The state of Oklahoma brags to be one of the biggest states in the USA. It is also one of the most sought-after a destination for tourists and travelers who look for outdoor activities and adventures. With various hills, lakes, and plenty of hiking trails, Oklahoma offers some of the best places to visit for all adventure enthusiasts. It is also famous for its history and antique collections found around the state. The city provides weekend getaways not just for tourists around the world, but for its own residents as well. For those who love to go for a drive, away from the noise and rush of the city, here are the best road trips from Oklahoma City. Take a short vacation with your family to make the most out of your weekend. Are you still wondering which place to visit first, and where to stay in Oklahoma? Whether you decide to stay in a luxe vacation home, a top pet-friendly hotel, or in a vacation rental, there are plenty of accommodations that you can base yourself in before your road trip.
If you have been planning for an awesome road trip in Oklahoma, then this would be the right one for you. You would get a chance to drive through the hills and parks of the state and even encounter almost five major waterfalls. Not just that, you also get to enjoy the scenic beauty of lush greener prairies along the drive. Now doesn’t that sound fun. One can start the ultimate waterfall road trip from Bricktown falls in Oklahoma City and then drive through Paul’s Valley. The next stop is Chickasaw National recreation center. With dense forest and greenery all around, this is one of the most beautiful spots in the state. The water here is so clear that you can even see the riverbed. It is, of course, a perfect swimming and boating spot too. The turner falls is quite close to this and all those photography enthusiasts, gear up to capture the beauty. The last stop would be Medicine Park which is an old town with spectacular scenery and rich history.
Situated at the border of Oklahoma and Texas is the beautiful Broken Bow Lake. This place to visit is within 4 hours of Oklahoma City and is the perfect weekend getaway. The lake nestled in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains is one of the largest lakes and one can explore a lot. Activities like canoeing, kayaking and floating can be easily done over here. Further, one can go up for a hike in Beavers Bend State Park. These trails in itself are different with parts of it covered with dense trees and another half with mountain ridges. Different plant life and animal life can be found here. There are various museums over here that one can explore too.
Referred to as a green country, history lovers and adventure enthusiasts would equally fall in love with this city. Tulsa also offers various cultural activities for one to engage upon. Some of the must-visit museums in the city include the Gilcrease museum which has a large collection of art and artifacts on the history of America. Music concerts are also quite popular here, so look out for some of the big names in the industry throwing a surprise visit to perform here. The famous Oklahoma aquarium is also situated over here. You can also go for a walking trail through the Tulsa river parks which have a trail of around 26 miles (41.8 kilometers) which end in spring blooms in the city.
Just 1 hour and 40 minutes away from the city is the sand springs where you can immerse yourself in the spring foliage. With short trails around, one can go for mini hikes through the keystone ancient forest. The place has a large collection of ancient artifacts and you might even discover some amazing things in the tiny antique stores in the village. You can also engage yourself with the farmers around by giving them a helping hand at the farm and even enjoy some homemade delicacies. There is Sand Springs Cultural & Historical Museum that has a big collection of these artifacts and you can pay a visit there too.
Would you like to go for some treasure hunting? Well then, grab your bags, bucket and shovel and start off for the Great Salt Plains. Situated around 139 miles (223.7 kilometers) from the city, one can enjoy a nice 3-hour ride to the plains. The plains are quite famous for the selenite crystals found at the bank of the lake and all over the area. This is the only place in the world where you can dig for crystals that are hourglass-shaped. You can not only enjoy some digging time but even have a good swim or go boating in the lake.
Watonga is perfect for a one-day trip from the city as it is just 70 miles (112.7 kilometers) away. But the activities one can do over here is quite interesting. One can visit Roman Nose State Park and get engaged in various activities offered such as mountain biking, hiking through the trails, canoeing, and even horse riding. It is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city and as you enjoy a fun-filled outdoor day along with your family. You can also visit Eischen’s in Okarche to taste one of the best fried chicken you might ever have.
100 miles (160.931 kilometers) northeast of the city is a small town named Enid which is located on the Chisholm Trail. One can not only go hiking through the trail but even find interesting stories and facts about the history of Oklahoma City. The town itself would take you back to those olden times with some of the buildings more than 100 years old. If you have kids along with you, then a visit to Leonardo’s Children’s Museum & Adventure Quest would surely make them the happiest. With various activities for kids involving wooden castles, mazes, swimming and dinosaur dig, it is the perfect spot for families to have the best time of their lives.
