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SUMMER GUIDE Panoramic parks

Parks around the state feature scenic views and fun activities for the summer.

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While Oklahoma City awaits the grand opening of downtown’s 70-acre Scissortail Park, which is slated for late September, other parks around the state are ready for summer business. These parks feature beautiful scenery and a variety of activities for the whole family — a perfect combination for your Instagram page.

SHANE BEVEL / PROVIDED
  • Shane Bevel / provided

Gathering Place
2650 S. John Williams Way E, Tulsa
gatheringplace.org

A “world-class riverfront park,” Gathering Place boasts 100 daily experiences, 100 acres of land, park trails and dining options. Visitors can play on swings, the adventure playground and the sports court or keep cool in the interactive water mountain. Those wanting to relax can wind down in one of the many lush gardens and lawns, enjoy a 3-acre pond featuring a beach or check out unique art in Cabinet of Wonder.

OKLAHOMA TOURISM AND  RECREATION DEPARTMENT / PROVIDED
  • Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department / provided

Beavers Bend State Park
4350 S. OK-259A, Broken Bow
travelok.com/state-parks

Nestled in southeast Oklahoma along mountains and pine tree forests, Beavers Bend offers several activities surrounded by beautiful scenery. This state park boasts hiking, rafting, horseback riding, water skiing, swimming and nature center activities. Trout streams stocked year-round also make for a great place to fish.

MIKE HICKS / PROVIDED
  • Mike Hicks / provided

Red Rock Canyon Adventure Park
116 Red Rock Canyon Road, Hinton
redrockcanyonadventurepark.com

Red Rock Canyon was shaped by natural forces over 260 million years. Now, with 310 acres of cliffs, canyons and a rich ecosystem, it is a popular location for camping and hiking. While the foliage’s fall colors in October and November complement the canyon’s natural redness, tourists can enjoy the scenic views all year round — not to mention the seasonal swimming pool that is open from Memorial Day weekend through Aug. 1. With three different campgrounds, various trails, a fishing pond and group picnic shelters, there is plenty to do while enjoying the views.

MIKE KLEMME / PROVIDED
  • Mike Klemme / provided
Natural Falls State Park
US Highway 412 West, Colcord
travelok.com/state-parks

Natural Falls features two picturesque vantage points for its 77-foot waterfall and unique rock formations. The views are so beautiful, it was the filming place for some scenes from the 1974 movie Where the Red Fern Grows. Visitors can hike to the observation platforms, relax at one of the various picnic tables and grills and play disc golf, volleyball horseshoes or basketball.

OKLAHOMA TOURISM AND  RECREATION DEPARTMENT / PROVIDED
  • Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department / provided

Black Mesa State Park & Nature Preserve
State Highway 325, Kenton
travelok.com/state-parks

At 4,973 feet above sea level, Black Mesa’s nature preserve is home to the highest elevation in the state. Visitors can make the trek to the top of the plateau and take in vast scenic views. This state park is also home to some of the darkest nighttime skies on publicly accessible land, which makes it an ideal place for stargazing. Though the state park does not boast countless activities, it does have the basics covered — hiking, fishing and a playground — and is a great location for wildlife watching with golden eagles, Pinyon jays, mountain lions and antelope.

OKLAHOMA TOURISM AND  RECREATION DEPARTMENT / PROVIDED
  • Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department / provided

Crystal Beach Park
108 Temple Houston Drive, Woodward
visitwoodward.com

Crystal Beach is “an oasis of escapism” in Woodward “with activities to suit everyone.” Designed to entertain people of all ages, it features mini-golf, a Kiwanis train, paddleboats and a band shell amphitheater for live music. The family aquatic center is perfect for summer, with a large swimming pool, water slides and all types of hoses and water spouts to keep you cool.

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