Ranging from arid plains and flowing rivers, to soaring mountains and subtropical forests, Oklahoma comfortably has America’s most diverse terrain – on a mile to mile basis at least.
Containing 10 distinctive ecological regions, the state is divided into six ‘countries’. Each of which has a spectacular landscape that is best showcased through its 32 state parks.
Ranging from imposing sand dunes and sparkling lakes, to gaping caverns and lush forests, these public recreational spaces offer excellent opportunities for hiking, fishing, swimming and biking. As well as recreational water based activities like canoeing, kayaking, SUP and boating.
Oklahoma is known as the ‘Sooner State’ – possibly because its residents would sooner be at a state park than anywhere else. And with many of these destinations, being within easy reach of its capital city, it shouldn’t come as a surprise how popular they are.
You’ll probably know already, that visiting Oklahoma’s state parks is one of life’s great pleasures. But if you are wondering which ones are the best to go to, then allow us to recommend these 5 state parks near Oklahoma City.
Map of State Parks Near Oklahoma City OK
Here is a map of the Oklahoma state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Oklahoma City
Located throughout the state, all of the destinations on this list can be reached within about a two and a half hour drive, so are good places to go for a day trip.
However, they also offer various camping facilities too, for those who want to spend a few nights at any of them.
1. Lake Thunderbird State Park
Location: 13101 Alameda Dr, Norman, OK 73026
At just a 35 minute drive south of Oklahoma City, the Lake Thunderbird State Park is terrific place to go for those who enjoy water based recreational activities.
Featuring no less than two marinas, nine boat ramps and two lovely beaches for swimming, you will spend lots of time in the water here.
Whilst on dry land, there are lots of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horse riding too, which lead you to various scenic points of the park.
Camping accommodations here include well over 200 tent and RV sites, of which around 30 offer full hookup sites. There are also primitive campsites and restroom facilities too, as well as playgrounds for the kids, picnic tables and an archery range.
2. Roman Nose State Park
Location: 3236 OK-8A, Watonga, OK 73772
Named after a distinguished Cheyenne chief, the Roman Nose State Park is one of the original seven Oklahoma state parks.
It will take you about 75 minutes to drive there in a north easterly direction from Oklahoma City. But once you are there you will be able to immerse yourself in a landscape that includes a stunning canyon, three natural springs and gypsum rock cliffs.
The park is well known for its good fishing opportunities for trout. It also is a popular spot for canoeing, SUP and kayaking as well. There are several trails to entertain hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders too, while swimming is only allowed at either of its two pools. An 18-hole course should challenge most golfers too.
Camping accommodation takes the form of 11 cabins that are fully equipped with a range of facilities. In addition there are several sites set aside for tents, as well some for RVs and trailers that either offer full hook-ups or sites with electric hookups and water.
3. Keystone State Park
Location: 1926 OK-151, Sand Springs, OK 74063
Located in the northeastern part of the state, about a 90 minute drive from Oklahoma City lies Keystone State Park.
Not far from Tulsa, it is nestled on the fringes of Keystone Lake, so it makes a perfect spot for boating, SUP, kayaking or canoeing. Boat ramps provide easy access to the water, whilst equipment could be rented from the Pier 51 Marina if you don’t have it.
There is plenty of good fishing to be had here too, as well as swimming. Whilst lots of hiking opportunities abound along the edge of the lake.
The marina also has a floating, full service restaurant, and there is a children’s fishing pond and playground available as well.
Overall this pet friendly park has three separate campgrounds, which offer a range of accommodation options including cabins, campsites with full hookups for RVs and also tent areas.
4. Lake Murray State Park
Location: 3323 Lodge Rd, Ardmore, OK 73401
Lake Murray State Park was Oklahoma’s first, and remains its largest state park.
Sprawled across 12,500 acres, its fantastic landscape includes the stunning Lake Murray, as well as comely rolling hills and dense forestland. All of which make it the perfect spot for hiking.
It will take you about 2 hours to drive south there from Oklahoma City. But once you arrrive you will also be able to enjoy a range of water sports activities as well as ATV riding too. The park also has a golf course, baseball and softball fields and tennis courts.
Along with 56 cabins, which are situated around the shimmering lake, there are plenty of tent and RV sites across six campgrounds too. Some of these RV sites accommodate full hookups, while others have pull-through sites. If you fancy a more deluxe experience, then the Lake Murray Lodge also offers 32 comfortable and well appointed rooms with all the mod cons.
5. Grand Lake State Park
Location: 54101 E State Highway 85A, Afton, OK 74331
At a 2 hour and 30 minute drive northeast, the Grand Lake State Park is the furthest destination on this list from Oklahoma City.
Winding along the picturesque Neosho River, this lake covers 46,000 surface acres, so is a haven for those who love swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and SUP. There are also plenty of trails to hike along too.
The park is divided into six areas, each of which has a diverse range of camping options, as well as amenities like restrooms, hot showers, playgrounds and picnic sites.
One of the best features of this park is the opportunities it gives you to stargaze. Quite simply, it is one of the best places in Oklahoma to witness the magic of the skies at night.