Petit Jean State Park campground photos and things to do in the area. Family guide to a great weekend getaway.
Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas, is a great place to get away for the weekend or explore as a family day trip. Located just a little over an hour from Little Rock, this beautiful state park offers hiking and many other activities in the area to peak most everyones interest.
Even though we’ve been to Petit Jean Mountain many times, this was our first camping trip to the area, and we sure learned the true meaning to “is the site level?”
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Petit Jean State Park offers a beautiful campground right on top of the mountain. This campground can (and does) fill up fast. So be sure to plan your camping trip with plenty of notice and maybe try and book during the weekdays if you can.
Petit Jean State Park Campground
Petit Jean offers 125 campsites for tents and RV’s. Thirty five of them being class AAA and ninety class B. They also offer 33 cabins, lodge with guest rooms and four yurts all available to rent. Be sure to check out the Petit Jean State Park website and click “book now” for more details.
Like many other camping areas, Petit Jean has check-in right at the visitors center. This visitors center is gorgeous. Inside there is beautiful gift shop with mementos, apparel, preserves and fun toys for the kids.
Walking around you can’t help but notice a giant stone archway that represents the natural bridge along Seven Hollows Trail. On the other side of the archway is a hands on museum for kids of all ages that will teach you more about the area.
This visitors center is travel trailer friendly with six large RV parking spaces. Three on the right and three on the left side of the building and parking lot.
Campground C & D
View campground map.
- water/30 amp electric
- bathhouse within walking distance
- fire ring
- picnic table
- lantern hanger
For this camping trip we reserved campsite 86. Once we checked in at the visitors center we drove over to find our new home away from home.
The site looked a little rough but we were determined to make it work. After a few tight back-ins it was completely clear… that this wasn’t going to work.
Between the trees in front of us and the tree in front of the camper door, it was a tight squeeze. But besides those inconveniences we couldn’t get our 30 foot trailer level.
After a quick call to the visitors center they were able to check us into another site that had just been cancelled that afternoon. Site number 69.
And right here we’ll take the time to say thank you to everyone who calls and cancels their reservation if you cannot make it. Things come up, we get it. But if you can find the time to call and cancel, you have no idea how much you’re helping the next person staying in the area.
It took us no time at all to set up and the kids quickly became friends with the neighbor kids.
Campground C and D are ok. Some spots are defiantly more level than others so come prepared. You might have a tree or two that’s a bit in the way and roots have caused the parking pads to crack.
If you really have concerns, you can call and ask the staff at the visitors center if a certain site is level.
- water/50 amp electric/sewer
- bathhouse within walking distance
- fire ring
- lantern hanger
- picnic table
- paved & level
- lake view
Campground area A is stunning. It offers lake views and several pull-through sites. The roads are well maintained and every one of them is level. They have full water and sewer hook ups and are spread out pretty well.
Camping area A might seem perfect but it does lack shade. Something to consider during the hot summer months in Arkansas.
At this time campground area B is under construction but it looks like it’ll be a beautiful addition to the park.
Petit Jean Cabins and Lodging
Cabins- Petit Jean State Park offers 33 cabins with 21 of them having their own kitchens. You can find most located just a short walk from Mather Lodge. Some cabins are even pet friendly but be sure to call ahead for pet reservations.
Lodge- Inside of Mather Lodge are 24 guest rooms, restaurant, meeting rooms and gift shop. The lodge overlooks the Cedar Creek Canyon and has breathtaking views of the sunset.
Yurt- You’ll find 4 yurts available to rent along Lake Bailey. Each yurt can accommodate up to six people and offers electricity, screened windows, cot, lantern, stove and ice chest.
Fly-in campground- Petit Jean has its own small airport and with that they invite aviation enthusiasts to come enjoy their fly-in campground. This fly-in campground offers five tent sites with water, electricity and bathhouse. Be sure to call Petit Jean State Park for more details.
