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The 77-foot cascade for which Natural Falls State Park is named looks like something straight off a postcard. That might be why the park was chosen as a film location for the movie adaptation of the 1961 novel Where the Red Fern Grows. Located an hour and some change due west of Tulsa, this serene green space attracts over 100,000 nature lovers from all over Oklahoma and Arkansas each year.
When you get a glimpse of the magnificent Dripping Springs falls spilling over scenic rocky outcrops, you'll want to stay awhile to fully experience their beauty. Search for an RV in Delaware County and start planning your getaway to one of the only waterfalls in the Ozarks.
Your first order of business on your Natural Falls State Park camping adventure should be checking out the falls. Visitors can get an up-close view of the falls or snap panoramic photos from one of two observation decks. The falls support a lush ecosystem of plant life. The best time to view the falls is after a heavy rain, when the cascade becomes a torrent rushing into the emerald-hued pool below.
This park isn't exactly a haven for hikers, with just over four miles of trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. As its name suggests, the Dripping Springs Trail is a half-mile loop which leads to the falls and connects to other trails. Those looking for a challenge will find one on the Bear Trail, a half-mile path which requires hikers to traverse some steep terrain. The moderately difficult Fox Den Trail loops for a mile and a half down to a scenic stream near the dam.
Anglers will be delighted to discover that catch-and-release fishing is permitted in a designated area along the Dripping Springs Trail. Keep an eye out for water moccasins while wandering along the stream.
Once you've explored every inch of the park, challenge your camping crew to a game of disc golf on the park's nine-hole course. Volleyball, basketball, and horseshoes are other favorite pastimes for Natural Falls State Park campers. The kids in your crew will love burning some energy on the playground near the observation deck.
If you'd rather relax and soak up the atmosphere, enjoy a packed lunch at any of the picnic tables scattered throughout the park. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including deer, hawks, and turkeys, and bring your binoculars when you venture into the park's formal gardens.
If your campervan rental requires a site with full hookups, you're in luck. Seven of the park's 44 sites come with full hookups, while the rest offer partial hookups. Standard amenities include restrooms, showers, grills, fire pits, and a dump station.
If you'd rather not camp in an RV, reserve one of the park's five fully equipped yurts. This unique accommodation option comes complete with all the creature comforts, including a microwave, coffee maker, an outdoor grill, and a picnic table. Pets are welcome to tag along for your motorhome camping trip as long as they're leashed and well-behaved. The yurts also welcome pets for an extra fee.
Ready to crank up the RV rental and head to your next destination? Top off the gas tank at one of the convenience stores located a few miles outside the park, across the state line. Grab a bite at one of the mom-and-pop restaurants in the community of Kansas, then hit Highway 59 to continue your road trip.
If you're heading west toward Tulsa, treat the kids to a fun outing at the Tulsa Zoo, an 85-acre habitat nestled within Mohawk Park. Oklahoma Aquarium is another must-see for the animal lovers among your group. History buffs will want to experience Gilcrease Museum, which showcases Native American artifacts and Western art.
Planning an adventure in Fayetteville? Don't miss the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, a 44-acre outdoor oasis complete with colorful gardens and a butterfly house. Or, take a trip back in time Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. Take a walking tour of one of the best-preserved Civil War battlefields in the state and view artifacts recovered from the site at the museum. After you've visited some of the city's biggest attractions, meander along West Dickson Street, the commercial hub of downtown Fayetteville home to restaurants, bars, and locally owned boutiques.
No matter where the open road takes you next on your RV camping adventure, you'll find no shortage of fun activities and historic sites to experience either side of the Oklahoma-Arkansas state line.