A great campsite, one of the best in Oklahoma in fact. some sites are large enough for small trailers. But with no electric or water hookups at the sites (there is community water) they are limited to “the right folks ;)” Tent camping is fantastic too of course. Even better. It’s a no reservations campground which is nice but be prepared to dispersed camp in the National Forest if needed on popular weekends. The fall color is stunning. Campfire rings, grills and tables at each campsite. Standard NFS fair.
The trails are what really shines here. The Ouachita National Recreation Trail passes by the camp and ties you into hundreds of miles of adventure.
During the summer the trail can be a little hard to follow. Fall too if the leaf fall is heavy. But watch for blue blazes on the trees and you are good. A great set of volunteers keep this trail system in great shape!
If interested in the entire trail, Ike even just an overnight there is a great guidebook out there by Tim Ernst. Super details with great mileage records and maps.
Lots of 4wd fun around too if you look in the right place!
This is a hands down favorite in the late spring and mid fall. Check it out for sure!
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.
This is a great place with awesome camps hosts and a cozy feel.
A great gateway to the national forest and the Ouachita Trail. The trail starts at the park and heads East for some 200 miles. But you don’t have to do it all! Just get out and enjoy what you can.
The ATV crowd is present and sometimes a little loud, but they leave out in the morning and don’t typically get back till dusk.
Tent site 1 is outstanding. Located at the head of the trail it is otherwise pretty remote.
The RV campsites are against the highway and although you can’t see it, you can certainly hear it. It’s not an interstate though and the traffic does die down at night.
I don’t think they have a problem in camp, but be aware that the Ouachita National Forest holds a fair number of Black Bears. Proceed accordingly.
Overall this is a gem of a park, nothing really to do at the park, but the adjacent forest awaits whatever adventure you choose!
If you dig the crowds and the splash park scene and the loud music… hit it in the summer. But if you like it quiet and peaceful check it out in the winter or early spring. Fall colors are beautiful but attract a crowd.
One really great thing about the summer is that a pair of Osprey have begun nesting across highway 10! So neat to see the pair nesting in Oklahoma.
The hiking trails need some maintenance. The bridge has been closed for some time but there are ways around and the backcountry is open for camping too which is rare in a state park.
The campsites along the lake at Cypress Row are great along with the rest. Everything from primitive backcountry to full hookups is available here.
The fishing form the dock is fruitful. From a boat even better.
The store is nice. The owners are nice. The loud music they play is not as nice.
Overall a great escape not far from Tulsa.
Lindsborg is a super cool little town with a good bit of stuff to do within walking distance of the campsite. Lots of Swedish culture (read up on it). Pool, water park, playgrounds, museum and more are walking distance. But the campground is simple and quiet. Separated from the city by the river, you cross an old highway bridge turned pedestrian bridge to get to the town. Main Street is an easy walk with restaurants, a great coffee shop, art galleries and more. The homes around town are beautiful and it’s just a neat little place to spend a day.
Our family’s haunts are usually far more rustic/remote with boondocking and very small state parks top on the list. But this place makes a great stopover on the way home to ease yourself back into civilization.
Grass parking, 30 amp hookups and no water connections (you may fill tanks at the museum) keep the big boys away. It’s rarely full except on holidays and the Swedish family reunion they host each year. Call the Old Mill Museum for details.
There are toilets, but I don’t think there are showers.