15 Swimming lakes and splash parks in central Arkansas. A list of family swimming spots and splash pads in the central Arkansas area.
We moved to Arkansas the spring of 2017 and by May of that year, I was frantically Googling places to go swimming in central Arkansas! The humidity would smack you square in the face the second you walked outside, and we aren’t talking at 11am. This heat starts the moment the sun rises and goes well past sunset!
Since we have young children we needed kid friendly lakes and splash parks.
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Some swimming areas may charge a fee per person or per vehicle. Be sure to call ahead and be prepared. Many of these swimming areas do not offer lifeguards. Swim at your own risk.
15 SWIMMING LAKES AND SPLASH PARKS IN CENTRAL ARKANSAS
Greers Ferry Lake
If you’re new to the area, people will most commonly tell you about Greers Ferry. This large lake located north of Little Rock, is a popular spot during the summer months. There are several places to camp and boat rentals at the local marina.
Dam Site Marina
Dam Site Marina is one of our favorite places to swim. Although the beach/sand part of the beach is small, they have a road right under the surface of the water that you can walk out onto an island. The island offers rocks for sunbathing or you can get your feet wet in the clear water. (Price to swim per vehicle)
Sandy beach is one of the beaches located on Greers Ferry Lake. Some days this park is absolutely gorgeous! While other days a few people forget to use a proper waste receptacle. You’ll also find a volleyball court and they’ve recently put in a pavilion that you can rent. Free to swim
Old Highway 25 Beach Park
Over the dam in Heber Springs, and to the left, you’ll come to Old Highway 25. This recreation area has amazing camping spots! But just past that you’ll come to the end of the road and a great little beach for swimming. This park has a boat ramp, picnic tables and restrooms. Best of all this park and swimming area is free. So bring the family and enjoy all afternoon swimming in this beautiful lake.
Woolly Hollow State Park
Located about 30 minutes north of Conway, you’ll find Woolly Hollow State Park. This state park is a little off the beaten path but once there you’ll find camping, clean restrooms, playgrounds, picnic tables and a beach area.
This beach is open to swimming seven days a week from 12pm-7pm from Memorial day through Labor day. They do charge a couple dollars per person to swim, so be sure to give them a call for up to date pricing. You can also rent paddle boats, kayaks or canoes per hour or for the entire day. (admission per person to swim)
Laurel Park Splash Pad
If you’re in the Conway area, you should check out the splash pad at Laurel Park. This big little splash pad is so much fun! Run through the tubes of spraying water or wait dramatically underneath the giant bucket of water ready to tip over at any moment. With covered picnic tables and benches, it’s a great spot to spend the hot afternoon. – Free
Beaverfork Lake is a popular spot for fishing and boating. This park also offers swimming, a playground, picnic areas with grills, two pavilions, volleyball and frisbee golf. So be sure to pack a lunch and frisbee, and check out what Conway has to offer. -Free
HOT SPRINGS AREA
Lake Ouachita State Park
At Lake Ouachita State Park you’ll find two beach areas. The first one is located just past the visitors center, next to the marina. This area also has picnic tables and clean restrooms. -Free
You’ll also find a swimming area over by Three Sisters Springs. Although this beach area is a little wider, parking is a bit more limited.
Lake Hamilton has a lot of homes right on the water, making it a little more difficult to find beach access. This lake is very popular with pontoon boats and they can even be heard while walking around Garvan Woodland Gardens during the summer months. However, if you head up to Hill Wheately Park, you’ll find a small beach area, boat ramp and picnic tables. -Free
Lake Catherine State Park
You’ll find a couple of places to cool down at Lake Catherine State Park. Right by the visitor center they have a swim beach and if you’re up for a little adventure you can cool down at the Falls Creek Falls waterfall.
Passing the visitor center you’ll come to a parking lot right by the campground. Here they have several trails you can hike but you are looking to follow Dam Mountain Trail next to the lake. Do not go right away from the water! Turn left at the fork and follow the trail next to the water, all the way to Falls Creek Falls. -Free
Magic Springs Theme and Water Park
Looking to skip the lake and still stay cool? Check out Magic Springs Theme and Water Park! Water slides, lazy rivers, splash island, a wave pool and more! Be sure to check out their website here to plan your visit. (admission to enter)
LITTLE ROCK AREA
There is always something to do in downtown Little Rock but when the summer heat starts to kick in, I’m not in my normal exploring mood. Lucky for me the Little Rock area has a few different splash pad to choose from. Making it easy to stick close to home and stay cool.
Some of these playgrounds have tunnels leading to different sections. Be sure to constantly keep an eye on your little ones.
Riverfront Park Splash Pad
Just behind the Little Rock River Market, to the left of Junction Bridge, you’ll find the Riverfront Splash Pad. Although the splash pad isn’t very large, pair it with the giant playground next to it and you have one awesome afternoon. -Free
War Memorial Park
War Memorial Park is located near the Little Rock Zoo. This park has different levels with large boulders for climbing, tunnels, slides and you guessed it, a splash pad with waterfalls and caves! This beautiful park has restrooms, a pavilion, pond and sidewalk trails. It’s definitely a must see at any time of year. -Free
Just north of Little Rock, in the town of Jacksonville, you’ll find the water park called Splash Zone. Built in 2005, this waterpark hosts two waterslides, a splashdome, diving board and more! With concessions right on site you really can spend the entire summer afternoon there. And the kids will want to! (admission to enter)
Little Rock AFB Pool
If you have access to Little Rock AFB then you should check out the Base Pool. The AFB pool is located across from Walter’s Community Center right off of Arnold Dr. If you’re looking for a simple afternoon to cool down, this might just be your answer. With a full size pool to swim laps, diving board, waterslide and kiddy pool. (admission to enter)
Cabot Aquatic Park
The Cabot Aquatic Park is a must visit during the hot summer months. With two big waterslides, splash zone, double red waterslide, diving board, lazy river, and two seating areas in the water, this water park has something for everyone in the family! (admission to enter)
Indian Lake is located just north of Cabot in the town of Austin. This beautiful lake offers a beach area, trading post, camping, paddle boat rentals, swimming, diving board and our favorite the big red slide! Bring the entire family and enjoy your summer afternoon relaxing on this gorgeous lake and beach area. (admission to enter)
Of course there are many beautiful places to swim and cool down in the central Arkansas area. These are just a few of them. Remember to practice water safety and never leave your child unattended.
Best wishes for a wonderful, safe and hopefully now little cooler, summer!
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Swimming in Arkansas can be dangerous. Always be prepared and understand your limits and skill level. The content on this website is for entertainment and informational purposes only. This website, and person writing this post, is not responsible for any accidents, inconvenience, injuries, rescues, or loss of life by anyone who swims these beaches and parks. Swim at your own risk.