Our Favorite Nature Escapes: Beavers Bend Park

We may regret the increase in crowds, but we thought we’d share some of our favorite nature escape locations within driving distance of Dallas-Fort Worth, starting with Beavers Bend Resort Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. This place is the perfect Autumn get-away — crisp air, fall colors, and crunchy leaves beneath your feet. Peak fall colors are the 3rd week in October through mid-November. If you’re looking for a simple, no-nonsense place to walk in the woods, drift in a kayak, fish for trout, or just sit and listen to the breeze through the trees, then this is the spot.

A mere 4-hour drive from DFW will take you deep into the Ouachita National Forest of southeastern Oklahoma and into the tiny town of Broken Bow. Now, don’t expect much here — that’s the point. The town has little to offer other than a few family restaurants and a gas station. But, follow the signs for the state-run Beavers Bend Resort Park and you’ll discover a hidden gem of nature — the 14,000-acre Lake Broken Bow, the Mountain Fork River whose sandy beaches offer great canoe picnic spots, 16 miles of hiking trails and 4 miles of mountain bike trails that wander along ridge tops, over creek bottoms, through tall stands of timber, and into areas so remote you can almost experience what early-day explorers must have felt. There’s even a tiny nature center and museum. Native wildlife includes deer, turkey, rabbit, bobcat, coyote and raccoon. Bald eagles likes to winter on the river, so keep your cameras handy.

Lodging is easy. The park offers a choice of a The Lakeview Lodge, cabins, or RV/tent camping. There’s also lots of neighboring cabin rentals and lodging available off the park premises. Be sure to book early, as more DFW families are discovering this place. There are little to no dining options at the park (except for one general store cafe), so be sure to pack your ice-chest filled with easy breakfast fare and lunches for picnics. Dinner in town is simple and kid-friendly and won’t break the bank.

This quiet retreat offers a lazy weekend for the nature-lover or miles of natural playground for the kids — either way, you’ll sleep soundly after a long day exploring what Beavers Bend has to offer.

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