Located about 120 miles southeast of McAlester, Beaver Bend State Park is an outdoor recreation mecca on the southern end of Broken Bow Lake. Named for the big bend on the Mountain Fork River, which runs through the park, Beavers Bend camping visitors can observe some of the area’s interesting rock formations—part of the Ouachita Mountains—that expose the area’s unique geologic origins. The main attraction at Beaver Bend however, is the extensive opportunities to play outdoors—from hiking, horseback riding and fishing to golfing, scuba diving and ziplining. Or, you don’t have to play at all. You can just kick back by the river and watch the clouds drift by.
Visitors to Beaver Bend have a variety of lodging and camping options to choose from, including rustic and modern cabins, tent and RV campgrounds, and the nearby Lakeview Lodge. For campers, there nearly 450 campsites, in eight different areas, available for parking an RV or pitching a tent. RV camps have water and electrical hookups, with showers and dump stations nearby. Services within the park include a nature center, restaurant, fly shop, kid’s day camps, boat rentals, craft classes, and campfire programs. Campsite rates range from $12–$25/night.
Once you’re settled, spend your days on the river with a kayak or paddleboat, or just kick back and soak up some sun at the swim beach. If you’d rather cast a line or swing your clubs, go for one of the many fishing holes on the river, or head over to the nearby Cedar Creek Golf Course. Hikers will want to pack their boots to wander among Beaver Bend’s 12 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging loop hikes. Stop by the Forest Heritage Center to learn more about the area, and pick up a trail map to help you navigate the shady pine and hardwood forest. If you’re visiting in the fall, don’t miss the Folk Festival & Craft Show, which features a variety of craft exhibits, music performances and tasty foods.
We camped in Turkey Circle in the lake part of the park. The campground was a bit tight but it was pretty quiet. We stayed in #10 and it was right next to the road but thankfully there isn’t much traffic in the circle. We had a slight view of the water from the back of our site and it was a quick walk or drive down to the lake. We really enjoyed our time exploring the park and all it had to offer. We were able to hike,kayak the lake and the river, swim and there is also a train and mini golf within the state park. Our campground was part of the Carson Creek area and was a short drive to Hochatown. There is an animal rescue and a mining attraction for kids in Hochatown. There is also a really cute shop called Hochatime that has some nice quality shirts. We are already planning our next trip and are looking at Acorn, Cypress, and Fern for campground options. They are all closer to the river area and closer to the activities within the park.
Nice nice nice park. Woke up to the views of the lake. Nice breeze even in the summer. Lots of shade off of blue jay drive. We camped pad B011. Photos do more justice.
Got some videos of the river side camp sites.
If you want to camp the lake I recommend blue jay drive. the other places have nice lake access and views It’s just some were to crowded.
I recently spent 4 days at Beavers Bend State Park ("BBSP") on a camping trip with my brother. We had initially planned to go camping at Lake Ouachita in Arkansas; however, unfortunately we were unable to go due to the COVID crisis and Arkansas only allowing in-state residents to begin camping again on May 1st. As a result, we had to make a fall back plan so we landed on BBSP. Since we didn't make a reservation until the last minute, the only camping area with sites available for the full length of our trip was in the "Hochatown Area."
Per a sign I noticed on the side of a local business during our trip, "Hochatown" is pronounced as follows: (1) "HO" - like Santa Claus, "Ho, Ho, Ho!" (2) "CH" - like CHicken, not a "K" (3) "A" - like "UH" (4) "TOWN" - Well, you know, like "TOWN"
First of all, BBSP is HUGE and very spread out. If you're looking for a park where you can pretty much walk or ride a bike everywhere during your trip, this is probably not your place. It's possible, but it wouldn't be enjoyable in my opinion. Broadly, the park is generally located on the western side of the Broken Bow Reservoir and runs south to north across approximately 12-15 miles. The hub of activity containing the typical state park-esque things is in the southern section of the park.
There are basically two general sections of the park, both of which have several camping areas within them. One is on the north side of the park and the other on the south. The northern half is the Hochatown area (or “Lake Area”), while the southern half is the Beavers Bend area (or “River Area”). Where you camp will largely depend on what you plan to do.
