Sam and I visited my family in Oklahoma last week and we were surprised to see just how many beautiful places there were here. We stayed in Norman, which is real close to Oklahoma City and home to OU. Every time I mentioned Oklahoma to anyone, the common response is “What’s in Oklahoma?” – and I thought the exact same thing.
So to enlighten those of us expecting nothing but cornfields and tornadoes, here’s a list of 5 things I didn’t expect to see near Norman, Oklahoma.
5. OU Campus and downtown Norman
The Oklahoma University campus is right across from downtown Norman and walking around both paces you can marvel at charming and impressive architecture. To be fair, it’s all rather compact and you can walk all of downtown and the campus in about twenty minutes but on a cool, sunny day it’s perfect for peeking in a bunch of little shops or grabbing lunch.
The amount of water in Norman surprised me. We swam a LOT during the trip and there aren’t too many places strictly regulated which means you can grab a paddleboard or kayak and just go exploring.
Chickasaw National Recreational Area is a large area of springs, streams, and lakes. We only saw a small part of it, called Little Niagra Falls, but if we’d had more time I could spend several days here. There’s a little waterfall to jump off here and if you follow a trail up you’ll come to a little spring said to have healing properties.
Bricktown is a little strip of brick shops lined up along a river, which makes for an incredibly romantic atmosphere. We went to a dueling piano bar here, which was fun although a bit pricey, and then walked along the river as boat tours cheered us on for our making out in public
1. Turner Falls
My favorite spot near Norman has to be Turner Falls. The beautiful area transports you somewhere exotic and although it’s become a bit commercialized, it’s worth the money for the visit. You can find old ruins of a “castle” built in the 1930s and caves and trails and lots of swimming opportunities in clear water. If you bring children under 12, make sure you have life vests for them – they kicked us out because we didn’t know about the rule, which soured our experience a bit, but if you’re prepared you can easily spend your entire day here.