The best STANDARD (TENT/RV) camping near
Tonkawa , OKLAHOMA

33 Reviews10 Campgrounds
Camping Oklahoma Tonkawa Standard (Tent/RV)

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Most Recent Tonkawa Camping Reviews
First to Review
We love this campsite

My husband and I stayed here with our 2 dogs. There is no water hookup, unless you have a long hose & are close to any of the bathrooms. Perfect lake views, beautiful sunset, very quiet & peaceful. Couldn’t ask for a better night stay!

So much fun

You can’t camp at the actual Salt Plains. We spent the day here and had such an awesome time. I took kids ages 3-12 and they all had a blast. Make sure to bring metal shovels and metal hand shovels bc the plastic ones will break, you will want sand buckets, egg cartons to put the crystals in bc when they come out they are still soft and brittle, sunscreen, lots of water, towels, baby wipes, a umbrella if you have one (we didn’t need it but a lot of people prefer them). I can’t stand sand/salt on me (think nails on a chalk board feeling) so I needed to shower pronto afterwards and couldn’t so lots of water to rinse off with is a good thing to have. You will have sand and salt all over your car inside and out FYI lol.

First to Review
Fun place to go

We tent camped and had a good time. The water is shallow forever so you don’t have to worry much about little ones playing. It isn’t too far from the great salt plains. Had a awesome day digging and was nice to go for a swim go get all the salt and sand off of us. I think next time I’ll drive home bc I can’t stand salt on my body. The feeling is awful to me lol. Def take some metal shovels and metal hand shovels ( the little plastic ones break) take lots of water, baby wipes and towels. You’ll also want to take egg cartons bc the crystals are soft when you dig them up so you’ll want to store them in it to harden up. My kids loves it and had a blast!

A great gateway to adventures

The camping at Great Salt Plains State park is a fine place to park the camper and stay, but most of the adventure is elsewhere in the park/refuge. You'll need to drive to get to almost everything. 

We stayed at the Sandy Beach Campground. This review is for that campground. If I had to do it again (I will) I would stay at the River Road Campground. It's much more shaded, more isolated and along the river. Not to mention the awesome Cliff Swallow flights from under the river bridge!

The campsite is clean and simple. The sites on the western edge have more shade than the rest, the sites in the center of the loop can feel strangely exposed with little in the way of natural boundaries between sites. 

Noise level: Look… this is a OK stake park lake site. Yes it's attached to a national refuge. Yes there are awesome things to see and do. But it's still a lakeside park. So, expect lots of huge 5th wheels with big outdoor speakers. In the summer I would guess there will be at least one camper who wants to share his music with you. It's a shame… but it's true. There is also a fighter training base adjacent to the park run by the Air Force. It's not as obnoxious as bubba's music, but just know it's there. And most of the time they just fly during the day. 

You can walk to the lake and the swimming area near the dam. It's a day use area, so there's some folks that like to leave some trash, but you know… pick it up for them and carry on. 

Now… when you leave there and head into the national refuge, that's where things get great. What a beautiful, unexpected landscape. The north side of the refuge has great hiking trails that are full of wildlife. The southwest side of course has the crystal digging area. It's really a great place to spend a weekend. Word to the wise, in the fairer months, get on and off the salt plains early to avoid the heat and the day trippers. 

Overall, this is a serviceable campsite that can serve for a great launching point for exploring/hiking/birding in the refuge. The wildlife present is outstanding. 

FYI… no, you can't fly your drone here. There is a national refuge, a state park and an Air Force base. It took me a long time to arrange all the clearances required, but my flight was legal.

Clean and tranquil as well

This side offers many of the same amenities as the east side. Camgrounds are very clean, quiet, and offer privacy. Close to hiking/mtb trails and the west side has showers.

Clean and tranquil

This campground has one of the simplest, user friendly, online reservation site I've ever used. For me, thats a definite plus. The tent sites are massive, equipped with a table, fire ring, grill, and parking. Four sites are near the swim area (9-12), site 9 and 10 are nearest to the toilets - which are clean, sites 1-8 are tucked back in the woods a little. There are RV hookup sites on the inside of the campground loop. Amenities include a playground, hiking/mtb trails, swim area, fishing dock, and a bait shop. Day use fee is 6$, overnight tent fee is 10$. This area is subject to burn bans and showers are located at the west campground.

Well kept, quirky, prairie lake

The lake is owned and operated by Oklahoma State University. The grounds were well mowed, some of the structures are dated but well cared for. Super-friendly and helpful people at the permit office. The store was closed when we arrived.

The quirky bit is the number of camping spaces that are by annual permit. That means a lot of of the shore line is taken up by permanent campers, weekend campers that leave their rigs, student living and even residents (in campers). The lake being close to Stillwater, it looks like a number of students and such commute from the lake.

None of this was problematic for us, but the level of care each annual permit holder takes on their lot range from pristine to near dilapidated.

We stayed in Beaver Cove and found it to be clean, well-maintained, friendly and quiet. No real privacy buffer between sites, but the spacing was comfortable. 

The park ranger made several passes through, even though the campground was only about 1/4 occupied. 

Lots of birds, including a resident blue heron the locals named Charlie. Wonderful views of the cove. We stayed in lot 31 and a few large elm trees gave our campsite evening shade.

Nice fire rings and sturdy picnic tables.

All in all, a good stay.

The only thing peaceful was our view.

Bathroom was disgusting, drunks and loud music til 4 in the morning and people hollering. Will not stay again.

Peaceful

Nice and quiet. Had a relaxing stay. The trail to the water was pretty rough, but made it down and got the kayak in the water with no problems. There were several fishing boats out, but no wakes or issues riding in the kayaks. Spot #8

Primitive Camping - Whitetail North/South

I just spent the weekend in the South camp site but ventured to the North campsite on my way out to look around for a future stay.

There are no facilities so best to bring your own, or plan on driving out and into the main campground to use the restrooms there.

North: Large campsite with both tree shaded and open areas, larger access to the water. Area is large enough for multiple vehicles, though only 2 vehicles are allowed to stay at the campsite it would a nice site for others together if they were camping in the nearby primitive sites. Fire ring provided. The main road in isn't bad, but the Y to the North camp site does have a bit of a rock ledge to drop off of and a bit of an off camber section. 

South: Nice primitive campsite with water access. Plenty of room for a couple of vehicles and tents. Mostly tree shaded with one small area open to direct sun. Fire ring provided. The water access in this site is a path through the grass that grows at the edge of the water, the bottom is sandy. Heard/saw fish hitting the water often was not able to catch any. The road all the way to this camp site isn't bad.

Should it rain while you are staying in either spot, the roads out could change quite a bit especially due to the sandy soil. The Lake states 4wd is required to stay at the sites and while it's not necessary when dry, I can see it being needed during/after a storm.

One thing I did not like about the primitive sites is that the hiking/biking trails come right by the campsite within a few feet, so I had people all weekend practically coming into my camp. I prefer primitive for a reason and that is to get away from people not have them coming through my campsite. There is more than enough room between the campsites and the main road to have adequate space between the trail system and the campsites as not to disturb the campers.