Summertime and being in and around the water … there’s simply nothing like it.
You can be on the beach at Foss State Park; in a boat on Grand Lake; swimming in Lake Carlton at Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton; swimming in the pool at Roman Nose State Park or at the lodge at Sequoyah State Park; or trying stand-up paddle boarding at the Red Bud Marina on Lake Oologah about 50 miles from Tulsa.
Regardless of the location, the sights, sounds and relaxing, carefree activities around water during the summer months can wash the stress away.
For those who don’t know, Oklahoma has approximately 55,646 miles of shoreline; over 1 million surface acres, perfect for water recreation of all kinds.
And of course Oklahoma has more than 50 state parks, many of which are next to beautiful lakes, so you can always find opportunities to get out and enjoy. And it’s always so much fun to head out to a state park and lake and do stories for Discover Oklahoma during this time of the year and enjoy that summer water time!
Those who want a different type of adventure in and around water should try Riversport Adventures in the Boathouse District of Oklahoma City! And this summer, they do in fact have numerous adventures you can enjoy!
Of course, there’s the whitewater rafting on Riversport Rapids, which is always a favorite. The SandRidge Sky Trail is their vertical ropes course and the high speed slide that comes off of that is a blast! I’ve had the pleasure of doing that, as well as the Rumble Drop. I’ll be doing their Zip Line soon, but I’ve had many friends do that and they absolutely loved it.
Oklahoma River Adventures allow you to enjoy paddle boarding and kayaking, and those are available June through July, seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ride a tube down the rapids from 6 to 7 p.m., when the operators slow the water speed a little bit. A few times this summer, River Adventures will show Floating Films, their movie nights. The next one will be Saturday, June 30.
“Glow” returns this summer and will be held at the Whitewater Center where they will have live music! You can float on a tube or raft and listen to music or give zip lining a try. Glow will be from 6 to 11 p.m. each Friday.
Mike Knopp, Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation executive director, said everyone has responded with excitement to the aquatic activities.
“There are a lot of people from out of town, but then there are people from Oklahoma City who, it seems like I just run into people on the bridge and they say, ‘I just can’t believe this is Oklahoma City,’ because they’ve grown up here and they have this amenity,” he said.
“There’s no other city in America that has these amenities, so to have an urban whitewater course and all these unique boathouses and rowing programs and all these things, I think it’s now something that people genuinely have a sense of pride about.”
“That’s because more people are doing these adventurous things that they would have probably not done otherwise, but now that we’ve made it accessible, they’re going whitewater rafting and zip lining and things like that,” he said. “As a result, we’re seeing more people on the water, on the trail, kayaks on their cars, all of those things and I think we’re a part of that.”
This summer, there are different camps that are going on for both rowing and canoe/kayaking. One of the most impressive elements of the Boathouse district is that it is an Olympic training site.
“We would love to see Oklahomans on the podium in the future because of the access to these facilities,” Knopp said, “so our camps are designed around providing a gateway. We make it fun for kids!”
Fun is the key for everyone. Rafting in the Riversport Rapids is a very exciting, fun adventure. No one should feel intimidated. It is completely safe, and no experience is required.
“We have the most professional raft guides,” Knopp said. “They were hand picked from some of the top rafting destinations in the world. We take you through an orientation session and if you’ve never done it before, they really make sure that you’re comfortable before you go out and they’re going to make you stay safe and have a blast when you’re on the Riversport Rapids.”
Don’t forget Riversport is a year-round operation, so you can always check out rowing in the fall and other activities. Purchase a Lifestyle Pass to gain access to all facilities, fitness programs and classes. You can learn to sail, row and kayak, and the fall is a good time to do some of those things as well.