Whether you're a whitewater playboater, a river runner, a Class I floater, or a flatwater touring paddler, you'll find your kind of water in the lake and river state parks of Arkansas. The variety of accessible river adventures is remarkable, ranging from matchless trout fishing trips and sections of rugged whitewater paddling to peaceful float trips ideal for any adult or child – even paddlers on their first canoe or kayak vacations.

As for flatwater, touring paddlers will find miles of undeveloped shorelines to travel, hundreds of quiet coves to row and island oases to explore on Arkansas's lakes. If you’re planning kayak or canoe vacations and want to stay overnight near the water, many parks offer family-friendly lodging options – consider camping or renting a cabin in one of Arkansas's lake or river parks during your next grand outdoor adventure. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at more than a dozen state parks. Many area outfitters offer boat and gear rentals as well.

Cane Creek State Park
Paddle among tall cypress trees where wildlife abounds and water lilies bloom. Cane Creek Lake is a place you'll want to discover, experience and then share. Park interpreters offer guided kayaking adventures
here, or you can rent a kayak and explore it alone. At sunset, enjoy the dramatic colors of the sky reflecting on the water. Full moon tours take on a special magic as the lake, the surrounding landscape and the sky above are bathed in moonlight. On sunny days, watch egrets, herons, waterfowl and woodpeckers fly overhead, and see fish snatching insects right below your bow. You might glimpse an osprey, a threatened species that lives here throughout the year. In the colder months, look for wintering bald eagles. Bring along your rod and reel and fish from your kayak. Bring your waterproof binoculars so you don't miss out on the wildlife viewing opportunities. And you might want to bring your lunch, too, because it's easy to loose track of time in a place this peaceful.

Easy Trails

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DeGray Lake Resort State Park
Rich in scenic beauty and wildlife watching opportunities, DeGray Lake offers many rewards for kayaking enthusiasts. The mostly undeveloped shoreline of DeGray Lake, combined with its numerous coves and
islands, makes this 13,800-acre lake in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains ideal for kayak touring. The park staff offer kayak workshops and guided kayaking tours, or you can rent a kayak and paddle the lake on your own. DeGray is one of the renowned five Diamond Lakes in southwest Arkansas. The Islets Cove Paddle Trail is a three-mile loop trail leads paddlers in and out of tranquil coves and along forested shores that support an abundance of flora and fauna, offering excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.  Trail accessibility is determined by lake level, which is typically ideal between January-July.
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Lake Charles State Park
Bring the family and paddle Lake Charles on a 1½-hour guided tour. Gently glide across the lake in a kayak gazing at the beautiful landscape of the eastern Ozark Mountains. The 645 acres of spring-fed waters of
Lake Charles are easy and safe, and your guide will show you the basics before you leave land. Now imagine the background music--nothing more than birds singing, frogs chirping and fish splashing. These tours are offered on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Reservations are required and should be made at the park visitor center. Other tours can be scheduled for groups with advance notice. A limited number of tandem kayaks are available for parents with small children.
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Lake Dardanelle State Park
Lake Dardanelle, at 34,300-acres, is the largest reservoir on the Arkansas River Navigation Project. Lake Dardanelle State Park is the perfect launch point for water activities on both the lake and river,
including some of the best fishing in the mid-south. The park rents lake kayaks and paddle boards, and park interpreters periodically schedule paddling safety programs, kayak tours and overnight camping trips on islands. If you bring your own canoes or kayaks, this state park is a good base to begin floats on the Big Piney Creek National Wild and Scenic River and Illinois Bayou. Both of these beautiful Ozark Mountain streams are in the Ozark National Forest north of Lake Dardanelle.
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Lake Fort Smith State Park
Nestled in a scenic valley of the Boston Mountain Range of the Ozark Mountains, this state park is on the western side of 1,400-acre Lake Fort Smith. Interpretive programs are offered in the park throughout
the year by the park staff. These activities include cruises and kayak tours on the lake, hikes, outdoor workshops, and more. Kayaks are available to rent at the park.
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Lake Ouachita State Park
Surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas's largest lake is known for its scenic beauty and the clarity of its waters. Lake Ouachita is a 40,000-acre paddling paradise with 975 miles of rugged and
undeveloped shoreline, wide open waters, and hundreds of quiet coves and islands waiting to be explored. The state park is at the lake's eastern end, and here park interpreters offer guided kayak tours of the nearby coves and inlets. Several times a year, overnight kayak trips are scheduled to explore more of the lake and camp on remote islands. These one-night outings are perfect for families and beginning kayakers. More advanced trips involve two nights in the Lake Ouachita wilderness.
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