bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

One night in Clarksville, AR–Big Trip #4

We were in Spadra in mid-November 2022, as part of Big Trip #4.

Bugsy and the Airstream at our campsite at Spadra
the view from our campsite at Spadra–not too shabby!

J was looking at the map along I-40 to find our next overnight between Tulsa and Memphis, and he zeroed in on a recreation area on a lake in western Arkansas, not far from the interstate. The photos of Spadra Park online were nice enough, so we booked a campsite, not really knowing what to expect. And holy cow was a lovely surprise!

sunset from our rocks at Spadra
we spent a lot of time sitting on those rocks over the lake

Spadra Park sits on a bluff above Lake Dardanelle, a 34,000-acre fishing lake stretching for fifty miles along the Arkansas River, with 315 miles of shoreline and an average depth of fifteen feet. Campsites in the Spadra Park campground are reservable online; there are 23 sites with 30-amp power (nine of those have water hook-ups), and seasonal water spigots and restrooms on site.

pinker sunset at our rocks over Dardanelle Lake
Bugsy staring at the Airstream from our rocks at Spadra
Bugsy waiting for her dad to join us on our rocks

Be sure to read the size limit for your selected site–and then maybe add some cushion–to ensure your RV will fit! The site we’d reserved initially was waaay too small and steep for us despite saying it could fit a 30-foot RV; fortunately only a few other campsites were taken, so we were able to move, with the assistance of the wonderfully friendly camp host.

Bugsy at Spadra looking at the pelicans in Dardanelle Lake
relaxing once we’d set up in our new site

The town of Clarksville is nearby if you need supplies; originally we’d planned to check out the Spadra Creek Nature Trail before leaving in the morning, but we loved our campsite too much to leave.

pelican in Dardanelle Lake
one of many white pelicans we enjoyed watching
Bugsy in the firelight with Dardanelle Lake in the background
Bugsy by firelight

The campsites have picnic tables and fire pits and big water views. We spent much of our time either on the rocks at the top of the lakeside cliff or in front of our fire and did lots of bird-watching: ducks, geese, egrets, herons, kingfishers, and white pelicans galore all visited our little section of the lake.

Bugsy on our rocks after sunrise
Bugsy watched the sunrise with me from our rocks
sunset over the train tracks at Spadra
train tracks run past the campground

The only tiny downsides were a bit of noise and some mosquitoes. A train track runs the length of the campground, and the trains started running at 6am. They didn’t wake me up, though, because I got up for sunrise from our rocks–highly recommended! Fishing boats buzzed around making some noise, but as we visited in November, there wasn’t a ton of boat activity. And the mosquitoes weren’t too bad, but they were still around in November, which makes me wonder about the rest of the year.

the Airstream over Dardanelle Lake at Spadra

We would definitely return to Spadra when driving along I-40, although next time we might check out the cool-looking RV park on the river in downtown Little Rock. From this waterfront campground, we moved on to another, on the Mississippi just outside Memphis.


2 responses to “One night in Clarksville, AR–Big Trip #4”

  1. […] of driving if you’re traveling I-40 through Oklahoma, as we were when heading from Sayre to a lakefront park in western Arkansas. In addition to its important African-American history, it has neat Art Deco architecture, a […]

  2. […] map. The VA-side campground seems huge and busy from its website, not scenic and peaceful like our last lake-front campground. There are a couple in TN that are equally uncompelling, except one that looks promising–but […]

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