The Southern Glamper: MS River State Park - Camping in the Arkansas Delta

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MS River State Park - Camping in the Arkansas Delta

Friday, March 22, 2019


Our picnic table had a nice view of the water from our site.
Our family has camped primarily in state parks.  Arkansas has been on our radar for some time.  It is in my territory for work, and I have been talking to persons about places to go and watching enviously on my social media feed.  Of all of the places recommended to me, our family ended up in an entirely different location.  And now, I'm ready to recommend a new camping gem to you!


MS River State Park is the newest state park in the Arkansas State Park System.  This is a unique state park that has been developed within the National Forrest System - St. Francis National Forrest.  Given the unique status of the park, the facilities are staffed by both the state and national park service.

At the entrance of the park, one of the first things you will notice when you check in is the Visitor's Center.  It is one of the nicest that we have ever seen.  The large parking lot has a circle drive with plenty of parking for your RV and picnic tables around the edges if you would like to stop for lunch.  It's a nice place to stop and stretch your legs and get acquainted with the area after a long drive.  The Visitor's Center sells firewood, basic camping supplies, snacks, and souvenirs.

The visitors center has a nice porch with rocking chairs where we enjoyed an afternoon snack while we were there.
The Visitor's Center also has an excellent interactive educational exhibit about the history of the area.  You can learn about the wildlife, agriculture, and settlers to the area.  It is worth taking the time to go through the exhibit especially if you have children with you since there is multimedia content included.  I even learned some new information about surveying the land for the Lousiana Purchase.

If you are considering renting kayaks or fishing boats, this is the location to do it.  So you can talk to the staff about making reservations for a time to do these activities while you are here.  You can always make a trip back.  The Visitor's Center is open until 5.

Within the park are 14 full hook up campsites and 32 tent sites.  The Beech Point Campground offers 17 campsites that are fully paved.  This includes the 14 full hookup sites and 3 walk-in tent sites.  The remaining tent sites are primitive sites that are located throughout the park.  All of the sites, both primitive and Beech Point Campground Sites, can utilize the bathhouse facilities.

This is one of the back in sites.  All of the sites have a view of the water with plenty of room to spread out.
One of the three tent sites in the Beech Point campground.  There is a pad for a tent along with a pole to hang a lantern, picnic table, fire ring, grill, and water.  There is also access to the bathhouse.
The sites at the Beech Point Campground are all located around the water of the Bear Creek Lake Recreation Area.  When I called the park about a site, the park attendant told me there isn't a bad RV site.  She was right.  There are both pull through and back in sites, and all have beautiful views of the water.  They are all fully paved and include a nice picnic table, fire ring, grill, electric, lantern pole, and sewer.  It was just the break we needed after several hectic weeks at work!

Our fire ring, at site 5, gave us a nice spot to build a campfire and look into the water at night.
Our evening campfire was very relaxing.  And wood was readily available at the Visitor Center.


Other campground features that I thought made this park pleasant are the large garbage and recycling cans that are emptied daily.  There are also bags for dog waste made readily available.  These are features I don't see at every state park, and I thought these details made an impact on overall cleanliness.

Garbage and recycling containers along with pet waste receptacles were located throughout the campground.  These were emptied daily.
Additionally, the bath houses are spotless.  The Beech Point Campground has 4 separate rooms.  Each one has its own locking door.  Inside in a toilet, sink and separate shower area.  Each room is handicap accessible.  They were roomy, well ventilated with soap, and plenty of hangers for your toiletries and clothes.  It's apparent how well the park staff maintains the campground areas.

If you are looking for things to do, there is no shortage of activities.  The Beech Point Campground provides opportunities for anyone to explore the natural beauty within the park.  You can bring your own sporting equipment or rent items from the park service.  During high seasons, you might want to check about equipment rental in advance.

Anglers can enjoy getting out into a boat and fishing along Bear Creek Lake.  However, there are boats that you can arrange to rent from the park.  We saw quite a few persons fishing along the shoreline sitting on five-gallon buckets or standing along one of the docks.  The docks are well maintained and in several different locations, so fishing spots were not crowded.

Boat rentals are available for fishing within the Beech Point Campground.

There are also several docks located within the campground.  All of them are well maintained.
We took advantage of kayaking.  While we don't own our own kayaks, we rented ones from the park.  The park has both single and tandem boats that are well kept.  The water was really nice, and it was an excellent way to view the wildlife along the edges of the water.  The staff will deliver the boats and so incredibly nice.

This tandem kayak was perfect for our son and I.  He really enjoyed looking for turtles and geese along the way.
There are also trails for hiking.  We didn't take advantage of this activity due to the amount of rain before and during our visit.  I felt like it was more rain and mud than we wanted to endure.  But, I would like to go back and hike.  The Bear Creek Loop is a one-mile loop that is considered easy and kid-friendly.

The park also offers a swim beach that is available Memorial Day to Labor Day.  Our son was disappointed that we could not swim.  But, if you are camping during the summer months, pack a suit.  You could see the swim beach directly across from site 5 where we camped, and it looked very inviting.

Last but not least, take a ride into town and pick up some barbeque from Jones Bar-B-Q Diner.  It is a James Beard Award Winner.  The meat is tender and lean with a light, vinegar based sauce unlike any that I have ever had before.  Take cash with you because he does not take cards.  It is worth the trip back to town for this and should not be missed.

Jones Bar-B-Q Diner is located in Marianna, AR.  Make a trip into town for this award-winning barbeque!

This made a great picnic lunch on our trip.  We used the leftovers for barbeque nachos.
MS River State Park is a winner!  It is small, but it is excellent and so worth drive.  There are plenty of activities to make it a trip in itself, and it would also be a great place to stop en route to another location as well.  It is well maintained.  The staff is friendly and so helpful.  We loved everything about our visit to this park, and hope you will put it on your list to visit too!

We thought this was a memorable trip and plan to come back.

Our son enjoyed riding his scooter while we were there.

To find out more about some of the other parks we have visited, check out my Camping Map.  We are just getting started camping for this year.  I can't wait to share our next adventure with you!

Until next time...


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