Did you know there are several airbnb’s on Petit Jean? You can rent an entire house with a bedroom for everyone. Or keep it a little bit more quiet and secluded with a cabin or A-Frame with stunning views. You’ll even find a cozy tent near the Petit Jean Farmers’ Market.
Things to do
Swimming- Petit Jean State Park offers two swimming pools. One pool is located at Mather Lodge and is reserved for lodge and cabin guest only. The second pool is located across from the picnic area and is open to the public from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
There is a small fee to use the public pool and hours may vary upon lifeguard availability. Call ahead for updated hours of operations.
Boat rentals- Over on Lake Bailey you’ll find a boathouse and snack bar. Here they offer find paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, fishing boats and water bike all available to rent. Just like the pool, boat rental is seasonal from Memorial Day to Labor Day and is dependent on lifeguard availability. They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
You can also bring your own kayaks, canoes or fishing boats and launch them over at the small boat launch located on the same road as the campground overflow area.
Tennis/basketball/volleyball- Over by the public pool you’ll find a tennis court, basketball court and volleyball.
Playground and picnic- Just past the visitors center is a great playground for the kids with tons of picnic tables in the area. Right next to the playground is a bathroom with flushing toilets. Something every mom was just thankful to know.
Barnyard Friends and Stables- Baryard Friends and Stables is located just outside the state park. Turn down the road at the Museum of Automobiles and it’s about a half mile drive on the right hand side. At the stables you’ll find a great little petting zoo and they even offer horseback trail rides.
Museum of Automobiles- Classic car lovers will enjoy making their way around the Museum of Automobiles. View a 1914 popcorn wagon and many more antiques in this collection. And be sure to catch their annual car show and swap meet held every year in the month of June around Father’s Day.
Beaumont Springhouse Gift Shop- Be sure to visit the Beaumont Springhouse Gift Shop. One of Petit Jean’s newest family owned businesses and a must see for everyone in the area. This beautiful boutique has Petit Jean attire, jewelry and gifts for the entire family.
Petit Jean Farmers’ Market- On Saturday mornings make your way over to Petit Jean Farmers’ Market. It’s located along the same road as the airport and has locally grown fruits, vegetables, farm fresh eggs and more. It’s the perfect place to pick up a few extras for your camping meals and to take home and enjoy later in the week.
The Outpost- Craving something sweet? Up on Petit Jean Mountain you’ll find a rustic little cabin called The Outpost. Inside there is cozy market with camping supplies, preserves and more. Grab a sandwich lunch at their cafe or, our personal favorite, homemade fudge and caramel turtles. With rocking chairs lining the porch it’s a welcoming place to enjoy that something sweet.
Petit Jean Coffee House- There is nothing quite like a fresh cup of coffee and a scone while sitting under the trees at Petit Jean Coffee House. This family owned coffee house opened in the spring of 2020 and has been a staple in this mountain community. It’s also the perfect way to start your day before you head out and explore the area.
Winthrop Rockefeller Institute- The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute is also located on the mountain. They offer a museum, cafe and small theater where you can sit and learn more about this institute.
It was a great place to visit on a rainy day! The kids were able to stretch their legs while touring the museum and the best part (for us) were the beautiful cows lining the road as your drive in.
Hiking- There are so many family friendly hikes and overlooks in the area that we’ve made an entire post dedicated to it.
Check out our post on 9 Family friendly hikes and overlooks | Petit Jean State Park.
Some of our favorites include:
- Stouts Point
- Rock House Cave
- Cedar Creek Trail
- Cedar Falls Overlook
- Bear Cave Trail
- CCC Overlook
Camping at Petit Jean State Park is the perfect family friendly getaway that is only a short distance from the Little Rock area. Whether it be the farm animals, classic cars or the love of nature that brings you here, it’s the park staff and community on top of the mountain that keep you coming back.
So if you’re new to the area come on up and explore! and if this is a place you once visited as a child, it’s time to come on back and bring the grandkids.
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