State parks ready to welcome the “staycation” crowd | New
As Memorial Day weekend approaches, those who have yet to make plans can enjoy one of the area’s state parks.
Natural Falls State Park has one of the most scenic grounds in the area, with a 77-foot waterfall cascading through rock formations. It draws guests from all over the state year round, but on holiday weekends, visitors flock to the park.
“We’re usually very busy,” said Keith Dunnam of Natural Falls. “In fact, we’re pretty well booked for Memorial Day weekend. On top of that, we will have a lot of day visitors. So people will come and get a picnic table or walk the trails.
The park has several trails to explore, offering hikers a chance to appreciate nature and perhaps spot wildlife. A disc golf course circles the land. And the area is home to several swimming holes, but no swimming is allowed in the park.
“There are endangered species, like fish and plants, along this area. So they just don’t want people in the water disturbing them, ”Dunnam. “We don’t allow swimming here in the park, but Flint Creek is just a few miles from us. So if you want to go swimming you can pack your bags and go for a swim. “
Those wishing to stay at Natural Falls State Park should visit travelok.com to make a reservation, although it is likely that most accommodation has already been booked. To visit for the day, the park charges $ 10 for a parking pass. For more information, call 918-422-5802.
Sequoyah State Park has a number of attractions and activities that people won’t find anywhere else, and for Memorial Day weekend everything will be open. It has horseback riding, a marina for fishing and boating, several trails for hikers to travel, a golf course, and the Three Forks Nature Center, filled with animals.
A new feature that will be open until June 10 is the Fantasy Forest near the Scissortail paved trail.
“It’s a unique attraction that’s here for a limited time,” said Tony Presley, park manager. “Basically it has learning aspects about ferns, wildlife and things like that. Plus, it’s kind of a lighted walking path, and people have placed different gnomes, butterflies, and different attractions for people to see.
The Three Forks Nature Center is a window into Oklahoma’s wildlife. Its residents include a beaver, an otter, a bobcat, two foxes, a coyote, a bald eagle and various reptiles. There is also a good chance that visitors walking the trails will spot a deer or two.
Sequoyah has several options for those who wish to spend the night. People can rent cabins, lodge rooms, pitch a tent, or stay in an RV. Near the lodge, visitors will find a decent meal at Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen.
Presley said anyone who wants to stay in the park on weekends should start looking for reservations now, as it has become such a busy place, even on normal days.
“This year we have been busy,” he said. “From what I’ve seen over the past 20 years, we are building faster than we have been. We are seeing a lot more people hiking, a lot more people fishing, and a lot more outdoor activities than we’ve seen in the past. It was awesome. We have seen a sharp increase in visits. “
Those wishing to book a reservation at Sequoyah State Park should visit travelok.com. For more information about the park, call 918-772-2545.
Tahlequah residents aren’t too far by car to get to Tenkiller State Park, which has approximately 130 miles of shoreline. Visitors will find plenty of leisure activities here, as it is a good place for fishing, boating, tubing and scuba diving. It includes two multi-use trails and a nature trail. It has campervan and tent pitches scattered throughout its 10 campgrounds.
For Memorial Day weekend, the park’s Driftwood Nature Center hosts a variety of events. On Friday, May 28, the center is organizing the Let’s Talk Waste hike at 1:30 p.m. the New Age Naturalist scavenger hunt is at 4 pm; and an evening nature walk will take place at 7 p.m., but people must register by 6 p.m.
On Saturday, May 29, the center will host a button-making event at 11 am; people will be able to see some of the centre’s snakes during the Slither and Hiss event, which starts at 1 p.m. an hour of family fun begins at 6 p.m. with a rocket launch with bottled water and a seed-spitting contest; and, at 8 p.m., the things that move in the night hike will take place.
On Sunday, May 30, a photographic bird walk begins at 10 am at the park; people can learn about the relationships between predators and prey at 1 p.m. and a t-shirt printing event starts at 3 p.m.
On May 31, the center will be making pine cone-shaped bird feeders starting at 10 a.m. and a presentation on monarch butterflies will take place at 1 p.m. For more information about Tenkiller State Park, call 918-489-5641. To book, visit travelok.com.