Just north of Dallas in Texas, the state of Oklahoma is a totally great place to visit not just because of the cities, but because of all the best things to do in Oklahoma dotted all across the beautiful countryside. It’s a state that has a little bit of something for everyone.
Whether you’re driving between the best spots in Texas, or staying within Oklahoma for your whole trip, you’ll have a great time exploring. So to keep you exploring (and not get bogged down with all the research), I wanted to share with you some of the top places in Oklahoma we love.
Have the most amazing time exploring the state, it’s lovely to visit.
1.) Lake Murray
If you’re driving between Dallas and Oklahoma City, then a good stopping point for an afternoon trip is Lake Murray. It’s one of the best things to do in Oaklahmo, especially as it’s so accessible and easy to visit.
Just off Highway 35, Lake Murray is one place to stop if you love the great outdoors. After arriving, take some time to follow the hiking and walking trails and also see Tucker Tower which is north of Murray Harbor.
Not only that, it’s a pretty great place to camp (if that’s your thing). If that’s you, then check out Elephant Rock Camp that’s right on the shore. For a nice swim, head over to Sunset Beach that’s on the east side of Lake Murray. Here, you’ll find loads of spots to take a dip. Plus, you’ve got showers at Martin’s Landing close by.
Getting hungry? Head over to El Tapatio Restaurant for some of the best Mexican food in Oklahoma. It’s a casual eatery and has some of the tastiest tacos around.
2.) Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Now, you’re starting to see a theme with Oklahoma, right? There’s so much more to the state than just the cities; case in point with Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
Situated not too far from Lawton, you can spend a few days here and it makes a whole trip to visit the area. It’s one of the best things to do in Oklahoma if you love birdwatching, hiking or just want some time away from city life itself.
Best of all, you might actually see the likes of; prairie dogs, elk, bison and so much more.
We totally loved the French Trail and Elk Mountain Trail. Though the latter is probably the busier of the trails, it’s certainly the one we loved most. It’s a relatively easy trail and one that can be completed with the whole family.
With the Wichita Mountains serving as a picturesque backdrop, the city of Lawton is well worth a gander while you’re in the area. After all, if you’re anything like me, you’ll already be on the lookout for some foodie spots before actually starting your hikes.
After arriving, be sure to stop off at the Museum of the Great Plains, which is more interesting than it sounds. You see, historical settlements in the area left heaps of archaeological treasures and artefacts, which can be viewed at the Museum of the Great Plains.
The Fort Sill Museum, on the other hand, will interest architecture buffs with its assortment of period buildings. Also, if you’re interested in the heritage of the Comanche tribe (that first settled here), make sure to check out the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center. It’s such a great way to learn more about Native American culture and their lands.
Finally, if you’re getting peckish, head into Backporch Drafthouse for some of the best burgers in Oklahoma. Oh, and don’t forget the fried pickles!
4.) Broken Bow Lake
Nestled in the southeast fringes of the state, visiting Broken Bow Lake is one of the best things to do in Oklahoma while driving the southern routes.
Not only does the lake have heaps of shoreline to explore, but it’s also perfect for a dip in the hot summer months. Though, be sure to check some water shoes with you – we forgot and the ground can be really rocky.
Best of all, you can stop in and rent kayaks from places like; Wild Goose Canoe, Beavers Bend River Floats and Wild Goose Rentals which have handy day rates to explore by boat or float.
5.) Oklahoma City
Okay, so if you’re fancying some city vibes, then get yourself over to Oklahoma City.
After arriving, make sure to pop into the magnificent Museum of Art, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Paseo and visit the First Americans Museum. It’s such a walkable city centre and well worth just strolling between spots whilst you’re there.
If museums aren’t your thing, head into the Myriad Botanic Gardens for some of the best-kept gardens in all of Oklahoma. The 15-acre gardens have horticultural displays that are stunning to see. You can also find bubbling fountains, a playground for kids, and paths perfect for walking and jogging.
After walking the gardens, you can ice skate at Devon Ice Rink or dine at the garden restaurant. The outdoor gardens are free of charge. We love the gardens and it’s easily one of the best things to do in Oklahoma without having to spend a dime.
