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19 Best Lakes in Arkansas – Swimming, Fishing, and More

19 Best Lakes in Arkansas – Swimming, Fishing, and More

Summer is a time for fun, and what better way to have fun than by spending your days lakeside?

In this post, we will list the 19 best lakes in Arkansas. We will also include information about swimming, fishing, and more. So whether you are looking for a place to relax or explore new surroundings, these are the perfect lakes for you!

Reasons to visit lakes in Arkansas

Enjoy the scenery

There are many reasons to visit the lakes in Arkansas. One of the most popular reasons is to enjoy the scenery. The lakes in Arkansas offer some of the most beautiful scenery in all of America. The mountains and forests that surround the lakes make for a breathtaking view. Many people come to Arkansas to take in the scenery and relax.

Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere.

When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, there’s nothing quite like spending time at a lake. And if you’re looking for the perfect place to enjoy some time by the water, you’ll definitely want to check out some of the best lakes in Arkansas. From crystal-clear waters ideal for swimming and fishing to stunning scenery that’s perfect for hiking and exploring, there’s something for everyone at these amazing Arkansas lakes.

Enjoy the refreshing water.

There’s something special about a lake. The water is always refreshing, and the scenery is beautiful. Whether you’re swimming, fishing, or just relaxing on the shore, lakes are great places to enjoy the outdoors.

Arkansas has no shortage of lakes, and each one has its own unique character. Whether you’re looking for a place to cool off in the summer or a scenic spot to enjoy the fall foliage, you’ll find a lake that’s perfect for you.

Enjoy the wildlife

The lakes in Arkansas are home to a variety of wildlife, including many different types of birds. Bird watching is a popular activity at the lakes, and there are often binoculars available for rent at the visitor centers. The lakes are also home to fish, turtles, and other animals, which can be seen swimming in the water or basking on the shore.

Enjoy the fishing

If you’re looking for a great place to fish, Arkansas is the perfect destination. The state is home to many lakes that offer excellent fishing opportunities. Whether you’re an experienced angler or just getting started, you’re sure to find a lake that’s right for you.

Enjoy the boating

Boating is a popular activity at many of the lakes in Arkansas. There are plenty of places to launch your boat, and you can even rent one if you don’t have your own. Whether you’re fishing, swimming, or just cruising around, spending a day on the water is a great way to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Enjoy the camping

There are plenty of reasons to visit lakes in Arkansas, and enjoying camping is one of them. Camping at a lake allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature while still having all the amenities of home. You can find lakeside camping in Arkansas at state parks, national forests, and even some private campgrounds.

What is the list of the 19 best lakes in Arkansas?

1. Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake is a reservoir located in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas. The lake was created in 1966 by the construction of the Beaver Dam on the White River. It is one of three lakes (Beaver, Table Rock, and Bull Shoals) in the White River watershed that is collectively known as the Ozark Lakes. Beaver Lake is a popular recreation destination for swimming, boating, fishing, and camping.

Beaver Lake is full of limestone bluffs, caves, and native plants. Bass fishing, scuba diving, water skiing, kayaking, etc., are all popular activities at Beaver Lake. Beaver Lake has over 400 miles of shoreline for you to enjoy. People come to Beaver Lake to enjoy camping, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, fishing, and swimming.

a large body of water

2. DeGray Lake

DeGray Lake is a beautiful lake that is home to all sorts of wildlife, including bald eagles. In addition to bird watching and swimming, visitors can also enjoy fishing and boat rentals. DeGray Lake Resort State Park also has an 18-hole golf course!

The cons of DeGray Lake are that it can be crowded on weekends, and there are few lodging options if you want to stay near the action. DeGray Lake is one of the most popular lakes in Arkansas, and it’s easy to see why. With so many activities to choose from, there’s something for everyone in your group.

And with world-class mountain biking trails nearby, there’s never been a better time to hit the trails! If refreshment and relaxation are important factors when choosing a destination for your next getaway, then look no further than DeGray Lake Resort State Park.

a sunset over a body of water

3. Greers Ferry Lake

Greers Ferry Lake is one of the best lakes in Arkansas for its cleanliness and abundance of recreational areas. The nature trails around Greers Ferry Lake are great for hiking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting. Greers Ferry Lake is excellent for a variety of activities, including hiking, fishing, and water sports.