As indicated above, the Hochatown area is close to the Lake. There are several different campgrounds in this area and it’s all very spread out. Basically, if you have a camper/rv, your options are Armadillo, Quail or Turkey. We stayed in Armadillo because that was the only area available. Of the three, I think Quail is probably the best area, but at the end of the day, I think they are probably all comparable. The sites in Armadillo were well shaded with level/paved pads. Picnic table, lantern hook, and fire pit. There was also a big pavilion right behind our site. If our kids were with us, it would’ve been nice in the event of rain. Some sites in Armadillo have sewer and others don’t. We were in site #4, no sewer. I was skeptical at first, but I really liked it. The bathhouse wasn’t open but it looked ok. Armadillo is about 300 yards away from the Lakeview Lodge. Leave Armadillo area, cross the street and make your way to the Lodge. There is a boat ramp and lots of area to enjoy the lake shore. The Lodge looked a little sketchy but generally probably decent. As for the other, non rv areas, those include: Blue Jay, Eagle, Coyote, Deer Drive, Turkey, Grasshopper, Firefly and Hawk. These are walk-in tent sites really close to the water. If you’re a tent person, these are very cool sites. All areas have bathhouses. In addition to water activities, there is a nice golf course a few miles north that runs along the lake (Cedar Creek Golf Course). We played a round during our trip and really enjoyed it. Reasonably priced ($40 for 18 with cart; $27 or so for 18 with cart at twilight, or after 4pm during daylight savings). It was a solid little course with some great views along the back 9. In addition to those things, there are several moderate hikes that are all around 3 miles in the Hochatown area. You can also combine them all and go on a mega 16 miler that takes you up and along the crest of the mountain overlooking the lake. Views are fantastic but would caution anyone who is not in shape or not accustomed to hiking. In short, if you’re planning to do a lot of boating and fishing, the Hochatown area will be your jam as there are multiple boat ramps and the marina is generally about the same distance from all the camping areas in the northern section of the park.
The southern area of the park is the Beavers Bend or River Area. From the outset, without question, this is preferable to Hochatown area in my view. This area of the park looks like something from a movie and there are several camping areas, including (from north to south): Hickory, Grapevine, Elm, Fern, Dogwood, Acorn and Cypress. Again, if you’re taking a camper/rv, you’ll be limited to Dogwood, Fern, Acorn or Cypress. Without a doubt, you will want to try for a spot in Acorn or Dogwood (in that order) first. Next is Fern, though it is right next to horse stables so unless you like the smell of horse poop, probably want to look at Cypress. Acorn and Dogwood areas have sites along the river that are amazing. The pads are great, and there is sewer. Specifically as to Fern, it is a small area that offers bigger sites and some seclusion while being on the river, but it’s generally people with trailers for horse related things due to proximity to stables.
Cypress is probably last or 3rd of these 4 areas for a few reasons. First, it sits across the road from Acorn and not on the water, but it is at least in close proximity to the river. Second, the pads are gravel/dirt and short. If you’ve got a rig that's anything longer than 17 ft, it could get tight in a hurry. Third, the trees make these sites really tight in addition to the length of each pad. Fourth, the sites are stacked on top of each other leaving hardly any room between sites. If you were taking kids, I could see that being a source of stress trying to keep your kids from encroaching on your neighbors 24/7. Basically, it’s just much less appealing overall than Acorn or Dogwood, but it is still probably better than the Hochatown area if you've got a smaller camper or a PUP like me.
The “main” park area is by far the southern half of the park, or River Area. This is where the visitor center and heritage center are located, both of which are fantastic. There is also a park general store and other concessionaires on site. Obviously that's are big plus to have access to those things, even if you aren't planning on using them. There are several different swimming areas along the river with sandy beaches that are clearly marked, as well as hiking trails and flat, paved trails for leisurely bike riding or, in my case, a path for my boys to use their little scooters. Dispersed among the camping areas are many, many cabins that can be rented. Some are nestled into the side of the hillside, while others look right out over the river. I have not stayed in a cabin but they appear to be quite nice. I also have a friend who stayed in a cabin at the park with his family for a week every summer and he raves about his experiences. In addition to trout fishing in the river, there are also numerous float trips you can take in this area of the park, most of which follow along the Mountain Fork River. In fact, there are even portions of the river south of the park (Lower Mountain Fork River) with Class III rapids for rafting. In the same area, there is the Lower Mountain Fork River Trout Fishery, which is a phenomenal flyfishing location. Overall, this area of the park looks like a movie. There is so much to do you can’t hit it all in a single trip.
