Visiting The Chickasaw National Recreation Area

America is vast. There’s beauty in every direction, and there are few better ways to experience the gorgeous natural merits of this country than by camping in some of her inimitable national parks. Though there are hundreds of destinations to choose from, each with its own singular assets and selling points, one of the most enticing, and serendipitously educational, campgrounds are in Oklahoma at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Children and parents alike will rejoice in the extensive opportunities for quality time and fun amongst the natural beauty of Oklahoma’s Chickasaw National Recreation Area, but what makes this destination special is the history, culture and fascinating backstory of the Native American tribe, from their initial introductions with Europeans up to today’s delicate relationship. Forcing children to learn is a complication of the past with the numerous entertaining attractions and endless amenities of this notable national park that will leave kids of all ages begging for just one more night under the open sky.

Enjoy the Outdoors

A family camping vacation is all about enjoying the great outdoors, and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is the perfect place for wriggly kids and anxious parents to unwind with a little fresh air and exercise. With hiking trails aplenty, of course, the CNRA also offers fun in the form of boating, horseback riding, swimming, and biking. Boating is especially popular, with two lakes open for use — Lake of the Arbuckles and Veterans Lake — where happy water frolickers enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area
image by National Park Foundation

Not all activities happen outdoors; if bad weather or inclination leads guests inside, the Travertine Nature Center and Western National Bookstore provide hours of entertainment through literature, films, and reasonably priced souvenir shopping.

Nearby Attractions

Extended vacations are ideal for families who really enjoy exploring the wider area around a campground, and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is chock full of attractions beyond the great outdoors. The Native experience is undoubtedly compelling, and the nearby Fort Worth Chickasaw Cultural Center — which is just two miles from the CNRA — affords visitors a glimpse into the life of the tribe from early beginnings right up to modern times. Traditional dances, customary foods, and authentic artifacts are just a few of the intriguing experiences available to guests, and the myriad of options, which include museums, restaurants, and theaters, means every member of the family discovers something fascinating.

Besides the cultural center, Turner Falls Park plays home to the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma, a breathtaking sight just 10 miles from the CNRA.

Comfortable Accommodations

Perhaps an unexpected description for those who aren’t especially keen on camping, the grounds at the Chickasaw National Recreation Center are surprisingly appealing. There are many options for families of all sizes when it comes to overnight stays, whether they prefer a rustic tent experience or something more luxurious. Campsites often include—though guests are encouraged to research their plans before arriving—fire pits, picnic tables, and parking pads, and some have showers and electric hookups for RVs. Reservations are always recommended, especially in the high summer season.

Though there are hundreds of fantastic state and national parks dotting the landscape of America, the Chickasaw National Recreation Center stands as a shining testament of America’s past and present beauty. Unique attractions, rich heritage, and boundless activities give any family a lifetime’s worth of thrilling memories.

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