If you really want to reconnect with nature, there’s no better way than tent camping. We’ve rounded up a sampler of eight unique campgrounds in some of Oklahoma’s most popular outdoor recreation areas to inspire your next camping trip.
Whether you’re looking for something cozy and secluded or prefer wide open spaces under a starry sky, pack up your tent, grab your compass and navigate your way to an amazing Oklahoma camping experience.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur is a camping paradise with ample opportunity for hiking, swimming, biking, boating and more. Here cool creeks flow over travertine terraces to create spring-fed swimming holes and rippling waterfalls throughout the park.
Spend the day boating or just relaxing along the shores of the Lake of the Arbuckles, known as one of the best fishing lakes in Oklahoma. Hike forested trails that lead to mineral springs, scenic bluffs and even a resident buffalo herd, and don’t forget to visit the Travertine Nature Center to learn about the area’s wildlife. Set up camp and explore the area, which includes several refreshing springs and the Little Niagara swimming hole.
Three campgrounds, The Point, Guy Sandy and Buckhorn, offer electric and water hookups as well as primitive tent campsites for individuals and families within the park. Buckhorn Campground offers 134 sites, comfort stations, showers and 42 sites with electric hookups. The Point Campground, just northeast of Buckhorn, offers 55 sites, comfort stations, showers and 22 sites with electric hookups. Guy Sandy Campground offers 40 tent sites and a more rugged experience without electricity, comfort stations or showers.
Located along the gently flowing Lower Mountain Fork River and near Broken Bow Lake, Beavers Bend State Park offers unparalleled camping opportunities. Pack up your supplies and head to one of the 10 tent campgrounds located in the park. The Beavers Bend area offers tent camping in five campgrounds primarily situated on the northwest side of the Lower Mountain Fork River. Rise early and enjoy a majestic view of mist rising from the surface of the river as the sun comes up.
Located at either end of the Big Oak Nature Trail are the Grapevine and Hickory campgrounds, each with a picnic area and vault toilets. Elm Campground is closest to the riding stables and if you’re looking for tent camping with plenty of family-friendly amenities, try the Dogwood Campground which features a picnic area, children’s playground and a trout fishing area. Just a short walk away is a sandy swimming beach, miniature golf course and paddleboat rental. Located on the extreme southeast end of Beavers Bend State Park is a completely isolated, primitive campground.
Rent a canoe or kayak from Beavers Bend River Floats located inside the park and enjoy the two and a half mile float trip down the river. Feel the fresh air on your face as you gently paddle your way along the river. Rocky outcroppings and sandbars are scattered throughout the area, perfect for a lunchtime stopping point where you can cool off in the water. The park also offers a variety of activities including a 1/3 scale train ride through the park, riding stables, boat rentals and the Forest Heritage Center.
Just north of the river along the shores of the Broken Bow Lake, the Hochatown Area offers ample camping opportunities at five additional campgrounds: Hawk, Deer, Coyote, Eagle and Blue Jay. Each of these campgrounds is located near the lake, providing you with beautiful views of the setting sun as you roast marshmallows over an open fire.
Nestled alongside Greenleaf Lake in the lush mountainous terrain of northeastern Oklahoma, Greenleaf State Park is a hidden gem providing endless family fun. An 18-hole miniature golf course, aquatic center, lake swimming beach, playground and children’s programs will keep the little ones entertained, while mom and dad will enjoy the hiking trails and free pontoon boat tours. After a full day of exploring, get the family together around a bonfire and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Pitch your tent and relax under the stars at Eagle’s Nest, Lakeview, Trailhead Point or Gobbler Ridge Campgrounds.
If you’re looking for amenities at Greenleaf State Park, pick the Lakeview Campground with two multi-use centers, a playground, picnic area, nature hut, boat ramp and comfort station with hot showers and laundry facilities. If hiking or mountain biking is your thing, try camping at Trailhead Point Campground, near the park’s 18-mile trail system which includes a swinging bridge over a cove of Greenleaf Lake.
Lake Murray State Park in Ardmore offers seemingly limitless tent camping opportunities on nearly 13,000 acres surrounding beautiful Lake Murray in south central Oklahoma. Tent camping areas include the Field Trial Area, ATV/Motorcycle Area, Martin’s Landing, Rock Tower, Marietta Landing, Ski Jump, Buzzard’s Roost, Tipp’s Point and Duke’s Forest.
Just one of a handful of state parks with an on-site ATV area, guests can come for the day or select a campsite and stay to their heart’s content. The 1,100-acre ATV area is open from 8:00 a.m. until dark each day and offers a large parking and staging area. Select from 16 tent campsites or 29 RV sites. If you’re looking for something a little quieter, roll your sleeping bag out at the Rock Tower tent camping area, which is nestled amongst mature shade trees and offers more privacy than other areas.