Situated around 195 miles (313.8 kilometers) from the city is the town of Grove which is a spot for all those who love outdoor activities. It is one of the most popular spots for fishing and camping. One can also walk through the trails of the park enjoying dense trees around the park and even looking into rare plant lives around. One can also visit the Har-Ber Village Museum which features 116 buildings full of artifacts. If you are a history lover, then you would surely enjoy visiting them and getting to know more about it.
Cavanal Hill, located in Poteau, is just 195 miles (313.8 kilometers) from the city. Standing at 1999 ft (609.3 meters) tall, the hill is the tallest in the world. With beautiful greenery around, the spot is ideal not just for a picnic and family outing but even for hikes. One can either walk to the top of the hills or even drive up here and enjoy the mesmerizing view of the town of Poteau. The plains around here would make any nature and photography enthusiast fall in love with it as it is a perfect place away from the noise of the city.
Another trip within 4 hours from Oklahoma City is a 206-mi (332-km) drive to Dallas. The trip will only take you a little over three hours without stops. While far from being the most picturesque road trip there is, you’ll surely find worthwhile views and stops. You can start from Oklahoma City, take in the view of Arbuckle Mountain, drive for about 59 minutes to arrive at Pauls Valley, stay for about 1 hour at Toy and Action Figure Museum, Pauls Valley Waterpark, Paws Valley Dog Park, or Jet Stream Casino. Another 35-minute drive will take you to Chickasaw Cultural Center, and 35 more and you arrive at Ardmore. The next stop will be Thackerville where you’ll find awesome spots to dine, drink, and feast. Next will be Denton and Perot Museum of Nature and Science then you reach your Dallas destination.
Another trip within 6 hours of Oklahoma City is the 259-mile (417km) drive to the “Helium Capital of the World” also known as “Yellow Rose of Texas”, Amarillo City. Home to the historic Route 66, expect to drive through a very long stretch of road with few to zero gasoline stations along the way, so you better fill up with gas and take extra with you. Aside from the large ranches that exist in the area, you can also see Pony Bridge over Canadian River, drop by Clinton R66 museum, and admire the ruins in Foss. You can visit Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch which are located adjacent to Interstate 40. The US Highway 66 also passes through Amarillo City. Although the trip will only take a little over four hours to complete without stops, you can plan for a two-day trip and stop by Elk City to rest.
A 5-hour drive through the 351-mile (565km) stretch of road northeast of Oklahoma City will bring you to a city in Missouri that has more barbecue restaurants than any other US city. Kansas City is home to River Market District in the north, the 18th and Vine District in the east, and Country Club Plaza in the south. Some of the things Kansas City is famous for are jazz, theaters, Chiefs and Royals sports franchises, steak and barbecue, and craft breweries. Drive for about an hour and reach Stillwater, pass through Blackwell after another hour, have a brief detour in Wichita, pass through Emporia and Lawrence before you reach Kansas City.
If you drive 388.1 miles (624.425 kilometers) south of Oklahoma nonstop for a little less than 6 hours, you’ll reach Austin, the capital city of the U.S. state of Texas. However, with so much to see and enjoy along the way, you might want to consider allotting two days for your trip. The city of Austin advertises itself as “The Live Music Capital of the World”, a reference to the city’s many musicians and live music venues. It is also known as the “City of the Violet Crown” because of the colorful glow of light across the hills just after sunset which you will definitely enjoy if you time your trip correctly. When you arrive in Austin, you should definitely drop by the State Capitol and Visitors’ Center, home to beautiful and historic monuments and buildings - including the office of the State Governor and the chambers of the Texas Legislature. You should also never miss Zilker Metropolitan Park, Austin’s most popular green space by Lady Bird Lake, where you can play, walk trails, and go sightseeing.
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14. Haunted Oklahoma Road Trip
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For a different kind of driving adventure, you should not miss Haunted Oklahoma Road Trip. The 543-mile (874-km) journey will take you to cemeteries, ghost towns, an abandoned insane asylum, and other places where ghosts reside and paranormal activity is common. Your trip will start in Redbud Valley Nature Preserve just north of Tulsa. There, you’ll find Karla’s Bridge, an area where a brutally murdered girl was found in 1976. Next will be St. Vincent’s Asylum, a mental hospital for men where patients were mysteriously murdered in the 1960s. You’ll also pass by Dead Women’s Crossing, where the murdered body of Mrs. James and her baby were found. Last and the spookiest of all is the Sacred Heart Mission in Pottawatomie County, which is believed to be haunted by the spirits of children who died in a fire in 1901.
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Have memorable adventures from Oklahoma City
There are a number of long (trips within six hours of Oklahoma City) and short-distance drives (less than an hour from Oklahoma City). Whether they’re day trips or weekend trips, all the spots are adventurous, memorable, and showcase some of the best Oklahoma road attractions.
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