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Kayaking in Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri is popular and growing moreso everyday.  Kayaking offers someone for everyone including the recreational kayaker, the advanced whitewater kayaker and the fishing kayaker. Each type caters to different preferences and skill levels, ensuring an adventure for everyone.

Recreational kayaking is versatile, suited for leisurely paddling on lakes or gentle rivers, ideal for relaxation and exploration.

Whitewater kayaking includes navigating turbulent river rapids, that requires skillful maneuvering to tackle obstacles and waves while maintaining balance and control.

Kayak fishing combines the thrill of angling with the maneuverability of kayaks, attracting outdoor enthusiasts seeking both sport and tranquility.  It offers an escape from the routine, allowing individuals to explore remote areas, encounter wildlife, and experience the therapeutic effects of being on the water.

Whether seeking excitement or tranquility, kayaking offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to various preferences and skill levels, making it a beloved outdoor activity for many.

Thankfully, Northwest Arkansas offers opportunites for all kinds of kayaking. Check out the places below to experience the fun and adventure of kayaking.

Note:  Everyone needs a life jacket when kayaking, but kids 12 and under have to wear one; it’s the law!



Osage Park, situated adjacent to Thaden Field in Bentonville, is a beloved urban park spanning 10 acres encircling Lake Bentonville. There are pickleball courts, walking paths, dog park, food truck court, playground area,  archery center and occasionally small planes flying overhead to land at the nearby airport. 

Wooden pathways wind through its grounds, offering access to various recreational activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, rowboats, and canoeing—all reserved for non-motorized watercraft. Anglers can enjoy fishing in Lake Bentonville, where bream, catfish, bass, and trout are commonly found.

Kayaking at Osage Park Bentonville Arkansas

Osage Park Bentonville Arkansas


Bella Vista is home to seven beautiful lakes, including Lake Windsor, Lake Ann, Lake Brittany, Lake Avalon, Lake Norwood, Lake Rayburn and Lake Loch Lomond. These lakes offer various recreational opportunities such as fishing, boating, kayaking, and swimming, amidst scenic surroundings of forests and rolling hills.

There are numerous homes along the banks of these lakes, many of which are airbnb and vrbo’s. 

Note: Use of the Bella Vista lakes and facilities is only available to Bella Vista property owners and their guests.



The Kings River, a tributary of the White River, is a 90-mile-long spring-fed river in Arkansas that flows through the Ozark Mountains. It originates in the Boston Mountains of the Ozark National Forest, near Boston, Arkansas, and flows north into Table Rock Lake in Missouri. The Arkansas portion of the river is undammed and surrounded by rural and forested land.

The Kings River is popular for kayking, floating and sport fishing. The Kings River is known for its small mouth bass fishing. Other species of fish abundant in the river are Spotted Bass, Spotted Gar, Channel Catfish, Ozark Bass, Longear Sunfish, and Green Sunfish.

The upper section of the river is known for its rapids and whitewater, while the lower section is calmer and better for floating.

You Can Rent Kayaks & Canoes:

Float Options: 8 or 5 mile day floats. Multiple overnight options depending on water level
Kayak Rentals: $80 per boat. Includes life jackets, paddles, trash bag, and shuttle
Canoe Rental: $80 per boat. Includes life jackets, paddles, trash bag, and shuttle
Raft Rental: NA
Shuttle Service: $35 per vehicle
Hours: 8AM-6PM 7 days a week
Camping Available: Primitive riverside camping. Fire rings and picnic tables. $10 per night
Cabins Available: *photos available on website
Kings Cabin (sleeps 8)
Osprey Cabin (sleeps 4)
Eagle Cabin (sleeps 4)
Phone: 479-253-8954
Learn More Here: Kings River Outfitters


Lake Leatherwood, Eureka Springs’ largest city park, sprawls across 1,600 acres, boasting 25 miles of trails and an 85-acre spring-fed lake. Despite its close proximity to downtown, you will feel miles away from the hustle and bustle.

Launch your kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard from the boat ramp and paddle your way to the limestone dam and  immerse yourself in the peace and beauty of the Ozarks.

Offering plentiful fishing and hiking opportunities, it’s an ideal spot for a day of outdoor adventure.


The White River is a 722-mile-long river that flows through Arkansas and Missouri. It originates in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, flows through Batesville, and then continues southeast to the Mississippi River.

This article focuses on the section of the White River that is a 15-minute drive from Eureka Springs. Kayaking on the White River year-round is possible allowing you to enjoy its pristine waters, picturesque landscapes, plentiful wildlife encounters, and superb trout fishing (Rainbow, Cutthroat and Brown trout)

Note: The water remains cold, averaging 52-55 degrees year-round.



Lake Fayetteville is a family-friendly 458-acre reservoir in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It’s a popular fishing destination and offers many recreational outdoor activities, including a a 5.5-mile nature trail around the lake, as well as 4.3 miles of hard-surface multi-use trail that also circles the lake.

Fishing and Boating permits are required for Lake Fayetteville and should be purchased at the Boat House/ Lake Office prior to accessing the lake. You can rent kayaks, canoes, and boats at the Boat Rental Center.


Lake Sequoyah is a 1,800-acre park  (389 acres of water) in Fayetteville, Arkansas located at 6608 E Lake Sequoyah Drive.

Boating, fishing, nature watching, picnicking and hiking are all available to enjoy.  There is a boat ramp and courtesy dock for kayaking, canoeing and boating. 

Nature trails offer gorgeous views of the lake with plenty of trails for fishing access. The area is known for its plentiful bird population and great bass fishing.


