Swim Beaches

Great Arkansas Swimming Spots

Arkansas Beaches: Lake Charles State Park

Lake Charles State Park

When planning a beach vacation, land-locked Arkansas rarely jumps to the top of the list. It's surprising to most that Arkansas indeed does have lake and river beaches, with no jellyfish, no crabs or sharks. Instead we have crystal clear waters surrounded by beautiful forested scenery.

We have huge U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes and U.S.D.A. Forest Service lakes. Several state parks are located on lakes or rivers. There are city parks and we have privately owned lakes and swimming holes. As you can see, Arkansas has plenty to choose from. Some are fully developed, others are more rustic.

Of the 23 state parks that have water access, eight offer Arkansas beaches. These are DeGray Lake, Lakes Catherine, Charles, Dardanelle and Ouachita, Village Creek, Woolly Hollow and Crowley's Ridge, along with Jacksonport on the White River.

Arkansas Swimming at Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake

Fifteen U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in Arkansas have sandy shores of some sort. The crystalline blue waters of Beaver, Bull Shoals, Greers Ferry, Norfork, and Table Rock Lakes are all tucked away in the mountains in the northern half of the state. Three of the sparkling Diamond Lakes -- Ouachita, DeGray, and Greeson -- are Corps impoundments. Lakes Catherine and Hamilton, two privately owned bodies of water round out the five gems.

Eight watery playgrounds are located in the confines of the tree-shrouded Ozark and St. Francis National Forests. Cove, Spring, Horsehead and Shores Lakes, plus Lake Wedington and Long Pool are located in the Ozarks. The St. Francis in the eastern part of the state boasts Bear Creek and Storm Creek Lakes. In the Ouachitas, Albert Pike, Charlton, Jack Creek, Knoppers Ford recreation areas are on the banks of mountain streams and small lakes. Lake Sylvia and Shady Lake are popular Ouachitas Arkansas swimming destinations.

Don't think you have to head to the hinterlands for swim beaches in Arkansas. Some of the best Arkansas swimming destinations here are city-owned properties such as Lake Leatherwood in Eureka Springs, Beaverfork Lake in Conway, and Hill Wheatley Park on Hot Springs' Lake Hamilton, so you can dive right in to a bit of summer fun without having to spend half your day in the car.

Lake Bennett: Beaches in Arkansas

Lake Bennett at Woolly Hollow State Park

Some of the Arkansas beaches have user fees. Be sure to contact and check with the agency that oversees the lake and/or river for information about hours, usage policy and more.

Pack your swimsuit, inner tubes and other floatable toys, and a picnic lunch, and come splash the summer away on an Arkansas beach or swimming hole.

Central Arkansas Beaches

North Central Arkansas Beaches

Northwest Arkansas Beaches

Southwest Arkansas Beaches

Upper Delta Beaches

Lower Delta Beaches