Ardmore, Oklahoma, just north of the Texas border, offers scenery you wouldn’t expect in this part of the country: mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and forests. Natural swimming pools, hiking and horseback trails, birding, camping, and water sports make the area a perfect warm-weather stop.
Ardmore lies 67 nautical miles south-southeast of Norman, Oklahoma, and 86 nm north-northwest of Dallas, Texas, just north of the Texas border. Flying between Norman and Ardmore, look for Turner Falls, the 77-foot waterfall that cascades into a swimming area, part of Turner Falls Park, near Davis. Just south of Turner Falls, the Arbuckle Mountains contain rock that dates back 1.4 billion years. You can land at Ardmore Municipal Airport or Ardmore Executive; both offer excellent fuel prices, although the former has a fun café and better access to car rentals.
Near the town of Sulphur you can take a horseback trail ride in the hills or canyons. The nearby Chickasaw Cultural Center celebrates the rich heritage of the Chickasaw tribe. You’ll find bronze sculptures, native landscaping, a traditional village, blowgun and archery demonstrations, a film, artwork, an exhibit gallery, and a café. In Sulphur, you can stay at the elegant Artesian, now owned by the Chickasaw Nation, which also offers a full-service spa, casino, specialty shops, and two restaurants.
Head south of Ardmore to visit Lake Murray State Park. Rent a pontoon boat, paddle boat, kayak, canoe, wave runner, or two-person sailboat and cruise around the gorgeous blue lake, which is partially spring-fed. They have a miniature golf course too. Climb Tucker Tower, a stone castle-looking building that sits on a rocky cliff above the south shore. A spiral staircase takes you five stories up for great 360-degree views. You also can visit the nature center and geology museum, or swim, golf, hike, or fish. An airstrip lies along the west side of the lake, near Tipps Point campground. Runway 14/32 is 2,500 feet by 50 feet, in fair condition with weeds growing through some cracks and no tiedowns. (There are plans afoot to possibly close it, so call the park first.) Stay in a fun floating lodge on the lake, stay in a cabin or lodge room, or camp near the lake.
Now that you know about the beautiful country between Dallas and Norman/Oklahoma City, make plans to visit the Arbuckle Mountains. Lakes, waterfalls, cultural centers, hiking, boating, and more await!
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