Lastly, a few comments about the area surrounding BBSP. Being from Oklahoma, I will say that in my humble opinion, much of the state is not pretty at all. However, this area of the state is absolutely stunning and doesn’t look like Oklahoma; rather, it looks like Arkansas. With that said, the towns of Hochatown and Broken Bow are pretty rough and frankly sort of sketchy in all respects. Closer to the park (along 259), it is very “touristy” on both sides of the road. There are several restaurants, bars, gift shops, and activities like miniature golf and a go cart track. For my family, it’s a perfect spot for us, as my wife loves the tourist-type gift shops and my boys would love the mini-golf and go-carts. To that end, if you’re looking for something all natural, I would say you should either stay in the park, or just don’t go to Beavers Bend. Due to the geographical location of this park, it is situated in a spot that's nearly equidistant in all directions to Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana. As a result, this is one of the most visited areas in Oklahoma. During our trip, it seemed like there were more Texas and Arkansas plates than Oklahoma. It's clearly a tourist-esque location, that's particularly true during the late spring and summer months.
Overall, even though I have visited several parks in Oklahoma, I haven't seen them all. Despite that, I feel confident in saying that Beavers Bend is probably the best the state has to offer in terms of state parks and camping. There is so many different things to do that it could appeal to anyone and the scenery is stunning. Plainly, you just can’t go wrong here, even if you end up in a less preferable camping area. If you live within a reasonable distance from this park, it’s definitely somewhere you should visit.
My brother and I were scheduled to stay in AR for a biannual camping trip and we’re forced to move to Beavers Bend State Park due to AR park closures.
We grabbed a site in the Armadillo loop near Lakeside Lodge. Campground is laid out well. Grass needed to be cut but otherwise a pretty camping area. None of the facilities were open given the pandemic but the lodge (which is being renovated) and the visitor center looked very nice. Campground was mostly 30/50 Amp, water, electric sites. There were some with sewer but they looked to be ADA sites. Nice concrete pads and fire rings.
The other camping areas are all easily accessible and the Acorn loop in the River Area was the prettiest as far as scenery. Plenty to do in Hochatown and there is a decent Wal-Mart in Broken Bow. There is plenty to do at Beavers Bend! We were both very happy with our time there.
Beautiful region. Our family enjoyed camping and hiking. Pleasant weather and lots of sunshine during our stay. Lots of fun had by our group.
We loved the water here! The river is perfect for kayaking and has fantastic views and cool water. The lake is beautiful! We visited on Labor Day weekend and the entire park was crowded. We stayed at the Bluejay campground. The reason we gave this campground 3 out of 5 stars was due to the lack of cleanliness of the campsite and restroom facility. It also has very little privacy due to campsites being close in proximity. It is a dog friendly campground and we love that but other campers did not obey by the leash rule. We took our own kayaks to take down the Lower Mountain Fork River but there is a rental place with lots of kayaks available. We will visit again but choose another campground for our next visit.
Beavers Bend State Park is absolutely beautiful and it’s one of my favorite parks in Oklahoma! My husband and I like to book a cabin stay every year during the late winter/early spring season (we like to go when the hiking trails are less crowded). The cabins here are small and cozy but they are very well kept up. And just FYI, the park was experiencing high tide due to the large amount of rain they received around the time of our last visit. This triggered the loud flood sirens and they went off every few hours throughout the night. I wouldn’t say that this happens often and we didn’t experience any flooding.
When it comes to Oklahoma one location which continually is brought up is Broken Bow, OK where you can find a great escape from the DFW area or a retreat from your own location which is like no other. Offering a paradise of water activities for summer, cozy cabins for winter and a vast array of amenities for any taste you can find something within this park on pretty much any budget.
