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.
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Located just a short drive east of Lake Murray, Lake Texoma is one of the region’s premier destinations for boating, bass fishing and all sorts of outdoor recreation. Serving as the gateway between Chickasaw and Choctaw Country along southern Oklahoma’s border with Texas, the state’s second largest lake is a paradise for outdoor recreation enthusiasts of all stripes. Featuring many swimming, camping and picnic areas, Lake Texoma State Park is a great place to get away and enjoy the great outdoors.
After spending quality time on the water, kick back with a cold Texoma Lager at Sneaky Tiki Brewery in Mead where you can enjoy a fantastic meal and handcrafted brews in a fun lakeside atmosphere. BG’s Catch in Kingston is another great option, offering an all-you-can eat catfish buffet with all the trimmings (and don’t forget the homemade ice cream and peach cobbler!). See if your fishing luck carries over at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, where you can try your hand at 48 blackjack tables or 32 poker tables in this 300,000 square foot gaming center and resort. There are plenty of fun ways to round out your next trip to beautiful Lake Texoma.
Forming the western portion of the stunning Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the Lake of the Arbuckles is another popular fishing destination in south-central Oklahoma. Come explore 36 miles of gorgeous shoreline and protective coves as you try your hand at catching crappie, catfish, largemouth bass, white bass, bluegill and many other species that call this lake home. Pitch your tent at one of three campgrounds and get to know this beautiful area just outside of Sulphur.
If you need to rejuvenate with some indoor pampering after your trip, book a stay at Sulphur’s Artesian Hotel, Casino & Sole’renity Spa. Follow your spa treatment with some retail therapy at Okie Twister Co, where you can grab a variety of made-in-Oklahoma home decor, gift baskets, apparel and more. After that, satisfy your sweet tooth at the Bedré Cafe, a 1950s-style deli and soda fountain featuring specialty Oklahoma-made treats from Bedré Fine Chocolate in Davis, where you can go view the manufacturing floor and how these decadent chocolates are made.
Turner Falls Park doesn’t have a proper lake, in the true sense of the word, but we couldn’t help but include it. That’s because Turner Falls has been one of the state’s most beloved water recreation sites for decades, and it continues to call new generations of swimmers, hikers and outdoor thrill seekers from all over. Come swim beneath a 77-foot waterfall and explore rippling creeks, natural swimming pools and caves peppered throughout this amazing park. You can also hit the hiking trails stitched throughout the rugged Arbuckle Mountains, fly through the air on the thrilling 777 Zip or pitch your tent at one of the primitive campsites and call it an evening. Whatever outdoor fun means to you, you’ll find it at Turner Falls Park.
Of course, no Turner Falls getaway is complete without a visit to Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies. Located conveniently near the entrance of the park just off I-35, this Oklahoma institution serves up mouthwatering fried pies that are the stuff of legend among locals and travelers alike. If you’re in a more savory mood, journey down the road to Smokin’ Joes Rib Ranch in Davis where you can feast on smoky delights like succulent ribs, tender brisket and irresistible pulled pork cooked slow and low for optimum flavor. A trip to either of these southern Oklahoma hotspots is the perfect way to round out your visit to Turner Falls Park.