Water. Once, it was oil; now H2O is said to be king in Oklahoma. Last summer, streams and rivers in the state ran dry as we gasped through drought. Now that our waters lap at their normal levels, the flush of supply invites some celebration.
Use this list as a dowser, a guide to the best water in Oklahoma. You’ll discover pools with deep ends that beg for a cannonball and underwater somersaults; splash pads for sunning your shoulders and modeling your new flip-flops; and swimming holes and lagoons perfect for a game of mermaids with the kids, while wet sand massages the bottoms of your feet.
Don’t see your favorite place to float? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Oklahoma lakes and swimming holes
- Natural Falls and Turner Falls State Parks. One word: Waterfalls. Can’t beat ‘em.
- Broken Bow Lake, Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow. Perhaps the most beautiful place in Oklahoma to swim. There’s scuba diving, too.
- Arrowhead State Park, Lake Eufaula. The largest lake completely within Oklahoma’s borders, Lake Eufaula offers more than 600 miles of shoreline, many of them sandy. Just how swimmers like it.
- Walnut Creek State Park, Keystone Lake. The beaches are sandy, and with one of the largest number of surface acres of any lake in Oklahoma, there’s plenty of room to play.
- Illinois River. It’s not summer until you’ve floated.
- Lake Tenkiller, Tenkiller State Park, Vian. A favorite of scuba divers, Lake Tenkiller is known for its crystalline water.
- Medicine Park, Bath Lake Swimming Area. In the foothills of the Wichitas in southwestern Oklahoma is this city built along a creek, where locals and visitors alike still cool themselves in the waters that babble past Main Street.
- Blue Hole Park. A cool—no, make that cold—water hole east of Salina, encircled by trees, like the ones you see in movies.
- Spring Creek, near Ft. Gibson Lake. Cool, clear water, and 30 species of fish with which to share it.
- Oaklake Trails Naturist Resort, Depew. The site of World-Record skinny dipping.
Oklahoma Water Parks
- Big Splash Water Park, 4707 E. 21st Street, Tulsa; hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, 12-6 p.m.
- White Water Bay, 3908 W. Reno, OKC
- River Country Water Park, 3600 Arline, Muskogee; hours are Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, 1-6 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day
- Sapulpa Aquatics Center at Liberty Park, 1400 E. Haskell St. in Sapulpa; admission is $3, free for kids 3 and younger. Hours are Sunday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m., and Thursday, noon-8 p.m.
- Alexis Clark Splash Pad, NW 10th and Indian Meridian Avenue, Choctaw; admission is free; Open daily from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Andy Alligator’s, 3300 Market Place, Norman; admission is $18.95, $15.95 for guests under 42 inches tall or military, $9.95 for seniors, free for kids age 2 and younger; hours are Monday-Thursday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 12-6 p.m.
- Westwood Water Park, 2400 Westport Drive, Norman; admission is $6 for pool and slide, $4 for pool only ($5 and $3, respectively, for evening swimming); hours are Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m.; Monday-Friday, 1-5:30 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
- City of Miami Municipal Pool, 14 B. Street SE, Miami; admission is $3, or $2 for ages 1-13, free for infants younger than 1; hours are Tuesday-Sunday, 1-7 p.m.
- McClure Park, 7440 E. 7th Street, Tulsa; admisson is $2, 4 years old and up; hours are Tuesday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
- Reed Park, 4233 S. Yukon, Tulsa; admission is $1, 4 years old and up; hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
- Lacy Park, 2134 N. Madison Place, Tulsa; hours are Tuesday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
- Berry Park, 5002 N. Wheeling Avenue, Tulsa; admission is free; hours are Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m.
- Whiteside Park, 4009 S. Pittsburg Avenue, Tulsa; admission is free; hours are Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m.
- Chandler Park, 6500 W. 21st Street, Tulsa; admission is $4; open 1-6:30 p.m. every day exceot Wednesday.
- LaFortune Park, 5501 S. Yale Avenue, Tulsa; admission is $4; hours are Sunday-Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 1-6:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon-6:30 p.m.; closed Wednesday
- O’Brien Park, 6149 N. Lewis Avenue, Tulsa; admission is $4; hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 1-6:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 1-6 p.m.; closed Wednesday
- South County Recreation Center, 13800 S. Peoria, Bixby; admission is $4; open every day but Wednesday from 1-6:30 p.m.
