Discover the Lodges
Plan a getaway to one of the state’s best travel bargains: state park lodges
Lakeview Lodge at Beavers Bend and Hochatown State Park is one of the state’s beautiful lodge destinations | Photo by Shane Bevel/Oklahoma Tourism
As the sun creeps up above the horizon, magic happens. From monochrome grays, the first hint of pale yellow light. A few minutes later, the far edges of still-dark clouds show a golden tinge and the water glows with yellow and orange. Soon the scene is afire with brilliant color. And everyone staying at Lake Murray Lodge can enjoy the show.
Lake Murray Lodge is the newest state lodge—located in the oldest state park. And it’s just one of six state lodges, scenically situated, which provide one of Oklahoma’s biggest travel bargains.
Today Oklahoma boasts 33 state parks. Most of the parks have camping facilities; 19 also have cabins. Six of the parks have not only these amenities but are home to Oklahoma’s crown jewels, state lodges.
Lake Murray Lodge | Photo by Lori Duckworth/Oklahoma Tourism
Lake Murray Lodge
Near Ardmore, Lake Murray Lodge, built in 1949, was the first state lodge in the system. It was a favorite destination of Oklahomans—and Texans—for decades. In 2017, a new lodge was opened, ready to help visitors create new memories.
Located on the edge of the lake, the architecture of the lodge takes full advantage of the site. Each of the lodge’s 32 rooms has a balcony and a lake view.
Room décor is sleek, sophisticated and very comfortable. The floors are polished concrete, softened with area rugs. Many of the pieces of furniture were custom made. Specially weathered, acid-treated zinc fronts drawers and cabinets, complementing the nature-inspired ambiance of the rooms.
Plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports are provided and all the rooms have mini-fridges and microwaves. The bathrooms feature attractive tile and large mirrors with built-in lighting strips.
Diners in the lodge restaurant, the Blue Heron, enjoy floor-to-ceiling windows with views interrupted only by a massive stone fireplace. Outside tables provide al fresco options for pleasant days.
Belle Starr Lodge in Robbers Cave State Park | Photo by Shane Bevel/Oklahoma Tourism
Belle Starr Lodge
The 20-room lodge at Robbers Cave State Park, officially named Belle Starr, is situated on a high point in the park and overlooks a valley heavily forested with pine, cedar and oaks. Rooms feature microwaves, mini-fridges and, of course, a coffee maker—amenities especially appreciated due to the absence of a restaurant in the park.
Front office manager Gina Daniels, a member of Kiamichi Electric Cooperative, says that history is the biggest attraction for guests to the lodge.
“We’ve got a lot of history with the outlaws—Belle Starr, the Younger Gang and Jesse James,” she says. “We were featured on an episode of the Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown. A Jesse James expert who accompanied host Josh Gates discovered a marking that was common to James near the cave.”
She adds, “The other big attraction here is the scenery. There are great spots for viewing sunrises and sunsets and wonderful hiking trails.”
Lakeview Lodge | Photo by Shane Bevel/Oklahoma Tourism
Lakeview Lodge, in the Hochatown portion of Beavers Bend and Hochatown State Park, was built on the shore of Broken Bow Lake in 1998. Park manager Aron Maib, a Kiamichi Electric Cooperative member, says, “It’s unique. It’s the only overnight accommodation built right on the lake. The rest of the land around the lake is federally owned so there’s nothing to compare it to. Every room has a view of the lake, whether it’s from a balcony or the ground floor.”
Each room also has a mini-fridge and microwave.
A stunning feature of the lodge is the Great Room, a common area for enjoying the lodge’s continental breakfast or just relaxing. A floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace is a cozy gathering place on chilly days while the spacious outdoor deck draws guests on pleasant ones.
The lake itself is one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful with sparkling, clear water enhancing water sports including scuba diving. Boaters can park trailers and launch boats right behind the lodge.
Sequoyah Lodge | Photo by Lori Duckworth/Oklahoma Tourism
If you haven’t been to the lodge in Sequoyah State Park near Wagoner in the past few years, you’re in for a surprise. The former Western Hills Guest Ranch got a 2015, top-to-bottom makeover. The accommodation, now renamed Sequoyah Lodge, has a new, fresh look.
The décor is faithful to the original 1956 design. Extensive sandstone planters and a fountain bring nature into the lobby. Floors in the lobby and dining room are brick with that color echoed in bedroom accent walls. Park photos decorate each room. All rooms have mini-fridges with microwave stations located in the hallways.
