Arkansas is one of the best places you can go out camping to–camping enthusiasts, who have experienced camping in multiple places across the globe vouch for it and claim it to be the best camping state in the United States!
Among the many notable camping sites in Arkansas, the John F. Kennedy Campground and Recreation Area on the Little Red River in Heber Springs is one of the favorite spots for camping.
People even claim it to be incomparable to any other camp.
The most unusual part is that you go there repeatedly, yet never get bored with the place and end up discovering something unique each time.
It is on the Little Red River, in the heart of the striking Ozark Mountains, downstream of Greers Ferry Dam of north-central Arkansas.
If you haven’t experienced the Little Red River yet, it will be a treat for you at this campground.
The Little Red River itself is too picturesque, running through the Ozarks’ gateway near the Heber Springs.
It is a tailwater, and the dam creates an enormous lake, the Greers Ferry.
Right below the Greers Ferry Dam, you can go fishing where you will undoubtedly find the best trout fish.
Before meeting the White River, the Little Red River rolls along for 82 miles.
One of the best activities to do here is as simple as just sitting by the river, and watching it rush just as the water is released by the dam.
It is cold and clear, wherein you will often see the trout swim by as you look down.
The JFK campground is relatively smaller than most campgrounds present in the Heber Springs area.
This makes it much more enjoyable as there is less crowd, less noise and traffic and a lot of peace, where you can relax easily.
The JFK campground has a good 68 campsites having electrical hookups, of which 44 have both water and electric hookups.
You will also find a nice, clean bath house with flush toilets.
Additional facilities include a picnic area, boat ramp, pavilion to host large gatherings and a fishing pier.
There is nice spacing in its neighboring campsites, featuring a wood railing around the camp’s main area for safety purposes.
You can sit in your camp chair comfortably, propping up your feet on the railing as you enjoy the view of fishers all day long.
Those that have large RVs with patios at their back-their view is just spectacularly amazing!
The area becomes calmer and a great place for kids to enjoy riding their scooters and bikes.
You also get to enjoy a magnificent view of the Collins Creek trail here, as it is fairly spaced from other neighboring campsites.
If you visit the JFK campground, you should definitely go for a walk/hike in the area.
There are spectacular areas to hike and explore in the vicinity, which will be a great experience for you.
You will cross a small bridge halfway through the campground, just on the other side of which begins a walking trail accessible for the handicapped. This trail is quite wide and therefore easy to walk on.
You can also enjoy several overlooks of the stream flowing below.
When you turn left on that bridge, there is a wide part where the same stream flows and is fun to observe.
If you are going with kids, they will have a lot of fun splashing around in the cool water!
Collins Creek Trail
One of the most amazing perks of going to the JFK campground is that the 1.2 mile long Collins Creek Trail, which is an out and back trail near Heber Springs, is close by.
The creek flows in the Little Red River, fed by the dam—making it a spectacular spot for trout fishing.
It is also a fairly simple trail for people with all skill levels, even kids as young as 5-8 years old will not have any problem on it.
The cascade is perhaps the best part on this trail, making it a great adventurous experience.
In order to get to the Collins Creek trail, you shall turn on the Hatchery Road from AR-25.
Just a short distance away is the Collins Creek trailhead sign, where you will find a small parking lot and immediate access to the Collins Creek trail.
Great Picnic Spot
The John F. Kennedy Campground is great for camping enthusiasts who also enjoy having a picnic.
There are multiple picnic spots on the campground, where you can enjoy your evening and have a lot of fun with your fellows.
All you need are some camp chairs, a picnic table and some great picnic food to enjoy by the riverside.
Exhilarating nearby attractions
During your visit to the JFK campground, you must visit the fish hatchery nearby.
It is one of the top attractions near the campground, and the experience is thoroughly enjoyed by visitors. You can just walk to the hatchery easily.
The visiting hours for the hatchery are 10am-3pm daily, and it is open on weekends and most prominent federal holidays.
It is, however, closed for public on December 24 and 25, and Thanksgiving day.
You can visit the hatchery with no admission fee, and it is suggested to arrive at least 30 minutes before its closing time to enjoy your time here thoroughly.
You can find the Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery at the following address:
Greers Ferry National Fish Hatchery
349 Hatchery Road
Heber Springs, AR 72543
Apart from the fish hatchery, you will also enjoy premium class trout fishing in the Little Red River stream.
The river has a good 35 mile-long trail for great fishing.
There has also been a world record set here, where 40 pounds and 4 ounces of trout was caught in the Little Red River.