My husband and I booked a family getaway weekend to Greenleaf State Park in Braggs on a whim – and it ended up being a lovely retreat in a nearly-empty state park complete with great amenities.
So in a word, this beautiful park was exactly what we needed to relax and escape the city.
Here’s my list of the best things to do in Greenleaf State Park so you can plan your own woodsy escape.
Below the things to do, I include essential travel tips and a FAQ to round this post out and make it a complete Greenleaf State Park guide.
Read next: 7 Things to Know about Greenleaf State Park Cabins + Review
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All About Greenleaf State Park
Get to know Greenleaf State Park.
Greenleaf State Park is located in the Cookson Hills in Muskogee County in eastern Oklahoma, between the towns of Bragg and Gore.
Address: 12022 Greenleaf Rd, Braggs, OK 74423
While the park sits on the very western edge of the Ozarks, its comprised of rolling hills as opposed to mountains.
Greenleaf Lake is manmade. It was created by the damming of Greenleaf Creek and the Arkansas River.
Around the lake, you’ll find woodlands that feature a combination of native and introduced trees.
New Deal History
Greenleaf State Park was created in 1939 and was one of the ten New Deal parks created in partnership with the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
The Oklahoma State Historical Preservation Office found the park to be one of four parks that are:
“outstanding examples of park landscapes designed by the National Park Service and built by the CCC and other New Deal Agencies.”
The park was built on land that was purchased from economically depressed farmers hurt by the Great Depression.
The National Park Service took twenty percent of the purchased land and set it aside to be turned into a state park. Cabins and other park amenities were built.
At the time it opened, it included important original buildings like the Greenleaf Lodge, the bathhouse (which is now used as the nature center), and fourteen native stone cabins.
In 1941, the land was turned over to the US Army and used as part of Camp Gruber.
Nearby there was a German prisoners-of-war camp maintained by the military. Many of the buildings and improvements from the 1940s were made by these German prisoners.
According to the Historical Preservation Office:
“No other known resource in Oklahoma embodies so well the shift in focus undertaken by Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s administration from its New Deal program to the mobilization of the military for World War II.”
After the war ended and post-war activities ceased, Greenleaf was leased back to the state of Oklahoma, which reopened the land for public use as Greenleaf State Park in 1954.
Nearby State Parks
Greenleaf State Park is twelve miles (and just a twenty-minute drive) from Tenkiller State Park. Alternatively, you could enjoy Webbers Falls Reservoir.
Do You Need a Car for Your Trip?
It’s awfully hard to get around Oklahoma without a car. If you need to rent one, I use Discover Cars. You’ll be able to pick up a car at the airport or in your hometown.
The Best Things to Do in Greenleaf State Park
At first, this family-friendly park may seem quiet and unassuming, but there’s definitely a lot to do here!
Swim in Greenleaf Lake
If you’re heading to GSP for a lake weekend, you probably have swimming in Greenleaf Lake on your list of things to do.
For the best swimming, head to the aptly named “Swim Beach” near the General Store.
While it’s not a sandy beach, it is a well-maintained entry into the lake.
To have the best swimming experience, wear water shoes since there are lake plants growing near the shore.
Get Out on the Water in a Canoe, Kayak, or Paddle Board
Alternatively, you can take a peddle boat/paddle boat out.
This way you can explore more of the lake than the swimmers traditionally get to see.
You can bring your own, or you can rent these from the General Store and the Marina. Call (918) 990-3221 to make a rental reservation.
Go Hiking on one of the Greenleaf State Park Trails
The Ankle Express Hiking Trail is nearly nineteen miles long. Parkgoers can attempt the full trail, which is rated as a hard trail and has a near-two-thousand-foot elevation gain.
Note that this Alltrails refers to this as the Greenleaf Trail Full Loop and suggests an eight-hour time to finish.
However, the park recommends planning for thirty minutes to an hour per mile, which would make this a 9-18 hour hike depending on ability.
You can see the park’s guide to the trail here.
Pro tip: Check that the bridge is working before attempting the full trail.
Alternatively, you can attempt one of the portions of the trail, like the Greenleaf Trail Lower Segment or Middle Segment.
If you want something easier that the whole family can attempt, you can check out the Greenleaf Family Fun Trail, which is just 1.5 miles and is rated as easy.
This trail is paved the entire way and takes about half an hour to complete.
Good to know: Greenleaf State Park recommends anyone hiking from March through November wear tick spray, along with long pants, and stable shoes.
Cool Down at the Greenleaf State Park Splash Pad
A few years ago, Greenleaf traded in its swimming pool in favor of a shiny new splash pad. Priding itself on its family-oriented reputation, the splash pad is a great place for families to let out some energy!
