Fun Under the Sun: Outdoor Adventures in Oklahoma City
One thing you may have noticed living here in the great state of Oklahoma is all those great, wide-open spaces that make the area feel free with plenty of elbow room. While never shying away from its well-earned reputation as a busy cultural and business hub, OKC is also proud of the many diverting activities under its wonderful skies. With year-round weather ranging from mild winters to warm summers, there’s no wonder people like getting out of their houses and experiencing everything under the sun. Trading the concrete jungle for a little authentic wilderness is a snap within the city limits.
There are all different levels of outdoor enthusiasts. Some make themselves notable by plotting out grand adventures in extreme conditions, ready to rise to the next great challenge. More commonly, there are folks who just want to get out there for a little casual biking and hiking, in an effort to get the blood moving and the lungs full of clean air. And in between, there may be the bird watchers, the wildlife spotters and day hikers who want to up their mileage every weekend. Outside of these categories are the enthusiasts who devote themselves to sports or perhaps seek outside attractions that aren’t necessarily nestled in nature. Wherever you fall in your choices for getting out there, Oklahoma City has something for you.
See You at the Boathouse
Perhaps the city’s most beloved outdoor spot would be the fabled Boathouse District. On the banks of the Oklahoma River is one of the most important destinations for American athletes. To begin with, it’s the epicenter for Olympic and Paralympic teams to train for rowing, kayaking and canoeing. The OKC National High Performance Center on the river challenges and hones those skills for global-level competition. But there’s also the amazing RIVERSPORT complex that has everything from indoor skiing runs to ziplining and even surfing. Plus, there’s a great summer camp program for kids. But the Boathouse District can also be enjoyed more casually. There are miles of paved trails for jogging and biking, obstacle courses and more. You can even just take a mellow walk and enjoy the outdoor art installations and awesome classic architecture along the river. It’s just a great place to be, no matter what level of activity you seek.
Back to Nature
For those seeking to connect with nature instead of following all of the hooplas, we might suggest you spend some time in Oklahoma City’s Martin Nature Park. Here, you will find 144 acres of open grasslands full of loveable critters. There are two and a half miles of trails to explore where you will share your day with birds, foxes, raccoons and more — so keep an eye out! It’s a perfect place for a family picnic as well. If you want to take a walk on the wilder side, give the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge a try. With over 1,000 acres of trees, brush and marshland, you can enjoy meandering along the North Canadian River by foot or bike or even canoe if you want a river’s-eye view of the place. You can also expect to see larger wildlife here as well, such as white-tailed deer and beavers.
The Human Element
Nobody ever said that being outside had to mean being in a natural setting. There are all sorts of great outdoor activities in Oklahoma City that have nothing to do with nature at all! To begin with, there are some fantastic golf courses here to check out. The Lincoln Park Golf Course has oak tree-lined fairways, streams and two courses for different playing levels. The Silverhorn Golf Club uses native grasses in a parkland setting. Looking to go a little more radical? There are parks that cater to skateboards and BMX with huge concrete courses to test your skills. Matt Hoffman Action Sports is a favorite destination to spin those wheels on a bowl course and street course. And Route 66 Skate Court is perfect for beginners.
If you’re looking for a more chill way that isn’t totally nature or people-oriented, there are a couple of additional places to consider. Lake Hefner is a chill spot that everybody in Oklahoma City adores. Whether you want to take a long walk, do a little rollerblading or do some fishing, this place is for you. Several trails including the 10-mile Bert Cooper Trails are available to enjoy (and is featured in the OKC Memorial Marathon route). Windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing are great options on the water. A charming lighthouse oversees the whole landscape. And the golf course here benefits from all the outdoor eye candy! If you’re hungry after, there are some well-known great eateries here as well.
Need more great outdoor things to do? Check out the Myriad Botanical Gardens and see the plants of the world on display. Here, you can find meditative moments, contemplative strolls and a little inner peace. There’s also a great playground for kids, a gardening school and an awesome carousel the whole family can enjoy. At the Oklahoma City Zoo, over 1,900 animals will greet you and yours on 119 acres. For a different kind of animal action, head over to the Remington Park horse racetrack and play the ponies! Or if you’d rather watch humans run around instead of equestrians, take in a soccer game with the Oklahoma Energy Football Club.