Where can you visit three parks each within a 15-mile radius of each other, all in one day?

Right in the Ozark Gateway Region, of course.

No matter where you start: Powhatan, Lake Charles or Davidsonville, fun awaits all year ’round. 

At Powhatan State Park in Lawrence County, the uniqueness is in its preservation: all six historic buildings stand in their original 19th-century locations. 

Built on a hill to overlook and welcome Black River steamboat traffic, the 1888 courthouse contains exhibits interpreting the commerce and culture of Lawrence County from Reconstruction through the early 20th century and is free to the public. 

Guided tours by knowledgeable interpreters are available in the remaining historical structures, including a log house, school, church, and jail. Popular among families, Powhatan bridges the past to the present. Located on Highway 25, this park is worthy of a stop.


A half-hour from Jonesboro and about 1.5 hours from Memphis, Lake Charles State Park is a peaceful place located on a 645-acre lake filled with bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. In fact, it’s the place where the largest number of 20-inch bass have been caught in Northeast Arkansas. 

A full line of bait and tackle is available at the visitor center from March through October. There are 60 campsites, a third of which are Class AAA, with many spots right on the water. 

The park is also a great getaway in fall and winter months with four hiking trails and a 3-D archery range (open November through February), according to the official state parks website.

Meanwhile, frontier history and modern-day recreation merge at Davidsonville, once home to Arkansas’s first post office and one of the earliest courthouses. 

Little of Davidsonville’s existence is evident above ground; archeological excavations here are still uncovering streets, foundations, and artifacts. Fishing is a major activity here as the park borders the Black River and a fishing lake.

Pedal boats are available for rent. The new visitor center features a replica 1820s hunter-trapper flatboat, audio tour, and a display of historic finds from archeological digs. Trails, picnic areas, and a newly renovated campground with 20 campsites add to the amenities, according to www.arkansasstateparks.com.

Come getaway to the Ozark Gateway, today.