Admission for the splash pad is $6 per person.
While the price for admission is not included with your park fees or even for those renting cabins, the extra charge was worth it. Our son absolutely loved it!
This was a great way for our family to cool down at the end of a long, hot day at the park.
Shop for Park Souvenirs at the Gift Shop
My family collects magnets from all of our adventures, so we headed to the gift shop on our way out of the park to grab a Greenleaf State Park souvenir magnet.
There are other great Greenleaf souvenirs available, including camp shirts, nature books, and postcards.
Go for a Round at the Mini-Golf Course
If you need more family-friendly activities, you can enjoy a round of miniature golf. The course was recently renovated and is fun for all ages.
You can get a combo pass for entry at mini-golf and the splash pad for $10.
Enjoy a Picnic with a View
There’s really nothing I love more than eating outside and enjoying world-class views over a home-cooked meal. And having a picnic table at our cabin overlooking the lake was such a treat.
If you’re renting a cabin, you’ll have access to your own picnic table. Otherwise, get a public picnic table or find a secluded spot in the park, preferably one that overlooks the water.
Rock on the Front Porch of a WPA Cabin
If you do rent a cabin, make sure to bring a good book to read while you spend some time in the rocking chair on the front porch surrounded by the historic native stone walls.
Rock while you appreciate the rocks, so to speak.
Gore, Oklahoma boasts that it’s the Trout Capital of Oklahoma, so it would be a shame to come out here and not attempt to fish.
However, you won’t find trout in the lake, instead, you can hope for bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish. There are limits to the number of fish you can catch.
Read an overview of fishing at Greenleaf Lake here.
You can fish from the heated fishing dock, or you can get out on a boat.
Families can help young anglers (16 and under) learn the ropes at the kids’ fishing pond.
You can buy your fishing license here. Children under do not need a fishing license to fish at the kids’ pond or in Greenleaf Lake.
You can fish from the heated fishing dock or in a fishing boat. There are some boat rentals available, or you can bring your own.
You can see a fishing map of the lake here.
Enjoy Some One-on-One or Team Sports
If you prefer dry land over getting out on the water, you can use the volleyball or basketball courts for your recreation.
The sand volleyball court is located between the General Store and Swim Beach and features lake views.
See What’s Happening at the Discovery Center
For special events, including crafting, sports, golf cart tours, guided hikes, and story time, head to the Discovery Center.
The park’s unique activities are run through here, and there are lots of great opportunities for kids, families, and adults.
You can sometimes find the schedule posted on the park’s Facebook page as well. If you don’t see it, this is a great place to ask.
Shop at the General Store
If you find yourself in need of any last-minute supplies, you can check out the General Store. You’ll find snacks, basic camping and fishing supplies, and a throwback attitude.
Don’t ask if they have wifi, the pendant outside proudly proclaims that they don’t.
Check Out the Swinging Bridge
The most Instagrammable spot in Greenleaf State Park is the Swinging Bridge. To get here, you will hike a portion of the Ankle Express.
If you only want to see the bridge and not the rest of the trail, it becomes a five miles out-and-back hike. You can see an overview of how to get to the bridge here.
Check with the park office if the bridge is working before attempting it.
Be on the Lookout for Wildlife
Whether you’re into bird watching or you just want to spot the park’s famous elk, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife.
Birdwatchers should check out this guide to birdwatching in Greenleaf, which notes that there are bald eagles, a variety of waterfowl, and black vultures, depending on when you visit the park.
The site is quite popular with local bird enthusiasts, and it has hosted the Oklahoma Ornithological Society’s spring meeting multiple times.
Attempt Mountain Biking in Greenleaf
Seasoned mountain bikers can attempt to bike the Ankle Express. Here’s an overview of mountain biking the trail. Note that it states that “you’ll probably crash.”
Eat at the Greenleaf State Park Marina
If the Marina is open for business, it’s a decently rated restaurant with great views. Definitely worth a meal or two during your stay!
Go on a Tour of the Park’s Historic Sites
If you liked the history overview in this post and want even more information about the park’s past, you can go on a self-guided tour of the park following this pamphlet.
Things to Do Near Greenleaf State Park
If you are basing yourself in the park for more than a few days, you should check out the nearby Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge and Tenkiller State Park.
Greenleaf State Park Guide + Travel Tips
Here’s a guide to help you plan your trip.
Directions to Greenleaf State Park
We used Google Maps to navigate from Oklahoma City, and while it made some strange choices leaving OKC, it was spot on getting near the park.
