Outdoor Recreation Areas
With 11 distinct ecoregions holding wonders like towering mesas and plateaus, serene swimming beaches, peaceful prairies and towering forests that stretch for miles, the variety of beauty in Oklahoma is awe-inspiring. Visitors who head outdoors in Oklahoma find the diversity to be outstanding. It’s a state where you can canoe leisurely through calm waters on the Illinois River or Lower Mountain Fork River or embark on a strenuous climb up steep canyon walls at Red Rock Canyon or Robbers Cave State Park. Go bird watching at one of the state’s many refuges like the Hackberry Flats Wildlife Management Area or watch a massive herd of bison stampede through native grasses at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
Hikers will find a multitude of hiking trails from leisurely strolls through paved nature trails to extreme boulder-hopping at Charon’s Garden Trail within the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton. Mountain biking is also a favorite pastime at the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area in Tulsa and many of Oklahoma’s 35 state parks.
The outdoor attractions in Oklahoma deserve to be seen from every angle. Check out our stunning state from beneath the surface of Lake Tenkiller’s underwater scuba park or admire it from 500 feet above Grand Lake on a parasailing adventure. Watch a crystal clear creek reflect the starry sky turning into morning or see the stunning blue skies turn into a magical sunset over rolling green hills.
Whatever outdoor escape you’re seeking, it’s waiting for you in Oklahoma. Order our free Outdoor Recreation Guide to learn more about the incredible outdoor offerings in the state then travel to Oklahoma to experience for yourself the serenity, beauty and adventure the state has to offer.
South-central Oklahoma is a lake lover’s paradise, featuring many of the state’s most popular water attractions nestled among rolling blackjack prairie and ancient mountains that make this region a sight to behold. You’ve seen our profile of Lake Murray in our overview of the state’s top lakes, but check out some of these other major areas and start planning your next lakeside adventure in Chickasaw Country.
Featuring more shoreline than the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined, Oklahoma wears its Lake Country badge with pride. Glistening lakes in every corner of the state have beckoned swimmers, anglers, outdoors enthusiasts and casual vacationers for generations. Whether you want to take a swim surrounded by rolling hills, reel in the big one among ancient mountains or pilot your watercraft around lush forested shoreline, there’s a lake for every taste in the Sooner State. Here’s our rundown of standout lakes from each region of the state.
Hot Oklahoma summers and cold natural swimming holes are a classic combination.
Explore these natural beauties and discover the diversity of Oklahoma's gorgeous scenery and inspirational places. Admire a beautiful waterfall, trek along a scenic byway overlooking forested hills or hike among ancient mountains - and that's just the beginning.
Each winter you can follow Oklahoma eagles on a path to adventure with these handy eagle viewing tips and this list of top statewide eagle watching hot spots.
The Illinois River in Tahlequah offers a gentle, moderate current and plenty of canoe, kayak and raft outfitters along its scenic banks, making it a favorite float trip destination.