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.
Want to see the greatest light show on earth? Look to the night sky at one of Oklahoma’s secluded stargazing hotspots. Enjoy awe-inspiring views from the back porch of a resort lodge with all the comforts of home, or take in the show from your backcountry campsite at a state park. Whether you join one of the orchestrated “star parties” in remote corners of the state or strike out on your own stargazing adventure, come to Oklahoma and see the universe in a whole new light.
Central Oklahoma’s Frontier Country is home to a number of fantastic lakes that are uniquely connected to their urban surroundings. Here you can explore Oklahoma’s capitol city at lunchtime and be on the water by the afternoon. Whether you’re looking for water sport adventures, leisurely swimming opportunities or excellent fishing spots, you’ll find it at a lake in central Oklahoma. You learned more about beautiful Lake Thunderbird in our "Big Six" lake overview, now read about a few of the region’s top lakes and make plans to come see what makes central Oklahoma a great place to hit the water.
Northeastern Oklahoma is lake country, pure and simple. There are plenty of reasons to visit this part of the state—the phenomenal cities, tallgrass prairies and wildlife preserves are just a few of them—but lakeside fun and relaxation is far and away the area’s biggest draw. We profiled the popular Grand Lake O' the Cherokees in our overview of Oklahoma's top lakes, but there are so many more fantastic lakes to be found in the region. Since it can be hard to figure out what lake is perfect for your next getaway, we’ve made it easier by overviewing some of the region’s top lakes and highlighting their most unique attractions. If you’re not already planning your next Green Country lakeside getaway, this rundown might be just the inspiration you need.
Water may be in shorter supply in northwestern Oklahoma’s Red Carpet Country, but there are still plenty of amazing places to take a swim, cast your line or take out the boat in this geographically distinct area. Characterized by majestic mesas and wide swaths of shortgrass prairie, Red Carpet Country is home to some of the most unique lakes in Oklahoma. We covered Kaw Lake in Ponca City in our overview of the state's major lakes, so now read all about these high-plains oases and make plans to visit this one-of-a-kind region today.
Boasting some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state, Choctaw Country in southeastern Oklahoma is home to stunning vistas and more than a few amazing lakes. Marked by rolling timber, wooded mountains and cypress-lined bayous, this stunning setting creates the perfect backdrop for the area’s sparkling lakes. You read all about gorgeous Broken Bow Lake in our "Big Six" overview of the state's top lakes, but check out our round-up of the area’s other fantastic bodies of water and start planning your next Choctaw Country adventure.
Wide open spaces and boulder-strewn mountains make Great Plains Country in southwestern Oklahoma one of the most awe-inspiring regions of the state. The area is also home to a number of fantastic lakes where you can enjoy water sports, swimming, boating, fishing and more. We profiled Lake Altus-Lugert in our "Big Six" overview of Oklahoma lakes, but take a look at some of the top lakes in southwestern Oklahoma and come see what makes this part of the state a can’t-miss destination for outdoors enthusiasts.