Tenkiller Lake, also referred to as “Oklahoma’s Clear Water Paradise,” sits along the Ozark Mountain foothills in Cookson, Oklahoma, offering over 130 miles of shoreline. Travelers head to Tenkiller Lake for a slice of outdoor life, as this popular vacation spot is perfect for fishing, watersports, camping, hunting, scuba diving and more. Local museums give visitors a chance to learn about the area’s history, while the natural beauty of the Oklahoma dogwood trees and mountain views create the perfect view from the porch of your Tenkiller Lake vacation rental. If you’re planning to spend your next family vacation, this list of family-friendly activities in the Tenkiller Lake Area has something for everyone.
1. Cherokee Heritage Center
For a fun day learning about Cherokee culture in Oklahoma, visit the Cherokee Heritage Center in nearby Talequah, just a few minutes away from your vacation rental in Tenkiller Lake . Tour the Diligwa Living History Village and Outdoor Museum to view reproductions of homes and villages dating back to the 1700s, then take a look at the world-class Trail of Tears Exhibit. The center also offers hands-on craft demonstrations and courses for visitors to learn about Cherokee traditions.
2. Tenkiller Lake Fishing Clinics
Fishing is one of the most popular pastimes in Cookson, as the waters of Tenkiller Lake and the Illinois River boast a high trout population throughout the area’s 13,000 acres of water. If you’re new to fishing or looking to brush up your skills, Tenkiller Lake fishing clinics are both educational and fun. Tenkiller State Park offers fishing clinics for individuals of all ages, including the little ones who get their very own fishing pond. Pick up some tips from a seasoned instructor, then rent a fishing boat and test your skills on the water. If you catch some local trout, bring it back to your vacation rental for an old-fashioned fish fry.
3. Tenkiller State Park
For recreation, gorgeous scenery, crisp mountain air, and good-old fashioned family fun, leave the cell phones and tablets at your vacation rental and head over to Tenkiller State Park. Rent a sailboat from the Pine Cove Marina and navigate the waters of Tenkiller Lake, or take advantage of the park’s campsite and camp out with the family for a night or two. Known as “Oklahoma’s Heaven in the Hills,” Tenkiller State is the perfect spot for anyone looking for an easy way to get back to nature.
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4. Tenkiller Scuba Park
For a truly unique scuba diving experience, pay a visit to Tenkiller Scuba Park, located just minutes from your vacation rental on Lake Tenkiller . While you probably won’t come across exotic fish species or coral reefs, you may bump into an old school bus, an airplane, or a helicopter, and you’ll definitely swim with some catfish. If you’re new to scuba diving, Gene’s Aqua Pro Shop on Lake Tenkiller offers training, scuba certification, and equipment rental.
5. Lake Tenkiller Loon Tours
If you’re hoping to get up close and personal with the wildlife of Lake Tenkiller on your vacation, sign the family up for loon tour. Skilled guides take visitors through Tenkiller State Park to view yellow-billed loons, common loons, pacific loons and yellow-billed loons. Be sure to bring your camera, as you may catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or two, depending on the season. If you’re staying near the park and you’ve got a pair of binoculars, you may even spot some loons from the porch of your vacation rental home.
6. Woolatoc Museum and Wildlife Preserve
Oklahoma history, animals, and art, visit the Woolatoc Museum and Wildlife Preserve in nearby Bartlesville, just a short drive from your vacation rental. A 3,70-acre preserve houses over 30 varieties of exotic and native animals and birds, while the indoor museum features a variety of artifacts, ranging from Native American art to 1927 airplanes and a massive collection of Colt firearms. When you’re finished with your museum tour, stop by the Lodge ranch house, a rustic cabin home built in 1925, that was once occupied by Oklahoma oil tycoon Frank Phillips.
7. Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Many Oklahoma natives have gone on to become music legends, and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame and Museum honors each and every performer who make the state proud. Take a short road trip from your vacation rental into Muskogee to catch a live music show at the Hall of Fame or take a walking tour of the museum, where you’ll find memorabilia of Oklahoma inductees such as Merle Haggard, Gene Autry, and Vince Gill.
8. Air Donkey Zipline Adventure
If you’re in an adventurous mood or looking for the perfect outlet for your to burn off some energy after spending too much time relaxing at your vacation rental home, sign up for a zipline tour with Air Donkey Zipline Adventure. At 1800 feet, Air Donkey’s zipline is the longest in all of Oklahoma, and all tours are guided by certified professionals. Choose from six zipline courses, or kick your adrenaline up a notch by embarking on the sky bridge that travels through the dogwood trees.
9. Snake Creek Marina
For some casual outdoor fun, head over to the Snake Creek Marina. The Marina sits right on the shores Lake Tenkiller, making it easy to rent jet-ski and boats and get right on the water. Pack a picnic lunch at your vacation rental and enjoy some family time on the beach, or stock up on supplies at the marina store and boat over to the Illinois river to snatch up some trout.
10. Murrell Home
For an interesting combination of breathtaking scenery and Oklahoma History, visit the Murrell Home, located within close proximity of your vacation rental in Talequah. The grounds are finely manicured with beautiful flowers and greenery, while the home itself, once owned by millionaire George Michael Murrell, gives a history lesson about Oklahoma during the Civil War. Built in 1845, the Murrell Home is the only remaining antebellum plantation home in all of Oklahoma. Tour the grounds, then attend a hands-on blacksmithing or food preparation presentation, where staff members reenact life in the 1800s.
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