Check out the list below of 5 fun things to do in Tulsa outdoors that are free or cheap! Downtown and midtown Tulsa are loaded with fun outdoor activities along the Arkansas River. Keep reading for details and discover outdoor things to do in Tulsa that are exciting ideas for couples on a budget!
Do you need help planning a weekend trip to Tulsa from someone who lives here? Are you cruising by on Route 66? Do you currently live in Tulsa? Are you looking for safe and worry-free weekend ideas during the pandemic? Are you just ready for some fresh air? Do you need a pandemic friendly date activity outside of your house?
You can do all the activities below year-round! They are all great adventures for couples.
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Tulsa is a progressive midsize city in northeast Oklahoma. Downtown and in midtown (a.k.a. Cherry Street and Brookside areas), you can find delicious local restaurants, art galleries, trendy shopping, beautiful statues, museums, and fantastic green space parks and gardens.
The Tulsa community cares about connecting people with the environment, and Tulsa acknowledges how important free public space and trail access are.
The George Kaiser Family Foundation privately funded an enormous community park called Gathering Place, which opened in September 2018. Visiting Gathering Place should be on everyone’s Tulsa bucket list. It is an incredible public park!
In fact, in 2021, Gathering Place was ranked by USA Today as one of the top parks in the USA!
Tulsa actively works on community sustainability metrics, making it a great place to visit and an even greater place to live.
The Tulsa Regional Chamber says its goal is to increase the community walkability score by 10%.
Having a walkability metric and implementing a $465 million-dollar 66.5-acre free public park is an example of how the Tulsa community actively implements sustainable urban planning into the community by providing open spaces, trails, and parks.
Open spaces, trails, and public parks are key metrics in sustainable urban planning!
We love hearing about communities trying to make the world a better place.
We told you all of this, so you want to come to visit!
Now, come and check out Tulsa for some urban outdoor fun!
Oh, one quick thing! I always get asked about my white beach cruiser.
Do you like the white beach cruiser in the first photo above? It is the brand sixthreezero.
Come and beach cruise Tulsa River Parks. We’ll talk about this more below!
There is an awesome paved biked and pedestrian trail along the east and west banks of the Arkansas River.
The east bank trail can be accessed from multiple parking lots along Riverside Drive. The east side trail has a little more bike and foot traffic since it passes by Gathering Place, Tulsa’s prized public green space park.
The west side trail tends to have less pedestrian traffic and more shade. We love biking along the west side for this reason!
B.Y.O.B. – Bring your own bike (or rent one) and lace up your Route 66 kicks. There are playgrounds, picnic areas, and pull-offs to sit along the way with pleasant views of the Arkansas River as well as native waterfowl.
Bring your beach cruiser to the Tulsa River Parks trail. Go for a run. Go for a walk. You don’t want to miss this gem of a trail system in Tulsa.
Guess what else?…
If you park near 21st street along the river, head north towards 11th street and you will be right on Route 66.
Tulsa River Parks Trail connects to the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness trail system. We will talk about Turkey Mountain shortly.
Tulsa River Parks Trail is entirely free to use with plenty of free parking!
Check out the Tulsa River Parks website for maps and to plan your next adventure. It makes for the perfect afternoon or morning couple’s outdoor outing.
Gathering Place is a 66.5-acre $465 million-dollar free public green space park. It has playgrounds for kids literally found in fairy tales (no exaggeration). If you have kids or are a big kid yourself, you must check it out.
The park’s motto is “A Park for Everyone.” It also features a few restaurants, 13 miles of sidewalks, seasonal outdoor markets, a skatepark, and beautiful landscaping.
Gathering Place will transport you to another world. You will forget you are in a city around every corner explored. It is a must-see!
We love the incredible wood-working inside the buildings, grabbing a coffee at the little coffee shop, watching the koi fish in the ponds, and enjoying the fountains. This place is definitely adult-friendly. Have an afternoon date and take a stroll through this beautiful park.
When are you going?!
Next, check out Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area. Access the main Turkey Mountain Trail System from 68th Street and Elwood Ave.
Google Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area and be led to the main parking. These are mostly dirt/gravel trails through dense Okie woods.
There is a bathroom at the main parking area.
Parking and trails are free!
Similarly, if you are looking for a free escape into the woods close to town, you have to check Turkey Mountain.
The Turkey Mountain trail area is adult and family-friendly, but large enough to have seclusion and quiet hiking. The perfect weekend date idea – go for a hike, then grab a coffee!
All along the Tulsa River Parks Trail System, you can see scooters and bikes to rent. These have become ridiculously popular for people of all ages. If you don’t have your own beach cruiser, you can rent one. So fun!
Give it a try – get some wind in your hair! Comparatively, a cheap and sure way to incorporate joy and laughter into your day. Gift yourself an adventure. Such a fun couple’s date idea.
Be mindful and watch for other traffic. You might want to bring your own helmet when using the scooters.
Need a tasty margarita or beer après bike ride, walk, or run? For those of us, 21 and over, have a delicious adult beverage on the patio of Jimmy Buffet’s world-famous Margaritaville.
Swing in the back entrance of Margaritaville and grab a patio seat overlooking the Arkansas River.
Uniquely, this area of the river has great views and bird watching.
There is a bike rack outside the back entrance main gate by the LandShark Bar and pool. Bring a bike lock for your bike.
This is one of our favorite sunny day or sunset activities.
“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” as Jimmy Buffett would say.
You might even be interested in a day pass to the pool!
By all means, have a good time!
We hope you enjoy these five fun outdoor things to do in the Tulsa area!
To summarize, here is a list of things you can do for the perfect couple’s urban outdoor adventure on a budget:
Thanks for reading,
Ashlee & Pablo
New to hiking, biking, and outdoor adventures? No worries – we have you covered.
First, let’s talk about public park environmental etiquette. Remember to help keep trails and green spaces clean by using the trash and recycling receptacles along these facilities.
Second, practice the 7 Principles from Leave no Trace on how to enjoy the outdoors without impacting the environment negatively.
Third, check out this post from REI on Trail Etiquette and Who Has the Right of Way.
Exploring the Tulsa area? You might also like our other articles for the Tulsa, Oklahoma area:
Have you been to Tulsa?
What is your favorite thing to do in Tulsa?
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I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!