Best Places to Visit in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is the land of prairie grasslands where bison roam and has a rich history of Cherokee culture and traditions. It has cities with entertainment venues and heritage monuments, state parks with wildlife and natural scenery. Oklahoma is where the historic Route 66 goes through, making it one of the most scenic highways in the US. Oklahoma has seen the economic oil boom to the dreadful bombing. Yet it rose like a Phoenix and transformed itself into one of the best states of the US. Take any pick from the best places to visit in Oklahoma and top things to do in Oklahoma from the list given below. Check out this Oklahoma travel guide:
Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
If you love wildlife and walking in prairie grass, then Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge is the best place to visit in Oklahoma. You can see wildlife species like the American Bison, Prairie Dogs, Elk, and others. The landscapes this park offers are unique, and there are long prairie grasslands, cedar forests, rugged rocky patches, lakes, and mountain tops. You can see panoramic landscapes from Little Baldy or Mount Scott. There are many hiking trails like Bison Trail or Narrows Trail on which you can watch wild animals. You can camp overnight here, and there are lakes like Quanah Parker Lake which offer activities like fishing and boating.
Natural Falls State Park
Natural Falls State Park is one of the most natural tourist attractions in Oklahoma. The 77-foot Dripping Springs waterfall is one of the best attractions of Natural Falls National Park. The area around the waterfall thrives with wildlife and green vegetation. There are viewing decks and railings from where visitors can view the waterfalls. There are hiking and nature trails to explore the wildlife of this park from close range, and you can camp overnight on camping grounds. There are many other activities you can do like playing golf, volleyball, and fishing, and arrange picnics.
Beavers Bend State Park
Oklahoma is where you will find the most amazing national parks and Beavers Bend State Park is among the best of them. The winding Mountain Fork River and Broken Bow Lake are the top attractions of this park. There are several short and long hiking trails where you can walk among tall hardwood trees and pine forests. You can do fishing or boating in Broken Bow Lake, and stop to admire the many islands on the lake. Other things to do here are horseback riding, train rides, miniature golf courses, go-karting, water skiing. Cultural festivals like Beavers Bend Folk Festival and Craft Show and Kiamichi Owa-Chito Festival of the Forest are best to experience the culture of this place.
Turner Falls Park
You will find the highest waterfall in Oklahoma in Turner Falls Park. The 77-foot Turner Falls drops into a pool of water, in which you can swim or play around with water. You can come here on picnics, and the most adventurous ones can explore the natural caves in this area. You can go hiking and see many mountain streams and the green vegetation of the park. There are ruins of a rock castle which you should explore for more fun. Children and teens will have lots of fun sliding down a water slide or diving at the Blue Hole Pool.
Talimena National Scenic Byway
One of the best places to drive to in Oklahoma is the Talimena National Scenic Byway. The scenic road passes through Ouachita National Forest, and you will be able to see such beautiful lakes as Cedar Lake, and many panoramic vistas to view the natural beauty of this place. This 54-mile stretch of road looks particularly gorgeous during the fall months of October to November. You can stop at several restaurants and rest stops along the way for relaxation and refreshments. On your drive, you could come across a black bear or a long-tailed deer. There are historic sites which you can visit and also go on hiking trails and camp overnight.
Robbers Cave State Park
Among the best scenic parks and top places to visit in Oklahoma is the Robbers Cave State Park. This is where famous outlaws like Jesse James and Belle Starr hid in a cave and this cave is now a thrilling attraction of this park. There are lakes within this park, where you can go on many hiking treks, or try fishing. There are camping grounds, lodges, and cabins where you can stay overnight and experience the beauty of being in the wilderness. You can rent a bicycle, bikes and explore the many places of this park, and you can also play golf or volleyball.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
If you want to explore the most beautiful places to visit in Oklahoma, then you should visit the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. This park is famous for its rivers, freshwater mountain springs, lakes, pine forests, and wildlife species. You can take a dip in the freshwater springs at Travertine Creek, or go boating in Lake of the Arbuckles. From the Bison Viewing Area, you can see herds of bison. You can hike through deep woods and lakes, and enjoy the natural scenery of this area. Campgrounds are best to stay at this place, as you can feel the tranquillity of oak and pine forests.
Great Salt Plains State Park
The Great Salt Plains State Park is one of the most unique places to visit in Oklahoma. The flat, barren landscape of Great Salt Plains State Park is bewitchingly beautiful, and it will spur you to do some of the most exciting things. Visitors can choose between swimming in the lakes and hiking through the forested trails. There are migratory birds that come here, and you can search for natural crystals also. You bring your RV and pitch a tent and stay overnight.
One of the tourist attractions of Oklahoma is its capital city itself. There are museums like the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, where you walk through interactive exhibits and revive the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. The Oklahoma State Capitol building has breathtaking architecture, and you can learn about Western American culture at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Recreation areas like Scissortail Park or Myriad Botanical Gardens have the best recreation like jogging, gardens, and boating for kids. You can watch wild animals at Oklahoma City Zoo, or catch live concerts at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.
