Have you ever considered how different your life could be if you had done just one thing differently? Jacksonport State Park pays tribute to a town that once was and a way of life that was dramatically altered by the local people’s refusal to pay for a railway line.
History of Jacksonport:
Jacksonport State Park stands as a memorial to the once-thriving river community of Jacksonport. During the heyday of trade and commerce along the White River, Jacksonport served as the county seat and the 1872 courthouse is a center point of the park. The town met it’s demise when residents who believed steamboat trade would support the community refused to pay $25,000 for a railroad spur to be bought to town. As steamboats declined and railways thrived the town began to dwindle and by 1892 the county seat, along with people, trade, and commerce, was moved to nearby Newport.
When to Visit:
Jacksonport is great all year long! The main attractions of Jacksonport are the courthouse and the visitors center which are both open year-round. Spring flooding may limit access to parts of the camping area and the swim beach.
How to Get to Jacksonport State Park:
Traveling north on State Highway 67 into Newport take exit 83 and turn left (west) on Highway 384 and travel one mile to Highway 367. Turn left (south) onto Highway 367 and travel 2 miles to Highway 69 and turn right (north). Travel Highway 69 three miles to Jacksonport.
The park and its facilities are free to the public for day use. Camping spots with water and electric are available for about $26 per night. There are several pavilions and group areas that may be reserved by calling the park office.
How Long Should You Stay
Visitors can typically see all that the park has to offer in a few hour’s time. If you enjoy spending time outdoors the campground offers a beautiful view of the river and you may enjoy staying for a few days.
Hiking in Jacksonport
Tunstall Riverwalk Trail
- Total Distance: ½ mile
- Elevation Gain: Flat
- Trail Type: Compacted dirt, spur-type trail
- Duration: ½ hour
- Difficulty: Easy
- Parking: Park in the main parking lot for the park. The trailhead is located near the boat launch.
Points of Interest at Jacksonport
Both the Courthouse and the Visitor Center offer a glimpse into the life and times of Jacksonport in the mid-1800s. Visitors will enjoy learning about steamboat trade along the White and Black Rivers and about the pearl-button industry that put Jacksonport on the map. Jacksonport also has an interesting history related to the Civil War as both confederate and union soldiers occupied the area.
Boaters and fishers will enjoy access to the White River. Bring along your rod and reel and catch some crappie and catfish.
Things to do at Jacksonport
The park interpreters offer a variety of excellent programs all year. My favorite program is the pearl stringing workshop in which participants will hand tie a pearl necklace to take home. We have also enjoyed dutch oven workshops, animal programs, mock trials and special holiday programs.
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Click for more information about Jacksonport State Park and other Arkansas State Parks.