I visited Beavers Bend State Park and took a moment to explore the accommodation options and WOW oh WOW!! From primitive tent locations to full hook ups and cabins outfitted in a variety of styles and sizes there truly is something for everyone at this park. You can find sites located on the waters edge for quick boat launching or further removed for forrest and trail access.
During the wet season there is a waterfall which rests at the end of a scenic hike, during summer various locations rent everything from paddle boards to kayaks and there is an abundant supply of fishing equipment which can be found for those wanting to try their hand at fly or rod and reel fishing.
When I visited mid week during early summer the park was filled with life yet did not seem crowded. A small half way stop where a private owner offers horseback riding, train rides and affordable shopping was buzzing with a filled parking lot. The swimming beach was filled with those wanting to have a little fun in the sun. The visitor center was bustling. Yet even with all these areas seeming very lively, the park itself is large enough where I never felt overwhelmed by the people around me. There were still plenty of quiet moments to be had in areas which seemed very remote, despite being no oh so far away from these populous areas.
The real feature of this park is by far the water! If you can follow the water you can see how amazing this area of Oklahoma truly is. Around this area the trees thrive and area green and beautiful. You find that even through the world around this section of land is flat, the world opens up when you arrive and you are met with hills and low laying mountains. It is unique in its location to say the least. I found that the primitive campgrounds as well as improved campgrounds were very shaded and each came equipped with a picnic table, fire ring and lantern hook. The main differences in the sites other than the obvious electricity were in the restrooms. Restrooms near improved campgrounds were much larger and nicer, they included flush toilets and showers unlike the vault style toilets of the primitive sites.
When booking online during peak season there is a 2 night minimum required currently on weekends. On holiday weekends during peak season you must reserve for 3 nights when it comes to cabins. For campsites there is no requirement. I did notices however that many of the campsites are on a first come first serve basis and after speaking to several park employees during peak season the grounds fill up quickly as of Thursday evening for the upcoming weekend. You will want to get there as early as possible especially to secure an improved campsite.
Prices are very reasonable for tent and RV patrons at only$12 for a primitive site and$20 for an improved location. Pets are allowed in these areas however if you choose to bring your pet to stay in a cabin there is a pet fee.
- Plan ahead and stop in Broken Bow for supplies. While Hochatown is also close by the prices in that community are much higher than in the main city of Broken Bow.
- Take time to stop at the visitor center and nature center area they are worth it because of the rich history of the area which are made visible through the museum.
- If you are renting a watercraft check out the stop closest to the swimming beach. They have miniature golf for the family and also the best selection of options including paddle boats, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards.
When checking out new locations many times I get the opportunity thanks to the Dyrt to test out products on my adventures. For this fun filled day in the sun I was able to check out the Stream2Sea Face& Body Sunscreen in the 1 oz Travel Size.
This product is perfect for a person on the go and has just enough to reapply several times throughout the day to keep you safe and protected from the UVA and UVB rays. The product itself is mineral based and does not appear sticky or tacky on the skin once applied. Although I will say it does take a little while to fully absorb which can leave you appearing a little more ghostly until it does. With this being said, this also makes it very easy to know where the sunscreen has been applied and where you might have missed a spot.
The sunscreen is water-resistant which is perfect for a location such as Beavers Bend State Park where you will likely be in and out of the water in a multitude of ways. The product is unscented so it will not attract mosquitoes. I think this aspect is potentially one of the best qualities of this particular sunscreen because it allows you to have fun and adventure without worrying about the unpleasant feasting which bugs often do when they area attracted to sunscreens which have fruity or floral fragrances.
When I wore the product I truly did test it to the max on my fair skin. I reapplied every 80 minutes per instruction and then decided that I would skip my last application to see if it continues to work. I did learn they make these directions for a reason so follow instructions for application and do not miss reapplication times.TIPS:
- Apply before you get in the water by at least 5 minutes to allow your base layer to fully absorb.
- Follow the schedule for reapplication relatively close to the 80 minute mark.
- This is a body and face product and works well on either so do not forget the face!!
One of the most beautiful campsites we’ve been too.
Nice campground with lots of things to see.