America is one of the most beautiful places on earth. And although many still think Oklahoma is flat and boring, our state does contribute to its beauty. From sand dunes to mesas to caves, Oklahoma has one of the most diverse ecological regions in the nation. Here are 12 places across the Sooner State that will remind you how stunning America truly is.
1. Beaver's Bend State Park
Beavers Bend State Park is a 1,300-acre state park located in McCurtain County in southeast Oklahoma. It is approximately 10.5 miles north of Broken Bow. It contains Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River.
2. Black Mesa
The view from the top of Black Mesa - the highest point in the state (4,973 ft.) is stunning. The Mesa is situated in the Oklahoma Panhandle.
(View looking at Black Mesa)
3. Alabaster Caverns
Alabaster Caverns State Park is a 200-acre state park about 5 miles south of Freedom, Oklahoma. It is home to the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public.
4. Oklahoma Lakes
With more miles of shoreline than the Gulf and Atlantic coasts combined, Oklahoma is home to over 200 lakes. The lakes are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts looking for recreational activities.
5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area situated in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains in south-central Oklahoma near Sulphur. Its mineral waters, streams and lakes are a refreshing treat in the hot summers.
6. Little Sahara Sand Dunes
Little Sahara State Park is a state park located in Oklahoma, named for its resemblance to the Sahara Desert. Little Sahara State Park is located in northwest Oklahoma, south of Waynoka. The park boasts over 1,600 acres of sand dunes, ranging in height from 25 to 75 feet.
7. Top of Mt. Scott
Located on the eastern edge of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Mount Scott is one of Oklahoma's most prominent mountains. A 3.5-mile paved road leads to the summit and a breathtaking view of southwest Oklahoma. The peak towers 2,465 feet above sea level.
8. Great Salt Plains
Composed of salt left over from an ocean that covered Oklahoma, Great Salt Plains is one of Oklahoma's most unique state parks. The lake in the park is a salt-water lake, about half as salty as the ocean. Visitors can dig for hourglass crystals that form just under the surface in the crystal dig area. Oklahoma is the only place in the world these crystals can be found. Other activities include biking, horseback riding, hiking, fishing, swimming and even yoga.
9. Talimena National Scenic Byway
The Talimena National Scenic Byway, a breathtaking 54-mile route in southeast Oklahoma, is known for its stunning fall foliage. Take a drive on the winding road nestled in the heart of Oklahoma's Choctaw Country. You'll be reminded very quickly how beautiful America is.
(And it's captivating in the winter.)
10. Turner Falls
Turner Falls is located in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains and is considered Oklahoma's tallest waterfall at 77 feet. This picturesque waterfall flows with crystal clear water into a swimming hole below. You can also hike above the falls and explore caves and the surrounding area.
11. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
The 59,020-acre Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge hosts a rare piece of the past - a remnant mixed grass prairie. More than 50 mammal species, 240 bird species, 64 reptile and amphibian species, 36 fish species, and 806 plant species thrive at this refuge. There are several hiking trails and a 40 ft. drop in a canyon with a beautiful waterfall.
12. Oklahoma Wide Open Spaces
Oklahoma is full of wide open prairies, fields and beautiful spaces that remind us what a beautiful land we live in.