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11 Amazing Recreational Lakes near Bentonville, AR

Bentonville has an excellent selection of lakes and reservoirs. Some are massive and versatile, while others are urban lakes with charming surroundings. Swimming, fishing, paddling, and boating are all possible here.
ItIsWild.com: Best Lakes near Bentonville Arkansas

Bentonville has access to a fantastic selection of lakes for any type of recreation.

There are massive reservoirs like Beaver Lake and Table Rock Lake, where anything is possible, as well as smaller urban reservoirs like Lake Fayetteville – charming and easily accessible.

A special mention should go to SWEPCO Lake as well. It’s a unique fishery thanks to the warm water year-round, courtesy of the power plant.

Whether you’re into fishing, swimming, or playing on jet skis, there is a lake here for you.

Check out what Bentonville has to offer! 

Lakes near Bentonville:

  1. Beaver Lake
  2. Bella Vista Lake
  3. Elmdale Lake
  4. Table Rock Lake
  5. Lake Fayetteville
  6. Lake Sequoyah
  7. Lake Wedington
  8. Siloam Springs Lake
  9. SWEPCO Lake
  10. Lake Eucha
  11. Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees
Comparison Table

1. Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake Arkansas
Source: unsplash
  • Website: Beaver Lake
  • Distance from Bentonville: 12 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing, Scuba Diving

Beaver Lake is a 28,280-acre reservoir just minutes from Bentonville. It’s a highly-popular and versatile destination offering every water activity imaginable.

The lake’s 487-mile shoreline has numerous recreational areas, from beaches and day-use parks to resorts and marinas. Hobbs State Park is the best area for hikers and nature enthusiasts, but the nearest option to Bentonville is the Prairie Creek Marina.

Prairie Creek area is an all-in-one stop for experiencing this vast lake. It has campgrounds, rentals, a floating restaurant, and a designated swimming area – everything you may need on a lake trip.

When it comes to activities, there are no limits at Beaver Lake. You can try wakeboarding, paddleboarding, or even scuba diving, just to name a few.

However, the most popular sport here is fishing. The lake rates really high and offers a wide selection of species, including a variety of bass, walleye, cats, and various panfish. 

The fish sizes rarely disappoint at Beaver Lake, too. It holds the state record for paddlefish – the 118lbs 9oz monster was caught just recently (2020). 

And if you want to catch the biggest bass of your life, try the lake’s tailwater. This stretch of White River has the largest striped bass in the state, with the record to prove it. 

2. Bella Vista Lake

Bella Vista Lake in Arkansas
Source: unsplash
  • Website: Bella Vista Lake
  • Distance from Bentonville: 5 miles (10 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking

Bella Vista Lake is a small reservoir just 10 minutes north of the city and easily accessible from Route 71. Although not the most versatile, this lake is one of the nearest to Bentonville, making it an ideal evening destination.

Bella Vista Lake Park provides access and offers playgrounds, picnic spots, and several hiking trails. The 3.2-mile loop around the lake is the most popular route and takes around one hour to complete.

On the water, activities are limited. You can fish and paddle, but that’s really it. When it comes to fishing, it’s not rated highly. The lake is too small to produce lunkers, but the shore access is good. If you’re fishing for pleasure rather than a result, you’d love it.

Blowing Spring Park nearby has trails with bluffs, caves, and creeks, as well as an RV park which adds more activities to the area.

3. Elmdale Lake

  • Website: Elmdale Lake
  • Distance from Bentonville: 18 miles (25 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing

Elmdale Lake is a 126-acre reservoir in Elm Springs. It’s an undeveloped destination popular with boaters and paddlers.

The only access area here is the Lake Elmdale Boat Ramp on the northern tip. There is a paved launch, parking, and a fishing dock, but that’s really it.

Fishing is the most popular activity here. There is some shore access, but as usual, the best fishing results are from a boat or a kayak. 

You can expect bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, various cats, and plenty more species. Despite the AGFC stocking efforts, anglers still complain of poor biting, so set your expectations right for this lake.

It would be nice to have a swimming area, rentals, and a few picnic tables, but for now, Elmdale Lake is a playground for boaters and kayakers. 

