I don’t know about you, but we are craving a summer of doing ALL THE THINGS! Whether you aren’t feeling great about indoor activities, or your kids just function better after a whole day outside, we’ve got some awesome ideas for you!
Oklahoma gets HOT outside fast, and life is just better when there’s some water involved. Here are our favorite water activities:
Getting Outside: Splash in Nature
We made it our goal last summer to check out as many of Oklahoma’s natural water sources as we could. Some of these ideas require a little bit of driving, but the memories made make it worth it!
Oklahoma’s largest waterfall as well as tons of streams and swimming holes.
One of our favorites and is a great place to take a quick hike and then jump in the springs.
If you don’t do anything else on this list, please don’t miss Little Niagara! It’s part of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and it is one we hit every summer! It’s a pretty shallow river (think knee-deep on small kids) for the most part but has some deeper sections. We love bringing blow-up inter-tubes and sliding down the small waterfalls and cruising the rapids.
A great place to go if you don’t want to be in the car for very long. The swim beach has tons of opportunities for digging and building mud castles.
Oklahoma has TONS of gorgeous lakes and we are really trying to dip our toes in all of them. Some of our favorites that are closer to the metro area are Canton Lake, Lake of the Arbuckles, Lake Murray and Carl Blackwell in Stillwater (BONUS: you can hit Eskimo Joe’s for some cheese fries on the way home).
Getting Outside: Splash in the the City
If you want to stay closer to home, you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and more at Lake Overholser/Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge and Lake Hefner through Riversport Adventures.
Outdoor Water Parks
If chlorinated water is more your thing, we have options for you, too! Pelican Bay in Edmond is awesome for all ages.
Hurricane Harbor is one of my oldest son’s favorite places to spend the day. They have everything from a zero-depth baby pool for the tiniest family members to some pretty epic thrill slides for the more adventurous humans.
If your littles love splash pads as much as mine, you’re in luck! Check out this comprehensive list of all the playgrounds and spray grounds in the metro area. Somehow it’s even more fun if you bring a plastic cup from home for kiddos to dump on themselves!
Getting Outside: OKC Attractions
The swimsuits and towels are all in the wash and you’re craving a day in the sun. We’ve got you covered! The Oklahoma City Zoo is fun AND it totally counts as a learning activity. Print out a scavenger hunt like this for your kid and they’re learning as they go!
Oklahoma Railway Museum is the best place for your little train-lover!
Want to teach your kid what farm-to-table REALLY means? Pick-your-own farms have you covered! Plus even the pickiest eaters can’t resist sampling the fruits they picked themselves!
Dig for crystals at the Great Salt Plains! We did this a few weeks ago and my kids spent literal hours digging for the biggest crystals they could find! Wear clothes that can get ruined and bring metal gardening shovels (the clay is pretty thick in some spots) and buckets. We saw people that had colanders or strainers and they found TONS of crystals that way! Don’t forget to bring a few gallons of water to rinse off before heading home because it’s MESSY.
If your kid loves hot dogs, she’s going to love an OKC Dodgers game! Some kids go for the Dippin’ Dots and the playground, and some go for the baseball, but either way these games are fun! Ticket prices are pretty inexpensive and the kids get to run the bases after the games!
Is it even summer if you don’t go to a drive-in movie? Not really. Check out the Beacon or the Winchester–they haven’t changed since you were a kid!
Eat on a patio! There is literally nowhere more kid-friendly to eat than outside. We are a little bit obsessed with The Hall’s Pizza Kitchen for Saturday brunch or dinner. Their rooftop patio is gorgeous. Downtown Edmond has also upped their outdoor eating game and several of the restaurants there have “streateries” that are tons of fun.
Outdoor Parks & Events
If you happen to be in Downtown Edmond on the third Saturday of the month, you can’t miss Heard on Hurd! There’s live music, tons of food and dessert trucks and a whole kid’s area with crafts and games for the little ones.
Check out a summer concert or festival. You’ll be surprised how many of these are kid-friendly and FUN! And bonus: you’ll probably see us there!
We also love spending evenings at Scissortail Park. The food trucks are always on-point and the kids have a blast while you sit on a blanket and relax! You can also check out Myriad Botanical Gardens while you’re in the area!
If you haven’t been to the Gathering Place in Tulsa yet, it’s a must-do! There is something for everyone and the kids will stay busy for hours!
Simple Summer Pleasures:
Not every day has to be adventure-filled to make summer magical – I promise. My kids always love days where we keep it simple.
Sidewalk chalk, bubbles and the sprinkler can make any afternoon feel like little slice of childhood magic.
Reading a library book on a blanket under a tree with some lemonade sounds like a pretty great way to spend a random Tuesday.
Whatever you do this summer, it’s really the little moments that matter the most! Take a picture of the sweet freckles across your toddler’s nose, or the crazy way your little kid’s hair sticks up when it’s wet. Take a selfie with your teenager and hold hands with your partner when you’re walking back to the car after a fun day!