The clear waters and scenic views make it an ideal spot for photography. The city of Higden, abandoned in the 1920s, can be explored by diving into the lake’s waters. Fishing in Greers Ferry Lake is excellent for a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, black crappie, white crappie, walleye, and catfish.

a large body of water

4. Bull Shoals Lake

Bull Shoals Lake is one of the best lakes in Arkansas. It has clear and serene water, making it an excellent diving site. Bull Shoals Lake is the largest lake in Arkansas and has a 1000-mile wooded shoreline. The lake offers destruction sites of many ships, a submarine, and rock walls.

Bull Shoals Lake is famous for fishing, swimming, boating, scuba diving, tubing, picnicking, camping, hiking, and more. There are year-round opportunities for activities at Bull Shoals Lake. The Wildwood Trail, Dogwood Trail, and Forsyth Trail allow visitors to view the beauty of the lake in different ways. The clear waters and excellent fishing make it a favorite spot for mountain getaways.

a bridge over a body of water

5. Norfork Lake

Norfork Lake is a beautiful lake located in Baxter County. The scenery is peaceful, and the lake is perfect for family outings, fishing, or just relaxing. The lake is also great for swimming and boating.

However, there are some cons to consider before visiting Norfork Lake. First, the lake can be pretty crowded on weekends and holidays. Second, the water can be quite cold, even in summer.

a body of water surrounded by trees

6. Lake Ouachita

Lake Ouachita is a beautiful and clear lake encircled by the picturesque Ouachita National Forest. The lake has 93 campsites with various accommodations, a family-style bathhouse, hiking trails, swimming beaches, and marinas. There are many places to enjoy water sports, such as fishing and scuba diving.

Lake Ouachita is a great place to relax and enjoy the water. The lake has a variety of recreational activities available, including fishing, boating, swimming, and water skiing. The lake is also home to several casinos and resorts, such as Harrah’s Casino at Bull Shoals and the Four Seasons Resort at Greers Ferry Lake.

a body of water surrounded by trees

7. DeQueen Lake

DeQueen Lake is located in the Ouachita Mountains and offers excellent swimming, fishing, and hiking opportunities. The lake is also a great place to enjoy scenic views and wildlife.

Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat, and sturdy shoes when visiting DeQueen Lake. You can do various activities on DeQueen Lake, such as fishing, boating, skiing, and scuba diving.

The best time to visit DeQueen Lake is during the summer months (July-August). DeQueen Lake has campsites, picnic areas, and recreational facilities for visitors.

a sunset over a body of water

8. Lake Conway

Lake Conway lies in the northwest corner of Faulkner County, Arkansas. The lake is located just south of Conway and extends southeast to the White River. It is the largest fish commission-made lake in the United States and offers fishing for largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, and bream.

Several public boat ramps provide access for anglers of all levels of experience. The nursery pond on Lake Conway offers a refuge for crappie fingerlings to protect them from predators. The most popular fish found in Lake Conway are largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and bream; however, there have yet to be any reported sightings of the Fouke Monster!

A bridge over a body of water

9. Dierks Lake

Dierks Lake is a great place to fish and enjoy the outdoors. The lake is located in Dierks, Arkansas, only 30 minutes from Murfreesboro, Oklahoma. There are many things to do in the area, including visiting the Diamond Mines at Murfreesboro, the Native American Museum and Monuments of Eaglestown, or attending the Pine Tree Festival every year.

The lake itself is a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery. However, there are some things to be aware of before visiting. First of all, there are no lifeguards on duty, so swimming is done at your own risk.

Additionally, the water can be quite cold, so it’s vital to dress accordingly if you plan on getting in. Finally, remember that no boats are allowed on Dierks Lake, so if you’re looking for a place to go boating, you’ll need to find another lake in Arkansas.

a body of water

10. Lake Chicot

Lake Chicot is a beautiful lake located in Arkansas. It is a great place to camp, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. However, there are a few things to be aware of before visiting. First, the lake is home to many snakes and alligators, so it is essential to be cautious when swimming or walking around the shoreline.

