Jun 2, 2024 - News

Make waves in a rapid sport

A photo of the front of a blue kayak on water reflecting the clouds in the sky, framed with greenery

The Cricket Creek area of Table Rock Lake. Photo: Worth Sparkman

🌊 One cool way to check out the Natural State is from the water. The open skies provide views of bluffs and bald eagles you don't normally see from land.

  • Plus it's fun.

State of play: Boaters can access 24 lakes and 18 rivers at Arkansas state parks. Both options surround NWA along with private and municipal spots, and most offer vessel rentals so the entry point is relatively simple. A few worth noting:

Swift water

Siloam Springs Kayak Park — Two Class I to II human-engineered rapids along the Illinois River are the centerpiece, but it also includes a family swimming area, a climbing boulder and picnic area.

  • The park is free, however, it charges $10 per car to park during the summer on the weekends and holidays.

WOKA Whitewater Park — Located just across the Oklahoma state line, the Waters of Oklahoma and Arkansas also taps the Illinois River. With eight low-hazard whitewater features, the park offers a full line of raft, tube and kayak rentals starting at $25.

Still water

Lake Fayetteville — A no-wake lake in the middle of town with nearly 200 acres of water, Lake Fayetteville makes first-time aqua outings a breeze.

Lake Fort Smith State Park — Just 35 miles south of Fayetteville, it offers nearly 1,500 surface acres to explore.

  • Solo kayaks rent from $10 per hour to $30 for the day and canoes start at $12.50 per hour.

What to know: Arkansas river conditions are available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

  • Like hiking, you should always let someone know where you are and wear appropriate safety gear.

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