When it comes to incredible kayaking destinations, Oklahoma may not be the first place that comes to mind. But let me tell you, this Sooner State is full of surprises! From lazy rivers to thrilling rapids and peaceful lakes, Oklahoma has something for everyone. Join us as we explore the best places to paddle in Oklahoma, as recommended by the locals.
The Illinois River: A Scenic Adventure
Just outside of Tahlequah, the Illinois River offers an exciting and picturesque kayaking experience. With its rocky bluffs and calm stretches of water, this 60-mile-plus river is perfect for all skill levels. Don’t forget your waterproof camera to capture the beauty that surrounds you. And keep your valuables safe in a dry bag, especially when tackling the rapids. Launch your kayaks from various points along State Highway 10, northeast of Tahlequah.
The Mountain Fork River: Thrills and Photography
For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, head to Broken Bow and explore the lower section of the Mountain Fork River. Depending on the water levels, you might encounter Class I and II rapids. But don’t worry, a professional photographer is on hand to capture your moments of excitement. Launch your kayaks from Mountain Fork Park and get ready for an unforgettable journey through the Ouachita Mountains.
Boathouse District in OKC: A Paddler’s Paradise
Did you know that Oklahoma City is home to the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site for paddling? You can experience the thrill of whitewater rafting and kayaking at the Boathouse District. Plan your visit to Riversport Adventures in OKC and dive into the waters of adventure.
Lake Skiatook: A Weekend Escape
Tucked less than half an hour away from downtown Tulsa, Lake Skiatook is a hidden gem for kayakers. Its scenic beauty and excellent touring opportunities make it a favorite weekend destination. Launch your kayaks at Tall Chief Cove, where the bluffs await your arrival. Besides kayaking, you can also enjoy swimming at the lovely beach and camping in the nearby campground.
Lake Tenkiller: Cliffs and More
Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Lake Tenkiller offers kayakers a chance to explore dramatic cliffs and majestic scenery. Launch your kayaks from Burnt Cabin Marina in Park Hill, and paddle your way to the peninsula for an unforgettable experience. The cliff area is perfect for a refreshing swim after your adventurous journey.
Grand Lake o’ the Cherokee: Escape the Heat
To beat the summer heat, head to Grand Lake o’ the Cherokee in northeast Oklahoma. With over 46,500 acres of water, this lake provides ample space for kayakers to explore. Find peace and solitude as you paddle through the coves and enjoy breathtaking views. Just remember that the lake can get busy with motorboats, so plan your kayaking trips in the early morning or late afternoon.
Lake Murray: Fun for All
Located in Ardmore, Lake Murray is a kayaker’s paradise, catering to both beginners and experienced paddlers. With plenty of room to explore, this large lake offers fantastic fishing spots and endless opportunities for water-based adventures. Launch your kayaks from Lake Murray State Park, the largest state park in Oklahoma. Don’t miss the chance to kayak around Tucker Tower for a unique experience.
Lake Hefner: Urban Oasis
If you’re looking for a kayaking spot near Oklahoma City, look no further than Lake Hefner. Spend your weekends or evenings paddling across the calm waters of this beautiful lake. Rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak from Riversport OKC and enjoy the serenity of this urban oasis. Launch your kayaks from the boat launch on the south or east side of the lake.
Lake Bixhoma: A Hidden Gem
South of Tulsa, you’ll find Lake Bixhoma, a small and peaceful lake perfect for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and canoeing. This tucked-away gem offers tranquility and minimal traffic, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing paddle. Launch your kayaks from various points along the lake and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature.
Lake of the Arbuckles: Discover Nature’s Beauty
Located in Sulphur, Lake of the Arbuckles is a haven for nature lovers. Its serene surroundings and abundant wildlife make it an excellent destination for kayakers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, there’s something for everyone here. Launch your kayaks from The Point, Buckhorn, or Guy Sandy boat ramps within the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and embark on a tranquil adventure.
Greenleaf State Park: Serenity Awaits
Escape to Greenleaf State Park, about an hour from Tulsa, for a relaxing kayaking getaway. Surrounded by the Boston Mountains, this park offers calm waters perfect for kayaking. Take in the picturesque views as you paddle peacefully along the serene lake. Launch your kayaks at the state park boat ramp or rent gear on-site if you don’t have your own.
Robbers Cave State Park: Adventure in the Mountains
Nestled in the Sans Bois Mountains of the Ouachitas, Robbers Cave State Park is a kayaker’s paradise. Rent a kayak or paddleboat and explore the park’s stunning mountain views. After a day of adventure, float along the tranquil waters and cool off. Gear rentals are available seasonally at the kayak rental area in Robbers Cave State Park.
Oklahoma offers a wealth of kayaking, SUP, and canoeing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re seeking calm waters or exhilarating rapids, you’ll find it here. So grab your paddles, venture out to these breathtaking locations, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Oklahoma.
Get ready to create unforgettable memories on the water, and don’t forget to share your kayaking experiences with us! East Coast Paddle Sports is your go-to resource for all things kayaking. Visit their website here for more information on kayaking gear, tips, and adventures. Happy paddling!