Spring weather has arrived and the state is starting to see the beautiful spring colors pop up. It’s the perfect time to get outdoors and scout out nature. When you’re feeling adventurous and looking for places to explore, check out these 15 perfect places to go in Oklahoma:
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. Hike the trails or caves at Robbers Cave State Park.
Robbers Cave State Park is located in the scenic, hilly woodlands of the Sans Bois Mountains of southeast Oklahoma. This park is a favorite of rappellers, equestrians, hikers and outdoor lovers. The park and adjoining wildlife management area covers more than 8,000 acres and includes three lakes. It offers visitors acres of discovery and enjoyment, including trout fishing, boating, hunting, mountain biking, trails for hikers and horses, sandstone cliffs for climbing and rappelling, and fall foliage viewing.
2. Ride the rapids at the upcoming Riversport Rapids in Oklahoma City.
Imagine whitewater rafting with your family in the Boathouse District on a Saturday morning. Or kayaking down an Olympic-style slalom course. It will all become a reality when Oklahoma City’s $45.2 million whitewater rafting and kayaking center – RIVERSPORT Rapids – is completed in May. The center will be a state-of-the-art aquatic adventure facility – one of only a few in the world. Geared for both family fun and elite athlete training, the 11-acre whitewater center will be adjacent to the Oklahoma River.
3. Explore the caves at Alabaster Caverns.
Alabaster Caverns State Park is a 200-acre state park approximately five miles south of Freedom. It is home to the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public.The gypsum is mostly in the form of alabaster. Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Alabaster Caverns from Mexico in the spring to bear their young. They then return to Mexico in the fall. Spelunking, wild caving, camping, hiking trails, and recreational facilities such as horseshoe pits and volleyball courts are available to visitors.
4. Take in all the beauty around Red Rock Canyon.
Red Rock Canyon State Park is a great place to hike, climb, or explore. Located in west central Oklahoma, the park and campsites are located down in the canyon among the canyon walls. In addition to RV and tent camping, the park offers picnic areas, nature trails, a small fishing pond, and playground equipment. The canyon walls are a favorite for rappelling and open exploration. In season, the park operates a swimming pool with bathhouse.
5. Rent an ATV or explore the sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park.
Over 1800 acres of small sand dunes ranging from 25 to 75 feet can be explored at this state park. The western and northwestern section has the tallest sand dunes known as "Competition Hill" and "Buttercup." Visitors will have a blast exploring this mini-desert atmosphere, known as one of the best riding spots for ATVs in the Midwest.
6. Spend all day or a few hours hiking the Narrows in Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
The Narrows is a beautiful canyon in the Wichita Mountains. Although not a mountain, The Narrows canyon hosts some of the best granite face and crack climbing in the Midwest. The Narrows Trail begins near the Boulder cabin, and takes you through a rocky canyon. This trail is 1.4 miles long out and back. Most of the year there is a creek that flows in the canyon.
7. Or enjoy Elk Mountain.
Located within the more than 59,000 acres that make up the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the trail systems offer options from short and easy to long and challenging.
8. Try your hand at sailing on Lake Hefner.
A beautiful lake in Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner is a popular spot for sailing. If you're not up for the challenge of sailing yourself, you can relax and enjoy the experience during a private charter.
9. Go on a haunted adventure to the Purple Church.
Located off of rural Douglas Avenue near Spencer, the Purple Church is actually a concrete foundation, with steps leading into an "underground" cellar type area. There is speculation as to what this structure was originally used as, with the general consensus being that this was the cellar to either an old clapboard church or a private home, which was destroyed many years ago. This location is said to be extremely haunted. Strange floating lights in the woods, disembodied voices, and a smell of death are the most widely reported incidents in the area, along with dead and mutilated animals and animal bones.
10. Bike the trails of Turkey Mountain in Tulsa.
The 300-acre Wilderness stretches from I-44 to 71st Street on the west bank of the river. This heavily-wooded property has miles of winding dirt trails and two large ponds. The summit of Turkey Mountain rises 300 feet above the Arkansas River and offers a panoramic view of Tulsa.
11. Take a swing on the rope swings at Turner Falls.
Turner Falls Park in Davis, OK is an adventurous and family-friendly annual destination nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains and home to a 77-ft. waterfall. Don't just go to the waterfall, explore all the caves, streams and rope swings in the area.
12. Kayak or tube down the Illinois River.
Meandoring through the hills of northeastern Oklahoma is a sparkling, 60-miles-plus beautiful waterway. The Illinois River runs through steep and rocky bluffs, creating a breathtaking landscape. Visitors can rent tubes or kayaks and enjoy float trips starting at 6-miles long.
13. Walk the trails of Black Mesa State Park.
Located in Oklahoma's Panhandle, Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve contains Oklahoma's highest point at 4,973 feet above sea level. The associated nature preserve is open to hiking and contains 1,600 acres and is home to 23 rare plants and 8 rare animal species.
14. See some alligators at Red Slough in southeastern Oklahoma.
The wetlands, marshes, lakes, streams and forests of the Red Slough Wildlife Management area cover nearly 8,000 acres and are home to more than 315 species of birds and a host of other critters, plants rare to the region. The Red Slough is the only place in Oklahoma where alligators have been known to breed. The area is also a favorite of bird-watchers, as it has been compared to the Gulf Coast habitats of Louisiana and Florida thanks to common sightings of rare species.
15. Explore nature around Natural Falls State Park.
Natural Falls State Park is one of the most
beautiful scenic wonders of this state park. The
stunning 77-foot waterfall is the center piece
of an outstanding Oklahoma State Park. The
falls can be seen from overlooks, trails and
boardwalks. A paved trail leads to these overlooks and viewing platform at the bottom of the falls.