There are quite a few things to do in Oklahoma that are family friendly, fun and will make good memories. In Oklahoma, we have 10 distinct ecological regions. Some of those regions include arid plains to mountains and subtropical forests, so there are plenty of activities to be found in Oklahoma on the beaten path, or even off the beaten path.
I am going to stick to just a few family friendly activities in Oklahoma that reside on the beaten path. These day-adventures are great if you are spending a week, weekend, or just driving through Oklahoma on vacation. It is also of course great for locals too!
Kayaking is a new found activity for my family. I have wanted to kayak for a very long time, but just never got around to it until a co-worker of mine (who is heavily involved in this water sport) told me about OKC Kayak demo days! Demo days are scheduled in on a public event calendar on their website, and set for a certain day, time, and place. Anyone can go out to that place during the demo time, sign an OKC Kayak waiver, slip on a life vest, and for FREE, try any number of kayaks they want for as long as they want. There are usually a wide variety of kayaks to choose from and the OKC Kayak people are so nice. They will answer any questions you have, and if you are a first timer, they will happily give you a quick run-down of the basics.
After getting in a kayak on an OKC Kayak demo day in Tulsa, OK, my family and I have since gone to the Oklahoma Boathouse District to fill our need to kayak. For 1 hour my husband, our 8 year old daughter, and myself got 3 single seat kayaks for $40 and some change, and got to paddle around the Oklahoma River.
White Water Bay
White Water Bay is definitely one place that is on the beaten path, and in the heart of Oklahoma City. If you are into public swimming, slides and water games, then this is a good place. Just be sure you are willing to open up your wallet. For my husband, 8 year old daughter and myself to go on a Sunday afternoon, it was $105 and some change for the tickets – parking was $6. We did however bring a bag with our own snacks and drinks so that was one thing we didn’t need to pay for, and yes, that is allowed by the park, so I encourage it. There are activities at White Water Bay for all ages, but if you and your child are 48 inches or taller, there are many more options! White Water is really fun for the whole family.
Oklahoma City Zoo
Almost every big city has a zoo, but the Oklahoma City Zoo is a neat place to go when you are in town. The prices are decent, and there is a page on the zoo website that shows you discount days! I love discounts.
I want to give a quick shout out to the person some of these photos were taken by, Glenn Window, a man near and dear to my heart. You can see his Oklahoma City Zoo – 2013 pictures via the link.
Hanging Out at Lake Hefner
Lake Hefner is located in a convenient spot right off Hefner Parkway. There are a few restaurants looking over the water, one of our most favorites being Louie’s Bar and Grill aka, Louie’s on the Lake. There is also a lighthouse overlooking the lake that make a great backdrop for photos, or just sitting and enjoying the ambiance of Hefner. Surrounding Lake Hefner are the Bert Cooper Trails that is a little over 9 miles in distance. People walk, run, bike, roller blade, skateboard…etc. on this paved trail nearly year-round. It is pet friendly, and makes a great walking trail for the pups, they do however need to be leased, particularly on the walking trail. In a photo below you will see our boxer playing in the water (unleashed). There was a time not too long ago (couple months) that Hefner’s waters had receded a lot, and people could walk on the shoreline that went into where the water used to be. It was off the walking path and no one was around; that is where I let her run free.
During the day, you can see people on Lake Hefner fishing, boating, windsurfing and water skiing; others may sit no nearby benches enjoying the view of water sports, birds and ripples on the water. If you stay late enough, you will get the opportunity to catch a great sunset as well.
Lake Hefner is another “on the beaten” path place to go in Oklahoma City, but it is family-friendly, fun and FREE.
Camping and Grilling
And of course there is the outdoor lover’s go-to of camping and cooking out. There are a ton of places in Oklahoma to grill, pitch a tent and make s’mores before bed. The camping images below are from a weekend trip to Keystone Lake at Keystone State Park in Sand Springs, Oklahoma near Tulsa. It is pet and family-friendly, and as for cooking out… this photo was taken in our backyard. We were using a small grill and everything pictured is vegetarian! My family is vegetarian, and being vegetarian certainly does not keep us from doing one of our favorite outdoor things… breaking out the grill! Yum, yum, yum.