The 2024 Oklahoma Summer Bucket List

5 minutes

Growing up, summertime was always something to look forward to. It was a glorious break from school and homework, allowing time for all of the activities planned among friends.

Since becoming an adult though, summer breaks have vanished, becoming cherished memories instead. As a kid, I always filled the days with summer camps, pool parties, and snow cones and trips to the bowling alley or the skating rink. Once older, my friends and I started to stray out of our normal summer routines to find new adventures around the state, even making summer bucket lists.

This year I decided to bring back the bucket list for myself, revisiting summer staples and hoping to form new favorites.

If you can get up early enough, the scenic beauty of a sunrise hike in the Wichita Mountains can't be beat. Photo by Lauren Richey

If you can get up early enough, the scenic beauty of a sunrise hike in the Wichita Mountains can't be beat. Photo by Lauren Richey

Summer Bucket List

New Additions

  1. Spend more time at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Anyone who knows me knows I love the Wichitas, but this summer I want to hike the trails I haven’t and get out kayaking on the water.

  2. Number one on my list leads into number two: visit as many state parks as I can. There is so much to see throughout the state and so much diversity among the state’s regions that visiting the state parks are one of the best ways to truly experience Oklahoma.

  3. Shop local more often and shop at the farmer’s markets. This one is one I want to use as a starting point to create a habit year-round. I want to be better at supporting local businesses and vendors, while also filling my home with local products.

  4. Make new memories. While this one feels somewhat redundant of the point of the list, I think it’s more of an encouragement to try new things. For example, I have a few specific things picked out: go surfing at Riversport Adventure Park, attend Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, solve new escape rooms. Remembering to make new memories will allow for planned new experiences, but will also serve as a reminder to be spontaneous.

Not every summer destination needs to be something totally new to you. Turner Falls near Davis remains an iconic Oklahoma summer oasis. Photo by Kiersten Stone

Not every summer destination needs to be something totally new to you. Turner Falls near Davis remains an iconic Oklahoma summer oasis. Photo by Kiersten Stone

Summer Staples

The second half of my list contains activities I highly enjoy and recommend.

  1. Visit the drive-in. Watching movies from a truck bed on a warm summer night with a cool breeze is a feeling of nostalgia. It’s always a good time. I love going to see movies at the Chief Drive-In Theatre and fully plan to go back this summer.

  2. Going along with items one and two: go on more sunrise hikes. My best friend and I did this a few summers ago. We stayed up all night, which is optional, and then drove out to the Wichitas early to hit the trails just as sunrise was starting. We finished watching the sunrise from the top of a smaller mountain and then spent the rest of our morning exploring and grabbing breakfast in Medicine Park.

  3. Visit Turner Falls. I’ve only been once, but I am looking forward to going back and exploring the Collings Castle and trails and swimming under the falls again. Plus, Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies is right around the bend, and they are always a must when in the area.

While right now the bucket list seems pretty small, I am hoping to add on to it as the summer season approaches and even throughout (see item four again for spontaneity). I am always on the lookout for a good time, so if you are one of Oklahoma Today’s beloved readers, let me know on social media what summer bucket list items are favorites from your own list and what I should add to mine!

Written By
Kiersten Stone

Just a small town girl living out her city dreams, Kiersten Stone is the Research Editor for Oklahoma Today. Stone previously worked at a local newspaper and at her university’s student news organization before coming to work at the magazine. She loves the Sooner State and all it offers, from the city to the outdoors and the wildlife.

Kiersten Stone
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