15 Best Things to do in Ardmore, OK
Considered as a hidden gem by many, Ardmore is an unexplored city in Oklahoma.
The city is tucked amidst the famous Adventure Road in Carter County.
Named after the historic PRR Main Line stop of Ardmore in Pennsylvania, along with the prosperous suburb of Philadelphia, “Ardmore” is an Irish term.
It translates to “hills or high grounds.” It is also popularly regarded as the “Chickasaw Country” by locals. Located in the Healdton Basin, this city is amongst the most oil-rich regions in the entire United States of America.
Tourists, as well as locals, throng to this part of Oklahoma all through the year for weekend getaways.
From pristine gardens and historic structures to quirky cafés and more, the city boasts of something for every traveler.
Owing to this, there are numerous things to do in Ardmore.
Ardmore Regional Park
When in Ardmore, a visit to the verdant Ardmore Regional Park is a must!
It is a park that has a number of recreational activities for you to enjoy.
From hiking along the nature trails, taking a stroll near the lake or indulging in disc golf, rollerblading and even jogging, the Ardmore Regional Park offers visitors complete relaxation amidst lush greenery.
The Park also has several picnic spots and pavilions, in addition to playgrounds for children and a softball complex.
Lovers of nature are sure to love this place.
Lake Murray State Park
Sprawling across 12,500 acres of lush greenery, the Lake Murray State Park is the first and largest state park in Ardmore.
With forested hills surrounding the park and the serene Lake Murray acting as its backdrop, this state park is home to diverse terrains, stunning nature trails, and a wide array of adventure activities.
In addition to hiking, golfing, horseback riding and biking, you can also indulge in several water sports as well as ATV rides here.
During the cozy fall weather, you can also enjoy camping in tents, RVs, or stay in the cabins and lodges available in the park.
Greater Southwest Historical Museum
For history buffs, a visit to the popular Greater Southwest Historical Museum is a must.
The museum is located within the old Ardmore National Guard Armory.
It offers you an insight into the rich and vivid history of South-Central Oklahoma.
The museum is also home to several exhibits, including agricultural tools, early transportation, technology as well as the military records of the town.
You can also learn a lot about the history of the human settlement in this part of Oklahoma, from the bygone eras of the 1800s to the present.
The museum has been established with the aim to collect, preserve as well as interpret the region’s social, economic and cultural history.
Red Dirt Brewhouse
Located on Mill Street, the Red Dirt Brewhouse is amongst the best places in Ardmore to tuck into lip-smacking American food, locally crafted beer and more.
It is also amongst the few places in the city where you can enjoy dining along with live music.
The brew house serves as a live music venue where a variety of local and international artists perform on a regular basis.
The casual ambience of the brew house is a bonus.
Some of the best items on their menu consist of the typical pub favorite food, such as cheese fries, beer-battered shrimps, blackened rib-eye sandwiches as well as mushroom burgers.
You can also try their famous grilled sirloin steaks, which can be paired with their in-house brews, coleslaw, fries or onion rings.
Imperial Lanes Bowling Center
When travelling to Ardmore with children, you must head to the famous Imperial Lanes Bowling Center.
Ranked as the best place to enjoy a variety of activities, this indoor playground plays host to cosmic bowling as well as exciting karaoke nights.
It has eighty bowling lanes for people of all age groups and abilities.
What’s more? The bowling center also offers food and drinks in its own cafeteria-cum-food court.
So, whether you are travelling solo or with a large group of friends, you can be rest assured that time spent here will not be in vain!
The Goddard Center for Visual & Performing Arts
Rated by travelers as the top places to visit in Ardmore, the Goddard Center for Visual and Performing Arts is a treat for artists and lovers of arts alike.
Located in downtown Ardmore, the center dates back to 1970 and offers a host of cultural and educational experiences to visitors.
Depending on when you visit the center, you can enjoy several live performances, art exhibitions as well as numerous classes.
The center is also home to a large library when you can spend some time observing and reading more about the art and other works displayed here.
Some other things that you can do at the Goddard Center include enjoying theater, dance and music programs, exploring the sculpture garden, visiting the hands-on art studio, etc.
Turner Falls Park
If you love spending time in nature, then taking a trip to Turner Falls Park is a good way to spend time in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Home to the Turner Falls, the park offers serene views of the surrounding natural landscapes, in addition to serving as a good place to enjoy picnics, walking or even hiking.
Nestled within the Arbuckle Mountains, the park is the oldest in all of Oklahoma.
It is complete with natural caves, walking and hiking trails as well as a stone castle.
You can enjoy swimming in the natural pool created by the waterfall, exploring the caves and visiting the rock castle.
You can also stay in the cabins here, or indulge in camping, hiking and other activities.
Veteran’s Lake is a popular attraction located towards the western part of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area.
It is a popular spot for families and large groups, where you can enjoy boating, fishing and other activities. In addition to camping and picnic spots, the region around the lake also boasts of group shelters, restrooms and other amenities.
