As an Arkansas native, I have camped all over this state. I will go out on a limb and say that Arkansas has some of the best camping in the United States.
For me, nothing compares to camping at the John F. Kennedy Campground and Recreation Area on the Little Red River in Heber Springs, AR.
We go back time and time again and always discover something new.
Reasons to Visit the John F. Kennedy Campground in Heber Springs, Arkansas
John F. Kennedy Park is located on the Little Red River just downstream of Greers Ferry Dam in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of north-central Arkansas.–source
1. The scenery is beautiful!
If you have never experienced the Little Red River, you are in for a treat at this campground.
The Little Red River runs through the gateway of the Ozarks near Heber Springs, Arkansas. It is a tailwater. The dam creates a massive lake, Greers Ferry. Below Greers Ferry Dam you will find some of the country’s best trout fishing. The Little Red rolls along 82 miles before it meets up with the White River. –source
One of our favorite activities is to sit by the river and watch it rush by as the Dam releases water. The water in the river is cold and clear. Many times, you can look down and just watch the trout swim by.
It’s a calming scene.
My kids love to throw pebbles into the river and watch the splash. I enjoying watching the water and listening to their giggles.
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2. GREAT Campsites
The JFK campground is smaller that most in the Heber Springs area. That is part of what makes it so enjoyable. A smaller campground equals less people, less traffic, and less noise.
JFK campground amenities
This campground has 68 campsites with electrical hookups and 44 of those have electric and water hookups.
There is also a nice bath house with flush toilets that is kept very clean. Other amenties include: dump station, picnic area, pavilion for large gatherings, a boat ramp, and a fishing/overlook pier.
Here are the Best Campsites at JFK Campground
When we visit a campground, we love to scout out the best campsites to try. Here are our top two at JFK.
campsite with a view of the Little Red River
B18– We love campsite B18 because it’s right on the river with a great view. It’s nicely spaced out from the neighboring campsites and it features a wood railing around the main camp area for safety.
You can sit in your comfy camp chair with your feet propped up on the railing and watch the fishermen all day long.
For those of you with large RVs with patio’s on the back, don’t even get me started. Your view would obviously be elevated and amazing. Just please don’t tell me about it. I will be so jealous!
campsite with a view of Collins Creek
C10– This campsite is one of our favorites because it’s on a loop in the road. This makes it a calmer area and a great place for kids to ride bikes and scooters!
This site also has a great view of Collins Creek trail and it’s very well spaced from the other campsites.
3. Fun Hiking
We visited the JFK campground just last week and were reminded again of how fun the hiking/walking is in that area. The campground itself has several great areas to hike and explore.
Halfway through the campground, you will cross a small bridge. Just on the other side of that bridge, on the right side, is the beginning of a handicap accessible walking trail. This trail is wide and easy to walk on.
It leads to several great overlooks of the stream below.
If you turn left when you go over the bridge, you will find a wide part of the same stream that is fun to observe or play in. Our children spent an entire hour wading in the cool water and splashing around. It was a great adventure!
4. Collins Creek Trail is Nearby
Collins Creek Trail is a 1.2 mile “out and back” trail near Heber Springs, Arkansas and the JFK campground. The creek flows into the Little Red River and is fed from the dam. It makes an excellent spot for trout fishing downstream.
It’s an easy trail that is good for all skill levels. Our 8 and 5 year olds had no problem on this trail and I found it extremely easy to hike while carrying our 2-year-old in a sling on my hip.
My favorite part of the hike is the cascade.
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Directions to Collins Creek Trail
To get to Collins Creek Trail, turn onto Hatchery Road from AR-25. Just a short distance down and you will see the Collins Creek trailhead sign. There is a small parking lot and immediate access to the trail.
Get all the details and see photos here: [REVIEW] Collins Creek Trail and Cascade
Also within close driving distance is Bridal Veil Falls.
Learn more here: [BREATHTAKING ADVENTURE] Bridal Veil Falls in Heber Springs, Arkansas should not be missed!
5. Excellent Picnic Area
The John F. Kennedy Campground is great for campers or folks who just want to picnic. We have spent the day there multiple times with nothing but camp chairs, picnic food, and a great picnic table by the river.
6. Exciting Nearby Attractions
While you’re visiting the JFK campground, don’t miss a chance to experience the nearby Fish Hatchery! It’s in easy walking distance from the campground.
Information about the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery
“Hatchery Visiting Hours: 10:00a -3:00p daily
Open on weekends and most major federal holidays
Closed to the public Thanksgiving day and December 24 & 25 (Christmas holiday).
Please arrive 30 minutes prior to closing time.
No admission fee.” –source
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery location
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery
349 Hatchery Road
Heber Springs, AR 72543
7. Premier-Class Trout Fishing
The Little Red River is a premier-class trout stream. There are 35 river miles of great fishing. In fact, a world record trout was caught in the Little Red River weighing in at 40 pounds, 4 ounces.
So, what are you waiting for?
John F. Kennedy Recreation Area and Campground Location
Why is it called Arkansas’s only air conditioned campground?
JFK campground sits in a valley below the Greer’s Ferry Dam and on the banks of the Little Red River. Because of it’s location, it tends to feel cooler than other campgrounds that are located nearby.
Also, the Little Red River is an ice cold trout stream. So, when the cool fog rolls off the river, it cools down the campground!