Lake Fort Smith
While there are plenty of things to do in Lake Fort Smith, visitors should also be aware of some rules, regulations, and practices specific to the area.
- Since it supplies drinking water to Fort Smith and its environs, you cannot go swimming, water-skiing, jet-skiing, or paddleboarding at Lake Fort Smith.
- Those fancying a swim at Lake Fort Smith State Park can instead enjoy their 2,660-square-foot swimming pool from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
- If you're fishing, daily catch regulations may apply (e.g., 30 crappie of any size per day).
RV Rental for Lake Fort Smith State Park
You've got all of the information you need to go RV camping in Lake Fort Smith but are missing one detail: How will you get there? The question may seem complicated, but the answer is simple: Cruise America can help get you there. If you're looking for an RV rental
, Lake Fort Smith itself cannot get you what you need, but Cruise America most definitely can.
Cruise America's wide selection of recreational vehicles with the trappings of home will make your adventure all the more enjoyable and comfortable. With a microwave, fridge, and shower in your RV rental, Lake Fort Smith can be as close to home as you want it to be, however far from "home" you actually are!
It's time to get on the road and visit RV parks
near Lake Fort Smith. Adventure is calling!