This year is the perfect year to explore Oklahoma like never before. From one side of the state to the other, there are astounding natural wonders that should be on your 2020 bucket list. Keep scrolling to learn more about some of our top recommendations.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Great Salt Plains State Park, Jet
Great Salt Plains State Park is an 840-acre state park located near Jet, Oklahoma. It was so named because it is covered with a layer of salt deposited long ago by an inland sea. A saline aquifer still flows beneath the surface and replenishes the salt whenever the water table rises. The salt is left behind when the water evaporates. The refuge is the only spot in the world where crystal enthusiasts can dig for hourglass selenite, a rare and fragile form of selenite, which is a form of gypsum. Digging times are available from April 1 through October 15.
2. Turner Falls State Park, Davis
Located on Honey Creek in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, Turner Falls is one of Oklahoma's tallest waterfalls, dropping 77 feet into a natural swimming pool. At the center of Turner Falls Park is the clear water that flows throughout the park creating creeks and natural swimming pools.
3. Little Sahara State Park, Waynoka
Named for its resemblance to the Sahara Desert, Little Sahara boasts over 1,600 acres of sand dunes, ranging in height from 25 to 75 feet. The dunes are located south of Waynoka in northwest Oklahoma, and are a popular spot to ride a dune buggy or an ATV.
4. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Indiahoma
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton, has protected unique wildlife habitats since 1901, and is the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service system. The refuge spans over 59,000 beautiful acres and is home to free range buffalo, Texas longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, elk and deer. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking
5. Gloss Mountains State Park, Fairview
Also known as the Glass Mountains, Gloss Mountains are famous for their Selenite content that looks like shiny glass. When the sun hits the Selenite, the mountains sparkle and resemble the deep Southwest. Hiking is allowed to the top of the mesas, and views of the Cimarron River and breathtaking landscape can be seen for miles.
6. Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Sulphur
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is comprised of the former Platt National Park and Arbuckle Recreation District. It is located in south-central Oklahoma near Sulphur. Visitors can enjoy year-round activities at this family-favorite spot. Its mineral waters, streams and lakes are perfect swimming and boating spots, while its sprawling forests and lands are perfect for hikers, campers and nature lovers.
7. Black Mesa State Park, Black Mesa
The highest point in Oklahoma can be found at Black Mesa at 4,973 feet above sea level. Black Mesa is located in the Oklahoma panhandle, along with portions of New Mexico and Colorado. It is a favorite spot for bird-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, as there are an abundance of bird species and wildlife in the park and preserve. The hike to the top of the mesa takes about 4 hours to the top and back.
8. Natural Falls Park, Colcord
Natural Falls is an enchanting spot in the northeastern corner of the state that will make you feel like you’ve stepped through a magical wardrobe. From gorgeous waterfalls to lush greenery to scenic forests, this park in Oklahoma may feel more like a scene from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe than the Sooner State. Go ahead, step into Natural Falls State Park – an otherworldly place that is filled with magnificent scenery.
9. Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow
Beavers Bend State Park is a gem in southeastern Oklahoma, comprised of 1,300 acres about 10 miles north of Broken Bow. The park boasts of a postcard-like setting and is an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered. It offers crystal clear waters, towering pines and breathtaking scenery. It has almost every outdoor activity you’re looking for in a state park and it’s right here in Oklahoma.