Oklahoma is known for its pioneer history and its cowboy culture, but no visit to the state is complete without a stop at least one of its excellent parks. The landscape varies from the impressive Great Plains to the forests in eastern Oklahoma to the glistening lakes nestled in the foothills of the Ozarks.
1.Beavers Bend State Park
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Encompassing 1,300 acres in southeast Oklahoma, Beavers Bend State Park is one of the most popular parks in the state, and for good reason. The hardwood forests and mountainous terrain are perfectly suited to hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and the park boasts 180 acres of shoreline along the Mountain Fork River and Broken Bow Lake. Campsites line the shore of the river while the lakeshore is home to a rustic lodge, and the clear lake water is perfect for boating, swimming, and even scuba diving. The park also offers several well-stocked trout fishing streams, which are open for fishing year-round.
4350 S, OK-259A, Broken Bow, OK 74728, Phone: 580-494-6300
2.Black Kettle National Grassland
Spread out over both Oklahoma and Texas, the Black Kettle National Grassland is made up of approximately one hundred separate tracts of land. Some of these areas are used for cattle grazing and for energy, and three of the sites in Oklahoma are open to the public for recreation: Spring Creek Lake, Black Kettle Recreation Area, and Skipout Lake. All of these sites are open year-round, and they offer excellent opportunities for picnicking, camping, fishing, and hiking. Visitors who are interested in learning about the area's history can also stroll along the Black Kettle Interpretive Trail or visit the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site.
18555 U.S. 87A, Cheyenne, OK 73628, Phone: 580-497-2143
3.Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Tucked away in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is home to a large assortment of lakes, streams, swimming holes, waterfalls, and mineral springs. Much of the park is taken up by the 2,350 acre Lake of the Arbuckles, which offers year-round fishing, excellent swimming, and tent and RV camping along the shore. Visitors are also welcome to swim and fish in many of the park's other bodies of water and hike on the trails that run through the park and around the lake. No admission fee is charged to enter the park.
901 W 1st St, Sulphur, OK 73086, Phone: 580-622-7234
4.Clayton Lake State Park
Conveniently located only a few miles away from the town of Clayton, Clayton Lake State Park is a 510-acre park that encompasses a beautiful 80-acre lake with a fishing dock and a swimming beach. Visitors are welcome to use the lake for swimming, boating, and fishing, but water sports are not permitted. The park also offers plenty of overnight accommodation, including rustic cabins, family-friendly two-bedroom cabins, and RV and tent campsites. The RV campsites can be reserved, but the tent sites are first-come first-served. Other park amenities include a children's playground, hiking trails, picnic tables, and covered picnic areas perfect for groups.
141 Clayton Lake Rd, Clayton, NM 88415, Phone: 505-374-8808
5.Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge
Established in 1993, the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect the forests along the Deep Fork River and the many different types of wildlife that call this area home. The park is excellent for wildlife viewing and bird watching, and there are approximately 17 miles of trails for visitors to enjoy, including a 1,200-foot trail with an elevated boardwalk. Other popular activities in the refuge include canoeing and kayaking, fishing, and hunting when in season. The refuge is open to visitors year-round, and there are several visitor parking areas scattered throughout the property.
21844 S 250 Rd, Henryetta, OK 74437, Phone: 918-652-3427
6.Fort Cobb State Park
Sitting on the edge of the 4,000-acre Fort Cobb Lake, Fort Cobb State Park boasts plenty of opportunities for recreation both on and off the water. The lake is excellent for swimming, boating, water sports, and fishing, and there is a marina with a convenience store, boat and boat slip rentals, a restaurant, and fuel. Visitors are also welcome to enjoy the park's 18-hole golf course, which includes a driving range and a putting green. When it comes to accommodation, the park offers approximately 600 campsites for both tents and RVs, some of which are equipped with electrical and water hookups.