4. Table Rock Lake

Table Rock Lake Wakeboarding
Source: unsplash
  • Website: Table Rock Lake
  • Distance from Bentonville: 42 miles (55 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Camping, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing, Scuba Diving

Table Rock Lake is a massive 43,100-acre reservoir northeast of Bentonville. It’s a nation-famous vacation spot and a water playground like no other.

With over 850 miles of shoreline, there is no shortage of beaches, parks, resorts, marinas, and recreational areas. The choice will depend on how much you want to spend and drive.

Still, the nearest spot to Bentonville is Eagle Rock Marina, just across the border. The park nearby offers swimming and picnic tables, and the marina can outfit you with a boat for any need, from fishing to wakeboarding. 

Needless to say, a lake like this offers every activity imaginable, and fishing here is incredible. Table Rock Lake is a one-time state record holder in Arkansas and three-time in Missouri, including the monster record – 139lbs 4oz (paddlefish). 

With over 25 fish species on offer, it’s a fun lake for anglers. However, it takes time to learn its character, depths, and patterns.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Beaver Lake, this is an excellent option, but there isn’t much between them.

5. Lake Fayetteville

Lake Fayetteville Arkansas
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Website: Lake Fayetteville
  • Distance from Bentonville: 23 miles (30 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking

Lake Fayetteville is a 194-acre reservoir in Springdale. It packs a lot of recreation for its size and has excellent facilities.

The lake is the centerpiece of a highly-rated urban park that has a marina with kayak, canoe, jon boat, and pontoon boat rentals, as well as a fishing dock.

Swimming or wading are prohibited at Lake Fayetteville, but apart from that, you can paddle, boat, and fish to all your heart’s desire as long as you comply with local rules and regulations.

When it comes to fishing, this reservoir isn’t amazing. There is a lot of pressure on the fish stocks and popular targets like largemouth bass rarely come at decent sizes. Still, it’s an excellent place to learn and it has plenty of shore access. Besides bass, you can catch bluegill, crappie, carp, and various catfish.

On land, the park is no less versatile. The 5.4-mile paved trail loops the lake offering fantastic running, hiking and bicycling. What’s more, there is a botanical garden on the far end blooming with different colors at different times of the year.

Perhaps not the largest, Lake Fayetteville is an excellent option for water recreation and a great alternative to massive lakes like Beaver or Table Rock.

6. Lake Sequoyah

  • Website: Lake Sequoyah
  • Distance from Bentonville: 35 miles (45 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking

Lake Sequoyah is a 389-acre reservoir near Fayetteville, easily accessible from Route 16. It has the same rules and regulations as Lake Fayetteville, yet it feels a lot more wild and pristine.

The lake is part of a park that offers a marina, boat ramps, and fishing docks, making it an excellent choice for kayaking and boating.

Fishing here is well-rated. The pressure isn’t as bad as at Lake Fayetteville, yet the shore access is somewhat lacking – bringing a boat or a kayak is a good idea.

Fish sizes aren’t surprising, but the selection is pretty good. You can aim for largemouth bass, white crappie, bluegill, and catfish, just to name a few. Also, many folks fish tailwater behind the dam, which is a productive spot.

On land, there are a couple of excellent trails with beautiful views over the water, and with an overspill dam and waterfalls, it’s always an interesting hike.

One thing that’s missing is a campground, but it’s not far from civilization.

7. Lake Wedington

Lake Wedington in Arkansas
Source: flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0
  • Website: Lake Wedington
  • Distance from Bentonville: 43 miles (55 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Camping

Lake Wedington is a 102-acre reservoir in Ozark National Forest. Although small, it’s a very versatile spot offering plenty of activities and historic cabins constructed in the 1930s.

Lake Wedington Recreational Area has a boat ramp, a swimming area, and a campground, meaning you can do pretty much any activity here – from swimming and paddleboarding to fishing and kayaking. The only restriction is on motor sizes – 10 hp.

On land, there are picnic spots, a volleyball court, and miles of hiking trails extending deep into the forest and connecting to the popular Twin Mountains Trail.

When it comes to fishing, Lake Wedington scores average reviews. There is plenty of large carp here, but bass and other species come on a smaller side. Still, it’s a fun place to fish and teach the youngest anglers casting moves.

Overall, it’s a cozy and versatile spot popular with families and outdoor enthusiasts. And a nice camping alternative to larger lakes.

