One Tank Travels: DeGray Lake Resort State Park



We invite you to have“More Fun Per Gallon” in Arkansas this year. Each day we will be blogging on different Arkansas destinations which can be reached on one tank of gas or less. This is basically every corner of The Natural State. We hope these  suggestions help you in planning a trip to remember.

Today’s Trip: Hot Springs to DeGray Lake Resort State Park

Wow! It has been hot in Arkansas lately with record breaking temperatures for this summer so far. In light of this, this week’s trip focuses on being near (and on or under) the water. A nice option for a road trip is DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Bismarck. 

This state park, which is nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains,is Arkansas’s only resort state park. It is located about eight miles north of Arkadelphia on DeGray Lake, which was formed when the Caddo River was dammed in the 1970s. Located on an island and reached by a short causeway, the park also has a lodge if you might want to make a weekend of your stay.

First things first: getting out of the heat and on/in the water. In this case, DeGray Lake. This 13,800-acre lake is perfect for fishing and water sports. Fishing for hybrid striped bass and angling for walleye, crappie, bream and catfish are options. The lake is also a draw for water-skiing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, swimming, and boating. So there are many ways to cool off. The park also offers interpretive boat tours. And a sand beach! This beach is at the Caddo Bend day use area and stays open until 10 at night. There is also a designated swimming area off limits to boats so it’s a nice spot if you have kids.

Of note, the park has a full-service marina with dock space, watercraft rentals, fuel station and a bait and tackle shop. Boat rentals are also available, including flat bottom boats and motors, party barges, canoes, kayaks and water bikes. A free launch ramp and parking is available for personal craft at the marina as well as two other locations within the state park: DeRoche Ridge camping area and Caddo Bend.

This being a state park, there are also events and programs that happen throughout the year. If you make it to the park for the July 4th holiday, there will be the Island Festival taking place all day. Park interpreters also often lead kayak tours, lake cruises, hikes, snorkeling ventures, and nature programs. There are also geocaches to be found within the park boundaries if you might be a geocacher.

Camping is popular at the park and there are over 100 campsites there.  You can also go horseback riding and there are five short trails ( none are over 1 mile) to wander through.

Bird watching is a big activity here too and you can see a wide range of birds from wading birds to waterfowl. The park offers various bird habitats from the mixed pine and hardwood forest of the camping areas to the golf course, field, and marshy coves behind the visitor center. The Great Blue Heron is a common sight in the summer. Enjoy!