For a more modern camping experience, check out the popular Tipp’s Point area. This campground offers 60 tents sites and 28 RV sites, which come complete with 30 amp electric service and water hookups. Most of the tent spaces come with a picnic table and grill, and the campground is conveniently located by a boat ramp and the Buckhorn Trail. Lace up your hiking boots and grab a camera to document new family memories along the shores of the lake.
Surrounded on three sides by the clear water of Fort Gibson Lake, Sequoyah State Park is a peaceful peninsula perfect for your next camping trip. Wildlife is abundant within the park and a nature center gives campers an up close and personal view of some of the park’s creatures. At Sequoyah State Park, you might just awaken to find your tent surrounded by grazing deer or wild turkeys early in the morning.
The Creek, Choctaw and Paradise Cove campgrounds offer water and electric hookups, showers, shelters and boat ramps for campers’ convenience. The Choctaw Campground is also located near the swimming beach. Hikers at Sequoyah State Park will love the Paradise Cove Campground, which is circled by the Eagle Roost Trail. Paradise Cove Campground is also the closest campground to the marina and paddle boat rental areas.
Tour the beautiful park on horseback at the Sequoyah Riding Stables or explore the 2-mile paved trail that twists and turns throughout the park. Cool off with a dip in the park’s zero-entry pool located at the lodge or enjoy a cold drink while lounging in a poolside chair. A restaurant inside the park’s lodge offers campers an alternative to campfire fare. Sequoyah State Park also has an 18-hole golf course and pro shop where guests can rent equipment and putt the day away.
In addition to being the home of free range prairie dogs, elk, deer, longhorn cattle and buffalo, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is also the location of Mount Scott, one of Oklahoma’s most prominent mountains. Guests can partake in nearly any kind of outdoor hobby including hiking, fishing, rock climbing, mountain biking, birding and more at the refuge.
Overnight guests can stay at the Doris Campground, the only public campground on the refuge. Located on the banks of Quanah Parker Lake, Doris Campground offers 47 sites without electricity and 23 sites with electricity for either tent or RV campers. An additional 20 sites are available for tent camping only. All campsites come with a grill, fire ring and picnic table. A comfort station featuring flush toilets and showers is centrally located in the campground. Fish the clear waters of the still lake, hike and go boulder hopping on the rocky terrain or tell ghost stories around a campfire under the stars.
The Illinois River in Tahlequah, Oklahoma offers sixty miles of winding river with shady tree overhang, mild rapids, a rock bottom and clear waters. This Class II river is perfect for novices and experts alike, as guests can choose from a variety of distances and watercraft to suit their needs. Rent a canoe, raft or kayak and drink in the beautiful scenery of the river, walk along the banks or enjoy bountiful fishing holes. After a full day of exploring the river, kick back in a hammock and enjoy the sounds of nature from your campsite. A dozen or so float trip outfitters also offer campgrounds along the banks of the scenic river for tenters and RVers.
For those who enjoy complete solitude, a handful of outfitters and campgrounds offer back country camping on overnight canoe trips. Services vary by outfitter, and most offer pick-up and drop-off transportation for guests floating the river.
The Ouachita National Forest is a 352,000-acre recreation area complete with breathtaking views, hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, hunting, fishing and even hang gliding. Four campgrounds - the Billy Creek Campground, Cedar Lake, Cedar Lake Equestrian Camp and Winding Stair Campground - are available to the public. Billy Creek Campground offers 12 sites, each of which has a picnic table and either fire pit or grill. A vault toilet and two water spigots are available for campers.
Cedar Lake Campground is made up of three loops including the North Shore, South Shore and Shady Lane Campgrounds. These campgrounds offer a diverse mixture of experiences ranging from primitive to modern. North Shore has been renovated, but still retains some of the nostalgia of the Civilian Conservation Corps structures built in the 1930s. Mature trees surround the property, which also has a boat ramp and fishing pier on the premises.
Looking for a camping experience to share with your horse? You’ll both love the Cedar Lake Equestrian Campground. This large camp boasts nearly 100 miles of horse trails and renovated facilities for both horse and rider, including comfort stations, picnic pavilions, horse corrals, hitching posts and wash racks.
The Winding Stair Campground is located just off the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Four double, and 23 single campsites are available, and a comfort station is on site with flush toilets and warm showers. For secluded peace and relaxation, stay at the backpacker’s camp which is only accessible by foot and is located near the Winding Stair Campground. Backpack to the camp, which features five tent pads, a table, fire ring and toilet, to reconnect with nature and enjoy quiet solitude.
For more information on Oklahoma camping and campgrounds, visit our Camping page where you’ll find photos, videos, more articles and listings for over 400 places to enjoy camping in Oklahoma.