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Okie Life

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The Ultimate Guide to Oklahoma State Parks

October 1, 2023

Traveling across Oklahoma in any particular direction can feel like a cross-country adventure. The state’s unique location makes it home to mountains, winding rivers, lakes and waterfalls in the east, and grand mesas, yawning prairies and deep canyons in the west.

These diverse lands hold something for everyone. Oklahoma’s state parks are renowned among thrill-seekers and hobbyists but are also perfect for quiet or restful retreats. With literally all of it worth seeing at least once, this guide can help you plan your next adventure.

Amenities, Activities and What to Expect at State Parks

It’s easy to visit or stay in a state park! While you can enjoy camping on park grounds with your own equipment, there are often on-site options for lodging and connections for any recreational vehicles you may want to bring.

Also, have you checked out the park activities yet? Our parks have dozens of different activities that take advantage of the surrounding terrain. Many offer a chance to see native wildlife, hike, or hit the lake, but it pays off to know each park’s perks ahead of time for your best trip!

The best way to find out what each park offers is to contact the park office directly or visit its pages on TravelOK for more detailed info.

Oklahoma State Parks from Peak to Valley

It’s time to get out your map 🗺! Whether planning to camp, take the RV or just step out for a day of discovery, you are in for an unforgettable experience. Let’s start our trek through Oklahoma’s state parks.


📍 Northwest Oklahoma

Regional Vibes: 🏜🪨🔦🧗🌅

Landscapes that fill one with wonder are a common sight in northwest OK. Canyons, mesas and high plains fill a region that stretches into Oklahoma’s Panhandle. Here, you can walk along the prehistoric ocean bed of Gloss Mountain, visit natural springs, and see the spanning dunes of Little Sahara. This region puts the “west” in the Midwest!

Alabaster Caverns State Park

This park was established around one of the world’s largest natural gypsum caves. It is a well-tended home for local wildlife, including bats and Oklahoma birds, offering hiking and other outdoor activities.

🔦💎Try This: Take a guided tour or spelunking in a real gypsum cave.

Black Mesa State Park

This park offers a beautiful plateau view of nearby landscapes. A unique ecology offers exclusive sights of rare birds, plants and animals like the golden eagle or bighorn sheep.

🥾🏔Try This: Hike to the highest point in Oklahoma (4,973 feet above sea level!)

Boiling Springs State Park

A historic park named after its still-flowing spring, Boiling Springs offers diverse amenities, 18-hole golf, hiking and biking trails, fishing and more.

🚵🌲Try This: Take your first hike on one of this park’s beginner-friendly trails.

Little Sahara State Park

This park offers a true desert experience, with sand dunes climbing up to 75 feet tall.

🏜🤩Try This: Rent or bring your ATV and catch some sweet air!

Roman Nose State Park

A vast state park offering a wide range of lakeside and water activities. It also has modern comforts with a massive 22-room lodge.

🌲♨Try This: Visit each of the park’s three natural springs.

Salt Plains State Park

Otherworldly landscapes painted by prehistoric ocean flows define Salt Plains and its distinct ecology. The nearby refuge is home to over 300 species of bird alone.

⛏💎Try This: Dig for selenite crystals from April to mid-October.

Gloss Mountain State Park

At Gloss Mountain, you can park your RV or camp with a spectacular view of the “glossy” mountain landscape and nearby wildlife.

✨🪩Try This: See the shimmering, glass-like mountains of dense selenite.


📍 Northeast Oklahoma

Regional Vibes: 🚤🌄🏕🌲⛰🥾🚣🎣

This lush region is aptly named Green Country. Home to some of the best hiking, fishing and boating you can find anywhere. Green Country is where the wind whips down the hills and through the trees. Its historical sites also provide endless opportunities to learn more about one of America’s most storied regions.

Among the regional offerings are multiple state park areas established along the Grand Lake O' The Cherokees, perfect for solo or group boating and water sports. Wildlife enthusiasts will love northeast Oklahoman hiking trails for the diversity of nearby bird and animal populations.