If you’re down for more adventure, you can also visit the rides and attractions in Frontier City. It’s so much fun and a perfect trip for the whole family.
Finally, don’t forget to visit and pay tributes at Memorial Museum. This important museum can be toured through the walk-through exhibit and displays that are so important to see. Yes, you do have a small entry fee to pay, but it’s well worth it.
6.) Natural Falls State Park
Visiting Natural Falls State Park is easily one of the best things to do in Oklahoma when driving east of Tusla.
Here, you’ll find a waterfall which is 77 feet that cascades through rock formations and creates a serene atmosphere in the valley.
Honestly, it’s beautiful and, best of all, hikers and walkers can overlook the falls through a railed observation platform or an observation deck. Just be sure to pack plenty of sunblocks – the sun can be strong in the height of Summer.
7.) Robbers Cave State Park
Not too far from Wilburton, visiting Robbers Cave State Park is one of the best things to do in Oklahoma as you work your way west towards Arkansas.
Famous among hikers, equestrians and rappellers, Robbers Cave State Park is totally lovely, even though its name isn’t quite as appealing! You see, its name came from the historic outlaw cave found hidden in its sandstone cliffs and hills – not from any actual robbers in the area today.
Whilst here, make sure to follow some of the trails and take in the sheer beauty of Robbers Cave State Park. Oh yeah, and just remember, the park lakes can only be enjoyed during the day, and the trolling speed is set at a maximum of 6 mph.
Afterwards, if you have time along your Oklahoma road trip, drive west towards Turner Falls, home to the largest waterfall in the state. It’ll take around 2.5 hours but it’s well worth having these as pitstops as part of a wider road trip.
We love it as it gives you such a great opportunity to walk and stretch your legs.
8.) Lake Hefner
Located in Oklahoma City’s northeastern part, Lake Hefner is totally lovely to visit. After all, it’s colossal and has a surface area of 2,500 acres which also has a covered and heated fishing deck, a golf course and bars to chill out at.
You can easily reach Lake Hefner when you are on the Hefner Parkway, and it’s all well-signposted and totally easy to find. Yes, it might feel close to Oklahoma City but it feels like you’re in the great outdoors.
For a tasty bite to eat, head to the shoreline and book a table at Mama Roja Méxican Kitchen. Their shrimp and tacos are so yummy.
9.) Talimena Scenic Drive
If you love a good road trip, then you’ll want to follow the Talimena Scenic Drive as you meander Oklahoma’s roads.
Easy to drive, you can follow the 50-mile drive as you appreciate the breathtaking scenery and the historic towns you’ll see along the way.
Truthfully, there are too many little stopping points to mention along the way – so just stop as you see fit. This is what we did and found so many labys and parking bays to enjoy the countryside around here. We love it.
Though, if you need a plan, you can download this free PDF guide to the route, and stops along the way, right here.
10.) Tenkiller Lake
On the eastern fringes of Oklahoma, Tenkiller Lake has heaps of small coves and cliffs to explore at your own pace.
Now, it’s quite tranquil and relaxing here – which is totally great. That being said, it can get a bit ‘slow’ if you’re looking for a more lively road trip. We love it, but just be aware of what you’re going for. It’s lovely and quiet.
Oh, and if you’re looking to camp, head to Chicken Creek that’s probably one of the area’s nicest spots to stay.
Another one of Oklahoma’s cities to explore; Tulsa is one great place to visit as you explore the north-easterly areas of the state.
After arriving, be sure to stop off at the Philbrook Museum of Art for all its fine and decorative exhibits, go inside the Gilcrease Museum and stop at the ‘Center of the Universe‘. The latter is a phenomenon where you stand and shout, hearing your voice delivered back louder than it was shouted. I’ve probably explained that terribly, but it’s all very surreal.
Oh, and don’t forget to spot the Golden Driller Statue that’s close to Paradise Beach Waterpark. Yes, you’ll only stop for 5 minutes to see it but it’s still a must-see in Tulsa.
Finally, if you’re feeling peckish, head to Roosevelt’s which serves up a tasty lunch. Just make sure to order the Prime rib Sandwich. You’ll leave stuffed.