12 Most Gorgeous Lakes In Arkansas, USA - Updated 2024

lakes in arkansas
| 5 min read

Arkansas is located in the southern United States. It boasts numerous parks, mountainous landscapes, dense forests, caves, bodies of water, and hot springs. There are resorts and spots for glamping in Arkansas that offer amazing accommodations, and secluded cabins certainly add to the charm. Hot Springs National Park has a collection of architecturally unique bathhouses and natural hot springs where you can take a bath. Buffalo National River is great for canoeing and has camping grounds and hiking and trekking spots. Explore the culture of Arkansas by visiting museums that display collections with cultural significance. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art combines art and nature to showcase American masterworks including sculptures found both indoors and outdoors on the walking trail. Arkansas has several lakes including reservoir and oxbow lakes known for their depth, clarity, and stunning backdrops. Scroll down to find out more about the most gorgeous lakes in Arkansas, USA.

1. Lake Sylvia

Lake in the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oemar used under CC BY 2.0

With a wide variety of outdoor activities on offer, Lake Sylvia makes for a top-notch destination for vacationing visitors from Little Rock, which is just a 38.5-mi (61.96-km) drive away from the reservoir. Apart from in-state residents, visitors from outside are also invited to make full use of its many facilities.

This lake in Arkansas provides opportunities for swimming and fishing, thanks to its clear and tranquil waters. In addition, a large recreational area surrounds it, leading you to explore more options that await. These include its comprehensive trail system, one of which connects to the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.

Lake Sylvia & Lake Sylvia Recreation Area & Campground

Address: Hwy. 324, Perryville, AR 72126

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2. Blue Mountain Lake

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Yinan Chen used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Located in the town of Havana, Blue Mountain Lake bears a unique location, sandwiched right between several formidable mountains. Among those is Mt. Magazine, considered the state’s tallest mountain. Part of the Petit Jean River, this man-made reservoir is abundant with opportunities for many aquatic activities, from fishing to jet-skiing.

Water-related excursions aside, there is so much more to find on the banks of the lake. The Blue Mountain Wildlife Demonstration Area has attracted many a visitor for years, and its verdant forests are a great sight to behold, even as you trek through the terrains. Should you plan to stay near this beauty for longer, a few campgrounds are just nearby.

Blue Mountain Lake

Address: 10152 Outlet Park Road, Havana, AR 72842

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3. Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake, Arkansas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Thesagemarmot used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Beaver Lake is an artificial lake snuggled in the beautiful Ozark Mountains. It was formed by the damming of the White River by the construction of Beaver Dam between 1960 and 1966. It has a 487-mile (784-kilometer) picturesque shoreline with soaring limestone cliffs, caves, and diverse flora. The crystal clear water attracts boaters, swimmers, and people fishing for bass. The Army Corps of Engineers constructed several parks around the lake, which offer modern camping grounds with showers and restrooms, scenic hiking trails, and picnic areas. Beaver Water District treats water from this lake and supplies it to Northwest Arkansas.

Beaver Lake

Address: Ozark Mountains, Benton / Carroll / Washington County, Arkansas / United States

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4. Lake Ouachita

Lake Ouachita
Source: Photo by Flickr user Gayle Nicholson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Among the best lakes for family vacations in Arkansas, Lake Ouachita was formed by the construction of Blakely Mountain Dam across the Ouachita River. This lake is encircled by the picturesque Ouachita National Forest and is renowned for bass fishing. Scuba diving in the clear waters is an amazing underwater experience where divers can see jellyfish and sponges.

Lake Ouachita State Park has 93 campsites with a wide variety of accommodations, a family-style bathhouse, hiking trails, swimming beaches, and marinas that offer boat rentals, fishing equipment, and guided tours. Nearby, there are a ton of Airbnb vacation rentals, where you can spend longer periods relaxing in the tranquility that this lake offers.

Lake Ouachita

Address: Garland and Montgomery counties, Arkansas, US

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5. Lake Maumelle

Sailing on a Lake
Source: Pexels

Lake Maumelle is a beautiful artificial lake located in the most populous county in Arkansas, Pulaski County. This lake supplies drinking water to central Arkansas, and as such, swimming is prohibited. Other water recreational sports like boating and fishing are allowed. Visit this lake and attend the annual sailing regattas hosted by Grand Maumelle Sailing Club. Fish species in the lake include bass, catfish, and crappie. Lake Maumelle has two public boat launches on the south and west shores. Spend your day in the water for a fun time.

Lake Maumelle

Address: Big Rock Township, AR 72135

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6. Millwood Lake

Lake with birch trees
Source: Pixabay

Millwood Lake offers excellent fishing spots as it has inundated timber that provides a habitat for different types of fish. It is one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country and is the venue for bass fishing contests every year. The trophy fish is usually the largemouth bass. Millwood Lake is also known for its natural beauty and boasts plants such as oak and birch, and animals such as white-tailed deer and armadillos. Indulge in bird watching with over 300 different species. Its 65-mile (105-kilometer) shoreline has 15 recreational parks where visitors can go camping, picnicking, swimming, and hiking. Boating is only possible along boat lanes to avoid the submerged timber.