The Mulberry River is a 70-mile-long tributary of the Arkansas River in northwestern Arkansas. It’s located in Newton, Johnson, and Franklin counties, and is part of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests. The Mulberry River is a National Wild and Scenic River, and is considered one of Arkansas’ top smallmouth and spotted bass fisheries.

The Mulberry River originates from the intersection of several streams in the Ozark Mountains of northern Franklin County and Johnson County. It flows through 60 miles of forested hills and rock outcrops before descending into the Arkansas River.

The Mulberry can be floated from late October to mid-June, but is usually not available for floating during the summer. In the fall, floating is only available after heavy rains bring the river back up.

Activities on the Mulberry River include:
Canoeing, Kayaking, Rafting, Zip-lining, ATV trails, Hiking, Rock climbing, Nature photography, Swimming, Fishing.

You can rent kayaks at nearby outfitters.



America’s first National River, the 150 mile Buffalo River is everything you can dream a river to be.  Kayaking and canoeing the Buffalo is an exhilarating adventure, navigating swift currents and gentle rapids amid breathtaking scenery.

The Buffalo River’s headwaters offer thrilling whitewater kayaking, contrasting with tranquil waters and breathtaking scenery downstream. Accessible kayak launch points are detailed on the National Park Service website.

Paddlers explore towering limestone bluffs and verdant forests, encountering diverse wildlife along the way. From tranquil stretches to thrilling rapids, every bend offers a new discovery, making it an unforgettable journey.

Buffalo River kayaking

Buffalo River – Image Courtesy Arkansas Tourism

You Can Rent Kayaks & Canoes:

Float Options
: Buffalo River Canoes offers self-guided, one day & multi day canoe & kayak excursions within the Upper Buffalo River. We also offer rafts when the water levels allow. (300 CF/S)
Shuttle Service: We shuttle(drive) your vehicle to a pre-set take-out access while you enjoy your float trip. We also offer Private Vehicle shuttles. This means if you have your own vessels, We shuttle(drive) your vehicle to a pre-set take-out access while you enjoy your float trip.
Hours: Open 9-5, 7 days a week March 1st- end of June. Dependent on water levels & rain amounts.
Camping: None on-site. However, we are located 2 miles from Kyles Landing Campground, and offer coin operated showers.
No cabins:
Contact Info:
Phone #: 1(870)446-2644  Email: info@floatthebuffalo.com
Learn More Here: Buffalo River Canoes – Float the Buffalo.com



Beaver Lake is a man-made reservoir in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas in the Ozark Highlands region. It is situated in Benton, Washington, Carroll, and Madison counties.

The lake is 49.71 miles long, has 487 miles of shoreline, and covers 31,710 acres.  Beaver Lake is enjoyed by local residents as well as visitors.  The beauitful water, limestone bluffs, natural caves, and a variety of trees and shrubs create the perfect setting for kayaking.

The lake is a popular destination for water sports, fishing, hiking, and birdwatching. It’s home to a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, spotted bass, white bass, crappie, catfish, bluegill, sunfish, bream, stripers, hybrids, and walleye.

Kayaking on Beaver Lake - Rogers Arkansas

Kayaking on Beaver Lake

Below are several areas along Beaver Lake where you can launch your kayak.
Dam Site Lake
Indian Creek
Lost Bridge North
Lost Bridge South
Hickory Creek Marina
Hobbs State Park
*Van Winkle Hollow 
Horseshoe Bend Marina
Lost Bridge Marina
Prairie Creek Marina
Rocky Branch Park
Starkey Marina
Ugly John’s Rocky Branch Marina
War Eagle Marina

*If you are a beginner and looking for a serene kayaking adventure, we recommend Van Winkle Hollow at Hobbs State Park.  You can get there by taking the Van Hollow Road off Highway 202 until it ends at the gravel/dirt boat ramp.  This is a beautiful place with miles of shoreline and beaches to explore, along with excellent for fishing.


Lake Atalanta is a 236-acre reservoir in Rogers, Arkansas, close to downtown Rogers and Beaver Lake (Prairie Creek area).

The lake is primarily used for recreation, including fishing, kayaking, and rowing. The lake is 919 feet long, has a surface area of 30 acres, and a surface elevation of 1,214 feet. It has nearly two miles of shoreline with six fishing piers. 

 Lake Atalanta Park includes a trail leading to nearby downtown Railyard Bike Park. The park also has off-road biking trails, paved walkways, picnic tables, playground structures, restrooms, and water fountains.

Lake Atalanta Rogers AR



The Illinois River is a tributary of the Arkansas River that flows through Arkansas and Oklahoma. It’s about 145 miles long and begins in the Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas, just southwest of Fayetteville.

The river flows west into northeast Oklahoma, where it flows into the Arkansas River in Sequoyah County near Gore.

Fishing can yield  largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass.

You can rent kayaks and canoes at nearby outfitters. 

Siloam Springs Kayak Park
19253 Fisher Ford Rd, Siloam Springs, AR 72761
(479) 524-5779

 Siloam Springs Kayak Park has two engineered rapids class I to II, a family swimming area, a small climbing boulder, a picnic area, a changing area, an accessible riverbank, walking trails and porta potties.

Note: Weekend afternoons are often busy with tubers and families and can make kayaking and canoeing difficult.   In addition, please check the website for updates before heading out, as the park closes temporarily when the river reaches a flood stage of 13 feet.

KAYAKING at White Water Park - Illinois River

Image courtesy of Arkansas Toursim



Less than 40 minutes away from Bentonville, AR is the Elk River in Southwest Missouri. 

The Elk River is known for its crystal-clear waters, towering, carved bluffs, gentle currents and occasional rapids. Kayaking, canoeing, rafting or tubing along the numerous gravel bars, swimming holes and enjoying the beautiful scenery is the perfect getaway.