The Best Swimming Spots in Oklahoma: Lakes, Rivers, and More

Blue Hole Park
© Dustin Druckman/

Written by Heather Burdo

Published: July 15, 2023

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Oklahoma may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of great swimming spots. With its many lakes, rivers, and creeks, Oklahoma offers fantastic swimming spots to take a dip and beat the summer heat.

The best season for swimming in Oklahoma is from late spring through early fall, when temperatures are warm but not sweltering. The water is pleasant for swimming from around May through September, with the warmest water temperature in July and August.

Some of the most popular and refreshing swimming destinations across the state include:

The Old Dam on Pennington Creek in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

The Pennington Creek Dam has shallow swimming areas, which are ideal for families.

©Charles Lemar Brown/

The Dam at Pennington Creek, Tishomingo

The swimming area at Pennington Creek Dam near Tishomingo is a beloved local spot. The lake offers a lovely sandy beach and shallow swimming area perfect for families.

The best time to swim here is late spring through summer, when the water released from the dam keeps the lake cool and pleasant. The beach area is popular with families for its sandy entry and gentle slope, perfect for wading. Picnic and lounge on the grassy banks, or grab a snack at the concession stand.

Sunny view of the Little Niagara Falls of Chickasaw National Recreation Area at Oklahoma

Chickasaw National Recreation Area is usually 68 degrees year-round.

©Kit Leong/

Chickasaw Recreation Area

Favorite swimming holes at Chickasaw National Recreation Area include Travertine Creek and Buffington Springs. The springs keep the waters a refreshing 68 degrees year-round, making this spot ideal for swimming any time of year.

Travertine Creek is a top summer spot to swim beneath mini waterfalls and lounge in crystal clear waters enjoy the stone bottom swimming pool at Buffalo Springs with its diving board.

Sunny view of the landscape of Friends Trail Loop Trail in Beavers Bend State Park at Oklahoma

Experience swimming in mountain coves at Beavers Bend.

©Kit Leong/

Beavers Bend

Beavers Bend State Park offers excellent swimming in mountain coves. The clear waters stay cool for swimming throughout the summer, with the warmest temps in July and August.

Popular sandy beaches line the shores, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Shady parks with picnic tables provide scenic backdrops to spend the day. Excellent spots include the beach by the park store and coves along South Loop Road.

Level view of Turner Falls waterfall and lake in Davis, Oklahoma

Turner Falls Park offers 77-foot falls and shallow rock pools.

©Micaela Marina Martinez/

Turner Falls Park

Swim beneath Turner Falls, then explore the park’s archeological sites and nature center—Head into Davis for antique shops and fried pies. Visit the Chickasaw National Recreation Area just north.

Swimming under the 77-foot Turner Falls and in the natural pools downstream is popular from May through September. The cool spring waters provide respite from the summer heat. Kids enjoy the shallow rock pools.

Illinois River in Tahlequah Oklahoma

Illinois River is a popular spot and offers floating platforms.


Illinois River

Swim near Tahlequah, then shop in the lively downtown area full of Cherokee culture and arts. Don’t miss the Cherokee Heritage Center and ancient Murrell Home. Explore nature along the Leeds area hiking trails.

The Illinois River is fed by natural springs that keep the waters cool for summer swimming. The best time to swim is late spring through early fall. Popular spots include the cliffs at Oaks Rock and the floating platforms.

Blue Hole Park

Blue Hole Park has exciting underwater caves.

©Dustin Druckman/

Blue Hole Park

This scenic swimming spot offers underwater caves for diving. In town, grab a burger at Eischen’s Bar or browse the shops on Main Street. Tour the Salina Prairie Museum to learn about local history.

The deep blue waters at Blue Hole Park are open for swimming from May through September. It’s a hidden local gem for scuba diving and swimming, surrounded by rocky cliffs, perfect for jumping.

Gage Artesian Beach

Swim in the cool springs, then play golf at Buffalo Springs Course near Gage. Take in the panoramic views from Black Mesa, Oklahoma’s highest point, just a short drive away.

The artesian springs at this beach in the panhandle keep waters a refreshing 68 degrees all summer long. Swim the sandy beach or wade in the shallow areas nearby that are perfect for kids.

Medicine Creek in Medicine Park Oklahoma

Medicine Park Creek is perfect for swimming and nearby hiking.


Medicine Park Creek

Swim along the creek, then enjoy a meal downtown overlooking the water. Check out the nearby Wichita Mountains for hiking among ancient granite formations. Don’t miss the scenic Holy City in the Wichitas.

Summertime swimming holes dot Medicine Creek, making Medicine Park a prime spot to cool off. Popular natural pools include Cobblestone Creek’s small waterfalls and the swimming holes along scenic Rock Creek.

Lake Murray State Park

Lake Murray State Park has popular swimming beaches and nearby attractions.

©Brandi G/

Lake Murray State Park

Popular swimming beaches at Lake Murray also offer water skiing and paddling. Visit the Chickasaw Cultural Center, Choctaw Casino, and antique shops in town. Tour the Lake Murray vineyards nearby.

Sandy beach areas at Tucker Tower and Rock Creek provide excellent lake swimming from May to September. Many shady parks with picnic tables line the shores.

Spavinaw Creek

Swim in the clear waters of Spavinaw Creek inside the state park. Nearby attractions include Hitachi’s Japanese gardens, the Coleman Theater, and a historic downtown in Miami.

The cold spring-fed waters along Spavinaw Creek offer respite from the summer heat and make for refreshing swimming holes. Top spots include Boulder Springs and Blue Hole, with fun jumping rocks.


Oklahoma may be overlooked for swimming destinations, but it has some incredible natural waters. From cold mountain streams to clear freshwater springs, the state offers a variety of the best swimming spots in Oklahoma to explore. Lakes, waterfalls, creeks, and rivers provide settings for every type of water fun.

You will surely find the perfect swimming spot if you want to wade, swim, splash, or jump in. Pack your swimsuit and beach towel and dive into the beautiful swimming holes across Oklahoma this summer. The cool clear waters will provide endless opportunities to unwind and beat the heat.

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About the Author

Heather Burdo is a digital marketing enthusiast who has written content for countless industries over the last decade. However, content related to animals, nature, and health has her heart. When she's not working her magic with content, she enjoys being with family, going for walks, camping, and gardening. Self-development is non-negotiable for her.

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