Lake Charles State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Located in The Ozarks along the Black River, Lake Charles State Park is a beautiful state park that is a great RV destination all year round. The highlight of the park is the artificially built 654 acre Lake Charles. The lake came to be as a result of a partnership of four agencies to build a lake just north of Shirey Bay Rainey Brake Wildlife Management Area to try control flooding and preserve the watershed. Construction on the lake began in 1964 and the park was officially opened in 1967.

Most of the recreational activities in the park revolve around the use of the lake. Swimming, fishing and boating are very popular as you would imagine, along with the trails around the lake that are used for hiking. During the summer months the nature center is a must see and is open on weekends from May through September. If you are looking for some last minute supplies there is a visitors centre that will fill the void with gift items, camping supplies, live fishing bait, and snacks for sale.

The camping facilities at Lake Charles State Park are some of the best to be found in the area. There are 57 RV friendly sites, including 24 full hookup sites with 50 amp connections. There are also 33 sites that have 30 amp connection and water hookups. Camping is available all year round and peak season at Lake Charles State Park is during the summer months.

RV Rentals in Lake Charles State Park

Transportation in Lake Charles State Park

Driving

Lake Charles State Park in the north-east of Arkansas in Lawrence County. The park is in a fairly easy to access location that is close to a few small towns, including Powhatan, Eaton, Black Rock and Smithville. The closest city to the park is Jonesboro, which is the fifth largest city in the state of Arkansas. Lake Charles State Park has a few different roads available to access the park. You can take AR-25 through Eaton or through Powhatan to the north-east. There are also a few smaller roads that you can take, including Lawrence Road 303 and Lawrence Road 301.

The terrain in and around the park should be easy to navigate as the area is flat. The trees are also set back far from the road so you won't have to worry about overhanging branches damaging your RV. During the winter time temperatures can get quite cold so you may have trouble accessing the park if the roads are icy. Make sure you check to see if the park is accessible before you begin your journey if you plan to visit during the winter months.

Parking

Parking is aplenty in Lake Charles State Park.

Public Transport

Unfortunately there are no public transport options that give access to Lake Charles State Park.

Campgrounds and parking in Lake Charles State Park

Campsites in Lake Charles State Park

Reservations camping

Lake Charles State Park Campground

The camping facilities at Lake Charles State Park are really top class. There are 57 RV friendly sites available for camping, including 24 full hookup sites that have 50 amp connections. For those who don't need full hookup sites there are also 33 sites that have 30 amp connections and water hookups. The sites are all paved, with some located under the trees that provide some excellent shade and some along the lakeshore that have beautiful views. All of the sites also come with a table, grill and lantern hooks.

Other amenities in the park include modern restrooms, showers and a dump station. If you need some last minute supplies the visitor center sells concessions. There is limited cell phone reception in Lake Charles State Park. Pets are permitted in the park. Reservations are encouraged if you are wanting to come and stay at the park. Camping is available all year round.

First-come first-served

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Lake Charles State Park

In-Season

Kayaking

Lake Charles also is a great destination for those who love to kayak. Whether you are a beginner or expert, the kayaking on offer will satisfy you. During the summertime there are kayaking programs on offer by park staff that will take you around the lake. There are also kayak rentals and guided kayak tours available in tandem and solo kayaks. We recommend going on a guided tour if you are looking to learn the most that you can about the lake and the neighboring wildlife.

Swimming

Lake Charles State Park is one of ten state parks in Arkansas that has a swimming beach. The beach at the park is sandy and quite long as it is located in a cove on the banks of the lake. The depth of the water will cater to all swimmers as there is a nice shallow area that extends out to become deeper water. During the summertime the beach area can get very busy as it is a super popular place to chill out.

Nature Center

A quaint nature center is located in the day use area of Lake Charles State Park near the swimming beach. The center is open on weekends from May until September and it provides some great environmental education programs and natural resource focused recreational activities. Animals on display are one of the major highlights of the center, especially the gator section. There is also a park interpreter that provides enjoyment and education programs that include guided hikes, nature demonstrations and evening talks.

Off-Season

Picnicking

The picnic area at Lake Charles State Park is very modern and a great place to relax and entertain. Located near the swimming beach in the day use area, most of the picnic sites have tables and grills. Other amenities in the area include modern restrooms and plenty of shade trees for a pleasant small picnic or a family gathering. If you are looking for a more premium picnicking experience there is a screened-in pavilion with lights, ceiling fans, and a charcoal grill that is available for rent.

Fishing

The 645-acre Lake Charles is a supreme fishing destination. The lake is stocked with a variety of different species, including bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. The lake is an amazing bass fishing spot and it’s the place where the largest number of 20-inch bass have been caught in Northeast Arkansas. From March through October a full line of bait and tackle is available at the visitor center for those who need some fishing supplies before trying to land a big one.

Hiking

Fancy doing some hiking on your trip? There are five different trails available for you to check out in Lake Charles State Park. The trails vary in length and location. The most popular trail is the Cedar Trail. It is a paved trail that traverses a portion of the Lake Charles shoreline. The trail can be accessed from either the picnic area or the campground and it provides an excellent opportunity for walking, wildlife viewing or fishing.

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