With summer just around the corner (or if you are down south, like me, it feels like it’s here already), Turner Falls (a 77 foot waterfall) is the perfect family getaway. When I travel for work, I always try to find nearby places to explore. I used to have to travel to OKC for work and I stumbled upon this place in my search. It is about 1.5-2 hours south of OKC and about 1.5 hours north of DFW. I had no idea that there were rolling hills (or mountains) in Oklahoma, and nestled amongst the Arbuckle Mountains is the super beautiful Turner Falls area.
We stayed in Ardmore, OK, as there were other places we wanted to venture to, but the way our boys cut up this trip, we did not get to do nearly as much as we wanted to. Despite this we did have a good time. We drove there from Houston, and conveniently the half way point was Waco, so we visited the Silos Magnolia Market and found a really neat Mammoth National Monument in the area. Waco is a really cute town, especially the area around the downtown- Silos area/Austin District, there are lots of cute little dining and shopping areas. There is also a Fixer Upper tour (self-guided), that I would have loved to do, but the boys were not interested in the slightest bit. The Magnolia has a lawn with activities & bean bags, there are several food trucks, a garden, shopping, bakery, so much. The best part is that it is designed to perfection, such a visually pleasing place. If you only buy one thing, I recommend it be a cupcake from the bakery, AMAZING!!!!
The Mammoth National Monument is given by tour only. All of the bones are real (with the exception of 2). There are no wholly mammoths, only Colombian mammoths. There are about 24 of them that were found and their cause of death is unknown. It is believed that humans were involved. This is a stroller friendly tour, and they even offer golf carts for those who have physical limitations. I personally found this place fascinating and my 4 year old loved it. Blake got a good nap for this tour.
We headed up to Oklahoma, which was about 3 hour trip. We stopped in Fort Worth at an outlet mall to stretch our feet and grab food. I love Fort Worth BTW, it’s so pretty.
As you enter the area, there is a blue swimming hole on the right hand side. When I went previously, in the summer (work trip), it was super packed. There is an entrance fee , that you can find here. The boys were free, whoop! Sadly during this trip, a cold front blew in, so we were unable to get in the water (the main swimming hole at the base of the fall was closed), but we were still able to hike around and hang out on the grounds of the area. This place is a one stop shop. You can stay on the grounds, they have cabins, RV, camping, a trading post, and a few areas to dine. There are several hiking trails and caves that can be visited as well. I personally, am just so drawn to the beautiful crystal clear water, that that’s where I wanted to be. We spent most of the day here, despite being able to get in the water. Ethan likes to look at the fish and try to catch (and release) them. The entire area is stroller friendly, but if you want to climb up behind the waterfall, you definitely will need a carrier (if traveling with baby), and I think even hiking sticks. My husband climbed up and wanted to explore the cave above the fall, but it was very narrow and was somewhat crowded.
If you do go in the summer, I recommend getting there early as the place does have a maximum capacity. You can also buy your tickets online in advanced. Bring your own floats as they do not have these available. Just before you enter the path to the waterfall, there are 2 things I wanted to mention.
The castle - it was made of native stones by a Dr. Collins that served as his summer home and the Bar C Ranch HQ (whatever that is ha).
There is a food stand. They sell hot dogs, nachos, chili pie, sandwiches, funnel cakes (was not impressed with it), drinks, etc. It is CASH only, so be prepared.
These pictures do not even do this place justice! It is definitely a place to visit. With it being so close to OKC, you could take on some of the things to offer there or even piggyback it with a trip to DFW area.
On the way back from Turner Falls to our hotel, we stumbled across a town called Paul’s Valley. Since my husbands name is Paul, he said let’s stop and get a picture. This town was super colorful and cute. I literally felt like we stepped back in time, they had a Radio Shack guys, but also this cool Toy and Action Figure Museum. There were diners, art galleries, and a cute boutique. The Toy and Action Figure Museum was pretty nostalgic for me. There were so many figures, like Ralph, that I have not seen since I was a kid. There is a dress up area and of course lots a gift shop. I think what I love the most were all the blooming trees. This was about 30-40 minutes from Turner Falls, and I definitely think it is worth a stop.
Plan your trip and let me know if you have any questions. I would love to hear if you have been or do go!
As always, thanks for reading XOXO.