Budget-Friendly Summer Travel Ideas in Oklahoma

Beat the heat with these budget-friendly getaways and focus on spending time, not money.

Due to COVID-19 requirements and recommendations, many Oklahoma businesses and attractions have made changes to their hours of operation and available services. This may include some destinations mentioned in this article. We encourage all potential visitors to contact the business or attraction directly before visiting for up-to-date information. For Oklahoma State Health Department information and recommendations, visit the COVID-19 resource page.
Gage Artesian Beach is a natural swimming area with cement sides like a pool and a sandy bottom like a lake.
Photo Credit: Lori Duckworth

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Just because the temperature has gone up doesn’t mean your vacation budget has to rise as well. Plan your next affordable Oklahoma vacation with ease thanks to these hot summer travel ideas that won’t break the bank. All pricing shown is for 2020.

Swimming Holes

Treat the whole family to a dip in cool waters at one of Oklahoma’s natural swimming holes. For just $10 per carload, Blue Hole Park in Salina is a popular summertime destination for its clear, cool waters. Or, head over to Gage Artesian Beach to swim in mineral-laden waters for just $2 per person. You can also experience flowing springs for free at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur or the public access areas along the Illinois River in Tahlequah.  

State Park Swimming Pools

Slide in to summer savings at one of Oklahoma’s nine state park pools. Remember that the pools are open seasonally, so please call ahead to check hours and availability.

Boiling Springs State Park in Woodward: $4 for swimmers, $1 for non-swimmers and free for guests ages 2 & under.

Honey Creek Area at Grand Lake State Park in Grove: Free for paid park guests.

Lake Murray State Park in Ardmore: Free for lodge and cabin guests.

Osage Hills State Park in Pawhuska: Guests 7 & older: $4; Guests 6 & under: $2. (Cash or check only)

Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton: $3 per person, per session.

Roman Nose State Park in Watonga: (2020 UPDATE: Pool is closed due to maintenance issues.)

Sequoyah State Park in Hulbert: Free to lodge and cabin guests.

Tenkiller State Park in Vian: Free to guests.

Drive-In Theaters

Pack your snacks and start making memories at one of Oklahoma’s nostalgic drive-in movie theaters. For just $7, adults can catch a flick or two at the Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa, Beacon Drive-In Theater in Guthrie, Tower Drive-In Movie Theater in Poteau or Winchester Drive-In in Oklahoma City. Admission to the El-Co Drive-In Theatre in Shattuck is even cheaper at an extremely affordable $4 for adults. Movie-goers at Chief Drive-In Theatre in Ninnekah will be charged $4 per person and $20 per car. Be sure to ask about discounted admission for children, and bring cash because it is the only form of currency accepted at many of thee theaters.

Roadside Oddities

Oklahoma’s roadside oddities are sprinkled all across the state from big city attractions like Tulsa’s Golden Driller and Oklahoma City’s Milk Bottle Grocery to the Creek County Frog Rock in Mannford and the Spider VW Bug in Lexington. Whether you’re looking for the world’s highest hill or the world’s largest peanut, you’ll find it in the Sooner State. Grab some friends, hop in the car and discover over 50 quirky roadside attractions across the state.

Tours

Braum’s Family Farm: Cool off with a sweet treat and free factory tour from Braum’s Family Farm in Tuttle. Visitors will get a behind-the-scenes peek at how Braum’s delicious ice cream is made with a guided tour Monday through Friday with advance reservations.

U-Pick Farms

Summer means fresh fruit, and u-pick farms in Oklahoma are ready to deliver. For just a few dollars, you can spend some relaxing time on a farm selecting fresh fruit to take home and enjoy. You’ll find abundant strawberries from May to June; sand plums from May to July; blueberries from June to July; peaches from June to September; blackberries from July to August; raspberries from July to August; wine grapes from July to September; and prickly pears from August to September. Take a look at the Summer Jelly-Making Farms article to find a location near you.

Budget-Friendly Events

Baseball: Celebrate America’s favorite pastime and catch a Tulsa Drillers baseball game. For just $7 per person, you can spread out a blanket on the lawn and cheer on the home team.

Art Walks: Scope out an art walk near you to enjoy free gallery showings, live music and wine tastings. Monthly art walks are held in Enid, Norman and Oklahoma City.

Food Festivals: Enjoy the bounty of the season with one of Oklahoma’s delicious food festivals. Kick off your food festival frenzy at the Fort Gibson Sweet Corn Festival in June, then in July visit the Valliant Watermelon Festival, Porter Peach Festival, Stratford Peach Festival, McLoud Blackberry Festival and the Jay Huckleberry Festival. August rounds out the food festivals with the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival. Each festival is free to attend, and many also offer free tastings.

County Fairs: Oklahoma’s county fairs start as early as July and run well into the fall season. With free admission, you’ll be able to spend hours browsing through local competitions and enjoying live music. Plus, for just a couple bucks, you can also enjoy midway rides and hot kettle corn.

State Park Cabins

Summertime is a great time to explore an Oklahoma state park. With a variety of cabins, cottages and lake huts spread across the state, these budget-friendly getaways can’t be beat. Visit during the summer and return in the winter for even lower rates. Check out this booking link to see rates and availability.

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