27022 Copperhead Road, Fort Cobb, OK 73038, Phone: 405-643-2249
7.Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith was first established in 1817, and the Fort Smith National Historic Site was created in 1861 to protect the fort's remains. There are plenty of things to see and do at the site, but a major highlight is touring the Visitor's Center, which is located inside the fort's old Courthouse building and features plenty of informative exhibits about important pieces of history like the fort's use as a military base and the Trail of Tears. Self-guided audio tours of both the buildings and the grounds are available, and ranger-led tours are sometimes offered as well.
301 Parker Ave Fort Smith, AR 72901, Phone: 479-783-3961
8.Gloss Mountain State Park
Sometimes referred to as Glass Mountains State Park, Gloss Mountain State Park is home to unique mountains with a high Selenite content that gives them a glass-like appearance. The park's biggest attraction is the Cathedral Mountain hiking trail, which starts right from the parking lot and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the valley below. Other park amenities include picnic tables, public restrooms, drinking water, and barbecue grills. There is no overnight accommodation available in the park, but it's open between sunrise and sunset every day of the year. No admission fee is charged.
Fairview, OK 73737, Phone: 580-227-2512
9.Keystone State Park
Keystone State Park is situated on the beautiful Keystone Lake, which is perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, and water sports. There are several boat ramps within the park for visitor use, and there is also a marina that offers rental boats, a restaurant, fuel, and a convenience store with groceries and other boating necessities. The lake might be the biggest attraction in the park, but there are plenty of things to do on the shore as well, including hiking trails, covered picnic areas with grills, and RV and tent campsites. Visitors can also stay in one of the park's furnished one- and two-bedroom cabins.
1150 Keystone Park Rd, Derry, PA 15627-3679, Phone: 724-668-2939
10.Lake Murray State Park
The first state park established in Oklahoma, Lake Murray State Park encompasses approximately 12,500 acres of wilderness, including the 5,700-acre Lake Murray. The lake is excellent for boating, fishing, and water sports, but visitors who would rather stay on the shore are encouraged to use the park's 1,000 acres of trails, which welcome hikers, horseback riders, and motorized vehicles. The park also boasts an 18-acre golf course suitable for players of all abilities, a nature center that houses a fascinating collection of fossils and animal skulls, and a 65-foot tower that boasts stunning panoramic views of the park.
3323 Lodge Rd, Ardmore, OK 73401, Phone: 580-223-4044
11.Lake Wister State Park
Occupying 3,428 acres in the southeastern part of the state, Lake Wister State Park serves as a gateway to the 1.8 million-acre Ouachita National Forest. The biggest attraction in the park is the 7,300-acre Lake Wister, which has several public boat ramps and is perfect for boating, water skiing, and other water sports. A swimming beach can be found on the shore, as can five campgrounds with sites for both tents and RVs. When not on the lake, visitors can splash around in the park's water park, visit the nature center, or play a round of golf on the mini golf course.
25567 US-270, Wister, OK 74966, Phone: 918-655-7212
12.Little Sahara State Park
Named because of its visual similarity to the Sahara Desert, Little Sahara State Park is a unique 1,600-acre park full of sand dunes. The dunes range from 25 to 75 feet in height, and all can be ridden by ATV or by dune buggy. All vehicles must comply with park rules and regulations Approximately 230 tent and RV campsites can be found in the park, and there are also showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and seasonal refreshment vendors. An admission fee is charged to all drivers and passengers, and ATVs can be rented off-site if need be.
101 Main St Waynoka, OK 73860, Phone: 580-824-1471
13.Martin Park Nature Center
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Located right in Oklahoma City, the Martin Park Nature Center is a peaceful 144-acre wildlife sanctuary that makes the perfect retreat from the city. The Visitor Center offers interactive exhibits, live animals, and a nature learning library, and there is a nature themed children's playground outside. There are also approximately two and a half miles of trails in the park, and guided tours are available for groups of 5 or more people for a fee. The park is open every day of the week and the Visitor Center is open Wednesday through Sunday, and there is no admission fee.
