Best Oklahoma Attractions
Home to a bustling hub on the southern plains and the country’s most iconic highway, Oklahoma is rightfully known as your authentic pathway to the west. On the one hand, its modern galleries, museums, and skyscrapers give it a bit of a cosmopolitan edge. On the other hand, all you want to do here is enjoy the little pleasures of a road trip on Route 66 while you feast your eyes on the scenic views.
If you’ve ever come across the saying “Labor conquers all things,” you probably didn’t know that it came from the state’s esteemed motto “Labor Omnia Vincit.” Only second to California in terms of its Native American population, Oklahoma is where the “wind comes sweeping down the plains.”
So, get ready to experience the authenticity of a state that takes pride in its resilience, cuisine, top-notch attractions, and of course, rich culture and heritage to leave you awestruck every step of the way. After all, speaking of attractions in the United States and leaving Oklahoma behind? We don’t think it’s the way to do it.
Best Oklahoma Attractions and Activities
Things To Do in Oklahoma by City
Let’s take a look at some of the best places to visit in Oklahoma!
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City
As the name already gives it away, this incredible museum is all about the historical sculptures, pictures, and materials to uncover the Wild West way of living. In fact, the subject of Attractions in Oklahoma City is dull and incomplete without the mention of this Rodeo Hall of Fame at least once. While the primary attraction inside this massive facility is the rodeo champions featured in the hall of fame, several cowboys also receive a tip of the hat in their relevant halls.
Moreover, the Cowboy Corral is just the right abode for your child’s ranch-readiness skills. Planning to go a step ahead with your cowboy obsession? Don’t forget to visit the Oklahoma City Stockyards, where auctions for outdoor cattle pens take place at least two days a week.
Great Salt Plains State Park, Alfalfa County
Located on the salty lake that shares the same name, this state park truly defines what it means to be scenic. From its desolate landscapes to a sea of outdoor activities, Great Salt Plains State Park is a spectacular location for people of all ages whilst being one of the primary Attractions in Alfafa County. Besides, there’s never a bad time to avail of activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, and mountain biking all-in-one place.
Did you know that this marvelous state park is, by far, the only spot on the planet where you can dig up selenite crystals for yourself? Most people prefer visiting the site between April and October as these months mark the peak of the tourist influx. So, get ready to bask in the gorgeous views while you dig up for crystals or enjoy the numerous leisure activities.
Natural Falls State Park, Delaware County
Nestled in the exquisite Ozark Highlands scenery, this state park is located in the northeast end, close to Arkansas. Again, as the name gives it away, this spot is not only known for its fauna and flora but also for the fascinating waterfall that will surely take your breath away. The 75-feet long waterfall merges with a beautiful pool below right after tumbling down a cliff face and makes up for one of the most stunning Attractions in Delaware County.
However, since the view is mostly covered by a narrow valley, your best bet to view it fully is through an observation platform. This is where you can also click some of the best shots of this picturesque valley. What’s more? While one of the main elements that make this park stand out is definitely the waterfall, you shouldn’t underestimate its ability to be a great barbeque and picnic spot. Furthermore, the volleyball, basketball court, and the hiking trail that will lead you through the woods make for the cherry on top.
Beavers Bend, Broken Bow
One of the most stunning parks in the state of Oklahoma, Beavers Bend State Park, is located in the southeast. Inaugurated in 1937, the park initially boasted the beautiful Broken Bow Lake as its primary feature. However, today, it has a lot more to offer to seasonal as well as regular visitors. Hidden in the low-lying hills and mountains, the park has some of the prettiest landscapes to offer. It doesn’t end here. You will also find several verdant forests covering its riverbanks and lakeshores while you explore the rugged terrains through mountain biking or hiking. The breezy and sparkling river, along with a stagnant lake, further makes for outdoor activities of all kinds, such as swimming, canoeing, and fishing. While some choose to stay in warm cabins, others camp overnight and rejoice in the middle of this little haven.
Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa
Are you an art aficionado looking to quench your thirst for it? Maybe it’s time for you to explore the Philbrook Museum of Art, which stands as a significant mark of culture and art in the state. However, the site has as much to offer to history buffs as it does to art enthusiasts. Starting out with humble beginnings, the museum now owns two different properties in Tulsa.
Interestingly enough, the history of one of the most remarkable Attractions in Tulsa dates back to the 1920s. That was when it stood out for its appealing grounds and Italian Renaissance architecture. Once owned by Waite Phillips, an oil magnate in town, the property has around 72 rooms, created and designed by a famous architect. This magnificent building was made using stucco and white marble, which pretty much explains why the exterior often shines during the day.
However, the building is not merely limited to its marvelous exterior but also the interior made of intricate ceilings, ornate fountains, and quality wooden floors. No matter how much we boast about the building’s beauty, nothing matches the phenomenal gallery inside. The most noteworthy highlights of the museum include jewelry, paintings, pottery, woven items, and traditional artifacts that represent the vast Native American collection.
Science Museum, Oklahoma City
Thinking of places to visit in America but tired of coming across the same list everywhere?
Enough of parks, outdoor activities, and museums! How about we dive into the real deal? The Science Museum isn’t a fun place to visit for no reason. From exhibits and displays that attract people of all ages to covering a variety of unique topics (sometimes even those that don’t relate to science), this spot is every museum geek’s dream come true. Feel free to explore the Mercury Capsule Simulator (a training device for astronauts) and other exhibits of an impressive variety.
As you explore the museum further, you will also come across the “Tinkering Garage” workshop, a state-of-the-art two-floor treehouse, the International Gymnastics hall of fame, and an outstanding planetarium. However, nothing beats CurioCity, a stunning attraction for kids with an indoor city consisting of eight unique neighborhoods. Designed to help your little one take advantage of several learning opportunities within it, the city is the perfect habitat for your child.
Don’t forget. There’s no limit to what you can do in this museum of countless possibilities. From movie screenings on the planetarium dome to live shows, you’ll have every entertaining activity available at your disposal. And of course, you can always choose to relax and educate yourself at the same time, with the lovely gardens that include interesting lessons on botany and nature.
Chickasaw Cultural Center, Sulphur
The Chickasaw Cultural Center was built around the themes of celebrating Chickasaw people and their heritage and culture. Inside this spectacular facility is the Chickasha Poya Exhibit Center, which serves as an interactive exhibit for visitors. Among some of the greatest features of these exhibits include:
- Historical elements
- A spirit forest
- A 360-degree spirit dance exhibit
- A mosaic tile display and much more
Interestingly, the grounds consist of the Aaholiitobli’s Honor Garden, which was designed primarily to pay tribute to the leaders of the Chickasaw people as well as warriors and other significant figures in their history. The facility commemorates them by inducting laser-cut photos of the person into the hall of fame, which is then displayed on walls and connected by beautiful walkways.
Grand Lake of the Cherokees, Monkey Island
There’s no way we’re leaving the Attractions in Monkey Island out of this list!
If you’ve ever stumbled upon information pertaining to the Pensacola Dam project of 1940, then you may also have come across content on the Grand Lake of the Cherokees. Mind you. The name is not the only feature of this lake that makes it stand out among other tourist spots. This popular lake destination stretches to over 1300 miles of a gorgeous shoreline covered by five different state parks at the border. No wonder this spot is known as an “outdoorsman’s delight.” Not only does this gem of a place gleam and shimmer during the summer, but the rolling green hills also soothe your soul and urge you to stop and enjoy the view, no matter where you’re off to.
If you do end up at this extraordinary destination, make sure to have enough resources for an entire weekend because there’s no way you’re getting done with it in a few hours. From lake explorations to sticking to its long shoreline, you’ll surely come across a range of activities to pursue.
And if you’re an angler, congratulations! Feel free to search for white bass, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and several other varieties of fish. As you go further or have a tour guide take you through the area, you will also come across the Snowdale Recreation Area dedicated to private resorts. If you’re a hunter, simply head over to the Spavinaw Hills Game Management Area and enjoy the deer hunting season in all its glory.
