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100% Natural at Oklahoma’s State Parks

Oklahoma’s natural appeal is evident at its 32 state parks.

The diversity of geography and activities makes the parks equally appealing for groups, but for different reasons. The state’s five lodges have been renovated and updated at Lake Murray State Park, Beavers Bend State Park, Roman Nose State Park, Sequoyah State Park and Robbers Cave State Park.

This is the first year that these lodges are offering established group rates, according to Todd Stallbaumer, consumer and trade marketing director for Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation. He also mentioned that Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation is working on itineraries to create experiences around these five parks.

Janet Logan, division sales manager for Oklahoma State Parks, added that the parks offer a variety of customization options as well.

“We’ll be setting up itineraries, but we’re also happy to work on customized itineraries too,” she said. “Each park has great history and lies within 30 minutes of other attractions, so day trips are quite popular. For instance, antique shopping is terrific near Lake Murray, Sequoyah and Beavers Bend.”

Lake Murray State Park and Lodge


Halfway between Oklahoma City and Dallas, Lake Murray State Park and Lodge gives a nod to the Chickasaw culture. It is Oklahoma’s first and largest park and lies on the shores of Lake Murray. Tucked into the heavily forested, rolling hills, the new nature center and iconic Tucker Tower History Center afford panoramic views for those who want to climb to the top.

The park’s new state-of-the-art lodge is projected to open in December. The lodge will offer a campus-type setting, a conference center and a full-service restaurant overlooking the water. Visitors can also stay in cabins that are close to the lodge.

Groups can enjoy a sunset dinner cruise, watch local entertainment, attend presentations on the park’s history and take in a naturalist-led program. The lake offers swimming, fishing, boating and scuba diving in its clear waters. Sports facilities include an 18-hole, par-72 golf course with a pro shop, tennis courts, softball and baseball fields, and horseshoe pits. Diverse terrain and exceptional trails make it a favorite for hiking, horseback and ATV enthusiasts.

Beavers Bend State Park

Broken Bow

Also in the southeastern mountainous region, Beavers Bend State Park features pine and hardwood forests and abundant water. It’s one of the most photographed areas of the state, and many visitors are surprised that its terrain exists in Oklahoma.

“This park is especially gorgeous in the fall,” said Logan. “A beautiful fall road trip lies between Beavers Bend State park and Robbers Cave State Park. It can be found on the Travel Oklahoma itineraries, and it’s one I’ve never forgotten.”

The park’s updated Lakeview Lodge lies on the shores of Broken Bow Lake. Its 40 rooms include a private patio or a balcony that affords views of the crystal-clear lake. Groups can also choose to stay in the park’s 48 cabins, which are located approximately eight miles from the lodge. The Forest Heritage Center, near the cabins, offers small meeting rooms for groups.

Activity options include horseback riding, canoe and paddleboat rentals, a swimming beach, a marina, the 18-hole Cedar Creek golf course and the 26-mile David Boren hiking trail. Trout streams are stocked year-round with two catch-and-release trophy areas.

“This year, the park has a number of new concessions, including duck boat tours, a zip line and a miniature train,” said Keli Clark, marketing coordinator for Oklahoma State Parks. “And the Forest Heritage Center houses the history of the park and forestry of southeastern Oklahoma.”

Elizabeth Hey

Elizabeth Hey is a member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association and has received numerous awards for her writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @travelbyfork.