Planning a vacation is a daunting challenge when you must arrange activities to satisfy family members of all ages. Here's a suggestion: At an Oklahoma State Park, you can find indoor and outdoor fun all in one place.
Although most state parks are located on lakes, a swimming pool also is welcome relief in the heat of summer. The pools at Red Rock Canyon, Tenkiller, Greenleaf, Boiling Springs, Osage Hills and Robbers Cave State Parks opened during Memorial Day Weekend. At Grand Lake State Park in northeastern Oklahoma, the pool at Honey Creek has reopened after being closed for several years.
“The pool has always been a popular attraction at the park,” said Grand Lake park Manager Sherri Burris. “Some maintenance updates were addressed while it was closed but the swimming pool is now open and available for park guests.”
Another option for cooling down in the summer sun is the spray park at Lake Wister State Park in southeastern Oklahoma. The spray park features jets of water that shoot up from below the surface or spray down from fixed structures, making this attraction popular with younger family members.
Privately-owned concessions at many parks offer a variety of entertaining activities for guests on and off the water. Family-oriented venues in some parks include miniature golf, snow cone stands, bumper boats, trains, canoes, kayaks and water sports. If you love the lake but don't own a boat, you can still enjoy fun on the waves. Marina operations in several parks offer fishing boats, houseboat and personal watercraft rentals, gas docks, ship stores and slip rentals.
Visitors might agree that trekking down a trail is sometimes easier on four legs than two. Stables at Roman Nose, Robbers Cave, Beavers Bend, Lake Murray, Lake Thunderbird and Sequoyah parks offer guided trail rides to specific areas in the parks. In addition, horse owners can bring their own mounts, saddle up and ride on miles of equestrian trails at Foss, Walnut Creek, Great Salt Plains and Robbers Cave to indulge in their favorite sport.
From birds, bees and bats to slithering snakes and squirrels, animals can be entertaining and a joy to watch in their natural habitat. For a fun and different way to learn about nature, plants and animals, visit an Oklahoma State Park nature center. Live animals, educational displays and naturalist programs help visitors of all ages understand more about our biological surroundings.
For golfers, this is the time of year to work on putting, chipping and perfecting a swing.
At seven state parks with golf courses, the diverse play areas are sure to satisfy every player's range of skills from the novice to the professional.
Locations include: Arrowhead at Lake Eufaula, Cedar Creek at Beavers Bend, Fort Cobb, Grand Cherokee, Lake Murray, Roman Nose and Sequoyah.
This vacation season, spend quality time with family members in the fresh air and great outdoors and enjoy the recreational facilities offered at your Oklahoma state parks, lodges and golf courses.
For more information and ideas on travel destinations, visit TravelOK.com.
Keli Clark is marketing coordinator for Oklahoma State Parks.