Oklahoma State Parks Outdoor Activities
Camping trips in Oklahoma are an experience like no other, mainly because of the state’s abundance of unique and incredible sites. Beavers Bend State Park is perhaps one of the best spots to camp in with majestic early morning views of the Lower Mountain Fork River. The park has over ten well-kept campgrounds and offers a ton of outdoor recreational activities.
Those wishing to camp in the lush mountains of northeastern Oklahoma should check out the sites at Greenleaf State Park. Their Lakeview Campground, in particular, is in high demand due to its many modern amenities, which include hot showers and laundry facilities.
Sequoyah State Park is considered by many to be the most peaceful spot in Oklahoma. A peninsula surrounded by the clear and beautiful waters of Fort Gibson Lake, this spot is a favorite among family campers for its diverse wildlife, abundance of amenities, and spectacular views.
If you prefer a rustic camping experience, though, then there’s no better spot to do so than at Boiling Springs State Park to set up your family tent. Here, over 40 RV sites and 12 tent campsites are offered, all of which are highly sought after. This rejuvenating camping destination has plenty of nature trails, as well as wildlife watching opportunities.
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Gloss Mountain State Park is renowned all over Oklahoma for its incredible Cathedral Mountain Trail, a route that will take you to the rip of Cathedral Mountain where panoramic views of Cimarron River and the Lone Peak Mountain await. With unique, challenging, and prehistoric terrain, this is definitely a hike that you won’t find anywhere else.
At Robbers Cave State Park, hikers love to take on the Mountain Trail, which goes from one of the park’s main campgrounds to the bluffs, several of which overlook Carlton Lake. This 3.2-mile route is rather strenuous, perfect for those who prefer challenging hikes.
The Mesa Loop Trail at Roman Nose State Park is another popular hiking route in Oklahoma, culminating in Inspiration Point where breathtaking views of the canyon and Watonga Lake can be expected. With a ton of uphill and downhill climbs, switchbacks, and a little rock garden, this hike is only for those experienced and skilled enough to take it on.
On the other hand, those looking for a relaxing and laid-back hike will love the five-mile Ankle Express Trail at Greenleaf State Park. This will take you to one of the most Instagrammed spots in Oklahoma – the unique swinging bridge that hangs suspended over the emerald-hued Greenleaf Lake.
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As the most popular fishing destination in Oklahoma, Lake Eufaula State Park is undoubtedly a must-visit for avid anglers. The lake’s waters are home to large populations of crappie, sunfish, and catfish, and the park also features a kiddie pond where youngsters learning the art of fishing can test their skills. Additionally, an enclosed fishing dock is heavily used by anglers casting their lines during the freezing winter months.
The Bernice Area at Grand Lake State Park is another incredible fishing spot, boasting of a bass, a wide variety of catfish, and hybrid stripers. Try fishing off the bridge or on the banks at the park – wherever you choose to do so, you’re undoubtedly bound to take home a bountiful catch.
Located near McGee Creek State Park, the McGee Creek Reservoir is a prime hunting destination in Oklahoma, featuring nearly 9,000 acres of hunting lands situated within a dense forest. Whitetail deer, eastern wild turkeys, and cottontail rabbits are a favorite to pursue here.
Day Use Areas
There are plenty of picnic spots to choose from at Roman Nose State Park. Some love taking their meals near Big Spring where they enjoy the trickling sounds of a tranquil waterfall. Some also love picnicking on the shores of the two lakes found within the park. Whatever sort of view you’re after – from towering canyons to bubbling creeks – you’re sure to find the picnic place just for you.
Many also love picnicking near Lookout Lake at Osage Hills State Park. The peaceful waters, the stunning natural landscapes, and the abundance of diverse wildlife make this park a prime picnic destination.
If you’re in the mood for an adventure before a meal, though, then head over to Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve where adventure-seekers can climb up to Oklahoma’s highest point where a unique and breathtaking picnic spot awaits. This scenic location offers some of the best views in the state so it’s definitely a must-visit!
With its abundance of rocky and challenging terrains, Oklahoma is considered by many to be the mountain biking Mecca in the United States. One of its best trails can be found at Osage Hills State Park, which features nearly 3.5 miles of routes that wind up and down its rolling hills. These trails incorporate a ton of switchbacks, climbs, and descends – perfect for those looking for a memorable ride that can’t be found anywhere else.
McGee Creek State Park and Natural Scenic Recreation Area is another top biking spot with over 30 miles of mountain biking trails over some of the rockiest terrain in Oklahoma. This extensive and remote park is ideal for those looking for a challenging ride in a peaceful and solitary environment.
For beginners and novices at the sport, though, the trails at Lake Thunderbird State Park shouldn’t be missed. These short to medium-length routes are relatively laid-back although the park’s single-track trails do feature some challenges, including steep climbs, drops, and rock gardens.
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Residents and tourists alike flock to Lake Murray State Park, where Oklahoma’s best boating facilities can be found. Explore one of the state’s most scenic lakes aboard a watercraft vehicle and in the afternoon, try your hand at the many recreational sports offered by the park.
Those looking to spend a lazy day boating on clear blue waters amid towering pines should head over to Beavers Bend State Park, located in the southeast region of Oklahoma. This outdoor oasis features a number of boating amenities, as well as river float trips. Spending a day boating at this park is the perfect way to spend the summertime!