This makes the lake a great place for people who wish to spend some time camping in the lap of nature.
Expanding across 67 acres, the lake dates back to 1933, and features over 4 kilometers of shoreline, in addition to scintillating views of the surrounding landscapes.
The lake is also great for indulging in water activities, including kayaking, rafting, canoeing and more.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is amongst the most frequently visited historical sites in Ardmore, Oklahoma.
Home to numerous lakes, streams and small springs, this area is great for people who wish to enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking and other water sports like motor boating in the Lake of Arbuckles.
Along with the water bodies, the park is affiliated with the National Park Service.
The park is also home to several species of flora and fauna, all of which act as the perfect backdrop to this serene place.
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area also offers other exciting activities to visitors, including skiing, sailing, fishing, camping and hiking.
GrandPappy Point Marina
Offering stunning views and access to Lake Texoma, the GrandPappy Point Marina is the top place in Ardmore to enjoy boating and other similar activities.
From pontoon boats to motorboats and others, the marina offers rentals to visitors to take out on the pristine lake.
Additionally, for a more unique experience of the GrandPappy Point Marina, visitors can also use the lodging facilities to spend a night near the lake.
The pavilions and restaurants here are great to indulge in delicious food and drinks while enjoying views of the lake.
Santa Fe Depot
For travelers who wish to experience the history of this region, the Santa Fe Depot is the best place to be.
Serving as a railroad station in the early 1900s, the depot was restored in early 2015 and is now home to a wide collection of artifacts, most of which are vintage.
Visitors can also find a lot of memorabilia and souvenirs from the bygone eras here.
And if you visit the Santa Fe Depot at a particular time during the day, you can also catch the Amtrak, which travels from Ardmore to Forth Worth.
The Depot also serves as a spot for numerous weddings, parties, receptions and other celebrations on a regular basis.
Toy & Action Figure Museum
Envisioned by the famous toy collector Kevin Stark, the Toy & Action Figure Museum in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, is a treat to the eyes.
Known as the first museum devoted to the art and sculpting of action figures in the entire world, this museum is home to an extensive collection of the same.
Ranked in the “Top 50 Most Authentic American Experiences” by Time Magazine, the Toy & Action Figure Museum has several informational exhibits.
It also has vibrant displays of famous action figures of various cartoons throughout the ages, including the popular character, Dick Tracy.
Also known as the Lake Texoma Dam, the Denison Dam is the most famous attraction around the lake.
Built on the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas, the Denison Dam offers mesmerizing views of the lake and its surrounding natural landscapes.
It also acts as a flood control barrier, supplying water, regulating the river and helping in the production of hydroelectric power.
It is also a famous spot amongst people who want to indulge in fishing and catching glimpses of the region’s wildlife species.
Three Valley Museum
The Three Valley Museum is a historic place in Ardmore.
Located in the heart of the Red, Blue and Washita River Valleys, the museum is a hidden wonder and takes you back to the early 1800s through its displays and exhibits.
During your visit to the museum, you can also explore the ancient parlor, barbershop, doctor’s office as well as several old cars here.
The small-town exhibition area inside the museum also boasts of scenes and businesses from the early 1900s, along with a Native America Gallery.
It is here where you can learn about the Indian tribes that resided in southeast Oklahoma during those times. You are sure to enjoy your time here.
Amongst the more upbeat and unique places to visit to spend some time in Ardmore is Cinemark 339.
Amongst the largest movie theaters in the region, Cinemark is home to 12 auditoriums.
The theater is also among the few places here where you can catch displays of first-run feature films, either using digital projection or Real 3D.
Cinemark is known for its stadium-like seating and private party rooms.
You can also enjoy several arcade games here, or tuck into food and drinks.
Lakeview Golf Course
If you are a fan of golf, then you will love a game (or two) at the Lakeview Golf Course.
Located in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Lakeview Golf Course is a par 71, 18-hole championship layout course, designed for both amateur and professional golfers.
Sprawling across more than 6 kilometers, the course is also home to a clubhouse while boasting of Bentgrass greens and Bermuda fairways.
With the lush greenery surrounding the course, and a breathtaking view of the lake, the golf course is also a great place to spend some time simply basking in nature.
Hardy Murphy Coliseum
This is another famous historical landmark in Ardmore.
Built in 1937, the stadium plays host to many horse and livestock shows, in addition to other events such as exhibitions, competitions and more.
On your visit to the Coliseum, you can enjoy professional rodeos, animal training, fundraisers and more here.
Gold Mountain Casino
For travelers who wish to experience the gaming side of Ardmore, the famous Gold Mountain Casino is the place to be.
Established in 2002, the facility is owned by the Chickasaw Nation, and is home to over 8 acres of gaming floor with more than 270 electronic gaming machines.
The best part about the casino is that it is open all day long throughout the week, so you can play to your heart’s content when you pay a visit here.