Here are basic directions, but you should also use some kind of mapping app.
From Oklahoma City
The drive from OKC to Greenleaf will take about two and a half hours, depending on traffic and stops.
Take I-40 E to US 64 E to OK 10 N.
The drive from Tulsa to Greenleaf takes a little over an hour.
Take OK-51 E / US-64 to OK-351 E to US-62 E to OK-10 S.
The drive from Muskogee to Greenleaf State Park is just about thirty minutes.
Take OK-10 S past Braggs Oklahoma.
Driving to Greenleaf State Park
The only way to get to the park is to drive. There’s no public transportation. If you don’t have your own car, you can get a rental car for your trip.
Greenleaf State Park Map
If you want detailed hiking maps for both the Ankles Express and the Family Fun Trail, go here.
Park Amenities for Day Use
If you are just coming for the day, you will have access to the lake, picnic tables, restrooms, hiking trails, the amphitheater, the bathhouse, the pavilion, the Discovery Center, a heated fishing dock, an enclosed shelter, the volleyball and basketball courts, and more.
You will need to pay for parking for the day. One day is $10 per day per vehicle.
Staying in Greenleaf State Park Cabins (Greenleaf State Park Cabin Pictures)
Oklahoma State Parks cabins are usually a great deal. At Greenleaf, we got to stay in a nearly hundred-year-old stone cabin that was one of the original park buildings.
In our 350 sq ft lake cabin, we had beautiful views overlooking the water and tons of convenient amenities inside like linens, a stove, and even a tv.
You can read my guide to Greenleaf State Park cabins here.
There are fourteen original Greenleaf cabins, plus there is a new “Cabin on the Lake,” an ADA-compliant cabin with an ADA picnic table and grill plus a private boat dock.
Cabin rentals can be reserved here.
Check-in is at the Park Office, but after-hours check-in can be prearranged.
A one-vehicle parking pass is included for those who reserve cabins or campsites.
Greenleaf State Park Camping
There are 100 RV campsites. Some have 50-amp electric, water hookups, and sewer hookups.
When booking, note which RV sites have full hookups and which do not. If you need a pull-thru site, check for that as well. There is a $3 dump station fee.
In addition to RV sites, there are 100 tent campsites for campers who prefer tent camping.
There are several different campgrounds and camping areas:
There are seven total campgrounds: Gobbler Ridge (near the Hoot Owl Community Building), Deer Run, Cypress Row, Trailhead, Lakeview (near the Whispering Winds Community Center), Playside, and Eagles Nest.
The Deer Run campground is located closest to the cabins.
Where to Stay near Greenleaf State Park
If you prefer to come home to a hotel or motel room at the end of your day, you can book a room at the Suite 16 Motel in Gore, Oklahoma, which is a short drive from the park.
The prices are lower than cabin rentals, so this is also a great option for families traveling on a budget.
This one-star motel gets good reviews, with travelers noting that it is comfortable and clean with great wifi.
Restaurants near Greenleaf State Park
If the Greenleaf at the Marina restaurant is open during your stay, you should definitely check it out. You can enjoy your meal with Lake Greenleaf views, and the food gets good reviews as well.
If the marina is closed or if you want more options, we ate at a few local spots in addition to cooking meals in our cabin.
Donna’s Malt Shop (Braggs)
This is a classic hole-in-the-wall with lots of options for everyone, low prices, and a throwback ambiance. While it’s not fancy, I absolutely loved it.
The food was good – I thought the hamburgers and french fries tasted similar to Braum’s but less expensive. The overall experience was kitschy and unique.
If you want to support a local Oklahoma business, this is where to go.
I will definitely be back on our next Greenleaf visit.
You can read my full Donna’s Malt Shop review here.
Address: 210 Madison St, Braggs, OK 74423
Gambino’s Pizza (Gore)
This pizza chain, headquartered in Kansas, has four Oklahoma locations, including one in Gore.
I picked up a sausage and cheese pizza and took it back to our cabin, but you can also dine in.
The staff went above and beyond.
I had a sleeping toddler in the back of the car, so they brought my pick-up order to me. They were kind and helpful!
The pizza itself was delicious after a long day in the sun. It reminded me of Mazzios in a good way.
Address: 1100 N Main St, Gore, OK 74435
While you probably don’t need me to tell you how you feel about Sonic, you’ll (might) be happy to know that there is one in Gore, just twelve minutes from the park, should you need a Route 44.
Address: 501 N Main St, Gore, OK 74435
Grocery Stores Near Greenleaf State Park
For groceries, we shopped at Harp’s in Gore.