- Family Aquatic Center, 1400 S. Main Street, Broken Arrow; admission is $5 if over 48 inches tall, $4 if under; hours are Tuesday-Friday, 1-6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m.; closed Monday
- Nienhuis Aquatic Facility, 3201 N. Ninth Street, Broken Arrow; admission is $5 if over 48 inches tall, $4 if under; hours are Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m.; closed Wednesday
- Country Aire Park, 100 N. Fir Avenue, Broken Arrow; admission is $5 if over 48 inches tall, $4 if under; hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
Tulsa water playgrounds and splash pads
(open daily, free of charge, noon-8 p.m.; details on Tulsa water playgrounds and splash pads and map)
- Archer, 2831 E. Archer Street
- Benedict, 1630 E. 12th Street
- Braden, 5036 E. 7th Street
- Carbondale, 2802 W. 28th Street
- Chamberlain, 4940 N. Frankford Avenue
- Cheyenne, 1622 N. Main
- Crutchfield, 1345 E. Independence Avenue
- Dawson, 2035 N. Kingston
- Florence, 1936 S. Gary Avenue
- Helmerich, 7301 S. Riverside Drive
- Highland, 4909 E. 36th Street
- Hunter, 5804 E. 91st Street
- Johnson, 6002 S. Riverside Drive
- Kendall-Whittier, 2645 E. Fifth Street
- Lacy, 2134 N. Madison Place
- Maple, 404 E. 15th Street
- Maxwell, 5251 E. Newton Street
- Owen, 560 N. Maybelle Avenue
- Penney, 531 S. 49th W. Avenue
- Pielsticker (Mohawk Park), 5701 E. 36th Street North
- Reed, 4233 S. Yukon Avenue
- Schlegel, 3825 W. 53rd Place
- Springdale, 2223 E. Pine Street
- Tracy, 1134 S. Peoria Avenue
- Veterans, 1875 S. Boulder Avenue
- Vining, 6502 N. Cincinnati Avenue
- Wheeling, 2209 W. Wheeling Avenue
- Zeigler, 3903 W. Fourth Street
- Zink, 3216 S. Trenton Avenue
- Earlywine Family Aquatic Center, SW 119 and May Avenue; admission is $6 per person; $3 per person twilight, last three hours each day; season passes available
- Will Rogers Family Aquatic Center, 3201 N. Grand Boulevard; admission is $6 per person; $3 after 5 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, $3 after 6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
- Northeast Pool, 1300 NE 33; hours are Tuesday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m., June 11-28
- Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May; hours are Tuesday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m., June 11-28
- Macklanburg Park, 11700 N. Stratford
- Foster Indoor Program Pool, 614 NW 4th
- City of Mustang Aquatics Center, 1201 N. Mustang Road; regular admission is $5, free for ages three and under; hours are Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 1-6 p.m., with Monday family swim night 7:30-9:30 p.m., June 4-July 29.
- Pelican Bay Aquatic Center, 1034 S. Bryant, Edmond; hours are Monday-Wednesday, 1-8 p.m., Thursday-Friday, 1-7 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, 1-6 p.m., May 24-Sept. 1.
- Reno Swim and Slide, 101 S. Douglas Boulevard, Midwest City; admission is $6, $3 for those under 5 or over 55; hours are Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 1-7 p.m.
OKC-area spraygrounds and splash pads
- Douglass Park, 901 N. Frederick Douglass Avenue
- EB Jeffery, 4432 NW 16th
- Harvest Hills Park, 8235 NW 104th
- Lippert Park, 5500 S. Shartel
- McCracken Park, 425 SE 64
- McKinley Park, 1300 North McKinley
- Melrose Park, NW 5th and Council
- Memorial Park, 3600 North Classen
- Minnis Lakeview Park, 12518 NE 36
- North Highland Park, 301 NW 81st Street
- Reed Park, 1217 N. May Avenue
- Schilling Park, 537 SE 25th Street
- Sellers Park, SW 82nd and Villa
- Taylor Park, 1113 SW 70
- Wiley Post Park, SW 17 and Robinson
- Woodson Pool, 3405 S. May Avenue
- Youngs Park, SW 44 and Youngs
- Andrews Park, 201 W. Daws, Norman
- The Waterway at OKC Zoo, 2101 NW 50th Street, OKC
- Thunder Fountain, the Myriad Gardens Splash Pad, 301 W. Reno, OKC
Editor’s note: Molly Evans contributed to this article.