The best TENT SITES camping near
Tonkawa , OKLAHOMA

58 Reviews39 Campgrounds

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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!

Great site. Very clean.

Clean campsite. Fire pit had recently been cleaned out. Nice little path down to the water from this spot. Water and electricity available but didn't use this trip. If you hammock camp, the poles on the canopy are perfectly spaced for a great hang. No firewood to buy on premises so pick it up in the near town of Ponca City if you want to light a fire. There is dead wood around as well if you want to source it that way.

Great value for water & electric!

This is a county operated park located in Oxford, Kansas which is a few miles east off I 35. So it’s a convenient layover, especially considering the cost! If you don’t use the electricity it’s only $3.50 and if you choose to hook up to the electric, which is located on utility poles, then it’s $10 per night on the honor system. There’s a box next to the bath house where you leave your cash payment.

The park is very well kept and has a lot to offer with disc golf course (be aware that the course runs through the middle of the camping area), a playground, group picnic shelter, a basketball court, and a newer shower/bath house. This is only open between April 15th and October 15th. Water is available to fill your tank and there is a dump station on site too! At site 50 the water was next to the site, so if no one else is camping it could be a direct hook up. When I stayed there were only 2 other rigs here. 

There are no specific designated sites, at least that are clearly designated. Just take the road into the park and then look for the poles which hold the electric boxes. You can pull into the grassy areas next to one of these. I was concerned about the ground being soft because it had just rained, but I had no problems in my 24’ class C rig. 

Oxford is a small town, but across the main street from the park there’s a gas station/quick mart store and supplies are there. This is a fantastic peaceful spot with great night skies and the price is right!  Let’s keep it our secret.

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.