Boondocking in Arkansas

Last updated on May 25th, 2021 at 10:00 am. Originally published on March 5th, 2021

One of the advantages to boondocking in Arkansas is that you can do it anytime you wish. Blessed with a temperate climate and beautiful views of the Ozark Mountains, fertile valleys, impressive waterfalls, and some of the friendliest people in the country, Arkansas is an ideal place to boondock. The term “boondocking” is an RV enthusiast term that refers to the practice of camping for free inside or outside organized RV parks, resorts, or landing places. Since modern RVs are self-contained units that can operate off the power of a generator or a running automobile engine, they are a perfect mechanism for camping in a rustic or primitive location. All you need to do is make sure the camping area you select is public land or that you have permission from the property owner for an overnight stay.

Pedestal Rock in the Ozark National Forest in Central Arkansas.

Boondocking Sites in Arkansas

There are plenty of boondocking Arkansas opportunities. Most of the sites are in national preserves or forests that populate the state. When you plan your trip, try out one of these locations to find a perfect spot for you and your family to boondock.

Big Timber Wildlife Management Area

The Big Timber Wildlife Management Area offers several spaces where RVers can pull off the road to spend the night at no cost. All campsites are designated; use of clear areas not designated as campsites is prohibited. These primitive sites aim to provide a place for hunters and anglers to pursue excess game within the national forest borders. The Big Timber Wildlife Management Area is near Murfreesboro, AR, providing ample hunting and fishing opportunities for city residents and visitors.

Mike Freeze Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area Camp 24

The Mike Freeze Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area Camp 24 offers five sites alongside County Road 122 outside the town of Hazen, AR. Though the sites were developed for hunters and anglers, RV travelers through the state often use them to stay overnight. The sites are placed in heavily wooded areas providing comforting canopies for summer travelers. Some of the favorite activities visitors enjoy are wildlife watching, fishing, and hunting.

Hobbs State Park Conservation Area

Hobbs State Park Conservation Area offers five dispersed camping sites with dirt pads. Located near Rogers, AR, this state park is the largest in Arkansas and the only one that allows regulated hunting. Besides the free camping, guests are welcome to use the lake as a swimming hole. All sites are in heavily wooded areas with fire pits and picnic tables.

Upper Weir Road Dispersed Camping

Upper Weir Road Dispersed Camping offers five sites within the Casey Jones Wildlife Management Area near Dermott, AR. The sites have dirt pads that require some leveling for RVs. These sites were built for hunters and anglers visiting the area and accommodate rigs up to 40 feet in length. Some of the campsites are narrow, making deployment of any slide-outs a rig may support unlikely. The various campsites lie among a mix of wildlife habitats, including upland pines, which are high and dry, and bottomland pines that lie near lakes and rivers.

Jack Creek Recreation Area

The Jack Creek Recreation Area offers five boondocking campsites. Located close to Booneville, AR, these campsites lie within the boundaries of the Ouachita National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service regulates the sites. Visitors to this campground comment about the towering rock bluffs and free-flowing rivers that make the environment a natural wonderland.

Brock Creek Campground

Brock Creek Campground offers six boondocking campsites. The campground is located inside the Ozark St. Francis National Forest near Jerusalem, AR. Vault toilets are available for camper use, and picnic tables and fire rings decorate each campsite. The U.S. Forest Service maintains the campground. Any boating on the lake is limited to a “no wake” speed. Each campsite is covered in shade by overlapping trees that supply a year-round canopy. Fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching are the main activities that draw visitors to this campground.

Where to Boondock in Arkansas

If you’re wondering where to boondock in Arkansas, there is an infinite number of opportunities. Though the official sites mentioned here are limited to those sponsored by government agencies, many boondocking options come on business parking lots, shoulders of private roads, and government lots. At times, boondocking becomes an essential alternative for travelers wishing to travel through Arkansas. With the Ozark Mountains and the Mississippi River, boondocking anywhere in the state will give you some spectacular views, exciting wildlife habitats, and opportunities to pursue your favorite game or fish species. From the northern to the southern borders of Arkansas, impressive views of rocky bluffs, waterfalls, and farmland are an ever-present draw for travelers.

Free Camping in Arkansas

Travelers are welcome to camp for free in Arkansas. There is free camping in Arkansas in places like community parking lots, alongside a farm, or under the trees that cover a lonely hill. The main thing to remember about boondocking is your responsibility to leave no sign behind that you camped there. When you care for the location on which you camp, you are allowing others who follow to experience those sublime farmland views, mountainous horizons, spectacular sunsets over a remote lake, and comforting shade on a summer day that drew you to the spot in the first place. When camping on private property, always ask permission first.

When boondocking in Arkansas, make sure you and your RV have all of the essentials needed to camp in comfort. Stock up on food and water, and make sure to bring along a generator to provide power to your vehicle if you need it. You might also consider extra batteries for your camper as well as a portable heater or air conditioner depending on the time of year.

You’ll make memories that last a lifetime when you take an RV adventure through Arkansas. Renting an RV to make that trip is easy with RVshare.

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