Quartz Mountain State Park
Quartz Mountain State Park is on the shores of Lake Altus-Lugert, and this is one of the most popular places to visit in Oklahoma. You can have all details of the park inside the Nature Center. The best thing about Quartz Mountain State Park is that kids also can hike on the trails. Paddleboats are available for boating in the lake, and teenagers can have thrilling ATV rides, or hike up Baldy Point for sweeping views of the park. Among other activities, you can enjoy live performances in the amphitheater or camp in the great outdoors for a night. You can try your hand at golfing as well.
Gloss Mountain State Park
Gloss Mountain State Park is so-called due to the transparent gypsum crystal found here. Gloss Mountain State Park is a very rugged region, where you can see raptors flying above, and lizards scurrying through the cactus and vegetation. Once native American tribes like the Apache Indians roamed this region, which is now called Gloss Mountain State Park. You cannot stay here, but among the things that you can do here are hiking on the Cathedral Mountains and viewing the prairie grasslands below. You can camp here, or go on a horseback ride through the wild country.
Little Sahara State Park
Visiting Little Sahara State Park is one of the top 10 things to do in Oklahoma. Here the main attractions are the sand dunes, and the sandy terrain will give the thrill and excitement of visiting the Sahara Desert of Africa, right here in Oklahoma. Tourists can do many things here like ATV rides, and the dune buggy. Riding the troughs and crests of these sand dunes is an adventure in itself. You can also camp here in the sandy terrain, and there are many RV camping grounds here with facilities like water and electricity.
The charming city of Lawton has the best tourist spots in Oklahoma for the whole family. Lawton has some special attractions that are a must-see and Lawton is also the gateway to visit the famous Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The best attraction of Lawton is The Museum of the Great Plains, where visitors can visit various exhibits about the western culture of Oklahoma. There are such attractions like Fort Still, and museums like Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center, where you can go back in time and learn about the culture of Oklahoma. There are many outdoor recreation areas and amusement parks in Lawton.
Located close to the border with Kansas, Bartlesville is a fascinating city with so many things to do, from arts and culture to dining and architecture. One of the best attractions of Bartlesville is the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, where you will be able to pet bison calves or see bison and water buffaloes roaming freely. Kids can have lots of fun at Kiddie Park, and hikers will love the wild trails at Pathfinder Parkway Trail. You can boat in Lee Lake, enjoy Broadway shows at Bartlesville Community Center, or shop at Eastland Shopping Center.
Cherokee Heritage Center
Cherokee is a Native American tribe, who has been living in Oklahoma for centuries and to learn about its culture and history, you can visit Cherokee Heritage Center. It has exhibits like 1710 Cherokee Village, where you’ll see cultural exhibits about basket weaving and other local crafts. The Trail of Tears exhibit has sculptures, photographs, maps, displays about Cherokee indigenous tribe. It shows all about the traditional crafts of Cherokee people, and how the Cherokee tribals were removed from their lands. An art show has products and artworks displayed.
Tulsa is a city that is in love with its art, nightlife, culture, and adventure. There are entertainment centers like Blue Dome Entertainment District with its restaurants and live music. The Gathering Place is the best recreation park in Tulsa, where you can do many indoor and outdoor activities. There are museums like the Gilcrease Museum with a rich collection of artifacts and American culture. There are shopping centers, zoo, planetariums, art districts, botanical gardens, water parks, and many interesting things for an entire family vacation in Oklahoma.
Norman has its very own charm and this is one of the ideal tourist destinations of Oklahoma. There are outdoor spaces like Lake Thunderbird State Park with its boating and horse riding activities and museums like Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History with dinosaur exhibits and artifacts. There are casinos like the Thunderbird Casino with slot machines and restaurants. There are amusement parks like Andy Alligator’s Fun Park where kids will enjoy go-karting and arcade games. You can taste wines and visit the Native Spirits Winery or learn about tornadoes at The National Weather Center.
Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees
On Neosho River, the Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees is an immensely scenic lake, and one of the best recreation spaces in Oklahoma. It is a playground for water-based activities like parasailing, jet-skiing, fishing. It is also called Grand Lake, and many islands are jutting out of the lake. You can rent a bike or explore Lendonwood Gardens. Monkey Island has guided trails or set sail in a charter yacht on the calm blue waters of the lake. No wonder, it is listed amongst one of the best places to see in Oklahoma.
Red Rock Canyon State Park
If you want to see the most unique places to visit in Oklahoma, then you should certainly visit Red Rock Canyon State Park. Here there are eerie rock formations, stone pillars, towering cliffs, and rock paintings. It feels like an alien landscape where you can go hiking, camping, and stargazing. There are hiking trails like Red Cliffs Trail or Nightmare Gulch Loop, where you can watch high cliffs dwarf you with their sheer size. You can pitch your own tent in Ricardo Campground and watch the stars in the clear and unpolluted night sky.
What’s next waiting for you?
Now you know where to go and what to do in Oklahoma, you can plan your travel with utmost enthusiasm. Check out our other travel guides to explore best places to visit near Oklahoma.