Although Riversport in Oklahoma City is not a waterside resort, it can make for good staycation.
Relax and chill or feel the thrill through a wide range of activities at Riversport. Home to water sports and more, Riversport is open to ages 8 and up and can be scaled to fit any skill level, beginner to expert. It also can accommodate those with disabilities through adaptive water sports programs. Discover diverse experiences at each of its three locations: the Boathouse District east of downtown, Lake Overholser and Lake Hefner.
Ski OKC – Riversport’s newest attraction is “snow” skiing, in which a thin layer of water glides over special turf with a treadmill-like rotation. The downhill angle can be adjusted to mimic any slope – from bunny to black diamond and anything in between. Ski gear is available onsite, or you can bring your own, but leave the ski bib at home; temps here remain above freezing.
Surf OKC – Like the ocean, but without the sharks. Surfers start out on their bellies and work their way up to balancing on a board. Soft surfaces, shallow water and hands-on guidance make this a safe place to learn and practice the sport. Minimum height requirements are 42” tall to ride a boogie board and 48” tall for a surfboard.
Whitewater Sports – One of only two sets of manmade and controlled-water rapids in America, these high-speed water channels offer exhilarating experiences. Be warned: You will get wet. Whitewater rafting begins with an orientation covering safety protocols, and even first-timers are encouraged to hop aboard, but check the schedule first, since a few days are reserved for faster water speeds and expert-level conditions. Whitewater kayakers can mix into the eight-million-gallon course as well. At 2 p.m., Love’s Tubing opens in a separate channel, with individual and family tubes available.
Rowing – Come watch a regatta on the Oklahoma River – like the International Canoe Sprint Super Cup this August – or row the river yourself. The Boathouse District is home to several university and corporate teams who are training for competitions, but it’s open to individuals too. For a different experience, check out the Riversport indoor rowing tank.
Dragon Boating – In this ancient Chinese rowing sport, paddlers move in unison to a drummer onboard, which propels the colorful boat forward. Dragon boating is one of the fastest-growing watersports in the world, especially among seniors. Gather a group of five to 10 people, and move to the beat.
Discover Series – Understandably, some are nervous to try a new sport, especially one involving water. Have no fear. Riversport offers one-hour introductory classes for each of its watersports. In a small group setting, you can ease into the experience with a knowledgeable guide leading the way.
Flatwater Sports – For a tranquil excursion, opt for a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board. Children ages 5 and older can ride along, as well as dogs. Just be sure to bring the required portable flotation devices for these precious passengers. (Adult sizes available onsite.)
Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge – Kayaking is an immersive way to explore the flora and fauna of this area near the Route 66 bridge. In addition, it holds group paddling events, such as Moonlight Paddles and Autumn Color Paddles.
Trailhead Café – This breakfast and lunch destination serves up power foods – fuel for your body to enjoy all the lake activities. Try its Jam Band Bowl, a hearty steel-cut oatmeal topped with berries, peanut butter, trail mix and peach-habanero jam, or breakfast burritos filled with sausage, egg and loads of roasted veggies. Pair with local Eote coffee, and you’ll be ready to roll.
Sailing Camp – In addition to the flatwater sports, Lake Hefner offers sailing for kids. These waters host sailing camps, in addition to other watersport camps, throughout the summer. Details are posted online, and camps fill up quickly. Don’t delay to sail away.