Millwood Lake

Address: Southwestern Arkansas, United States

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7. Bull Shoals Lake

Morning on Bull Shoals Lake - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Semipaw used under CC BY 3.0

Bull Shoals Lake boasts having crystal clear waters perfect for scuba diving, open waters great for sailing, and secluded coves for swimming and water skiing. Fishing is also a popular sport at this lake, and every year, several professional fishing tournaments occur here. Bull Shoals Lake has a rugged shoreline that features about 20 developed parks. Bull Shoals-White River State Park offers modern and rustic campsites, a riverside marina, and a modern visitor center with an exhibit hall and theater. Aside from the parks, the rest of the wooded and undeveloped shoreline is a protected zone that opens up to stunning views of the mountains.

Bull Shoals Lake

Address: Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas, United States

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8. Greers Ferry Lake

Most Gorgeous Lakes In Arkansas, USA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Dkbrawley used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Nestled at the foot of the Ozark Mountains, Greers Ferry Lake is one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in the state. It comprises two lakes that are joined together by a water-filled gorge. Its shoreline is highly developed and features a few luxurious neighborhoods, restaurants serving local foods, and parks with campgrounds, boat launches, and marinas.

Visit this lake and indulge in various activities such as camping, cliff diving, swimming, fishing, scuba diving, and boating. The nature trails around it are great for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting. With all these activities, you will not run out of fun stuff to do. Offering tons of houses and cabins nearby, Greers Ferry Lake ranks among the best aquatic destinations to live on in all of Arkansas.

Greers Ferry Lake

Address: 700 Heber Springs Road North Heber Springs, AR 72543

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9. Lake Conway

Lake Conway
Source: Photo by Flickr user Becky Haner used under CC BY 2.0

Having a surface area of 6,700 acres (2,711 hectares), Lake Conway is a fishing and boating lake with many public boat ramps. Fishing for bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish is a popular sport at this lake. Lake Conway has a nursery pond which houses crappie fingerlings as they grow to protect them from predators in the lake. Boating is a great way to explore this lake, but you need to be wary of the stumps and logs under the water. Stay on the boating lanes for a smooth time navigating the lake.

Lake Conway

Address: Faulkner County, Arkansas, United States

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10. DeGray Lake

Lake DeGray
Source: Photo by Flickr user Trent Foley used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Snuggled in the Ouachita Mountain’s foothills is the beautiful DeGray Lake, known for its clean water and spectacular shoreline. This lake is used for hydropower generation and recreational purposes. On its shores are protected woodlands that serve as hunting grounds for deer, squirrels, wild turkeys, and rabbits. It also has a waterfowl refuge. Stay at DeGray Lake State Park Resort, which features rooms with water views, a shoreline restaurant, spa, 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts, interpretive programs, and trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Enjoy the peace this lake offers as you allow yourself to connect with nature.

DeGray Lake

Address: 729 Channel Road, Arkadelphia, AR

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11. Lake Dardanelle

Lake Dardanelle
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Brandonrush used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Lake Dardanelle features a 315-mile (507-kilometer) shoreline and has one of the state’s most striking recreation areas. It has several recreational parks around it that offer camping sites. Amenities in the parks include clean water for drinking, toilets, camper dump stations, and slipways. Lake Dardanelle is popular among anglers fishing for catfish. It also has white bass, bream, crappie, and largemouth bass. If your visit falls in winter, you can enjoy spotting bald eagles. Marvel at the stunning sunset views that this lake offers and take in its scenic beauty.

Lake Dardanelle

Address: 1598 Lock Dam Road Russellville, AR 72802

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12. Norfork Lake

pigeon creek view
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jason used under CC BY 2.0

Norfork Lake features 553 mi (890 km) of shoreline, clear blue water, and a breathtaking mountainous forest landscape. Developed parks found on its shore offer campsites with water sports such as boating, water skiing, and swimming. Dive below to see its underwater treasures that include a sunken bus and the old Henderson Bridge. This lake has various freshwater game fish like bass, walleye, crappie, and beam. Spearfishing is also popular here. If camping is not your cup of tea, there are other accommodation options available. Relish the quiet nature, tranquility, and seclusion of Norfork Lake.

Norfork Lake

Address: Mountain Home, AR 72653

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A lake paradise you wouldn't want to leave

Arkansas has lakes with crystal clear waters, pristine shorelines, and surrounded by scenic mountains, hills, or forests. Indulge in fun and exciting water sports, put your fishing skills to test, or enjoy camping while at these lakes. Experience the peace and relaxation of the most gorgeous lakes in Arkansas, USA.

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Frequently asked questions about the most gorgeous lakes in Arkansas, USA

  • Which lakes in Arkansas are ideal for swimmers?

    Lake Ouachita is a go-to spot for swimming enthusiasts who wish to explore Arkansas’ serene lake setting. Other examples of lakes in the state that are great to swim in include Lake Sylvia, Bull Shoals Lake, and Greers Ferry Lake.

  • Which lakes in Arkansas serve as great fishing spots?

    Bull Shoals Lake, located in the Ozarks of Arkansas, offers some of the best fishing environments. Both Blue Mountain Lake and Lake Maumelle are packed with wide varieties of fish, ranging from catfish to white bass. For fishing expeditions that focus more on bass fish, head to Lake Ouachita.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Herine is from Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. As a travel enthusiast, she always takes interest in learning about and visiting new places. She has traveled to many places within the country,...Read more

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