5000 W Memorial Rd, Oklahoma City, OK 73142, Phone: 405-297-1429
14.McGee Creek State Park
Set on the outskirts of the Ouachita Mountain Range, McGee Creek State Park provides access to the McGee Creek Reservoir, one of the best fishing lakes in the state. Fishing is by far the most popular activity on the lake, but people are also welcome to boat, swim, and practice water sports. A wide variety of accommodation is available, including rustic huts as well as both primitive and paved campsites, and the park's twenty-five miles of trails are open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Visitors can also hunt in the wildlife management area next to the park.
5798 S Mcgee Creek Lake Rd, Atoka, OK 74525, Phone: 580-889-5822
15.Natural Falls State Park
Situated in northeast Oklahoma near the Arkansas border, Natural Falls State Park was named for being home to a beautiful 77-foot waterfall. The fall is the second highest in the state, and visitors can hike up to the top of the falls and admire the cascade from a viewing platform. There is also a second platform located at the bottom of the falls for visitors who would prefer not to make the trek up to the top. The park is an excellent destination for a day trip, but furnished yurts and campsites are available for anyone who wants to spend the night.
US Highway 412 West, Colcord, OK 74338, Phone: 918-422-5802
16.Osage Hills State Park
Established in 1935 and constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Osage Hills State Park was one of Oklahoma's original state parks. The park encompasses 1,100 acres criss-crossed by many miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking; most of these trails provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Other park amenities include a picnic area with tables and pavilions, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Both tent and RV campsites are available, and there are also ten cabins for rent, all of which were built during the 1930s but are equipped with kitchens, fireplaces, and central heat and air.
2131 Park Rd, Pawhuska, OK 74056, Phone: 918-336-4141
17.Robbers Cave State Park
Formerly known as Latimer State Park, Robbers Cave State Park is home to three lakes and many acres of sandstone cliffs. The park received its name after serving as a hideout for the notorious outlaws Jesse James and Belle Starr, but today, the park's many caves and cliffs make it an excellent destination for hikers, rock climbers, and rappelers. Trout fishing is permitted in the lakes in season. Other highlights of the park include a 250-acre designated for riding ATVs, trails for hiking and horseback riding, and campsites, yurts, cabins, and a lodge for overnight accommodation.
4575 Northwest 1024th Ave, Wilburton, OK 74578, Phone: 918-465-2562
18.Sequoyah Bay State Park
Found on the shore of the 19,000-acre Fort Gibson Lake, Sequoyah Bay State Park boasts 225 miles of shoreline and plenty of opportunities to enjoy boating, fishing, and water sports. Three boat ramps can be found in the park, and there is also a full-service marina that rents boats and sells fuel, food, ice, and fishing supplies. Visitors are welcome to swim, relax, and picnic on the park's swimming beach, and anyone who would like to get some exercise is welcome to make use of the park's baseball diamond, nature trails, or volleyball and basketball courts.
6237 E 100th St N, Wagoner, OK 74467, Phone: 918-683-0878
19.Talimena State Park
Although it's only twenty acres in size, Talimena State Park serves some important purposes: it's the start of many hiking trails in the Ouachita National Forest, and it provides an entrance to the Talimena National Scenic Byway. However, the park is also equipped to accommodate overnight visitors despite its small size; both tent sites and RV sites with water and electric hookups are available, and restrooms with showers are provided for visitor use as well. Campsites can be reserved over the phone, and the park also offers a large pavilion that can be rented out for private events.
50884 US-271, Talihina, OK 74571, Phone: 918-567-2052
20.Tenkiller State Park
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Home to the picturesque Lake Tenkiller, Tenkiller State Park boasts 13,000 surface acres of lake and 130 miles of shoreline for visitors to enjoy. The lake is one of Oklahoma's top scuba diving destinations; the crystal blue waters are clear between 8 and 28 feet, and there are plenty of fascinating underwater features to explore, including a school bus and a helicopter. Plenty of tent campsites can be found along the shore of the lake, and there is also a beautiful swimming beach and a boat ramp. Fuel, food, and other amenities are available at the park marina.