Some of the 104 rooms (including nine suites) have lake views, others, pool views. The lobby is spacious with two adjacent lounges, both with TVs, one with a fireplace, great for reading, visiting or just hanging out.
In the off-season, the restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch from Sunday through Tuesday and breakfast, lunch and dinner the rest of the week. During summer months it is open for all meals, seven days a week. If you’re making reservations for spring break, be sure and ask about hours during this period.
It’s fitting that guests are greeted at the entrance by Leonard McMurry’s sculptured bust of the outstanding Cherokee leader, Sequoyah. He’d be proud of the lodge and park that bears his name.
Roman Nose State Lodge | Photo courtesy of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism
Roman Nose State Lodge
Remnants of Tropical Storm Erin hit Oklahoma with a vengeance in August 2007, damaging the south wing of the lodge at Roman Nose. Between the structural destruction and mold caused by the heavy rain, a large portion of the 1950s-era building was unsalvageable. That part of the lodge was razed and the rest was gutted for a complete renovation.
The new design includes much more natural light, a modern, more efficient kitchen and a complete re-do for the remaining guest rooms. Two handicapped-accessible suites were added making a total of 22 rooms. While the rooms don’t have microwaves, they do have small refrigerators.
The restaurant’s summer hours begin March 1 with the facility being open seven days a week and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant and deck provide a view of Boecher Lake. Walls throughout the building are decorated with historic photos of the lodge and park.
Though there are many things to do in the park, the biggest draw, according to park manager Jennifer Cuykendall, is the swimming pool. The historic CCC-constructed pool was originally spring-fed but today the water is treated and filtered. It still provides a favorite cooling-off spot during hot Oklahoma summers.
Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center | Photo by Elaine Warner
Quartz Mountain Resort Arts and Conference Center
is quirky in several ways. It is a state property on state park land but is part of higher education rather than tourism or parks. The lodge property is closed for the month of June—and two weekends in October—when it is taken over by Oklahoma Arts Institute activities.
The lodge houses an outstanding art collection. Large paintings by artist Mike Larson are prominently displayed beneath clerestory windows in the lobby while his sculpture, “Blessing” stands at one end of the room. A smaller version of Allan Houser’s iconic “As Long As the Waters Flow” graces the north end.
The original lodge building was destroyed by fire in 1995. Native American culture and local history influenced many choices in the design of the new lodge, which opened in 2001. A central courtyard pays homage to a council circle, and placement of entrances and colors chosen have significance. Local stone was incorporated along with wrought iron accessories depicting pioneer and cowboy heritage.
The Sundance Café is noted for its hand-cut steaks and its popular Friday night seafood buffets. It’s open breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week.
The resort pool is indoor-outdoor, used all year long. Rooms are furnished with attractive, rustic furniture and decorated with original prints by artist Dan Kiacz.
Randy Johnson, the resort’s general manager, points out that Quartz Mountain Resort is one of the top wedding destinations in the state.
“People come here to unwind with our natural mountain surroundings,” he says. “There is so much to do here in the outdoors that you can’t do it all in a weekend.”
Whichever park you pick, you’ll have a whole menu of choices for activities. Five of the six also include golf courses. And with the reasonable prices, you could visit several for the same price as other resort properties. Do yourself and your family a favor—plan a state park getaway soon.
Beavers Bend |Photo by Kim Baker/Oklahoma Tourism
Six Tips to Plan Your Escape
1. The absolute first thing to do is go to www.travelok.com and order these brochures: 2019 Oklahoma Travel Guide, 2019 Oklahoma State Parks and Outdoor Guide, and Destination Dining Guide. They will be mailed to you at no charge. They are also available at any of the nine Oklahoma Tourism Information Centers located around the state.
2. While on the web site, click on “Deals” for special promotions or discounts.
3. Use the guides or information on the website to determine activities —some change depending on the time of year.
4. Determine what attractions and eateries are available in the area surrounding the park.
5. Pick your park based on your interests—for example, if horseback riding is your thing, check out Robbers Cave. The stables there get great reviews. They’re open almost all year-round. Trail rides are scenic and they even offer overnight outings. www.robberscavestables.com, 918-465-1500.
6. Make reservations by calling the lodges directly:
Lakeview Lodge (Beavers Bend) – 580-494-6179
Lake Murray – 580-223-6600
Quartz Mountain – 580-563-2424
Belle Starr Lodge (Robbers Cave) – 918-465-2562
Roman Nose – 800-892-8690
Sequoyah – 918-772-2545