8. Siloam Springs Lake

Sunset over a lake in Arkansas
Source: unsplash
  • Website: Siloam Springs Lake
  • Distance from Bentonville: 26 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Disk Golf

Siloam Springs Lake is quickly becoming the region’s favorite outdoor destination. It’s known for its fantastic park and incredible mountain biking tracks.

The access is through the City Lake Park, which has miles of hiking trails with freshly laid boardwalks, mountain bike routes, and a pump and skills track.

Yet, the lake itself isn’t as versatile. The water activities here include fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and non-motorized boating. 

The park has limited shore fishing space, but if you continue on Dawn Hill E Rd, there is a boat launch and a parking lot with finger-like banks for angling. 

Fishing here isn’t highly-rated, but it’s a nice peaceful lake for paddling about. And together with the park, it’s an excellent location for family activities and active days in nature.

9. SWEPCO Lake

  • Website: SWEPCO Lake
  • Distance from Bentonville: 27 miles (40 min)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing

SWEPCO Lake, aka Lake Flint Creek, is a 500-acre reservoir that provides cooling waters to the Flint Creek Power Plant, making it one of the most distinctive fisheries in the region.

The only access point on the lake is the AGFC-managed boat ramp on the western shore. The parking and ramp are paved but are rather steep, presenting a challenge when launching. There is also a dock platform for fishing without a boat.

The lake’s water remains warm throughout the year, attracting anglers from Oklahoma, Kansas, and further afield in winter. Largemouth bass – the primary target – thrives in warm water and grows to larger than normal sizes. 

Although there is a dock, the best fishing is done from the boat as it allows to approach the warm plant discharge where bass congregates in winter.

SWEPCO Lake isn’t the best for families or beginners, it doesn’t have trails, swimming areas, or camping. But for seasoned anglers, this is a mecca, especially in winter when fishing options are limited.

10. Lake Eucha

Beautiful Lake in Oklahoma
Source: pixabay
  • Website: Lake Eucha
  • Distance from Bentonville: 47 miles (1h)
  • Activities: Fishing, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Camping

Lake Eucha is a charming 2,800-acre reservoir in Oklahoma. It’s a hidden gem that offers plenty of activities yet doesn’t enjoy as many visitors.

The best way to access the lake is at Upper Spavinaw Recreation Area near Jay. It has a boat ramp, a fishing pier, and picnic tables. 

And just beside it is Lake Eucha Park – a former state park that offers primitive camping with gorgeous views over the water and a pool.

Swimming is prohibited at Lake Eucha, but it’s an excellent place for kayaking, canoeing, and boating. With so much water and miles of shoreline, there is plenty to explore.

What’s more, this reservoir ranks pretty well for fishing. It has largemouth and white bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, and bullheads. There isn’t much pressure here, and catching buckets of black crappie and 6+ pound largemouth, isn’t unheard of.

Although an hour away from Bentonville, it’s worth the drive, especially if you like quieter, old-school lakes.

11. Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees

Lake in Oklahoma during sunset
Source: depositphotos
  • Website: Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees
  • Distance from Bentonville: 51 miles (1h)
  • Activities: Fishing, Swimming, Boating, Kayaking, Canoeing, Picnics, Camping, Hiking, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing, Tubing

At 41,780 surface acres, Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees is the fourth largest lake in Oklahoma. It’s a busy lake with tons of activities and the best alternative to Beaver and Table Rock Lakes.

The Grand Lake’s shores are well-developed with resorts, marinas, parks, and cabins, giving you plenty of recreational choices – from primitive parks to honeymoon lodging.

Yet, the nearest option is probably Honey Creek Area, part of the Grand Lake State Park. It has a boat ramp, a fishing dock, campgrounds with RV sites, and playgrounds. Due to the rocky shoreline, it’s not the best place for swimming, but the park has a pool for cooling off in summer.

When it comes to activities, everything is possible at Grand Lake. Swimming, kayaking, wakeboarding, and pulling tubes are all great fun here.

And despite the lack of state records, fishing at this reservoir is highly-rated, too. The selection of species is incredible, and the sizes rarely disappoint. However, like all vast reservoirs, this one requires time and patience to learn its patterns and fishing spots. 

Overall, it’s a fun and versatile lake, and with all the camping and lodging options, the one-hour drive is definitely worth it.

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