Hello, friends! This is the start to a new series about day trips in Oklahoma. I come from a military family, but was born in Oklahoma and ended up back here when my dad received orders to return when I was a kid. We didn’t do much traveling when I was young, but my husband and I have been all over Oklahoma and feel blessed to live in a place with such treasures! It is beautiful here and the history of our state is so interesting to me. For the first post in this series, we are going to take a look at a family-friendly place in southern Oklahoma.
Turner Falls–Davis, OK
Turner Falls is home to the largest waterfall in Oklahoma. The park includes many natural swimming pools, wading areas, two water slides, a diving board, and a few sandy beaches. I have lived in Oklahoma almost my entire life and had never been to Turner Falls until last summer. After visiting the area, my husband and I both agree that this is one of the best attractions in our amazing state.
If planning a trip to Turner Falls, there are a few things you should know before you go.
- It DOES cost. The price for adult tickets (ages 13 and up) is $12 and the price for kids (ages 6-12) is $6. For a family of five, this seemed costly until we realized how great the park is and how much time we could spend here. We were at the falls for the majority of the day and every penny we spent was well worth it.
- Every child must have a life jacket. The park requires all kids aged 12 and under to wear a coast guard approved flotation device at all times. They do not provide the life jackets nor do they offer them for a rental fee–you must bring your own. Luckily, we had flotation devices for our boys and we borrowed one for our daughter before we headed that direction. They are really serious about this and will remind you if your kids aren’t in the appropriate safety device.
- Bring water shoes or something of the sort. We didn’t even think about this and ended up just keeping our flip flops on while we were at the park. Many of the natural swimming areas are shallow and you have to make your way across slick rocks or over gravel-type areas. The flip flops were fine, but water shoes would be a better option. Also, there is a huge staircase leading to a “castle” and some hiking areas to explore. You will be most comfortable if you have some sort of shoes with you.
- There are food/drink places available. We ate before we arrived at the park, but indulged in one of the tastiest snow cones I have ever had. The restaurants seemed to offer typical quick-service foods (chicken strips, burgers, etc.) and they were a bit pricey. If on a budget, you may want to pack a picnic and enjoy your lunch at an available picnic table.
5. Be prepared to spend some time here. My kids absolutely loved the falls area and the other natural swimming areas, but nothing prepared me for how much time they would want to spend in the location with the slides and the diving board. We spent about two hours in this part of the park and there was a lot of complaining when we made the kids get out of the water so we could get to our next destination. This park is fun–plan to spend a whole day.
6. You can stay in the park overnight. They have cabins ($150/night) and open-air shelters ($40/night) to rent and R/V hook-ups ($25) and campsites are available ($12.50). We did not stay in the park as we had other plans, but it may be something we do in the future. If we do, it will be a cabin–not a campsite! We aren’t much for camping.
After our amazing day at Turner Falls, we headed to Thackerville, OK to stay at the Winstar casino. We aren’t big gamblers, but my husband had some free rooms after speaking at a previous clinic at the hotel. It seems weird to take kids on a trip to a casino and I felt really odd about it, until we got there. The pool is awesome and there were many families with kids at the resort.
We spent two nights at the Winstar, which boasts the largest casino in the state. Most of our time was spent at the main pool (there are two pools) or eating at one of the many restaurants offered. This resort makes you feel like you are in Vegas, without the big price tag and the long day of travel.
If you are from Oklahoma and are looking for a short trip or if you are from out of state and end up in this gorgeous place, you can plan your trip to Turner Falls here and your trip to the Winstar here.
Look for other Oklahoma day trip travel plans soon!