Camping at Lake Ouachita State Park

February 15, 2017
Lake Ouachita State Park Travel Blogger North Dallas Blog Blogger Love You More Too

Last weekend, Colton and I loaded up Chuck and Lucy in Maeve (our 1978 Volkswagon Westfalia) and headed up to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  In November, I shared what to expect your first time tent camping after my first experience tent camping.  This trip was our first time camping in the camper and our first time camping with the dogs.

The camping grounds at Hot Springs was unimpressive, since it is a giant parking lot with hookups, so Colton and I searched Google for nearby sites.


Lake Ouachita State Park is the largest man made lake in Arkansas.  It’s less than 20 miles from Hot Springs.  Compared to the camp ground at Hot Springs, Lake Ouachita is an oasis. As a visitor, there are many water activities to enjoy during your stay.

Tent camping area of Lake Ouachita


There are 93 campsites, not including cabins that are available for rental.  Colton and I arrived late on Friday, and we drove around to find the perfect spot.  We found a secluded area to park Maeve, since winter isn’t a busy time for camping.  It felt like we had the whole park to ourselves at times.  Most of the sites are within 100 yards of water.  Our site had a wooded area, and just beyond the trees was the water.  At night, we heard the wind moving through the trees and the water.

Each one of the Class AAA sites have a dual-voltage electricity plug in and water hydrants with sewer hookups.  Each site contains space for a camper and tent, so we used our tent as a storage area.  Our Maeve doesn’t have a bathroom, but the bath houses have hot water and are close by.  Not all sites are open year round, but the sites open in the winter are perfect.

Each site contains a lantern hook for better visibility

Things to do

Despite the various “cell phone reception” locations around the lake, T-Mobile is a rebel and refuses to work.  The good thing about being disconnected is that you find ways to entertain yourself other than playing on your cell phone.

Cook out

One of my favorite parts of camping is cooking out.  Typically, camping is planned around good weather, so you can enjoy cooking and eating meals outside.

For breakfast, my husband grills his famous pancakes and I grill the sausage links.  Other breakfast ideas include oatmeal, breakfast skillets, egg burritos, and egg in a hole (or Magic Breakfast as Colton calls it).  If you bring the right cookware and ingredients, you can make almost anything over a grill and campfire.

Breakfast isn’t complete without a little bubbly.


For lunch and dinner this trip, we just had beer brats and burgers.  Other great ideas include grilled sandwiches, Frito chili pie, loaded baked potatoes, fajitas, quesdillias, soup and chili.

Hammock time

If you want to really enjoy camping, I suggest getting an Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) hammock. We bought these for our last trip, and fell in love with them.  They are compact and can be set up virtually anywhere with trees. We set ours in the wooded area behind our campsite.  I finished Talking as Fast as I Can while relaxing in the hammock.  Then, I took a little nap and rocked in the breeze.


Hiking is the best part about camping, in my opinion.  You get in a great workout, take in beautiful views, experience nature- mud, plants, bugs, birds, trees and all.

Lake Ouachita State Park has a 4 mile hiking trail, The Caddo Bend Trail,  along the Point 50 Peninsula.  There are several paths that lead down to the water and are the perfect spot to take a break, skip rocks, and have a picnic lunch.

The terrain on the Caddo Bend Trail is easy to follow and not full of obstacles.  Non-experienced hikers will enjoy this hike.  Experienced hikers will enjoy the views and the full length of the hike.


Not only is Lake Ouachita known as one of the cleanest lakes in America, the State Park also follows suit.  The campgrounds were extremely well-kept, clean, and had tons of upgraded amenities.  I am sure the park would be beautiful to visit in the summer, but I loved the quiet of the winter.  If you are wanting to visit Hot Springs and camp out, I would recommend Lake Ouachita over any other park in the area.

PIN for later

Do you enjoy camping?  Have you visited Lake Ouachita?  Leave me a comment below!

  • Melanie February 15, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Love this post!! We are hoping to get on the road full-time soon, in our travel trailer (FloRida aka Flo) and are always looking for new places to park her! We prefer staying at state parks and this one looks lovely!! Thanks for sharing and glad you had a wonderful time!!

    • Jessica February 15, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Oh my gosh! That’s amazing. My husband’s dream would be to hit the road full time. I am such a city girl, I would not deal well. However, I am great with taking her out weeks at a time. Ouachita state park was such a quiet oasis. I highly recommend it for sure!

  • Latisha Marcum February 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    This trip looks like so much fun! & the area looks absolutely stunning! Ps I was just talking yesterday about how I totally need a van like that to travel in!

    • Jessica February 15, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      Haha. We just got ours in January! It’s at the paint shop now for a couple of months and will look like a whole new van when we get her back. 🙂 They are so fun!

  • Clarissa February 15, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    This sounds like such an awesome trip – love the campground too! It’s still too cold here to go camping (most of the hiking/campgrounds are up in the mountains or at least a higher elevation so there’s still too much snow) but I can’t wait for Spring! Camping is like a reset isn’t it? Like a total refresher <3

    -Clarissa @ The View From Here

    • Jessica February 15, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      It’s a great spot for sure! It really is a reset. I wish we got snow, but unfortunately Dallas is dry as a bone. I am excited to discover more places and camp more frequently in the van.

  • Bailey February 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Looks like a beautiful trip! My hubby and I are tent camping together for the first time this weekend. I doubt we’ll have your caliber of breakfast, but maybe one day!

