Oklahoma Day Trip: Turner Falls & The Arbuckle Mountains with Kids

Turner Falls Oklahoma

If you have not made the trip to the Arbuckle Mountains and Turner Falls with kids in South-Central Oklahoma, it is an area to go on your family travel list! About an hour and 15 minute drive from OKC, the Arbuckle Mountain region is a great family road trip full of nature, adventure, hiking, and site seeing!

Turner Falls and Arbuckle Mountains with Kids

The major recreational areas in this region are: Turner Falls Park, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and Lake of the Arbuckles

Accommodations

We have personal experience with staying at The Artesian, located in Sulphur, OK and highly recommend as it is a short walk from the hiking trails and a short drive to Turner Falls. Plus there are nearby shops and restaurants, making it a wonderful overnight or weekend getaway! But there are also VRBOs in the area that would be fun for families as well. 

Turner Falls with Kids | Davis, Oklahoma

It is hard to believe this waterfall and swimming hole is in Oklahoma! Turner Falls is one of Oklahoma’s tallest waterfalls, dropping 77 feet into a natural swimming pool. There are beautiful scenic views all along the park, fun hikes great for kids, a sandy beach area, 3 caves, and even a castle to explore. The best part is you can swim at the base of the waterfall – such a fun memory!

Overall, this is a really fun spot to visit with kids. 

Depending on the time of year as well as if you go on a weekday or weekend, the falls can be quite crowded. We went during the week and went first thing in the morning, so the crowd wasn’t too bad!

Parent Tip: Kids under 12 must have a life jacket, and we think water shoes are helpful because some of the areas can be pretty rocky. Also, we recommend packing a cooler because there are some great spots in the park to have a picnic!

Chickasaw National Recreation Area Oklahoma

About 20 minutes from Turner Falls, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a nearby place to explore nature trails and enjoy the great outdoors with kids. And if you are staying at the Artesian, this area is only 1 mile from the hotel. 

Antelope Spring Trail: About 1 mile round trip and with small elevation, this is a great walk/hike with kiddos and has springs and water on the route. 

Travertine Creek Trail: is longer and 3 miles round trip and has parking available at both ends of the trail. This is another great one for kids, and you can easily turn around making the hike shorter. Strollers and pets allowed along this path. 

The Travertine Nature Center straddles Travertine Creek near the northeast boundary of the park and serves as the park’s main visitor center. The nature center contains a variety of exhibits, as well as live reptiles, amphibians, fish, and an interactive learning area for visitors of all ages. It features rock work and architectural lines modeled after the style of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Be sure to check out other swimming holes to visit in Oklahoma!

Bison Pasture Loop: this one is a longer, more moderately challenging trail, but you can sometimes spot bison!

Lake of the Arbuckles

Considered one of Oklahoma’s best fishing lakes, Lake of the Arbuckles is a popular area fishing destination. There are campgrounds, fishing areas, and beaches to swim!
Specifically, we recommend Travertine Creek which is open to swimming, downstream (west) from Little Niagara.


 

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Oklahoma City Mom
Oklahoma City Mom is the go-to parenting resource for parents navigating life in the Metro. We love to explore OKC with kids and provide practical information and helpful resources as well as connecting moms to our local community and each other.

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