OK-100, Vian, OK 74962, Phone: 918-489-5641
21.Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge
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Created in 1946, the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge is a protected 14,600-acre piece of land that acts as a safe haven for the wildlife and plants of eastern Oklahoma. Approximately one quarter of the refuge consists of a body of water known as the Cumberland Pool, which is part of Lake Texoma and home to a large number of fish and migratory waterfowl. Fishing is permitted in season and with the correct permits. The refuge is open every day from dawn to dusk, and the office is open on weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
12000 S Refuge Rd, Tishomingo, OK 73460, Phone: 580-371-2402
22.Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park
Known primarily for its excellent fishing, the Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park was named because of the two bridges that run over it. Plenty of trophy-sized fish have been caught in the area, and lake amenities include RV and tent campsites, picnic areas, lighted boat ramps. Tackle and bait are available for visitor use at the fishing center, and there is also an enclosed fishing dock for people who would rather fish from the shore. When not fishing, visitors can play a game of volleyball, use the park's horseshoe pit, or bring their children to the playground.
14801 OK-137, Fairland, OK 74343, Phone: 918-542-6969
23.Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Spanning approximately 59,000 acres of land, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was established in 1901, making it the oldest wildlife refuge managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The park is an excellent destination for nature lovers; it's home to a wide variety of plant, bird, and animal species, including bison, Texas longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, and almost 250 species of birds, and the park's Visitor Center often offers fascinating wildlife tours. More than thirty miles of trails run through the park, and visitors can also mountain bike, rock climb, rappel, and camp either at the park's campground or in the backcountry.
32 Refuge Headquarters Road, Indiahoma, OK 73552, Phone: 580-429-3222
24.Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area
Part of the Ouachita National Forest, the Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area encompasses more than 26,000 acres of land, including the Winding Stair Mountain, the Talimena Scenic Byway, and the 85-acre Cedar Lake. Visitors to the park are welcome to fish in the lake, enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables, and hunt for small game with the appropriate permits. There are also plenty of excellent hiking trails in the park, including a 45-mile section of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail. A small hike-in campground can be found on top of the Winding Stair Mountain.
Muse, OK 74949, Phone: 580-494-6402
24 Best Oklahoma State & National Parks
- Beavers Bend State Park, Photo: luis sandoval/stock.adobe.com
- Black Kettle National Grassland, Photo: Nick/stock.adobe.com
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Photo: raksyBH/stock.adobe.com
- Clayton Lake State Park, Photo: courts/stock.adobe.com
- Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Roman/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Cobb State Park, Photo: smiltena/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Smith National Historic Site, Photo: Scott/stock.adobe.com
- Gloss Mountain State Park, Photo: Richard/stock.adobe.com
- Keystone State Park, Photo: Foap.com/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Murray State Park, Photo: raksyBH/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Wister State Park, Photo: quan_tum/stock.adobe.com
- Little Sahara State Park, Photo: Richard/stock.adobe.com
- Martin Park Nature Center, Photo: Maria Sbytova/stock.adobe.com
- McGee Creek State Park, Photo: Viesturs/stock.adobe.com
- Natural Falls State Park, Photo: pimmimemom/stock.adobe.com
- Osage Hills State Park, Photo: TheMonk/stock.adobe.com
- Robbers Cave State Park, Photo: rjamphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Sequoyah Bay State Park, Photo: yossarian6/stock.adobe.com
- Talimena State Park, Photo: lukasx/stock.adobe.com
- Tenkiller State Park, Photo: Evan Luthye/stock.adobe.com
- Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, Photo: Leah Smalley/stock.adobe.com
- Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park, Photo: Richard/stock.adobe.com
- Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Photo: winterbilder/stock.adobe.com
- Winding Stair Mountain National Recreation Area, Photo: vectorfusionart/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Richard/stock.adobe.com