Many consider Oklahoma to be the heart of America, and it’s easy to see why. With breathtaking landscapes, 200 lakes, and palatial mountain ranges, the state is a sight to behold for anyone who loves the outdoors and who dreams of going camping in Oklahoma. The state also has a rich history, dating back to the Native Americans.
If you plan on visiting Oklahoma anytime soon, or you’re a native looking for spots to camp, this article is for you. From hiking trails and canoeing to whitewater rafting and horseback riding, the Sooner state has it all! Not to mention the state has nearly 300 days of sunshine every year, making it one of the best places to go camping; no matter if you’re in an RV or tent.
Here are some of the best places to go camping in Oklahoma:
1. Robbers Cave State Park
When it comes to camping in Oklahoma, Robbers Cave State Park is one of my favorite places to go. So named for its historic use as a hiding place for infamous villains like Belle Starr and Jesse James. In this breathtaking park, you will be pleased to find a range of options to suit your camping style.
Enjoy a memorable camping experience at one of 86 primitive campsites situated along picturesque hiking trails. Make yourself at home among the more central campgrounds of Deep Ford or Dogwood. Take your tent and claim a spot near majestic Lake Carlton or Lake Wayne Wallace.
RV owners will find that 22 full hookup campsites, complete with sewer, are available as well as another 64 sites that offer hookups for water and electricity. For those campers who are horse owners, consider taking advantage of the nearby designated campground where trailers, pens, and roaming space may be reserved for use.
2. Beavers Bend State Park
No matter which of the 10 campgrounds you decide to visit, you are guaranteed to have the privilege of exploring the flourishing landscape. The beauty of this park awaits you.
Situated along Lower Mountain Fork River, Beavers Bend State Park is the perfect place to watch a misty river sunrise, have a picnic lunch on some rocks near the water’s edge, breathe in the fresh air as you stroll by Broken Bow Lake, or drift peacefully along the river in a rented kayak or canoe from Beavers Bend River Floats.
You will find the tent camping grounds on the northwest side of Lower Mountain Fork River. During your stay, you may want to plan time for horseback riding, touring the state park via scenic train ride, and visiting the Forest Heritage Center.
3. Greenleaf State Park
Another great place to go camping in Oklahoma is Greenleaf State Park.
Fun for everyone from the avid camping expert to the vacationing family can be found at Greenleaf State Park. Tucked close to Greenleaf Lake, this popular relaxation spot offers closeness to the serenity of nature as well as plenty of entertainment for everyone.
Surrounded by rich greenery and mountains, you will swim from the beach of the lake and laugh through 18 holes of mini golf. Kids will have the chance to make lasting memories with new friends on the playground or in the children’s programs available for your enjoyment, while parents have a chance to explore the great outdoors through boating or hiking.
Set up camp at any one of the grounds- choose from Trailhead Point, Lakeview, Eagle’s Nest, or Gobbler Ridge and let yourself feel right at home. Bond together with stories and s’mores around the campfire before a peaceful night in your tent.
4. Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve
Tap into your adventurous side and make your way to Black Mesa State Park, where you will behold stunning views of the Oklahoma plains. Camp near others among the 12 bunkhouses, park your RV at one of the 29 spots featuring hookups for water and electric, or take your pick of the 25 available camping sites and stake down your tent.
Once you’ve made sure to take in the impressive sights unique to this preserve, relax with a picnic or some in-season trout fishing. Take the kids to the playground and then shower off after a day of outdoor fun. Slow down and take your time at this destination, because Black Mesa is a must-see for any camper.
5. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Keep your eyes open for buffalo as you swim, hike, boat or bike your way through one of Oklahoma’s most inviting camping spots. Chickasaw National Recreation Area is located in Sulphur and rich with natural charm.
Mineral springs and sparkling creeks add character and balance to the land here- there are waterfalls and lakes and more for visitors to discover. Plan to take a dip in the Little Niagara swimming hole, or enjoy some of the best fishing in the state out on the Lake of the Arbuckles in a rented boat.
