Camping Lake Fort Smith State Park in Arkansas

Camp Arkansas had a chance to speak with Joe Hamilton, a park interpreter at Lake Fort Smith State Park. He filled us in on the best places to camp in the park, how to spend your time, and the best places to catch a drink and a movie. Listen to the full interview here:

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<h4>Lake Fort Smith State Park Camping, Arkansas</h4>
<strong>Camp Arkansas:</strong> I’m talking with Joe Hamilton today. He’s the park interpreter at Lake Fort Smith State Park, in Arkansas. How’s it going today, Joe?

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Going great.

<strong>CA: </strong>So, let’s get our start with how long Lake Fort Smith State Park has been there and how it got its start.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Well, the original Lake Fort Smith State Park was built in 1936, but in the 2000s, the lake was expanded to create a larger water supply for the city of Fort Smith and the old Lake Fort Smith is now under the lake. And so, this new State Park actually began in 2008.

<strong>CA: </strong>Okay. And what are the most popular activities for the guests there?

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<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Well, we have hiking. We are the trailhead for the Ozark Highlands Trail, which is 165 miles. And we have a loop off of the trail, which gives you a six-mile hike. We have a new bicycle trail that is under construction right now and should be finished sometime this winter. The first section of it is going to be about five miles long, and there are plans to hook it up with other trails where we’ll have a ten-mile loop.

<strong>CA: </strong>Fun.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>We also have kayaking and canoeing. Paddle boats. We have barges. We have all of these for rent. And fishing is a very popular activity.

<strong>CA: </strong>Okay.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>And during the summer months, we have a swimming pool.

<strong>CA: </strong>Great. and what types of camping do you guys offer in the Park?

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>We have 30 campsites. 20 Class AAA, which have 30 and 50amp with sewer and water. We also have ten Class B sites that have 30amp and water. We have ten cabins, five two-bedroom, five one-bedroom, and we have two group lodges for larger groups that will each hold about 30 people.

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<strong>CA: </strong>I was looking on the website and we do a lot of interviews with a lot of parks, and I have to say that the images of the cabins on your website are probably the nicest ones I’ve ever seen. They look really nice.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>They are extremely nice. They are well equipped. They opened last March, so they’re new.

<strong>CA: </strong>Yeah, you guys have got that HDTVs in there and everything.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Exactly. So, it’s for people who like their camping not so much on the rustic side.

<strong>CA: </strong>Yeah, I’m okay with that.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Yeah.

<strong>CA: </strong>Now, if I’m staying there for the weekend and I wanted to head out, what are some other popular attractions in the area worth checking out?

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Well, we are equal distance between the cities of Fayetteville and Fort Smith, and both of those places offer a lot of different activities. Up in Fayetteville, they have Dickson Street, which is a long street filled with nightclubs, so there’s a lot of entertainment. There are great restaurants in both of those towns. And there are some smaller towns a little bit closer that also have restaurants and grocery stores, and things like that.

<strong>CA: </strong>Okay. Now, what if you had a little bit of downtime? What’s your go-to for where you’d spend your time in the local area?

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>I like to go to The Movie Lounge in Forth Smith.

<strong>CA: </strong>There you go.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>And The Movie Lounge is just like it sounds. It’s a move theater where they will serve drinks and food in the theater.

<strong>CA: </strong>That’s the best. We’re in Minneapolis and we have just one of those here.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>And it is a very nice place.

<strong>CA: </strong>Fun.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>And I enjoy going there, and they also have live entertainment as well.

<strong>CA: </strong>Okay, two more questions for you.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Okay.

<strong>CA: </strong>If you could spend just one hour in the Park, what would you do with your time?

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<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>Well, the best way, I think, to spend time in our Park is to take one of our interpreter boat tours, because that way you get to go out and enjoy our primary resource and also learn about the history of our Park and the culture of this region.

<strong>CA: </strong>Okay. And if you could spend just one night in Lake Fort Smith State Park, which campsite would you choose and why?

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>I believe that I would probably stay in Cabin 9. It’s kind of set off by itself, and it’s right in the woods.

<strong>CA: </strong>Awesome.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>And you still have HDTV.

<strong>CA: </strong>There you go. Well, hey, thanks for taking some time out of your day today, Joe, to talk to us. Much appreciated and we’ll get this information right out to our visitors.

<strong>Joe Hamilton: </strong>My pleasure. Thank you very much.
<h4><a href=”http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/lakefortsmith/” target=”_blank”>Visit Website</a></h4>

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