Second, the water level can fluctuate greatly depending on rainfall levels, so it is important to check conditions before heading out. Overall, Lake Chicot is a great place to enjoy nature and have some fun!

A small boat in a body of water

11. Blue Mountain Lake

Blue Mountain Lake is a beautiful and peaceful lake perfect for swimming and fishing. It also has excellent bird-dog field trial areas, which make it a great place to visit for nature enthusiasts.

a large body of water

12. Lake Maumelle

Lake Maumelle is a popular fishing spot, with bass and catfish being the most common catch. There are many lovely shorelines around the lake to enjoy an amazing sunset. The Ouachita National Recreational Trail borders the lake on one side.

Lake Maumelle is an excellent place for swimming, fishing, and sailing. There are two public boat launches on the lake. The Grand Maumelle Sailing Club hosts annual sailing regattas. The Ouachita National Recreational Trail offers spectacular views of the lake.

a view of a large body of water

13. Lake Fort Smith

Fort Smith is a beautiful freshwater lake that provides a fresh drinking water supply for the Fort Smith area. Lake Fort Smith State Park is the best place to explore the lake. Activities such as swimming and water skiing are not allowed, while camping, fishing, and kayaking are permitted.

The Ozark Highlands Trail starts at the state park and ends in Boston, Missouri. The park is excellent for camping, swimming, and boating. Boat rentals are available at the state park. The visitor center has a pioneer log cabin replica and a covered wagon. The visitor center is one of the best lakes in Arkansas.

a large body of water

14. Lake Catherine

Lake Catherine is a great place to visit for a family vacation. It offers a peaceful environment perfect for relaxing and enjoying the surroundings. The lake is also great for fishing, swimming, and canoeing. The best time to visit is spring or fall when it is busiest.

a tree in a park

15. Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake is located in Carroll County, Arkansas. The lake is surrounded by numerous camping grounds and resorts, making it a popular spot for visitors. The Ozark Mountains make up the backdrop to the lake and add to its beauty.

Table Rock Lake is an artificial lake created from the impoundment of Table Rock Creek by the Table Rock Dam in 1958. The reservoir is home to many different types of fish and water sports.

a large body of water

16. Lake Columbia

Lake Columbia is one of the 19 best lakes in Arkansas. The lake is located in central Arkansas and is home to many fish species. It’s a popular spot for bass fishing and is also known for its beautiful scenery. It’s a great place to swim, fish, and enjoy the outdoors.

Lake Columbia is a great place to fish for largemouth bass and to see native aquatic vegetation. The best time to visit Lake Ouachita is during the summer when the water is warm, and the beach is open.

A bridge over a body of water

17. Lake Dardanelle

Lake Maumelle is one of the best lakes in Arkansas for a number of reasons. First, the weather is typically warm in the summer, making it a great time to visit. Second, there are plenty of activities to enjoy around the lake, including boat rides and swimming. Finally, the Lake Dardanelle State Park features a 7,000-gallon aquarium full of fish from the lake – making it a truly unique experience.

A herd of sheep walking along a river next to a body of water

18. Lake Greeson

Lake Greeson is known for its wide variety of fish species. The surface area of Lake Greeson is 9,501 acres, and it has a maximum depth of 160 feet. The best time to visit Lake Greeson is during the summer when the water is warm.

The best time to visit Lake Greeson is when the weather favors outdoor activities such as fishing or swimming. Camping and overnight facilities are available, as well as docks for boats and swimming areas. Many different activities can be done on the lake, such as fishing, boating, biking, and swimming.

a body of water surrounded by trees

19. Lake Omaha

Lake Omaha is a great place to go swimming, tubing, sailing, and kayaking. Lake Omaha is small but well-used within the community; it’s popular for fishing. The property owners maintain the trails and swimming areas for guests to use.

