With a laid-back pace of life and easy access to the stunning DeGray Lake, this small town in Arkansas is the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors, either relaxing on the banks of the river or getting active on the water.
Make Bismarck a daytrip from the state’s capital or linger here for a few days to appreciate the small-town atmosphere. Bismarck is set within the beautiful landscape of central Arkansas and is just 75 miles (121 kilometers) from Little Rock.
Spend some time in the town center to find shopping, dining and cultural attractions along its two main avenues and the streets that lead off from them. See the whitewashed façade of the Hickory Groove Baptist Church as it stands out amid a backdrop of lush green fields. Join locals at restaurants serving burgers, fresh fish and pizzas.
Bismarck’s greatest attractions lay a short drive south at DeGray Lake. Lining the banks of this sprawling reservoir are well-equipped recreational areas, which attract large numbers during summer. Cycle, camp, play golf, hike or horseback ride in the recreation areas surrounding the lake. Venture onto the water to try out a range of watersports, including waterskiing and swimming. DeGray Lake Resort State Park is the largest recreation area with beaches, campsites, a lodge, marina and yurt accommodation.
Move around the lake to reach Caddo Drive Recreation Area, Edgewood Recreation Area and Oak Bower Recreation Area, each offering their own activities on the banks of the lake. On the southern banks are Iron Mountain Recreation Area and Lakeview Recreation Area. All have boat launches, camping grounds, waterfront picnic sites and washing facilities.
Reach Bismarck by flying to Little Rock’s Bill and Hilary Clinton National Airport and then rent a car from there. With a car you can explore more of Arkansas’ great oudoors. A 40-minute drive north of Bismarck is Hot Springs, a gateway to the Hot Springs National Park and the sprawling Ouachita National Forest.