CCC-built cabins are among the accommodations available in Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas. (Photo from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism)

The very characteristic that makes Petit Jean State Park such a great wilderness getaway is also what makes it necessary to plan ahead — because grocery and dining options are limited.

Ideally, stay inside the park for easy access to all it offers, but there are also nearby rentals in the area. Here’s our guide to your best bets.

Lodging

To stay in the park, options include one of 24 guest rooms in Mather Lodge or one of 33 rustic cabins in the park, 21 with kitchens. (Tip: Cabin 12 has a hot tub!) Our favorite cabins for the view are set along the rim of the bluff. 

The rim of Cedar Creek Canyon behind west-facing cabins in Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas, offers a pretty view while grilling out. Red “Caution High Cliff Area” signs are placed all around the rim. (Photo by Sony Hocklander)

(Beware if you have small kids: There is no fence along the bluff facing west and north. Some cabins are located away from steep bluffs or where a fence has been erected.)

The park also rents four yurts near the lake, plus accommodates tent and RV camping with 125 spots.

If cabins are booked and you’re not a camper, rentals are available nearby through VRBO and Airbnb (search Petit Jean Mountain or Morrison, Ark. One Airbnb rental is through the Petit Jean Coffee House). Another option is to rent cabins at Mount Nebo State Park, about 40 minutes away.

Dining and grocery

If you stay in a cabin or local rental, bring food from home to stock a kitchen or stop in a nearby city along the way. The closest grocery store or Walmart to the park is in Morrilton, more than 20 minutes away.

However, there are a few small mercantile shops near the park that sell snacks and some meal items. The Outpost Country Store near the entrance to the park, 1506 Petit Jean Mountain Road, sells Petit Jean Mountain Fudge, ice cream, deli sandwiches, grilled hamburgers and more. Also near the park is Petit Jean Coffee House, 1482 Petit Jean Mountain Road, which (in addition to being an Airb&b rental) sells coffee, breakfast, brown bag lunches and local-made gifts.

Inside the park, the Mather Lodge Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also snacks (and other goods) sold at a small gift shop inside the lodge and at a larger gift shop inside the visitors center.

Sony Hocklander

Sony Hocklander is a freelance journalist, video storyteller and photographer who produces creative content through her small solo business, Sony Hocklander Creative LLC. When she’s not telling community stories, she loves wandering the Ozarks outdoors with a camera in hand. You can follow her on Twitter @SonyHocklander and on Instagram @shocklander or email her at: sonyhocklander@gmail.com More by Sony Hocklander