The Best Swimming Holes Near Oklahoma City

Written by Kirstin Harrington
Updated: August 16, 2023
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The ability to stay cool is essential in the Oklahoma heat. Fortunately, this state has plenty of swimmable waterways, which makes it easy to escape those toasty summer days. Enjoy the outdoors while staying cool at one of the best swimming holes near Oklahoma City!

While at the Blue River, if you want a deeper journey into nature, visit the neighboring Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge.

Chickasaw Recreation Area

Chickasaw Recreation Area, Oklahoma, Swimming Holes in Oklahoma

There are 75 real rock waterfalls and six man-made dams in the Chickasaw Recreation Area!

©Kit Leong/Shutterstock.com

There are numerous swimming holes in the Chickasaw Recreation Area! Cool down in the water on a hot summer day, from the two-and-a-half miles of winding Travertine and Rock Creeks to the deeper waters of Lake Arbuckle. 

Most of the water for Travertine Creek comes from Buffalo and Antelope Springs. Expect an energizing swim because the water is an average of 65 degrees. The most well-known swimming spot is Little Niagara, although there are also 75 real rock waterfalls and six man-made dams in the Chickasaw Recreation Area!

The Travertine Nature Center within Chickasaw is open all year round and offers daily ranger-led programs in the summer that include excursions, creek walks, and night hikes. 

Visitors may fish, canoe, cycle, and even scuba dive in the 2,300 acres of open water at Lake of the Arbuckles, which boasts 36 miles of shoreline. Six public campsites are nearby, offering tent and RV camping. There is no entrance fee, and the park is accessible every day of the year.

Blue River

Blue River Oklahoma

The river’s short waterfalls, intermittent currents, and ledges provide class II to III rapids.

©Jena McDonald/Shutterstock.com

Around two hours southeast of the city, the Blue River flows through Connerville, cascading into waterfalls. In between the granite stone falls lie clear pools of water ideal for swimming. The Blue River is also a well-liked location for fishing; you can catch trout, bass, crappie, and catfish

Kayak to add some excitement to your visit! The river’s short waterfalls, intermittent currents, and ledges provide class II to III rapids. Adults who do not currently possess a fishing or hunting license are required to get a Blue River Conservation Passport from the Oklahoma Wildlife Department. Camping and lodging are provided nearby.

Camping is currently free of charge. Plan carefully because restroom facilities are restricted to specific locations. For a deeper journey into nature, visit the neighboring Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge. The 16,000-acre refuge is open from dawn till night and features a variety of biking and wildlife trails.

Turner Falls

Turner Falls, Oklahoma Swimming Holes

You can plunge into the natural pool formed by the enormous waterfall, frolic in the shallows, or descend a slide into Blue Hole Pool.

©Sari ONeal/Shutterstock.com

For many years, people in the state have loved traveling to Turner Falls, which is located approximately an hour south of the city. Families may explore the area’s famous 77-foot waterfall, untamed paths, caverns, abundant animals, and castle ruins. Swimming, though, is probably the park’s most well-liked activity, particularly in the sweltering summer months. 

You can plunge into the natural pool formed by the enormous waterfall, frolic in the shallows, or descend a slide into Blue Hole Pool. This park is convenient for day trips or weekend excursions due to its paved streets, parking lots, picnic spots, and shops.

Every day from 7 a.m. till dusk, the park is accessible. For visitors planning to stay overnight, the park offers cabin accommodations and camping spaces. From May 1 to September 30, park admission costs $12 for adults and $6 for children aged six to 12. It is free for children under five. 

In the winter off-season, adults and children pay just $4. Children 12 and under must wear a certified flotation device when in the water, according to new laws. During the busiest months, Turner Falls can get rather crowded, so book reservations far in advance.

Gage Artesian Beach

Artesian Beach in Gage, Oklahoma, Swimming Holes in Oklahoma

The mineral-rich waters, which are three to 14 feet deep, are perfect for floating.

©Leaflet/Wikimedia Commons – License

A team searching for oil in the early 1900s unintentionally hit water. A “natural” pool was formed, as water burst through the encircling dirt, and the result was Gage Artesian Beach. It takes roughly 2.5 hours to travel from the metro area to this beach, but it is one of a kind and worth the drive. Gage Artesian Beach, which is about the size of a soccer field, combines a lake with a community pool. It features concrete sides and a sandy base. 

The mineral-rich waters, which are three to 14 feet deep, are perfect for floating. Interestingly, the water here was formerly thought to be able to heal illnesses. The beach is open only during certain times of the year and features a playground, picnic area, restrooms, two slides, and two diving boards.

Ages four and up can enter for $2, and the location is open every day from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., depending on the weather. Pets on a leash are allowed, and items like coolers and lawn chairs are permitted. 

Summary of the Best Swimming Holes Near Oklahoma City

Swimming HoleLocation
1Chickasaw Recreation Areahalfway between Oklahoma City and Dallas, TX
2Blue RiverConnerville
3Turner Falls1 hour south of Oklahoma City
4Gage Artesian BeachEllis County

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Richard G Smith/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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