You’ll find Broken Bow within undeniable natural beauty in the mountainous region of southeast Oklahoma. This area is, without a doubt, a nature lover’s dream with so many outdoorsy things to do. Nestled in the Ouachita National Forest and the Kiamichi Mountains are Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow Lake, and an eclectic selection of Broken Bow cabins. These and many other attractions and activities are what bring visitors here year-round.
Broken Bow, Oklahoma, is roughly four hours northeast of Dallas and a short drive from the Arkansas border, and it’s no secret (anymore) to many who flock here from Texas and other driving-distance locales. It’s one of the best destinations in Oklahoma to experience hiking, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, bird watching, fishing, and more. Whether you’re coming here to hike through the National Forest, spend time in the park, or zip-line over Broken Bow Lake, you’re covered with things to do while making memories with your family.
I was hosted at Aspen Aspiration for two nights, and I took my mom along for a mother-daughter getaway. All opinions remain my own.
Editor’s Note: Don’t miss Kim’s Broken Bow cabin recommendations below this list of things to do!
Things To Do In Broken Bow
What’s there not to love about the forest, the mountains, and nature? With a lake in the state park and a river to boot, and the wide range of scenery, there’s no shortage of outdoor experiences in Broken Bow. Having been in the area recently, I’ve gathered that this is the perfect place for families and the perfect atmosphere for adults and couples. From fun family attractions to breweries and wineries, any reason is a good reason to vacation here.
While there, we found some pretty incredible places to grab a bite to eat. For great pizza and a large area for outdoor seating, head to Grateful Head Pizza. My mom and I declared that the best hamburgers can be found at Mountain Fork Brewery. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t worry, we spotted a few ice cream shops, too.
1. Beavers Bend State Park
Once you take that turn into the park, you’re in an outdoor paradise. Beavers Bend State Park is where Broken Bow Lake is, and many land and water activities, cabins and lodges, and some attractions listed below are as well. There is no admission fee to enter the park, but some areas of the park require a small fee for parking your car.
Pro Tip: The best time to visit the park really depends on whether mind crowds. It gets very crowded in the summer, especially on weekends. You may want to book your vacation in the fall when it’s less crowded.
2. Broken Bow Lake
Unlike most lakes I’ve been in, Broken Bow Lake has water so clear that you can practically see the bottom. That’s because it’s covered with rocks — not mud — which makes playing in the lake much better. The lake covers 14,000+ acres and is bordered by many miles of shoreline, making it easy to get in and out. It’s the perfect destination for boating, water sports, swimming, fishing, and more. The thick forest mountain terrain that surrounds the lake makes hiking and bird watching that much more serene. And, don’t forget to bring a picnic if you’re planning to stay all day. There are plenty of shaded places under the tall trees.
3. Beavers Bend Depot And Trail Rides
This is another family gem inside Beavers Bend State Park — and not just for kids. At Beavers Bend Depot and Trail Rides, everyone can go on any of the guided horseback trail rides they offer and board the train that takes you through the forest in the park. Bring along your dog no problem — they can ride too as long as they are leashed. And, after having that much fun, it’s ice cream for everyone at the snack bar! If you ask me, you don’t have to have a child to enjoy the rides here!
4. Zip-Line Across Broken Bow Lake
How does zip-lining over the lake sound? You can, and it’s saved for the last! Located inside Beavers Bend State Park, Rugaru Adventures welcomes people of all ages to come out and experience its spectacular six-line zip-line tour. After zipping through the forest, you’ll zip the last line over Broken Bow Lake and experience breathtaking views all around you. I have zipped a few lines in my travels, and after I experienced this one, I deemed myself a zip-line junkie — and bought the t-shirt in their store!
Pro Tip: There are a couple of steep hills to walk up and one downhill walk, all over unpaved natural terrain.
5. Beaver’s Bend Mining Company
Dig for bones and pan for gold at this huge outdoor adventure for the whole family. Kids will enjoy learning about fossils and artifacts and even get the chance to ride a T-Rex! I don’t think my grandson will ever outgrow looking for treasures, especially if it involves dinosaurs. Check out more at Beaver’s Bend Mining Company.
6. Tiki Time Lake Tours
It’s tiki time on Broken Bow Lake! Relax on the deck with a cold beer in one hand and a wine-a-rita in the other. Take a ride on the tiki bus to the tiki boat for a one-hour lake cruise. What a great way to enjoy the water on a hot summer day! Any way you want to enjoy your time, the Broken Tiki will take great care of you and your gang. Kids are welcome.
7. Float The Lower Mountain Fork River
Starting around spring break (March), you can float the Lower Mountain Fork River four miles from Broken Bow by way of a kayak, canoe, inner tube, or any other means that fits your fancy. It all happens at River Rats Canoe and Kayak Rentals. Another fantastic way to enjoy the water!
Pro Tip: You can bring your own kayak or canoe.
8. Riverman Trail Rides
Make family memories while taking in all the Ouachita Mountains’ beauty on a guided horseback ride or a wagon ride. There are a couple of places that offer trail rides, but locals told me Riverman Trail Rides is the best place to go for horseback riding. They also offer private fishing services.
9. Hochatown Rescue Center And Petting Zoo
A wildlife rehabilitation center is always the best place to enjoy the wild. Knowing these animals are being taken care of and have a home where they are protected is awesome. Opened year-round up the road in Hochatown is Hochatown Petting Zoo — a friendly petting zoo where you can interact with barn animals. Treat the kids to a pony ride if you have the time.
Broken Bow Cabins
You’ve entered the amazing world of backcountry cabin life in Broken Bow. From small rustic cabins to spacious cabins with all-out modern luxury, there’s a Broken Bow cabin that’s suitable for you and your family. There are also great selections of cabins for multi-family gatherings. Summertime in Broken Bow is very popular and therefore crowded, so if you find the cabin you want to rent, it’s a good idea to secure it ahead of time. It’s all about planning if you want the cabin of your choice, especially in the summertime.
Pro Tip: Be sure to read your cabin’s guest book for some fun tips for enjoying the area.
I was hosted for two nights at this cabin in Hochatown, managed by Rustic Luxe Cabins Broken Bow. My mom and I pampered ourselves in luxury for two solid days. We couldn’t have asked for a more superior cabin to stay in at Broken Bow. It’s also one of the newest cabins in Broken Bow and has everything a family could ask for, even a shuffleboard table in the loft!
Five Star Cabins
Five Star Cabins came highly recommended to me by a friend who loves road tripping about as much as I do. She rented her cabin through Airbnb and told me there are six log cabins to choose from — all just minutes from Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow Lake, and Mountain Fork River.
Call Of The Wild Cabin
Another brand new luxury, modern cabin in Broken Bow, this cabin is located in Hochatown. This cabin sleeps 18 with five bedrooms and six baths. Wow! Bring the whole gang here and share expenses. You can rent this cabin through Beavers Bend Creative Escape.
Even More Broken Bow Cabins
See TravelAwaits’ picks for the best value, midrange, and splurge cabins in Broken Bow, plus seven other options, in our roundup of the Best Broken Bow Cabin rentals to escape to right now.
When planning your vacation, don’t overlook Hochatown. The town has always been a part of Broken Bow, but so much growth is happening that the town will soon get its own zip code. Many of Broken Bow’s restaurants and wineries are located in Hochatown. The area gets super busy in the summer months and is sometimes even too crowded from the locals’ points of view, so plan wisely if you don’t like crowds.
While you’re in the area, you’ll also want to consider these 10 surprising things you can experience in Oklahoma and the nine best hikes in beautiful Oklahoma.