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Oklahoma’s state parks have some fantastic beaches including Lake Eufaula State Park, Grand Lake State Park, Foss Lake State Park, Central State Park, and more.
You will love the sandy beaches at Lake Eufaula, which is the largest lake within Oklahoma’s borders. It has an amazing 600 miles of shoreline so it is pretty easy to enjoy the water here. Don’t forget your beach chair, sunscreen, and something to help provide some shade. Things can get breezy next to the water so we recommend the best beach umbrella for wind.
Grand Lake is home to five state parks to it’s easy to spend time on the shore. Foss Lake is another beautiful spot to relax on the sandy shores. Throw in the fact that it has hiking, fishing, boating, and disc golf, and you have a great place for a perfect day.
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For Birding enthusiasts visiting Oklahoma, check out the many viewing points and opportunities found at Black Mesa State Park. Sightings of the Blue Grosbeak, the Orchard Oriole, and the Red-headed Woodpecker are in abundance here. The park is home to a whole slew of diverse habitats so Bird-watching here will undoubtedly be an experience you’ll never forget.
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Rock Climbing and Mountaineering
Climbers from all over the United States love stopping by Robbers Cave State Park, renowned for its incredible climbing routes that cater to different experience levels. While the park is open year-round, it’s more popular during the autumn season when climbing conditions are at its prime.
The most popular rock climbing spot at this part is Horse Coral Face, which has over 18 different routes perfect for beginners. After your climb, be sure to stop by the cave where the famous outlaw, Jesse James, hid for a taste of Oklahoma’s fascinating history.
If you’re looking to do some off-road driving, then Lake Murray State Park is home to one of the most popular ATV areas in Oklahoma. Keep in mind that this area is extremely well-known so expect to encounter crowds, especially during peak season and the summertime.
The more than 1,600 acres of sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park makes it the perfect spot for some off-road vehicle driving! Besides ATVs, guests also bring with them dune buggies, motorcycles, and jeeps, riding to their heart’s content all over the diverse terrain found within the park. However, take note that the park’s administration requires guests to outfit their vehicles – whatever they may be – with roll bars and bright-orange flag mounts.
An 18-hole golf course, along with a pro shop, may be found at Lake Murray State Park. For those of you who want to practice your swing at southern Oklahoma’s “Vacation Central,” then this park is made for you!
Golfing enthusiasts also love heading down to Beavers Bend State Park for a game or two at the 18-hole Cedar Creek Golf Course. Situated along Broken Bow Lake, the Mountain Fork River, and Glover River, playing at this park will allow you to take in picturesque views like no other.
Set amid the canyon walls at Roman Nose State Park is an 18-hole golf course that features a number of challenges. Golfers who want to take their game to the next level should undoubtedly do so at this park.
Explore the stunning landscapes of southeast Oklahoma on horseback at Beavers Bend State Park. The park also offers a one-hour hayride adventure for little kids and located nearby is the A to Z Guest Ranch, which features more than 150 miles of equestrian trails that wind through the beautiful wooded forests of the Kiamichi Mountains. It also has camping facilities for guests who brought their mounts along with them.
At Sequoyah State Park, the Sequoyah Riding Stables is popular among avid equestrians from all over the country. The stables offer guided rides through the more than 300 acres of the trails within the park, all of which meander through expansive meadows and lush woods. They also offer a fun hayride for the whole family to enjoy.
If you’re looking to ride through Talimena State Park, then check out the tours offered by the nearby Horse Heaven Ranch, which will take guests through the more than 100 miles of trails snaking through the Winding Stairs Mountains that have made southeast Oklahoma famous all over the world.
The former hideout of outlaws Jesse James and Belle Starr is a must-see for all those visiting Oklahoma. Robbers Cave State Park, named for the famous outlaw cave, is a sprawling spot nestled among sandstone hills and cliffs. Those of you looking to explore the state’s history should do so at this park.
Alabaster Caverns State Park is another bucket list spot for caving enthusiasts. The park is home to one of the largest natural gypsum caves in the world and is famous for being the only gypsum show cave open to the public in the United States. Make sure to take part in their daily guided hours – trust us, this isn’t an opportunity that you should pass up!
Take a step back in time and take a ride on the miniature train at Beavers Bend Depot & Stables, located within Beavers Bend State Park. This is a replica of an 1863 C.P. Huntington train and will take visitors through the stunning forest and down Wahoo Hill. Additionally, the park is also home to the Forest Heritage Center Museum, which boasts of a hundred-year-old cabin restored and furnished to what it would have looked like a century ago.
The historical structures found at Boiling Springs State Park include its stone bridges and community building, which were both built by the CCC in the 1930s. These monumental pieces of architecture are well worth a visit!
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Enjoy an afternoon of scuba diving at Broken Bow Lake, situated within Beavers Bend State Park. This is a unique experience that will give visitors incredible views of a whole new world underwater.
Diving is also a popular activity at Tenkiller State Park. Nestled along the shore of Lake Tenkiller, guests love exploring the depths of the emerald-colored lake, surrounded by towering rock bluffs and gravel shorelines. Divers from all across the region flock to this park for a chance so you know that the opportunities here are top-notch.