We have always been big fans of Greers Ferry Lake. Any chance we get, we like to head up to Heber Springs to camp at the Dam Site, visit the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery, and swim in Greers Ferry Lake.
On our last trip up to the lake, we decided to try a new beach. Instead of heading to our go-to swim areas at the Dam Site in Heber Springs, we decided to try out Sandy Beach.
Sandy Beach is Heber Springs’s only free, public beach. As you can guess, it has a sandy shoreline that we thought would be just perfect for our kids.
We visited Sandy Beach on Friday and Sunday. Friday was a very nice overcast day and the beach was sparsely populated. We all loved it!
Sunday was a different story. We were planning to head back home on Sunday and wanted to play at the beach for a few hours before leaving. I did not expect it to be as crowded as it was! There were people everywhere.
As much as I love Arkansas, I have to say that I was quite disappointed at Sandy Beach on our second day.
The rules specifically state that no pets are allowed, yet several people brought dogs. They had them in the water right next to other swimmers and one family brought two puppies that urinated in the water next to where my children were playing.
There are no flush toilets at Sandy Beach, so the bathrooms are just the typical vault toilet style. These were completely unusable because of filthy conditions. In fact, the men’s side was locked. The vault on the women’s side was full of trash and beer cans, and the floor was covered with dead bugs. The toilet seat had feces spread on it. (I’ll spare you the photo.)
Instead of using the vault toilet, I opted for one of the two port-a-potties because there was no other choice. At least these were cleaner.
The parking lot at Sandy Beach is quite small. There is a gravel area under a few shade trees that would have been more convenient for parking our extended cab truck, but the sign said that no parking was allowed. It also says “No Grilling.” However, after a few hours, the gravel area was full of vehicles, folks grilling, and people in hammocks. Perhaps we misunderstood the “No Parking”/”No Grilling” sign, or because of no apparent oversight by the city, people are just breaking the rules.
Incidentally, we saw no police officer or camp authority patrolling the area.
The pavilion on site had a sign that strictly stated that it must be rented before use. So, we did not sit there to enjoy our lunch in the shade. Instead, we found a shady tree. However, in a short time, it was just as busy as the beach.
After our two days at Sandy Beach, we decided that we will not be going back. At least, not on the weekend. A weekday might be better.
Sandy Beach seems to attract a party crowd that I’m not interested in. In fact, my husband counted 35 party barges and boats tied up on the shore at one time!
When I say that there were people everywhere, I mean that there were people EVERYWHERE!
One last note, once we got home, my husband had a sick stomach and 2/3 of my kids threw up. We read that Sandy Beach has had issues in the past with E-coli due in part to the geese droppings and there was quite a bit of that on the beach.
Once again, I love Arkansas. I am an Arkansas native and I love exploring this state but I cannot recommend Sandy Beach in Heber Springs at this time. Hopefully, things will change in the future. There are plenty of AMAZING things to do in Arkansas. Just check out our EPIC Arkansas Bucket List!
*It is important to note that Greers Ferry Lake was high during our visit so part of the beach was flooded. This means that there weren’t as many places for people to spread out. However, this does not change the other downsides like the dirty bathrooms, dogs urinating on the beach, and excessive drinking (with GLASS bottles).
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