Camping in Oklahoma
By Alex Murphy
Known for big open fields and extreme weather, many are surprised to learn that Oklahoma is also home to mountains, forests, and lakes with plenty of campsites as well.
The Sooner State, named for the dramatic way the area was settled, also has a growing major metro area in Oklahoma City and plenty of other destinations throughout the state.
Here's a look at some of the best camping in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State Parks
From lakes and caves to an actual field of salt, Oklahoma State Parks offers many different experiences for anyone looking to visit.
The area that is now Robbers Cave State Park was made famous by outlaws like Jesse James, who used the cave as a hideout. Today, visitors can check out the cave and stay at the park's campground.
Other popular destinations include Beavers Bend State Park, a popular destination for fishing and hiking.
Finally, you can tent camp or stay in your RV at Great Salt Plains after visiting the open fields of salt leftover from a prehistoric ocean.
Many of these parks also offer unique extended stays in a cabin.
Oklahoma National Parks
Many may not be aware of it, but Oklahoma does have mountain ranges. In the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains located in the southern part of the state, visitors will find Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
The park is also known for its bison herd and a popular nature center.
Oklahoma RV Parks
Whether you're visiting the state or just passing through, there are quite a few Oklahoma RV Parks.
Some casinos in the Sooner State have RV parks, including the Lucky Star Casino.
Finally, if you prefer a more rural and wooded option, the Settle Inn RV Park is not far from Tulsa.
Free Camping in Oklahoma
Free Camping in Oklahoma is fairly abundant and can be found in major metro areas and in forests where there are good camping sites for tent camping.
In the southern part of the state, Atoka Lake Dispersed Camping Area has waterfront campsites and great views.
Casinos like Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa offer free overnight parking for RVs and often even have wifi available.
National Forests in Oklahoma
There are three National Forests in Oklahoma on opposite ends of the state.
In the east, visitors to Ouachita National Forest will find rolling hills and rock walls with flowing rivers and creeks. This forest is mostly in Arkansas and cuts through the two state's borders. Campers on the Oklahoma side of the forest enjoy the views found at Winding Stair Campground and Billy Creek Campground.
The other two national forests are on the western side of the state are protected grasslands. This includes Rita Blanca National Grassland and Black Kettle National Grassland. Both are known for their year-round guests, the prairie dogs. Popular campgrounds include Black Kettle Campground and Felt Picnic Area in Rita Blanca.