Spring break for many students and families means sunny beaches, scenic views and an endless stream of activities.
While some families and individuals travel a great distance to enjoy the final school break before the summer recess, others find activities much closer to home.
“You try to discover the things that go on in your backyard,” Mita Bates, president of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, said of spring breakers who stay in the area. “It really does depend on what you want to do.”
During spring break Bates said the Ardmore area sees an increase in tourism, visitations and a slight economic boost. For those families and individuals that don’t travel far during the break, Ardmore offers a variety of activities, which are not only enjoyed by the locals but by people coming into Ardmore from other areas.
“There’s definitely a spike there,” she said of spring break. “Depending on your area of interests there is a lot to offer.”
Of the tourist that come into Ardmore, one attraction typically draws the biggest percentage of the crowd.
“It goes without saying the lake is the biggest draw,” Bates said, noting Lake Murray, just minutes from Ardmore, draws in a lot of tourist and visitors from Oklahoma, Texas and other places. The amount of people visiting the area increases with the breaks from school as families utilize available time to travel for activities.
When the weather is permitting, Bates said activities like fishing, hiking, swimming, golfing and other outdoor activities draw visitors to Lake Murray, which in turn funnels money and tourists into Ardmore. Guests looking for a different type of break are also drawn in to visit museums, the nearby Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur and the Arbuckle Mountains.
Recently, Ardmore has become a destination stop for “staycations” and long weekends where individuals have three to four days to travel and enjoy activities. Destination landing spots for weekend vacations have seen recent boost and Bates said Ardmore has begun embracing the ability to cater to tourists and guests looking for a weekend getaway or fun activities near home.
“We’re seeing that more and more,” she said.
Tourism is currently the third largest industry in Oklahoma and its economic impact is felt even more in areas with large amounts of incoming traffic. Bates said Ardmore sees an economic boost during breaks and weekends. As for those who stay in the community during breaks, the area attractions allow Ardmore to be “the base” of activities and the focal point of entertainment in Southern Oklahoma.