Cherokee Area, Bernice Area, Disney Area, Spavinaw Area, Honey Creek Area, Little Blue Area, and Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park

These parks surrounding Grand Lake provide many different amenities and activities, meaning you can pick your favorite Grand Lake experience or visit them all! You’ll also find a fishing paradise with largemouth and white bass, sunfish, channel catfish, bluegill and more.

🌊🦅Try This: Watch eagles catching fish right out of the water in the early morning

Cherokee Landing State Park

This cozy park offers secluded comforts set on a peninsula on the north end of Lake Tenkiller. Activities include outdoor recreation like 9-hole golf and comfortable birding.

🌷🌼Try this: View the blooming wildflowers in springtime.

Keystone State Park

This park offers all manner of recreation and accommodation along gorgeous Keystone Lake. Its on-site offerings make it a prime choice for new and experienced boat enthusiasts.

🪵🎶Try this: Hear the crackle of a fireplace in one of the park’s 22 cabins, including options for romantic getaways.

Natural Falls State Park

This park is named for the 77-foot waterfall that cascades down to a secluded valley below. A thriving ecosystem of fern and moss makes the surrounding area unmistakable and unmissable for hikes and overnight stays in one of the park’s yurts.

🥏🏐Try this: Plan a day around courts and courses. Activities include disc golf, basketball,

volleyball and relaxing garden areas for rest.

Osage Hills State Park

This park can easily accommodate groups of all sizes and interests. You can relax poolside or take on one of the park’s more challenging trails as you take in surroundings that speak to the powerful and wondrous forces of forest, lake and bluff.

🦌🦃Try this: Keep an eye out for native deer, and keep an ear out for wild turkeys!

Sequoyah Bay State Park

Near Wagoner, this park unfolds along the shores of Fort Gibson Lake, meaning water sports, swimming and fishing are excellent options.

🧺🕊Try this: Go for a picnic and watch the doves, sparrows and chickadees.

Sequoyah State Park

This park, set on an extensive shoreline and 19,000 surface acres of water, features The Lodge at Sequoyah State Park, the largest set of park lodges in the state. Forty-five cottages and 104 rooms provide overnight accommodations to enjoy the park’s outdoor activities.

🐴🤠Try this: Mount up for Cowboy Camp at the Sequoyah Riding Stables.

Tenkiller State Park

The shimmering blue of Lake Tenkiller can set the stage for your next outdoor adventure. Often referred to as Oklahoma’s “heaven in the hills,” this park offers accommodation and activities for all ages.

🤿🌊Try this: Get your scuba on and explore history by finding the sunken artifacts of Tenkiller Lake!

Greenleaf State Park

Camping or lakeside cabin lodging at Greenleaf can provide memorable new experiences. You can walk the shore, play a round of mini golf or visit the amphitheater.

💦🏊Try this: Hit the splash pad on Greenleaf Lake.


📍 Southeast Oklahoma

Regional Vibes: 🛶🌲🏔🧗🌄🏞🌊

Heading southeast, you’ll be alongside or climbing up the majestic Ouachita Mountains. Hickory, oak and pine trees grow plentifully on winding mountain paths. Options for solo and group recreation are similar but distinct from offerings in the Northeast due to the presence of the Ouachitas, with both beginner and challenging trails for hikers and mountain bikers.

The mountains also mean you can catch glimpses of bald eagles, black bears and more along park trails in this area. Remember to bring your camera or keep your phone topped off for the many unforgettable sights this region offers through a state park visit.

Arrowhead State Park

Check out a wide range of watersport, fishing and hiking opportunities along the shores of Lake Eufaula, the largest man-made lake in Oklahoma! You can also play an 18-hole game at Arrowhead Golf Course.

🥾⛰Try this: Put your hiking skills to the test on the Outlaw Nature Trail, or try the Arrowhead Hiking Trail for the most advanced challenge.