Address: 603 N Main St, Gore, OK 74435
Pets in Greenleaf State Park
Pets are allowed in Greenleaf State Park, but they need to be leashed.
Cabins are pet-friendly. There is a pet fee of $20 per night in addition to the cabin rental fee.
We brought our dog with us to the park. She escaped her leash while we were at Swim Beach, so my husband had to chase her all around the volleyball court.
Keeping her in the cabin was easy, and the air conditioning meant that it didn’t get too hot so we could leave her when we ran into town or went to a restaurant.
What Not to Do in Greenleaf State Park
There are a few major don’ts at Green Leaf State Park.
No personal motorized vehicles, aka no jet skis.
Fishing boats can have motors, but larger motorboats aren’t allowed.
No public consumption of alcohol.
No metal detectors.
Important Safety Tips
Follow park regulations.
Use tick spray and wear long pants if you’ll be hanging out in the woods from March through November.
According to a leading children’s hospital:
Children and teens should wear a life jacket any time they are on a boat, raft, inner tube, or swimming in open water like lakes, rivers or the ocean. Children birth to 5 years old should also wear a life jacket while in or near water. This includes while they are on a beach or dock.
My Greenleaf State Park Review
We loved our quiet weekend at Greenleaf State Park! The cabin was nicer than we expected, as someone who also runs a history travel blog, it was so much fun learning about the New Deal-era history of the cabin we stayed in.
The lake was a bit warm for swimming, and I really wish I had brought water shoes because the plants near the beach were uncomfortable to walk over.
Because the water was warm, we decided to test out the splash pad. My son loved it, and it was the highlight of the weekend for him.
I can recommend a visit to Greenleaf State Park for anyone looking for a beautiful setting, a quiet weekend getaway, or to discover a new-to-you state park.
It’s especially good for families since there are activities for children to enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions about Greenleaf State Park (FAQ)
These are the things asked most often about travel to Greenleaf SP.
Is Greenleaf State Park worth visiting?
Yes! Greenleaf State Park is worth visiting. It’s especially great for camping, family-friendly activities, and beautiful views.
What is the Greenleaf State Park address?
The Greenleaf State Park address is 12022 Greenleaf Rd, Braggs, OK 74423.
Where is Greenleaf State Park?
Greenleaf State Park is located between Gore and Braggs, Oklahoma in Muskogee County.
When is the park open?
The park is open twenty-four hours a day. The Minigolf Course, Marina, and General Store have their own posted hours.
The park office is open daily from 8 AM until 4:30 PM.
Cabin check-in is 3 PM and check-out is 11 AM.
Campsite check-in is 5 PM and check-out is 2 PM.
The Splash Pad is open 11 AM – 6 PM. It is closed on Tuesdays.
How big is Greenleaf State Park?
Greenleaf State park is 930 acres.
Can you swim in Greenleaf Lake?
What Kind of Boats are Allowed at GSP?
Fishing boats with motors are allowed at Greenleaf. Larger motorized boats and personal motor water vehicles are not allowed.
Canoes and kayaks are also allowed.
Does Greenleaf State Park have showers?
Yes, there are public showers at Greenleaf State Park.
How much does it cost to camp at Greenleaf State Park?
RV campsites at Greenleaf are $26 per night and tent campsites are $17 per night.
How many campsites are at Greenleaf State Park?
Greenleaf State Park has 100 RV sites and 100 tent sites.
How much is the splash pad at Greenleaf State Park?
Admission to the splash pad is $6 per person. You can get a splash pad and minigolf combo pass for $10.
Does Greenleaf State Park have WiFi?
No, there is no wifi at Greenleaf State Park. The cell phone signal is spotty at best.
What are the bathroom facilities like?
The public bathrooms in the campsites are dank but useable. The bathrooms in the cabins are rustic but updated.
Can you bring alcohol to Greenleaf State Park?
You can have alcohol in the cabins and campsites, but you cannot have alcohol at the lake.
Is Greenleaf State Park the same as Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area?
No, Greenleaf State Park is in Oklahoma. Greenleaf Lake State Recreation Area is in Minnesota. Beware not to confuse it with Green Lakes State Park in New York, either.
Pin this guide to Greenleaf State Park for Your Next Park Adventure!
Stephanie Craig is a born-and-bred Oklahoma mom and travel expert who has been to over fifty countries. After traveling all over the world, Stephanie moved back to Oklahoma to explore more of her own backyard. Her favorite things to do in Oklahoma include visiting the Blue Whale of Catoosa, the Arcadia Round Barn, and the Talimena Scenic Byway.