Hit the trails for a hike and relish the opportunity to take in the scenery. You’ll notice the presence of wildlife, which you can learn more about if you stop in at the Travertine Nature Center.
6. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Pick your favorite campsite at the Doris Campground beside Quanah Parker Lake before venturing forth to catch a glimpse of some of the resident animals that call the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge home. You can choose from 47 sites without electricity and 23 sites that offer electricity and are equipped for both tent or RV guests.
Once you’ve managed to snap some pictures of the wild elk, longhorn cattle, buffalo, you can see the famous Mount Scott, spend leisurely hours fishing or birding, or challenge yourself with some mountain biking or rock climbing.
7. Illinois River
Whether you plan to scope out the perfect spot for yourself along the banks or take advantage of one of the several designated campgrounds where you can charter a float excursion, you can take to the water and appreciate the scenery.
This Class II river the main attraction for visitors of all skill levels. The rapids are tame enough for beginners to try their hand at kayaking, rafting or canoeing. If you prefer to admire your surroundings from the banks, you’ll find shady spots for strolling or fishing. The Illinois River meanders for about 60 lovely miles, so you can be confident there’s a perfect spot with your name on it.
8. Sequoyah State Park & Fort Gibson Lake
Sequoyah State Park easily makes the list with its golf course and pro shop, lodge and relaxing swimming pool. If you’re tired of campfire meals, there is a restaurant at the lodge that is open to camping guests. A drink by the pool before dinner going out for dinner might be a fun change of pace in the middle of a camping trip!
Meanwhile, deer grazing through your campsite or the call of a wild turkey in the morning are not unusual, and more traditional activities like horseback riding and exploring the park’s nature center and two mile long trail connect you to this captivating oasis, which is bordered on three sides by Fort Gibson Lake.
9. Ouachita National Forest
Among the 352,000 acre Ouachita National Forest, campers seek out the peace and quiet of the Winding Stair Campground and the nearby backpacker’s camp. The backpacker’s camp is more primitive, requiring that campers travel on foot to reach the sequestered grounds featuring 5 camping pads, a designated area for building a fire and also a toilet and table for convenience.
If you prefer the Winding Stair Campground, which sits close to Talimena National Scenic Byway, you’ll have 23 single campsites and 4 double campsites to choose from, plus convenient access to bathroom amenities like warm showers and flushing toilets.
Once you’ve found the ideal place to pitch your tent for some camping in Oklahoma, head out for adventure and thrills by bicycle, horseback, or hang glider. You’re in luck if you like to hunt or fish, and you’ll also be free to kick back and take in the sights and sounds of the first around you.
10. Boiling Springs State Park
Number 10 on the list is Boiling Springs State Park, one of 7 original Oklahoma state parks, where guests enter through a welcome center and first lay eyes on the famous “boiling” spring that inspired the park’s name.
Water and animal life primarily adorn this unique terrain. You won’t find much green in this type of drier climate, but the beautiful expanse of prairie and contrast of the streams and lakes here speak to the distinctly northwestern charm of this camping and hiking retreat.
11. Red Rock Canyon Adventure Park
Last, but not least on our list for the best places to go camping in Oklahoma is Red Rock Canyon Adventure Park.
30 minutes away from downtown Oklahoma City sits what was once a 300 acre state park, where you will find impressive red rock cliffs formed by soil deposits from the prehistoric era.
This expanse of fascinating topography once served as a well-known landmark along a travel route called the California Road, used by Gold Rush prospectors headed west during the 1800s. Now it serves as an attraction for campers and outdoors enthusiasts alike.
Visitors come here for the rock climbing, hiking, and visually striking landscape as well as the chance to enjoy leisurely activities like using the swimming pool in season, fishing, birding and picnicking. Don’t forget to experience the California Road Nature Trail! The canyon rim is a popular hiking spot, but can be slippery, so guests are encouraged to use caution.
What’s Your Favorite Place To Go Camping In Oklahoma?
Oklahoma truly is a beautiful state with camping options galore. We’d love to hear where your favorite place to go camping in Oklahoma is, let us know in the comments below.
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