Best Things To Do In 10 Best Oklahoma State Parks

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Oklahoma State Park
Image by WikiCommons

“Why Oklahoma?” you might wonder. Well, for starters, Oklahoma State is located almost exactly in the middle of the US. That means it is fairly easy to access from just about anywhere in the US by air, rail, or road. Secondly, Oklahoma State is home to no less than 33 State Parks, which means that visitors have a wide selection of pretty wonderful places to choose from. If you would like to know more about Native American history and culture, Oklahoma is definitely the place to brush up on your knowledge. Not only that, but Western Cowboy Life is also prominent here. On top of all this, a large section of the legendary Route 66 runs through Oklahoma. This means that road trippers will have ample opportunity to explore the wealth of Americana as they make their way to some of the best Oklahoma State Parks.

So what can you expect from Oklahoma’s State Parks? The landscape is mostly composed of wide sweeping plains (close your eyes and imagine stampeding cattle and galloping cowboys!) surrounded by some pretty spectacular mountain ranges. Some of them are The Arbuckle Mountains, the Wichita Mountains, the Ozark Mountains and the Ouachita Mountains. Mountains, forests, and prairie grasslands beckon visitors to come and explore a vast network of hiking trails. Most of the Oklahoma State Parks have attractive campgrounds where you can set up camp and get back to nature. 

Read on to find out how you can have the vacation of your life in one of the best Oklahoma State Parks.

Robbers Cave State Park

State Park
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Robbers Cave State Park is probably the most romantic-sounding of all the Oklahoma State Parks. Legend has it that the caves you can explore today were once a hideaway for notorious out-laws Jesse James and Belle Starr. These days, this park is one of the most popular and scenic parks in Oklahoma State where it offers a wonderful outdoor experience for all nature lovers. Here you will find comfortable cabins as well as seven campgrounds where you can set up camp and reconnect with nature. You can make a camping reservation in advance to be sure you get exactly what you need for a comfortable stay. If you are bringing along your own horse, you can set up camp at the equestrian campground.

Robbers Cave State Park has everything you need for an active vacation, including an excellent selection of hiking trails. You can also explore by bike or admire the beautiful scenery on horse-back. Other activities you may enjoy include fishing (trout, bass, catfish and more!), hunting, boating, rock-climbing, and rappelling. Many people just like to take it easy and do some birdwatching or wildlife watching. You will also find paddle-boats, canoe and kayaks, boat ramps, mini-golf, and a playground for the younger visitors. 

Robbers Cave State Park, Highway 2 N, Wilburton, Oklahoma, 74578,

Phone: +1 918 465 2565

Beavers Bend State Park

Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma
Image by gurdonark on Flickr

Home to the picturesque Broken Bow Lake, Beavers Bend State Park is a popular holiday destination for anyone. Especially those who long to shake off the dust of the city and spend some time getting back to nature in an Oklahoma State Park. The park is easy to access by road. Go from Oklahoma City along Interstate 40 and the Indian Nation Turnpike. Travel time is around four hours, depending on how many stops you make to enjoy the scenery. 

There are several options when it comes to accommodation inside the park. You can choose from various cabin rentals or make a camping reservation at one of the campgrounds. Activities in the park are many and varied as well. You can take a gentle scenic drive along Highway 259, stopping here and there to admire the views and look out for wildlife. This may include black bears, bald eagles, and woodpeckers. If you are feeling more energetic, you can pull on your hiking boots and set off to explore around six miles of trails. Some parts are also suitable for mountain biking.

If water sports are more to your liking, you will find everything you need for a fun day on the water from various recreational renting outfitters in the area. There are canoes, kayaks, jet-ski, and boat rentals, which can all be found on site. Need more? Equestrians are also catered for — you can saddle up at the Beavers Bend Depot and Stable for a scenic horseback ride or take the kids for a hayride. Check out the park website for a comprehensive list of facilities and outfitters to make your visit to this Oklahoma State Park an unforgettable excursion.

Foss State Park

State Parks
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Foss State Park is located in Custer County in Western Oklahoma. It’s about fourteen miles off Interstate 40. This Oklahoma State Park is a great place to stop for a night or two if you are taking a road trip either north/south or east/west across Oklahoma State. Just about every review gives the campgrounds high praise. You can look forward to parking your RV or pitching your tent in a clean and pretty campground with good facilities. Although there are 110 RV sites and about 40 tent sites, it is always a good idea to make your camping reservations well in advance. Request a lakeside space if you can. You can book online or phone the park office on +1 580 592 4433. 

People mainly visit Foss State Park to enjoy the excellent boating and birding. There is also a resident herd of Bison which can regularly be seen around the campground. You can launch your own boat at the marina or rent a boat, jet-ski, or paddling equipment. Other activities include hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming. 

Foss State Park, 10252 Hwy 44, Foss, OK 37647

Cherokee Area At Grand Lake State Park

Oklahoma State Park
Image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

If you are looking for an Oklahoma State Park with a definite WOW factor, you need look no further than the Grand Lake State Park. This park surrounds Oklahoma’s largest lake. Just imagine — Grand Lake covers 59,000 surface acres and is surrounded by an amazing 1,300 miles of shoreline. Now that is a BIG lake. As you can imagine, this Oklahoma State gem is home to a huge number of recreational facilities along various sections of the lake.

Cherokee Area at Grand Lake State Park is arguably one of the best and most popular locations to head for if you want to spend a few days camping and getting back to nature. This part of the lake is rumored to offer outstanding fishing. A really good variety of water sports are also present. If you plan to bring your RV to the park, you should consider making camping reservations in advance as the campground can only accommodate 49 RVs. Tent camping is a little easier and there are 150 tent sites available. This is a comfortable and family-friendly campground offering a playground, lighted boat ramps, a swimming beach, and good restrooms.

