Beautifully situated on the banks of Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees, Grove offers an array of activities that will satisfy the outdoor enthusiast, the history buff or the casual sightseer. Only three hours from Oklahoma City, the charming Oklahoma town is close enough for a day trip but offers plenty of activities to keep you entertained for days. We sent OKC outdoor enthusiast Mae Kiggins to explore the area with her two kids and report back on the top family destinations.
Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees State Park
Swimming, jet skiing, parasailing, cruising and sailing are just a few of the activities available on the 46,000 acres of water at Grand Lake. The 1,300 miles of shoreline make it a perfect destination for young swimmers who just want to dip a toe or do a little splashing. The water is surrounded by three state recreation areas offering hiking trails, picnic areas, public restrooms, new playgrounds, camping, docks and plenty of options for fishing. The following information can help you determine which area is right for your family.
Honey Creek Area
This recreation area is located in the town of Grove. It is beautifully wooded and surrounded by the lake on two sides. Don’t miss the flowering dogwoods and redbuds scattered along the hiking trails in the spring. Other activities include a swimming pool, new playground, docks, plenty of lakeside picnic areas and restrooms. This area is located at 901 State Park Rd. in Grove and can be reached at 918-786-9447.
The highlights of this recreation area are a beautiful nature center, a paved hiking trail with stunning lake views and a swimming area ideal for hot days. This area is perfect for stopping by on your way into Grove from Oklahoma City, as it is located about 17 miles northwest of Grove. The nature center here offers many interactive exhibits and a chance for your kids to learn about Oklahoma’s native ecosystems. They have some live animals and the park naturalists are happy to answer questions. The naturalists can also give visitors directions to the wildlife feeding area and viewing towers along the nature trails.
Call ahead during the off season to check the nature center’s hours. Just across the parking lot from the nature center is the hiking trail. The trail is paved, making it great for wheelchairs and strollers. (Bonus: the kids don’t get as dirty walking on a paved trail.) This area is located at 54101 E. Hwy 85 A in Bernice and can be reached at 918-257-8330.
Twin Bridges Area
One unique feature of this recreation area is the camping huts. They aren’t furnished but they do offer more protection from the elements than a tent. They are equipped with lights, a fan and a picnic table inside and a barbecue grill, fire pit and picnic table outside. The huts are set up on the bluff above the lake, but the steep banks are fenced so kids are less likely to fall and get hurt. The new playground is right next to campground and the restrooms are some of the cleanest your family will ever encountered at campgrounds. Call ahead for hut reservations. This area is located at 14801 S. Hwy 137 in Fairland and can be reached at 918-542-6969.
Har-Ber Village is an interactive museum that takes visitors back to Oklahoma during the mid-1800s to early 1900s with relocated historic buildings, trade demonstrations and hands-on activities for kids. Nicely situated on the shores of Grand Lake, there are plenty of open spaces for picnics and enjoying the outdoors. Many of the exhibits have been recently renovated to include more activity stations for kids. On April 24-25, the Village hosts Civil War Days. Visitors will meet soldiers from both the Union and Confederate camps and see demonstrations on life for soldiers and civilians during the Civil War. Friday is mainly for school groups while Saturday’s event is for the public.
Zena Suri Alpacas
If you are looking for a unique experience, this is the place. The farm offers tours of the facilities where you meet, feed and touch unique farm animals. The facility is home to more than 60 alpacas and a handful of llamas. All the animals are well-trained and tours are available to fit almost any schedule. Whether you have 20 minutes or 2 hours, you will learn more about and get to know these gentle animals. The mission of the farm is teaching, learning and enjoying alpacas and llamas. Tours are free for families and small groups. Call ahead to schedule large groups. After the tour, relax in a rocking chair on the front porch, enjoy a picnic on the grounds or browse the gift shop for alpaca products. The farm is in Zena, about seven miles from Grove. If you can’t make it out to the farm, stop by their shop in Grove called Fuzzy to Fabulous.
Find more information at www.zenasurialpacas.com.
Queen Paddleboat Rides
For a one-of-a-kind experience, board an old-fashioned paddleboat for a sight-seeing tour with the family. This is the perfect activity for a spring or summer visit (it is closed during the winter months). The Queen has been offering tours on Grand Lake since 1945. Call 918-786-4272 for information and tour times.
This eight-acre botanical garden is a must-see for Grove visitors. It offers six distinct gardens, each with its own theme and unique vegetation. The garden boasts 250 varieties of rhododendrons that bloom during April and May. There are plenty of benches and pavilions for relaxing and getting out of the sun. The garden is free but a $5 donation is recommended. It is open year-round during daylight hours. Check their website for more information.
When traveling to Grove, keep in mind that I-44 is a toll road. Bring cash and change if you don’t have a Pike Pass. You will be charged every time you exit, even if it is just for bathroom breaks.
If you are looking for a day or weekend trip, consider Grove and Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. You won’t be disappointed. Happy trails!
Want to learn more ways to explore the outdoors with your kids? Check out Mae's blog!