Explore OK {Osage Hills State Park}

Our summer has been kind of on hold. We knew Little One would be having a big surgery this month (her cleft palate repair), so we couldn’t really plan much. Last week, on a bit of a whim, we decided to go on a little Oklahoma vacation. Chris and I have both lived in Oklahoma basically all our lives and yet, there are so many places we’ve never visited. We decided to pick a few spots and just see how they worked out for us.

The week ended up being so much fun – so I thought I’d share some of the places we visited this week on my blog. A little Explore OK series. It is hard to find info online sometimes that is more than a few sentences about a state park. So this is my little way of helping other Okies who are searching for more info before they plan a visit to any of these places. Later this week, I’ll include a list of some of our other favorite places for those of you that are looking to travel around this area. For those that have no interest in visiting OK…well maybe you’ll just enjoy the photos!

Before going off my reviews, there are a few things you should know about us and our ‘standards’:

  • Our ‘standards’ are very low – we enjoy ‘roughing’ it
  • We don’t require much
  • If it has a bathroom and sink it is higher class than our tent so that is awesome to us
  • We like the adventure and journey often even more than the destination
  • We are pretty easy going and appreciate free/cheap
  • We don’t get freaked out over germs/dirt/mud/bugs/etc
  • We like simplicity
  • We’d take a tent with a beautiful view over a 5 star hotel any day
  • We can have a party with PB&Js & water if we’re together

We began our trip by staying at Osage Hills State Park. On the way, we stopped by Barnsdall, OK for a potty break. We took 5 million potty breaks on this trip. It made me a crazy person. I’m all for holding it until you are in pain before stopping on a road trip. That doesn’t work so well with 5 kids unless you want to spend all your time cleaning carseats. I digress. Barnsdall was formerly named Bigheart after an Osage Chief, but it was renamed in 1922 in honor of a local oil refinery owner. We passed the Bigheart sign and I had Chris pull back around..and I got all the kids out of the car for pictures. I don’t mind stopping for pictures.

Then we headed on out to our cabin and did a little swimming.

The pool was super cold from all the recent rains, but the kids had fun nonetheless. I don’t understand the ability kids have to swim in frigid water. There are several trails around the park. We only went on a couple, but all of them were fine for kids. Most were flat with a few rocky areas or low grade inclines.

The picture below is completely blurry. I needed a fast shutter speed. But, I just can’t delete it. Such is the story of my girl…chasing after her brothers in a tutu.

There was a beautiful area with small waterfalls. Older teenagers were swimming a little farther upstream. My kids were content to cross the water with their dad and just play in the mud.

It takes a good man to sing Barbie & the Popstar songs on a rock stage with his daughter.

She wanted nothing to do with the mud, but was okay with watching and touching a bit of water.

Full on mud throwing war ensued.

And then they cleaned up and we headed back to the cabin.

The park was very kid friendly and the cabins set right up next to the woods. The cabins were clean, small and had basic essentials (no tv, no phone). As a family with small children, it was perfect for us. The cabins are meant to sleep 4…so you can imagine how packed in we were. It was still more roomy than our tent and it had a bathroom, so YAY! If Chris and I were going by ourselves or with teens, we’d probably look for another state park that had tougher hiking. Our kids loved staying there…though playing in the mud was probably their most favorite activity during our stay!

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