Lake Murray State Park

Oklahoma
Image by Jonathan C. Wheeler on Wiki Commons

Lake Murray State Park is both the largest and the oldest of the Oklahoma State Parks. It is located in the south-central part of Oklahoma State. On the west side of the park, you will find Lake Murray Marina Beach. It offers crystal clear water for swimming. This is definitely a great park to visit with family as there are fun activities for all ages and interests. These activities include horseback riding, hayrides, an 18-hole golf course, and various playing fields and courts.

The Marina offers boat and equipment rentals to keep everyone happy on the water. As you can imagine, this is a very popular recreational area and you will need to make your camping reservations in advance to ensure you have a suitable spot in one of the campgrounds. If you hate camping, you can check into the lodge or rent a cabin for your holiday.

Lake Murray State Park is located at 13528 Scenic State Highway 77, Ardmore, Oklahoma. For camping reservations, you can phone +1 580 223 4044 or book online.

Keystone State Park

Keystone State Park
Image by WikiCommons

One of the Keystone State Park’s primary draw-cards is its close proximity to the city of Tulsa (less than a twenty-minute drive). This means you can get the best of both worlds when you choose to spend a few days in this lovely Oklahoma State Park. If you do love camping, you will be happy to choose Keystone Park which has three campgrounds for RV’s and tents. If you don’t, they have beautiful lakeside cabins to accommodate you. Although several of the campsites are available on a first-come-first-served basis, it is always advisable to make your camping reservations in advance to ensure you are not disappointed.

The park is located on the shores of the picturesque Lake Keystone. There, you will find everything you need for a great holiday including boat and equipment rentals at the Marina. The Marina also has a grocery store and a seasonal floating restaurant. But you can also pack your own food. Boating, water sports, and fishing are the most popular activities in the park, but many visitors come to simply enjoy the great outdoors. You can go hiking and wildlife viewing along the lake-side trails, do some birdwatching, or just kick back and relax. When the sun sets, you have the option of enjoying a campfire grill or popping into Tulsa for a night on the town.

Keystone State Park, 1926 State Hwy 151, Sand Springs, OK 7403

Phone: +1 918 865 4991

Alabaster Caverns State Park

Oklahoma State Park
Image by programwitch on Flickr

If you are looking for something a little different on your next Oklahoma State Park visit, you should consider visiting the Alabaster Caverns State Park near the town of Freedom. This is where you will be able to explore a rare Gypsum cave system. Not only will you have a lot of fun, but you will also earn serious bragging rights. Why? This cave system is unique to Oklahoma State and is the only cavern system of its kind in the world that is open to the public.

On top of all this, there is a brilliant campground where you can park your RV or pitch your tent. You can go on a guided tour of the caverns to get an overview or try wild caving (spelunking). Spelunking is a real adventure that everyone raves about. When you want a break from caving, you can hike the Raptor Roost Trail before settling down to enjoy a night under the stars in your campground. Be sure to make a camping reservation in advance. This is a popular Oklahoma State Park destination.

Black Mesa State Park & Nature Refuge

Oklahoma State Park
Image by jimmywayne on Flickr

Tucked into a faraway corner of Oklahoma State, close to the New Mexico Border, the Black Mesa State Park is the Oklahoma State Park for birders and stargazers! The landscape is absolutely amazing. But the cherry on the top is the towering Black Mesa, for which the park is named.

Black Mesa (which is covered in a thick coating of black lava) is the highest point in Oklahoma. Additionally, you simply cannot visit the park without pulling on your hiking boots and climbing to the summit. The views are brilliant and you have a chance to do some great birding and wildlife watching along the way. Look out for black bears, mountain lions, and many other animals.

Because the park is so remote, it also offers excellent star gazing once the sun has set. If this is your main reason for visiting, be sure to ask for one of the more remote campsites when you make your camping reservation as the main campground is too well-lit for good dark night skies.

Tenkiller State Park

Oklahoma State Park
Image by usacetulsa on Flickr

If you are looking for a good Oklahoma State Park to visit with children, Tenkiller State Park in Sequoyah County could fit the bill. The park surrounds picturesque Lake Tenkiller and has a host of activities for visitors of all ages. Of special interest to parents is the attractive beach area which has shallow wading areas for younger children and lots of water activities for older kids. There really is fun for everyone in this park.

A fabulous waterfall plunges into a natural swimming pool. Scuba divers can even explore an entire buried village (which was flooded when the Lake Tenkiller was built) under the placid surface of the lake. Be sure to make your camping reservation well in advance as the two campgrounds fill up very quickly on weekends and holidays. There are three hiking trails for those who enjoy exploring on foot.

Little Sahara State Park

Oklahoma State Park
Image by Elena Saharova on Unsplash

Last but not least, here is your chance to see what a desert looks like without leaving the state. Who would have thought you could find giant sand dunes in the heart of an Oklahoma State Park? Thousands of years ago, this entire region was covered by an enormous river delta. The withdrawing waters left a wonderland of massive sand dunes at the Little Sahara State Park, where you have a unique opportunity to enjoy some desert activities.

The main activity in the park is having off-road fun and exhilaration on the dunes. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own ATV, you can rent one on-site. The campground has good facilities for overnight camping. Be sure to make your camping reservations ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Although there are no hiking trails in this park, you can certainly hike to the top of one of the dunes for some strenuous exercise. There, you will see a brilliant overview from the summit.

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