When it comes to recreational water sports, kayaking in Oklahoma keeps our family active and fit. Oklahoma City is where we call home so we know a thing or two about the places to kayak in Oklahoma. Do you ever think of Oklahoma when you wish to kayak? Oklahoma features some of the most spectacular river and water views while maintaining Type II rapids. Whether you’re seeking a more thrilling experience or the serenity of calm waters, check out these adventure locations to go kayaking in Oklahoma.
Illinois River Oklahoma
Seeking a picturesque setting for a kayaking adventure? Check out the views along the Illinois River Northeast of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. With more than 10 resorts and launching locations, there is something for everyone along this popular Oklahoma river location. The Illinois River contains various levels of water types. Depending on your desire, you can find calm waters to more challenging Type II rapid sections. Public launching locations allow you to enjoy the Illinois River for kayaking without use of a resort location. These locations include:
- The Illinois River at Tahlequah – located on southern side of Tahlequah
- No Head Hollow Public Access – North of Tahlequah along State Hwy 10
- Edmonson Public Access – State Hwy 10 North of Ellerville
- Peavine Hollow Public Access – State Hwy 10 North of Edmonson Public Access
- Chewey Rd Public Access – East of State Hwy 10 from intersection of Chewey Rd and State Hwy 10.
If you are looking for guided floats of paddle companies, you can check out these on TripAdvisor. Be sure to call and ensure they are open post covid.
Lower Mountain Fork River
Pristine views and cool waters abound along the Mountain Fork River in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The Mountain Fork River feeds Broken Bow Lake in Southeastern Oklahoma and extends south toward Arkansas. Below the lake, the river is referred to as the Lower Mountain Fork River. One of the more popular summer locations to kayak on the Lower Mountain Fork River is the 2 mile loop in the Beaver Bend State Park, north of the Re-Regulation Dam. A good public access spot is the Hwy 70 Bridge south along the river. There are over 15 kayak rental companies located along the Lower Mountain Fork River. During the summer, the river remains mostly calm, but can achieve Type II rapid sections after rain storms and following dam releases.
Lake of the Arbuckles
The places to kayak in Oklahoma near Davis and Sulphur hold some of the most spectacular water features available. Closer to Davis is the Washita River; known more for tubing than kayaking. Nestled in the Chickasaw Recreational Area is the Lake of the Arbuckles. The Lake of the Arbuckles is just south of Sulphur and maintains some fantastic scenery and kayaking spots. Access to the water from the east side of the lake is popular. Landing spots along the Buckhorn Road extend from the Buckhorn Campground loops C and D as well as the Buckhorn Boat Landing.
Not ready to be in a large lake? North of the Lake of the Arbuckles is Veteran’s Lake. While smaller in size, this lake is ideal for family recreation. A well maintained walkway surrounds the lake. On the north side is a well equipped playground to keep the kids entertained.
Kayak rentals at the Lake of the Arbuckles is not readily available, so you will need to bring your own.
Related: Find more things to do in Sulphur, OK
The Oklahoma River section along Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s Downtown area has some great kayaking opportunities. The calm water is perfect for beginners and families just wanting to enjoy the water the Boathouse District of Oklahoma City. Along the river, you will also find Riversport OKC, an adventure park with whitewater rafting, kayaking, and tube floats along their man made river.
Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge, OKC
Kayaking adventures extend well beyond the downtown vicinity of Oklahoma City. The Northwest sections of Oklahoma City contain two lakes that make kayaking exceptional family adventures. One of our favorites is the Canadian River section near Lake Overholser. Known as the Stinchcomb Wildife Refuge, this section on the Northside of Lake Overholser allows kayakers to observe many species of birds and animals in their natural habitat. Watching a crane standing among the water reeds takes your breath away!
Related: Find more things to do in Oklahoma City.
Still in the Northwest side of Oklahoma City but Northeast of Lake Overholser, is Lake Hefner. This lake maintains a little something for everyone. In addition to golfing, boating, fishing, and trails, Lake Hefner features kayaking opportunities the whole family can enjoy. On the southern side of the lake near Northwest Expressway, you can put in at the sandy beach area known as the Lake Hefner River Sport Sailing Center.
Watonga Lake at Roman Nose State Park
Perhaps one of the least mentioned places to go kayaking in Oklahoma is located at Roman Nose State Park outside Watonga. North of Interstate 40, Roman Nose State Park is in the western portion of the state West of Oklahoma City.Roman Nose State park holds two water features, Lake Boecher and Lake Watonga. Lake Watonga is the predominant water feature, with the majority of lodging and water activities. Put ins are located along the western side of the lake. The wildlife views at lake Watonga are extraordinary. Observing the muskrats near the General Store is one of our favorite scenes.
So come visit Oklahoma! Share your kayaking adventures with us. Let us know how your experience went. Feel free to ask any additional questions. We look forward to hearing from you.
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