It does not take much to make us happy when we go camping. Just give us a campground with tall trees and a lake for the kiddo, and we are all set. OH!….but “WHAT IF” there’s a playground right on the lakeshore AND somewhere nearby to dig for crystals? That’s even better. Crystal Springs Campground on the shore of Lake Ouachita in Arkansas has it all. Let me tell you all about it.
If you’re like us, you like to camp surrounded by trees and stay at a campsite with a view. This is the place. Crystal Springs Campground might not be huge, but it has quite a few campsites with tremendous views of Lake Ouachita, with all sites tucked beneath tall trees. It’s quiet (even with numerous boats on the lake), it has plenty of space between each campsite, and it’s well maintained. But the best part about this park is the lake has a beach area/no wake zone for swimmers.
No wake swimming area at campground Campsites backup to Lake Ouachita Playground on the beach
AND…the beach has a playground. MIND BLOWN (insert emoji). So you can watch your kid(s) play while you relax and float in the lake. Or, if you are lucky enough to park your RV near the beach, then you can watch the kid(s) swim from the comfort of your campsite while grilling or enjoying a frosty beverage. It’s better than great!
And if you get one of the many sites on the lake, you could dock a boat right behind your site.
Besides swimming, we also like to hike on our camp trips and check out local adventures & activities. So, we decided to try digging for crystals at Ron Coleman Mining and then hiking Caddo Bend Trail at Lake Ouachita State Park.
Crystal Digging Area at Ron Coleman Mining
First, we visited one of the local crystal mining spots nearby so that Little D could find some “magic crystals.” Keep in mind when looking for a place to dig for crystals that there are a couple options. They are both owned by the Coleman brothers, who have two separate, adjacent mining areas.
- Coleman Rock Shop & Crystal Mines – This is the more affordable option at $9 for Adults, and Kids 9 and under are free.
- Ron Coleman Mining – Is more expensive at $25 for adults/$5 kids (7-15)/Free for kids 6 & Under. But they do have more activities available like a Zipline, Mine Tour, as well as RV camping (all at additional cost).
After filling our bags with shiny-ish stones, we made our way to Lake Ouachita SP to hike because Crystal Springs Campground doesn’t have any trails. It’s only a short 30-minute drive from Crystal Springs (15 min from the mines), and there’s no Day Use entry fee to hike the trails. If you take the Caddo Bend Trail, you will walk along the lake’s edge and see some fantastic views of the water.
The views are just as impressive as, or maybe better than, Crystal Springs campground. It’s a 4-mile loop of moderate difficulty, so make sure your little hikers can do the distance.
Check out our YouTube video during our maiden trip in our “new-to-us” 1973 Avion LaGrande, and see all the above-mentioned activities.
✪ Crystal Springs Campground – 1130 N Crystal Springs Rd, Royal, AR 71968
➤ Amenities at the Park:
•No Wake Swimming Area for Kids
•Playground on Lakeshore
•No Hiking Trails inside Campground
•Near Hot Springs National Park & Lake Ouachita State Park (30 mins)