Beavers Bend State Park

This park truly extends the wonder of secluded, winding forest paths darting through the trunks of majestic hardwood and pine trees. This enchanting space sets the stage for group or solo outdoor recreation and can instantly put you at mental and physical ease.

🏌🎾Try this: Hit the court or green and stay overnight in one of two on-site yurts.

Lake Texoma State Park

This is a prime park for fishing, known regionally for an active striped bass population. Convenient lakeside accommodations allow you to spend a day of fun on the water.

🎣🛶Try this: Fish with expert guides from the Texoma Striper Guide Association.

Lake Wister State Park

This park is situated along scenic Lake Wister and serves as a gateway to the grand Ouachita National Forest. Known for a lake full of fish and trails that provide rare glimpses of forest wildlife.

🏊💦Try this: Hit up the in-park water park with the fam.

McGee Creek State Park

McGee Creek features many different hiking and horse-riding trails and some of the best fishing and watersports in the region. Perch, crappie, sunfish and more populate the lake, and the surrounding trails are diverse with wildlife such as turkey, quail and deer.

🌅🪵Try this: Relax near the lake’s shore and watch the sunset by the warmth of a bonfire.

Raymond Gary State Park

This park offers lakefront recreation on the shores of Lake Raymond Gary. This park provides an ADA-accessible fishing dock, among other amenities.

🚤🌊Try this: Rent a paddleboat and take it out on the water.

Robbers Cave State Park

This park brings the Wild West to life as a historical mountain hideout for outlaws. This park was established as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program.

📜Try this: Become a “parkitect”! This park has tons of vintage and well-maintained
architecture to bring joy to any history buff.

Talimena State Park

Situated on the Oklahoma end of the Talimena National Scenic Drive, this park provides easy access to the beauty of all seasons. This is a great starting point if you plan on backpacking through the Ouachita National Forest.

🎁🛖Try this: If you love little gift shops, get a load of the cutie at Talimena State Park.


📍 Southwest Oklahoma

Regional Vibes: 🥾🏊🎣⛺☀🌅

Below Oklahoma’s entrance to the high plains, southwest Oklahoma is home to diverse flora, fauna and the natural beauty of landmarks like the Wichita Mountains. Several parks in this area (and across Oklahoma) have stood for nearly a century. History buffs and nature lovers will find much to love in southwest Oklahoma.

Fort Cobb State Park

This park’s diverse accommodations make it a great spot for a round of golf or a fishing retreat. Sunset Cove Marina can help you stock up on last-minute supplies or grab dinner with the family.

🏌⛳Try this: Work on your drive and leave your clubs with cart and club rentals on-site.

Great Plains State Park

This park offers ample trail opportunities for all skill levels, on foot or bike! Tom Steed Lake also offers awesome opportunities for fishing and watersports.

🪨⛏Try this: Visit the ruins of Gold Bells Mills and Mine, first established in 1904.

Quartz Mountain State Park

This is one of the state parks established by FDR’s New Deal. After multiple renovations and changes in ownership, it now offers world-class lodging as a renewed state park. Among other outdoor and water recreation, many visit for climbing and rappelling at Baldy Point.

🍔🥬Try this: Visit The Lookout for a delicious meal with locally sourced ingredients.

Foss State Park

This park is an excellent retreat for fans of disc golf, horseback riding, fishing, boating and camping.

☀🛶Try this: Check out the seasonal marina and rent a kayak.


Treat Yourself, #TravelOK 👌

Our diverse parks provide more than a few options for any interest. There are trails to climb, ramps to hit, games to play and experiences to be had solo or with the ones you love all across Oklahoma. What are you going to do first?

Whether you try one of the experiences above or something all your own, we want to hear about it. Use the hashtags #TravelOK and #OkieLife on social media to share your state park adventures with us and fellow explorers. You’re going to love what Oklahoma has to find!

The information and topics features are for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. All financial situations and circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. Seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, or legal counsel to obtain guidance specific to your needs.