    • Jessica February 15, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      haha. That breakfast is much easier than it may look. Food is a big part of why I am ok with camping. haha. I hope you have a great time and enjoy it! My first time tent camping was in November, but I really enjoyed it!

  • Victoria Onken February 15, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    this is lovely! I haven’t been camping for decades! I think we should try this summer 🙂 Thank you for some ideas

    • Jessica February 15, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Of course! It’s a lot of fun. We have several trips planned out over this year, so I can’t wait to do it more frequently.

  • Brittany Comeaux February 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    All of these pictures are so beautiful! I haven’t been camping since I was a kid. But, I wish I could do a family camping trip, I just need to show these pictures to my husband so I can convince him!

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you so much! Hopefully you can convince him.

  • Madison Weaver February 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Looks like you had such a fun trip! I miss camping. My husband and I will have to visit here sometime!

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      It was a blast! It’s a beautiful campsite.

  • Ayanna February 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    This sounds like a great trip! I haven’t been camping since I was a kid. I’m probably a more rent a cabin kind of girl, though. 😉

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Haha. That was how I felt before my first time tent camping. (don’t get me wrong, sleeping with air conditioning and a real bed is much better).

  • dixya @food, pleasure, and health February 15, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    i was soo looking forward to reading this post! what a wonderful getaway and i cant wait to see where else you will go 🙂

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm

      Awh, thank you Dixya! It was a blast. Excited for more adventures. 🙂

  • Rebecca Hicks February 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I love your Westy!! And it sounds like you had an amazing time camping. The weather lately has been perfect camping weather! Also, that picture of you is SO cool, with your hair blowing in the wind. I love it 🙂

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:15 pm

      Thank you!! You are so sweet. It’s so much fun! It was great weather.

  • Alexandra February 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

    We don’t own a tent or a camper, so good to know that cabins are available. And thanks for the head’s up about the problem with cell reception! (I’m thinking about one of those hammocks!)

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:16 pm

      The hammocks make camping even better! Grab a cabin and enjoy. 🙂

  • candy February 16, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Visiting the different state parks is a love of ours. We have visited this one yet. Our son has a dog looks just like yours. They love to go with us and enjoy being out as much as we do.

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:21 pm

      The dogs really love being in nature as much as (or more than) we do. There are so many great state parks around, so we have plenty more to visit.

  • Bonnie Marrow February 16, 2017 at 10:12 am

    This looks so wonderful, quiet and relaxing. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Clean lake is a plus

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      It was sooo clean! You hit it right on the head- the whole trip was quiet and relaxing.

  • kelly February 16, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Looks like so much fun!!You take beautiful pictures:)

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Thank you, Kelly! It was a blast!

  • Willow February 16, 2017 at 10:21 am

    I love camping next to water. It is so peaceful! We go camping a lot in the Summer to get out of Tucson’s heat. I have never been to Arkansas, but would love to see it sometime.

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      It is very peaceful. I think we will be leaving the Texas heat quite a bit this summer. 😉

  • Belle February 16, 2017 at 11:22 am

    I love the photos! It looks like it was such a fun trip!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      It was such a blast!

  • Kristen February 16, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Camping is so much fun! Especially when I have an eagle scout for a SO. Makes it so much more interesting,

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:25 pm

      It really is! I can imagine being with an Eagle Scout would be really fun!

  • Mama Munchkin February 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Your camper is the cutest!!! I grew up camping but married a man who is NOT outdoor-sey at all. We have 5 kids so the combo of no outdoors experience + too many kids = no camping yet for us. However, the older 4 are 9-14 now and we have recently been talking about doing a trip with my parents and my brothers fam so fingers crossed. I miss that type of unplugged vacation.

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      Thank you!It’s my husband’s next love. haha. You should totally do a camping trip. It is SO FUN and a great way to unplug and relax.

  • Megan Martinez February 16, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    so cute!! we have a husky too 🙂

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      They are the best! So full of life ( and ENERGY. haha)

  • Carmen February 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    One of my favorite things about camping is the camping cookout as well. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have the same stove as you. Sounds like a fantastic trip to one of the cleanest lakes in America. :]


    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:47 pm

      It’s such a great stove! Now we have 3 (the green one, white one and the one in the camper. haha)

  • Oscar February 16, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    Looks awesome, if you didn’t mention that it is a man-made lake I would have never guessed it. Looks like the dogs had fun too!

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Right?! It’s so pretty. They had a great time.

  • Jessica Sheppard February 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Great post! Hot Springs is such a beautiful area. Love your adventure…I’ve never camped but your pics look like a ton of fun. I’m sure your dogs enjoyed it too! That VW is fabulous!

  • Ayana Pitterson February 17, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I’ll be absolutely honest with you, I am so not an outdoors person, but this post makes me a tiny bit, want to check it out. I do love cooking outdoors and should really give this outdoor camping thing a try. It looks amazingly beautiful, serene and just what I need, a break from life. Thank you for sharing. I am adding it to — something to do one day!!!

    • Jessica February 17, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      I much prefer pretty hotels, but I am coming around to camping for sure. It is peaceful and so fun!

  • Danielle Greco February 17, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Oh gosh I love your camper! It’s so cute! I haven’t been to Arkansas yet but it looks beautiful. These pics actually remind me of Colorado 🙂 great post!

    • Jessica February 20, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Thank you so much, Danielle! We love it too! 🙂