Home » 2002 Cross Country Road Trip

Lake Dardanelle State Park, AR

Tuesday, August 13, 2002 - 11:30am by Lolo
75 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Herb with the Last State of the Lower 48 stickerHerb with the Last State of the Lower 48 stickerHere we were in Arkansas, the final state in our quest for completing the lower 48. I'm not sure what we expected, having never really given Arkansas much thought. In many ways it seemed very familiar, much more like home than any other place we'd been to in the last few weeks. There were mountains and lakes, and for the first time in awhile, grass and trees. Everything was so green--very different from the browns and reds of the Southwest and the golden grass of the plains. It felt good to be here, which must mean that we were about ready to go home.

The park was actually quite lovely with a beautiful man-made lake surrounded by mountains. The scenery would have been even more idyllic if hadn't been for the nuclear power plant on the far shore spewing white clouds from its huge chimney. It reminded me of a Homer Simpson episode. We just angled our chairs a little and pretended it wasn't there.

That night was a big event in our RV history--the filling in of the final state on our RV map of the continental U.S. Originally, I had felt silly about the idea of collecting states just for the sake of collecting them, but it had turned out differently than I expected. In the process of visiting states that we would never have visited otherwise, we had found some true gems. And as a bonus, the kids really knew their U.S. geography now.

As Herb placed Arkansas on the map, he turned to us and said, "Now we can sell the RV." I think he was just kidding. I hope so because I'm just getting started...


Lake Dardanelle State Park is located in central Arkansas about 2 miles south of I40. It is surrounded by the Ouachita Mountains to the south and the Boston Mountain Range of the Ozarks to the north. However, its main attraction is the 34,000-acre man-made lake, formed by the Arkansas River, which is very popular for fishing, boating, and swimming.

Facilities include picnic areas, boat launches, a marina, miniature golf, and a 97-site campground.

Arktraveler on November 15, 2013

Re: the nuclear power plant on the far shore spewing white clouds from its huge chimney. The white smoke is just steam off the natural draft cooling towers.

Arkansas has some great state parks. Come visit again sometime and enjoy: Withrow Springs SP http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/withrowsprings/ come in the fall for the foliage, use the park as base camp to visit Ponca Elk Education Center, and view the Elk and explore Buffalo National River. Directions:https://maps.google.com/maps?q=google+map+of+ponca+ar&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x87d29e3f743f2761:0xa405693effdfd2d0,Arkansas&gl=us&ei=o0aGUpJEw-LZBY3ngMgE&ved=0CCsQ8gEwAA

Move on to Devils Den SP http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/devilsden/ use the park as base camp to visit Prairie Grove Battlefield SP http://www.arkansasstateparks.com/prairiegrovebattlefield/ and Crystal Bridges Ark Museum http://crystalbridges.org/ It is worth the whole trip just for this.

If you get the chance also visit Blanchard Springs Cavern (Nat. Forest Service Site) http://www.blanchardsprings.org/ , Mount Magazine SP, Petit Jean SP, at minimum.

Herb on November 16, 2013

Thanks Arktraveler for the travel tips.

We will be sure to check out the parks when we get a chance to get back to Arkansas.


Lake Dardanelle State Park location map in "high definition"

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