Camping at Horseshoe Lake along the Big River Trail

One of the greatest summer activities involves pitching a tent and roughing it for a few days. If you're in the mood to slow down and explore all the wonders The Natural State has to offer, we've got you covered.

Here are six free campsites that make roughing it well worth it. 

 

Buffalo River National Park

Drive time: 2 hours

If you're not afraid of a little primitive camping, then the Buffalo River National Park is just the place. The area offers multiple campgrounds with access to bathrooms and running water for a fee, but folks are welcome to backcountry camp for free anywhere in the park as long as it's not on a historic site or close to private property.

 

Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA

Drive time: 22 minutes

Henry Gray Hurricane Lake WMA is open year-round. There's no running water, toilets or electricity, but you're less than 10 minutes from Bald Knob with access to many different types of eateries and small grocery stores. Don't forget to bring your fishing pole. 

 

Rock Creek Lake Greeson

Drive time: 2 hours

Rock Creek is another great campsite for fishers. It's tucked away by a lake with plenty of access to wildlife. There are primitive pit toilets at this campground. 

 

Falling Water Creek Campsite

Drive time: 2 hours

Falling Water Creek campsite is located in the heart of the Ozark National Forest. The campsite is just 50 feet from the creek. Pets are welcome. 

 

Sam's Throne Recreation Area

Drive time: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Sam's Throne is an oasis for rock climbers, but the free high-elevation campsite is also a tempting draw. The spot features vault toilets and no running water. Just a short walk down the hiking trail offers campers sweeping views of the Ozark Mountains. 

 

Erbie Campground

Drive time: 2 hours and 42 minutes 

This free campground is located seven miles down a gravel road off of Highway 7 north of Jasper. The campground has 14 drive-in campsites and two walk-in campsites, each with a picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook. Group sites are first-come, first-served, while sites #2, #3 and #4 can be reserved by calling the Tyler Bend Visitor Center at (870) 439-2502. 

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It's going to be a #StarrySaturday night. Photo of the Milky Way above Erbie by David Dedman.

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Honorable Mention:

While these aren't free, they do offer a little bit nicer accommodations like running water and well-maintained campsites.