Next up on the National Park Trip Season 3.1, Chickasaw National Recreation Area. We arrived last night and stayed at Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center. If you aren’t camping in the area this is the place I highly recommend, it is a beautiful facility with amazing views. No breakfast but we enjoyed a little diner in town called The Poor Girls Cafe. Now off to the park 🙂
Water is the attraction at this rec area. Whatever its form is- springs, lakes, streams, or waterfalls this place has it all and it is gorgeous. We went in early spring and I can only imagine how beautiful it is in summer when all the flowers are blooming and the foliage is present.
We started our journey at the brand new Visitor Center on the corner of Hwy 7 and Hwy 177. Grabbed our information booklets, junior rangers, got a passport stamp and a ton of great information and we headed to the park.
The park entrance is just one block south of the visitor center and it didn’t take long before we were out of the car exploring. It is a driving path through the park with pull offs until you get to the Nature Center (unless you are camping). The campgrounds were closed so we didn’t get to explore. They looked great, I would like to come back here in late summer/early fall and stay at the campground.
Little Niagara was a great stop to explore and get some hiking in. Nice big parking lot and a must do stop if you are coming here.
We ventured over to the Travertine Nature Center, we were informed at the VC this place had more passport stamps, and they did. We got a really cool buffalo one. It doesn’t take much to get us excited. See stamps at the end of this post (I’m going to make you wait).
From here we did some hiking to see the Springs: Antelope and Buffalo. Both were beautiful. The hiking trail is easy and follows the stream the whole way. Not much wildlife out the day we were there but we did manage to see a Nine-banded armadillo, which was cool for us Iowans.
Nice picturesque stops along the way. Really great place to enjoy the outdoors.
Next stop was Pavillion Springs. This spot is known to be the fountain of youth. Both Hunter and I took drinks out of it, Gunnar wanted nothing to do with it because of the sulfur smell. I am hoping it works because these kids have the opposite effect on me.
We headed down to the bison viewpoint to see if we could spot any buffalo but we didn’t have any luck with that.
Vendome well was neat as well. But these cats are hungry.
We went into town because I wanted to grab a couple bottles of wine from the winery. We got roped into a tasting while there and had so much fun here, we ended up all eating lunch at the winery. Great little stop for sandwiches and a few moments of adult time. Wine is great, employees fantastic and atmosphere relaxing. Kids ate their sandwiches and worked on their Junior Rangers while we sampled the great wine. We ended up getting 12 bottles instead of 1. Oops. I highly recommend The Rusty Nail Winery, what a great stop!!
Back to the park so we can be sworn in as Junior Rangers. Another park down. We are now heading into Texas and New Mexico. Next park will be Carlsbad Caverns but not before we have some alien encounters in Roswell, New Mexico. Check out our New Mexico blog for info on that.
Last but not least, here is our usual. Magnet, Passport Cancellations and Junior Ranger.
Until next time. I hope you enjoyed our visit to Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Have you been? What was your favorite part?