Happy New Year, Oklahoma! 2016 was a fun year filled with lots of activities, events and memories, but we’re ready to make 2017 even better. We’ve featured hundreds of great places to visit in the Sooner State (all of which are worth your time) but we wanted to highlight 15 places you definitely want to put on your bucket list for 2017. Take a look and see which ones you want to check out first:
1. Dine at the incredible
Southern Belle Restaurant.
Southern Belle is not only a nostalgic, unique place to dine, but the food is heavenly. You’ll find some of the best chicken dinners in the state, along with the most delicious homemade desserts. Take a drive out to Heavener and hop onboard the Southern Belle for a dining experience to remember. Address: Hwy 59 North, Heavener, OK.
2. Escape to
Quartz Mountain Resort - a hidden destination in southwestern Oklahoma.
Located in southwestern Oklahoma is Quartz Mountain Resort, nestled in the stunning Quartz Mountains. The resort is a premiere, yet secluded, lodge-style destination hotel that is surrounded by stunning mountains and rugged beauty. Guests of the resort can enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities including biking, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing and golfing. Address: 22469 Lodge Road, Lone Wolf, OK.
3. Dig for selenite crystals at
Great Salt Plains State Park.
Great Salt Plains State Park is one of Oklahoma's most unique state parks. It is covered with a layer of salt deposited long ago by an inland sea. The refuge is the only spot in the world where crystal admirers can dig for hourglass selenite, a rare and fragile form of selenite, which is a form of gypsum. Digging times are available from April 1 through October 15. Address: 23280 S Spillway Drive, Jet, OK.
4. Experience the phenomenon of
In the small town of Springer, Oklahoma (near Ardmore) lies an ordinary hill with a strange phenomenon. If you put your vehicle in neutral at the bottom of the hill, it will suddenly appear to defy gravity as it rolls backward, uphill. Many theories exist about why things roll uphill instead of downhill. Whether caused by ghosts, a magnetic force, alien contact or an optical illusion, this is something you have to see for yourself. Directions: Magnetic Hill is located 1 1/2 miles west of I-35 and Highway 53 West to Pioneer/Pitt Road, then turn north and go about 1/2 mile to the bottom of the hill (Pitt Road is NW of Springer, Oklahoma). As you drive to the bottom of the hill you'll be heading north off Highway 53.
5. Hop onboard the
Heartland Flyer Train.
Oklahoma’s Amtrak train is the Heartland Flyer and takes passengers from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, Texas, with multiple stops along the way. The price ranges from $58 to $98 round trip, depending on the how far in advance you book your travel.
You can take this epic train ride and return the same day, or spend the night in Fort Worth and return the following day. Either way, this train ride will be unforgettable. Heartland Flyer Oklahoma Address: Oklahoma City Train Depot
100 E.K. Gaylord, Oklahoma City, OK.
6. Visit the cutest town in Oklahoma -
If you searched the country over, it would be hard to find a town as unique and charming as Guthrie, Oklahoma. As the first capital of Oklahoma, the town is not only historical but insanely adorable. From the Victorian architecture to the Wild West spirit, Guthrie is a beautiful gem in the Sooner State that just might be the most unique town in the world.
7. Tour the
If you’ve ever driven down Charles Page Boulevard in Tulsa, Oklahoma and come across what looks to be the Flintstone’s house, then you’ll know you’ve found the Cave House. It’s one of the quirkiest buildings in Oklahoma (if not America) and it’s full of history, hauntings and hair-raising stories. The Cave House offers "I've Always Wanted To See Inside" guided tours by appointment only. Address: 1623 Charles Page Blvd
8. Eat amazing fried pies at
Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies.
If you’ve never stopped in Davis, Oklahoma to try Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies, you’ve been missing out on some AMAZING pastries! The dough is made fresh daily from a family recipe that has been passed down for over a century, and the pie fillings range from fruits and creams to meats and pizza styles. One thing is for sure, no matter which filling you choose, the fried pies will melt in your mouth!
9. Visit the renowned
Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
You'll find varied styles of art spanning five centuries at this stunning museum, and one of the largest collections of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures in the world.
10. Take a trip to the quaint town of
Medicine Park is a quaint, cobblestone community located right next to the stunning Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and is the perfect destination for an afternoon or weekend getaway. If you’ve never heard of this place, trust me, you’ll want to visit this hidden destination in southwest Oklahoma.
11. Get spooked in the
Haunted Parallel Forest located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
The Parallel Forest was built by the federal government as an experiment to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl. Over 20,000 red cedars were planted exactly 6 feet apart in every direction on over 16 acres. As you can imagine, a creepy forest that is so uniform looking has brought with it many creepy stories of hauntings, urban legends, satanic rituals and everything else that would scare the living daylights out of you. Take the journey to this haunted forest and see what encounters you stumble upon in this misfit piece of land.
12. Experience the
Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Myriad Botanical Gardens is an urban garden in downtown Oklahoma City consisting of 17-acres of unique plants and flowers. Walk through the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory and enjoy over 1,000 species of plants from everywhere in the world, except Antarctica. It's truly a unique and gorgeous place to visit in the Sooner State! Address: 301 W. Reno Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK.
13. Tour the USS Batfish at the
Muskogee War Memorial Park.
At the Muskogee War Memorial Park, visitors can explore a World War II legend, the USS Batfish. Unseen and unheard while stalking its prey, the USS Batfish claimed over 14 kills, including a record breaking three enemy submarines. This is a one-of-a-kind attraction in Oklahoma that is not only educational but fun too. Address: 3500 Batfish Rd
14. Get up close and personal with the bats inside
Alabaster Caverns State Park.
The 200-acre Alabaster Caverns State Park is known for the three-quarter-mile cavern comprised of alabaster, a rare form of gypsum. It is the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public. The cave has a very large bat population and is a great place to go to get up close and personal with bats.
15. Embrace the beauty of
Philbrook Museum of Art.
Known worldwide for its collection of art, Philbrook Museum of Art is a gorgeous museum (inside and out) filled with art from many different eras. Docent-led and self-guided tours are available of the museum and the gardens.
Who’s ready to visit these extraordinary places in Oklahoma? For a list of more great things to do in Oklahoma, check out the
2016 Bucket List.