Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

RV Park Review–Springhill Park (Fort Smith, Arkansas)

Website:   Springhill Park
Location:  1700 Lock and Dam Road, Barling, Arkansas 72923
Date:         March 2016
Price:        $20/night ($10/night for Golden Age Pass holders) + tax

Springhill Park in Fort Smith is yet another great U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground and recreation area.  We are huge fans of Corps parks for numerous reasons and this one did not disappoint.  The campground is set among tall trees adjacent to the John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake and James W. Trimble Lock and Dam of the Arkansas River.  The park is located in Barling, Arkansas which is just a short drive from downtown Fort Smith.  The area offers plenty of sights to see (especially for history buffs) and interesting things to do.
The campground is open year-round.  Campsites can be booked on-line at recreation.gov except during the off-season (Nov - Feb) when all sites are walk-in.

Site information:192

The park has 44 total sites divided into two loops – one with 30 amp electric (A loop) and the other with 50 amp (B loop).  Water is available at some sites and at the centrally-located dump station.  Finding out which sites have water on recreation.gov is a bit confusing.  When looking at the “site list” page you will notice no sites have water listed as an “amenity” but it does list the electric.  To find out if a site has water, click on the link for specific details of a particular site and it will indicate if there is water hook ups.   

All sites and roads are paved and easy to navigate in a big rig.  Many sites are very long with only eleven sites being less than 45’ in length (and only seven under 40’).  One major downside of this park is that only about half the sites (in Loop B) were not flat enough for us to get level without having the wheels off the ground.  Smaller RVs or trailers that use blocks instead of automatic leveling jacks should be able to get level.

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All sites have a picnic table and fire pit.  The sites in A Loop (pictured below) have a paved parking space adjacent to the paved RV pad.  Campsites are closer together and have fewer trees creating a more open feel than in the B Loop but do back-up to a small pond that makes for a nice view. 

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We stayed in site B1 and loved the privacy and tall trees surrounding the site and the large grassy field next to us. 

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Sites B9 and B11 have great views of the water and offer plenty of room between you and your neighbor while others are tucked nicely into the trees. 

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The patios in B Loop (pictured to the right) have a concrete patio on a cement pad.  Most of the patios are located at the back of the campsite. 

181We picked up roughly 15 television channels (including the three major networks) with our antenna.  Trees may prevent you from getting satellite if your dish is fixed on the roof.

Amenities:

Located in both loops are a a bath/shower building (which were very clean), playground, and pavilion.  There are hiking/mountain biking trails that leave from the campground.  Mountain biking is a big deal here and there is a 10-mile "fast" trail where experienced bikers race frequently.  Other amenities include basketball courts, boat launch and picnic pavilions.

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Surrounding area:

The park is a few miles from Fort Smith proper and about eight miles to downtown attractions including the National Historical Park.  Within two miles are a few restaurants, gas station, and a super Walmart is less than four miles away.  The area immediately surrounding the park is a nice part of town that felt safe to us. 

For more information on the area click here to read our blog post. 

What we liked:

We loved the feel of this park with well-spaced sites, a nice wooded setting and a site with the amenities of electric, water, and a pavement.  The location was great to downtown Fort Smith so you didn’t feel isolated if you wanted to go sight-seeing, out to eat, or shopping.  Being right on the lake meant we could easily go kayaking or fishing and there were plenty of places to walk throughout the property.  Access to the park is easy and manageable for a big-rig towing a car.  The price $20/night (or $10 for senior pass holders) is quite the deal. 

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What we didn’t like:

The park would have been great if there was sewer at the site but we loved it anyway and would definitely stay here again.  The other ding this park gets is the fact that so many sites are unlevel.

Spirits two cents:

This park is good for dogs as there is plenty of room to walk them within the campground and on the trails.  She did swim at the boat launch which is always a plus for her and she would give this park high ratings.



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