Lake Omaha is an artificial lake in the scenic Ozark foothills of Arkansas. It offers excellent water-based activities and sports, such as canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boating, sailing, tubing, and water skiing.

a body of water surrounded by trees

How to evaluate a lake when visiting Arkansas

When visiting Arkansas, one of the best ways to enjoy the state’s natural beauty is by spending time at one of its many lakes. But with so many options to choose from, how can you evaluate which lake is suitable for you? Here are a few factors to consider:

Location of the lake

The first thing to think about is the location of the lake. Arkansas has lakes located all across the state, so you’ll want to choose one that is conveniently located for you.

Size of the lake

When visiting Arkansas, it is essential to consider the lake’s size. Some lakes in Arkansas are pretty large, while others are much smaller. Depending on what you’re looking for, you’ll want to ensure that the lake you’re visiting is the right size for your needs.

Depth of the lake

The depth of a lake can be an essential factor to consider when visiting Arkansas. Some lakes in the state are quite shallow, while others are very deep. If you’re interested in swimming or fishing, you’ll want to make sure the lake you’re visiting is deep enough for your activities.

Clarity of the lake

When visiting a lake in Arkansas, it is vital to note the water’s clarity. The clearer the water, the easier it will be to see any potential hazards that may be lurking below the surface. It is also important to consider the clarity of the water when fishing, as it can be challenging to catch fish in murky waters.

The temperature of the water

The water temperature is an essential factor to consider when visiting a lake in Arkansas. The average water temperature in the state is about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can vary depending on the time of year and the lake’s location. The water is generally warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter.

Fishing opportunities

Fishing is one of the most popular activities at Arkansas lakes, and there are many different ways to enjoy it. Some people like to fish from the shore, while others prefer to use a boat. There are also many different types of fish that can be found in Arkansas lakes, so it is important to know what kind of fish you are looking for before you go.

Boating options

When it comes to boating, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. First, does the lake have a boat launch? If not, you’ll need to bring your own boat or rent one from a nearby marina. Second, what kind of boats are allowed on the lake?

Some lakes only allow certain types of boats, so you’ll want to make sure your boat is allowed. Finally, what is the lake’s policy on life jackets? Some lakes require that all ships have a certain number of life jackets onboard, so you’ll want to make sure you have enough.

Wildlife viewing options

There are many things to consider when choosing a lake to visit in Arkansas. One important factor is the wildlife viewing options. Some lakes have better opportunities for seeing certain types of animals than others. When visiting a lake, be sure to ask about the kinds of animals that can be seen in the area.

Picnicking options

Plenty of lakes in Arkansas offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch with family and friends. When evaluating a lake for its picnicking options, it is important to consider the available amenities.

Some lakes will have picnic tables and grills, while others may not. It is also important to consider the amount of space that is available for picnicking. Some lakes will

Scenic beauty

Arkansas is a great place to visit for its scenic beauty. The lakes and rivers offer stunning views that are not to be missed, and the fall season is a great time to visit because of the changing colors of the trees. Arkansas has a lot to offer visitors, from swimming beaches to hiking trails. The Shores Lake Loop Trail is a great way to see a lot of the state in a short amount of time.


One crucial factor to consider is crowding. If the lake is too crowded, it may not be enjoyable. There may also be too much trash and debris. Less crowded lakes tend to be more enjoyable and have less pollution.


How many lakes are in Arkansas?

There are a total of 2340 lakes in Arkansas, each with its unique features and activities. Swimming, fishing, and boating are just some of the popular activities that you can enjoy at these lakes. With so many different options, there will surely be a perfect lake for everyone in Arkansas.

What are the different types of lakes in Arkansas?

There are various types of lakes in Arkansas, each with its unique characteristics. Some of the most popular types of lakes include:

Swimming holes: These are typically smaller lakes that are perfect for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day.

Fishing lakes: These lakes are ideal for fishing enthusiasts, as they offer ample opportunities to catch various types of fish.

Boating lakes: These lakes are perfect for those who enjoy spending time on the water, fishing, swimming, or simply enjoying the scenery.

No matter what type of lake you’re looking for, Arkansas has something to offer.