12 Lakes Near Little Rock, Arkansas: Spectacular Views That Will Take Your Breath Away

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Daniel is a copywriter who has well and truly been bitten alive by the 'travel bug'. After ticking off several North American National Parks and exploring Europe by train, his sights are now set on South East Asia. Usually with at least one camera locked and loaded, you'll find Daniel wherever there are mountains, lakes or beaches.

Experience the captivating beauty of Arkansas firsthand through the exploration of 12 scenic lakes near Little Rock, each unique and filled with opportunities for adventure. From the bustling city park of Beaver Fork Lake to the tranquil escape of Lake Sylvia, we dive into the details of what makes each of these lakes so special!

Lake Maumelle


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Just 10 miles from Little Rock, Lake Maumelle is the perfect spot for anyone interested in water activities and hiking. This 8,900-acre lake offers peaceful canoeing, kayaking, and fishing experiences while also serving as Central Arkansas’ main water supply. Its 70-mile shoreline and nearby Pinnacle Mountain State Park provide numerous hiking opportunities, making it an ideal escape into nature.

Murray Lake

Fishing - Lakes near Little Rock
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A unique mixture of river and lake, Murray Lake, located just northwest of downtown Little Rock, is part of the Arkansas River’s water flow control system. Its 4,455 acres offer a range of popular activities, from tranquil fishing of carp, catfish, and bass to active pursuits in its public parks. With camping facilities at Maumelle Park and a thousand acres of recreational space at Two Rivers Park, Murray Lake effortlessly combines aquatic leisure with land based adventure for an enriching outdoor experience.

Lake Conway


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A half-hour drive north of Little Rock sits Lake Conway, a unique 6,700-acre expanse formed by the damming of Palarm Creek in 1948. Notable for being the largest lake ever created by a state wildlife commission, it is a haven for boaters, who are guided by lanes to safely navigate through shallow areas. A quiet retreat popular with kayakers and anglers, it also offers exceptional wildlife viewing, with sightings of eagles, pelicans, ducks, and deer adding to the richness of the experience.

Beaver Fork Lake

Beaver Fork Lake, Arkansas
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Just a short 40-minute drive north of Little Rock, Beaver Fork Lake offers an array of outdoor activities within its 1,200-acre city park. It provides plenty of outdoor activities, such as swimming, windsurfing, and fishing for bass, bluegill, and catfish. With additional amenities like picnic areas, volleyball courts, and a boat launch ramp, Beaver Fork Lake is an enticing destination for those seeking water-based fun.

Pickthorne Lake


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Located past Jacksonville and just over 20 miles from Little Rock, Pickthorne Lake is a serene 347-acre fishing destination. Known for its clear, shallow waters, the lake gives rod and pole anglers the chance to catch a variety of fish, including catfish, saugeye, and bluegill. Its proximity to the Holland Bottoms Wildlife Management Area, featuring campsites and possible hunting opportunities, adds an extra layer of outdoor activity for visitors.

Lake Norrell

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A short 35-minute drive west of Little Rock, Lake Norrell is a hidden gem in Alexander, Arkansas. Encompassing 280 acres with a 12-mile shoreline, this lake attracts water enthusiasts with a bunch of activities including boating, fishing, jet skiing, and scuba diving. Owned by the City of Benton and equipped with a public swim area and boat ramp, Lake Norrell promises awesome water recreation experiences against the backdrop of its impressive 2.5 billion-gallon capacity.

Grassy Lake

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Found less than 25 miles north of Little Rock, Grassy Lake offers a wealth of activities amidst the beauty of Bell Slough State Wildlife Management Area. Whether it’s seasonal hunting and camping, paddling along the 3.3-mile Grassy Lake Water Trail, or angling for bass and catfish, Grassy Lake caters to a broad spectrum of outdoor pursuits. With the added attraction of occasional sauger, saugeye, and walleye catches, it’s a destination that promises variety and vibrant natural surroundings.

David D. Terry Lake

Flowing past downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock, David D. Terry Lake offers a slice of nature within the city’s limits. Named after former Arkansas politician David Dickson Terry, the lake is home to numerous parks and offers a wide variety of activities, including biking, camping, boating, and even golfing. Add to this the abundant fishing opportunities, with the chance to reel in blue catfish, largemouth bass, and more, and David D. Terry Lake is a destination that caters to every vacationer!

Lake Dardanelle

Lake Dardanelle, Arkansas
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A 108-mile journey northwest from Little Rock leads to Lake Dardanelle, a spacious man-made reservoir teeming with popular activities. The 40,000-acre lake amid the picturesque Ozark and Ouachita Mountains provides ample opportunities for boating, fishing, picnicking, and camping. The added attraction of bald eagles wintering in the area gives an extra touch of nature to this scenic and activity-filled destination.

Harris Brake


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Jump in your car and head 44 miles northwest of Little Rock and you’ll find Harris Brake, an angler’s paradise, teeming with bluegills, sunfish, crappies, and bass. The lake’s three concrete boat ramps, two gravel ramps, and a handicapped-accessible fishing pier make it accessible for all, while the nearby Lake Sylvia provides additional camping, swimming, and hiking options. With a remarkable range of underwater landscapes and accessible facilities, Harris Brake is a compelling destination for outdoor lovers.

Lake Winona

Lake Winona, Arkansas
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Lake Winona was created in the 1930s by flooding the former Walnut Bottom community, transforming it into a 1,240-acre vital water supply for Little Rock. Owned by Central Arkansas Water, the lake’s recreational activities are designed to preserve the water quality, with picnicking, camping, and hiking offered away from the water’s edge.

Lake Sylvia


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Located in the heart of the Ouachita National Forest, Lake Sylvia offers a tranquil escape just 38 miles from Little Rock. The 18-acre lake is a haven for swimmers and anglers, while its surrounding trails cater to hikers, runners, and gravel grinders. The site also boasts a swimming beach, picnic sites, and varied camping options, from water and electricity-equipped sites to more rustic camper cabins, making it an appealing destination for various types of outdoor enthusiasts.

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