Thunderbird and Riverwind Casinos, Norman
Planning to start the year by trying your luck with “lady luck?” Local casinos make for some of the most astonishing Attractions in Norman. If you do step out, don’t forget to make a stop at either Thunderbird or Riverwind Casino.
While the former is a rather old one, with its roots going back to Native American history, the latter is much newer and larger. However, despite the age gap between the two, both Thunderbird and Ruverwind casinos feature table games, restaurants, and of course, Vegas-style slots. The cherry on top, Riverwind is also a great place for live music and shows by comedians, renowned bands, etc.
So, it’s time to wear your party pants and head over to the epitome of Norman’s bustling nightlife. Who knows? You may end up earning a fortune.
Armstrong Auditorium, Edmond
Established as a performing arts center, the Armstrong Auditorium hosts theater productions, music, and dance from all over the world in its esteemed facility almost regularly. As soon as you step into the auditorium, you will surely melt into its elegant French candelabras and crystal chandeliers. However, the feature that distinguishes it from any other facility in the country is quality acoustics. Their ability to take live performances up a notch every time is rather impressive. What’s more? You can easily get your hands on passes for orchestra and balcony seats if you plan on going regularly.
Arcadia Lake, Edmond
How can we talk about Attractions in Edmond without mentioning its signature Arcadia Lake?
This famous outdoor recreation spot is, interestingly, a man-made reservoir. Despite being close to the city, it makes for a wonderfully calm oasis and convenient to visit. On the one hand, you have shower and restroom facilities on the sandy swimming beaches, but on the other hand, you can step into the boat launches and rejuvenate through fishing, boating, or jetskiing.
Wondering, “what’s more to it?” For one, the amenities are not only limited to the lake and beach areas. Through activities such as picnic tables, golf courses, hiking trails, and mountain biking, dry areas will also welcome you with the best of facilities available at your disposal.
The Scenic Illinois River, Tahlequah
The Scenic Illinois River is not among the best Attractions in Tahlequah without reason. From exploring roads in the adventure tour of Green Country Oklahoma to going on a long drive along Highway 10, there’s absolutely no end to the scenic views you will allow your sight to be soothed by on the way. If you plan to see the river closely, don’t forget to rent a kayak or bring your own.
Nestled in the center of the Ozark hills, this wonder of nature has several stretches allowing you to create some of the best float trip memories. Moreover, the river offers more than 60 miles of crystal clear waters over flint rocks, making the resulting waves challenging and interesting for floaters. So, whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler, enjoying float trips on the river alongside views of lush forests, gravel bars, and high wind bluffs will surely be an experience of a lifetime.
Haikey Creek, Broken Arrow
Since we’re on the subject of Oklahoma attractions, it’s only reasonable to mention the land of green vegetation, Broken Arrow. If you’re looking for a slice of park life in the region, head off to Haikey Creek right away. This majestic piece of land extends to over 151 acres and is filled with playgrounds and picnic areas. After all, young visitors also need some time off to wind up and reconnect with themselves.
Things To Do in Oklahoma Recap
Home to some of the best tourist attractions in the United States, Oklahoma is known by several titles. “Land of the Red Man,” “Native America,” and “the Sooner State” are some of the many names the world has associated with it from time to time. Talk about hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, camping, or simply spending a day feeding the sun to your skin. Oklahoma has it all. Furthermore, the state’s rich history, culture, and heritage are truly worth learning about.
However, one of the best things about embarking on a journey to the Sooner State is that there is no limit to what you can avail of in every budget. Hence, whether you’re a millionaire or carrying only a few extra bucks in your pocket, don’t worry because Oklahoma will always have you covered. On the one hand, the sprawling cities offer top-notch cuisine and shopping malls, but on the other hand, national parks, lakes, rivers, and beaches will allow you to connect with your inner child. Meanwhile, if you aren’t much of an urban adventure buff, Oklahoma has some of the best state-of-the-art museums and galleries to keep you entertained.
If you’re looking for more state-specific tourist spots, stay tuned! We will soon be posting more articles relevant to your state and its unique attractions.