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Best Arkansas State Parks to Visit in the Spring

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Best Arkansas State Parks to Visit in the Spring

Sunset at the Lodge at Mount Magazine State Park - courtesy of Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

The Top Three Choices Offer Opportunities to Enjoy the State's Tallest Mountain, Tour the Former Confederate Capitol of Arkansas, and Fish for Bass.

The Arkansas state parks system offers visitors a diversity of activities in the springtime, from viewing flowering dogwoods, redbuds, and wildflowers in bloom, to observing large numbers of birds and butterflies in migration, to playing golf or going fishing, to taking part in spring festivals.

Mount Magazine State Park

(Paris, AR)
Spring seems to last a little longer high atop Arkansas’s tallest mountain. At 2,753 feet, the cool breezes, flowing streams, and the emergence of new life will captivate you during your stay at Arkansas' “Island in the Sky.” Mount Magazine State Park offers vistas of broad river valleys, deep canyons, and distant mountains. Visitor activities include the annual Butterfly Festival (June), hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback or ATV riding, and interpretive programs. Some daring visitors even hang glide from the mountain. Others just enjoy watching them from the lodge’s grand viewing patio.

The park features 18 campsites, the new 60-room resort mountain lodge and its 13 cabins. All lodge rooms and cabins offer scenic views overlooking the Petit Jean River Valley, distant Blue Mountain Lake, and the surrounding Ozark National Forest. Guest accomodations include the Skycrest Restaurant, an indoor pool, and conference/meeting facilities. The park visitor center interprets the cultural and natural history of Mount Magazine and the surrounding area. For further information, call the park office at 479-963-8502; for lodge and cabin reservations call 877-665-6343.

Historic Washington State Park

(Washington, AR)
The jonquils and daffodils in bloom signify springtime at Historic Washington State Park. A beautifully restored 19th-century village, Washington was once the Confederate Capitol of Arkansas and an important stop along the Southwest Trail visited by Davy Crockett, Sam Houston, James Bowie, and other pioneers on there way to Texas. Today more than 30 carefully restored historic structures including classic examples of Southern Greek Revival and Federal architecture, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and those of hand-hewn timber framing or brace-frame cottage construction, stand as a legacy to life in Washington from 1824 to 1889. The park's guided tours offer chances to see the 1836 Courthouse, Blacksmith Shop, Weapons Museum, and several other residences and structures. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Southern lunch at the circa 1832 Williams’ Tavern Restaurant. The annual Jonquil Festival is held in mid March. For further information on the park, call 870-983-2684.

Village Creek State Park

(Wynne, AR)
Located in the unique forest on the geological anomaly known as Crowley’s Ridge, Village Creek State Park in eastern Arkansas is both naturally and recreationally diverse. Visitors can fish for bass, bream, catfish, or crappie in the park’s two fishing lakes, Lake Austell and Lake Dunn. Launch ramps, boat docks, bait, fishing boats, electric motors, and pedal boats are available late-spring through Labor Day. The park's five trails allow hikers the opportunity to explore this forest on their own, or on guided trail walks with park interpreters.

Accomodations at Village Creek include a 96-site campground around Lake Dunn and 10 fully-equipped cabins nestled on a nearby ridge. Lake Austell includes picnic sites situated near a sandy beach and sun deck. The park also includes four standard pavilions, playgrounds, baseball and multi-use fields, and a driving range.

Whether horseback riding, mountain biking, or exploring the spring woods on foot, visitors will enjoy this oasis on the ridge. For further information on park facilities or to find out what programs and events are coming up, call the park at 870-238-9406; for cabin reservations, call 800-264-2467.

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