As you know, Oklahoma is filled with many activities that range from educational to fun to adventurous. And although it’s hard to compile a list of just 10 epic things every Oklahoman should do, we managed to squeeze in some of our favorites that we think you’ll enjoy. Take a look at them and see how many you’ve experienced.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Visit the gorgeous
J T Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve for an incredible outdoor adventure. - NE of town, Tahlequah
The J.T. Nickel Preserve is located near Tahlequah in the Ozarks and comprises 17,000 acres of astounding beauty and environmental protection areas that are filled with spring-fed creeks, forests, woodlands, prairies, wildlife species and so much more. You’ll also find a little geological water park within the area that is a hidden gem in the summer. This unique nature preserve is a one-of-a-kind destination in the Sooner State overlooking the Illinois River and is free for all visitors.
2. Take a trolley ride on the
Heritage Express Trolley for a nostalgic experience. - 300 South Grand Avenue, El Reno
If you thought trolley rides were obsolete in Oklahoma…we have a surprise for you. Sitting in the quaint town of El Reno is the only rail-based trolley left in Oklahoma. The Heritage Express Trolley will take you on a ride along the streets of downtown El Reno past historical buildings, shopping, murals and much more. It's such a fun, family activity that you won't want to miss.
3. Dine at the one-of-a-kind
Southern Belle Restaurant for some amazing Southern cooking. - 821 Highway 59 North, Heavener
Oklahoma is full of unique restaurants, but we found one that is sitting in the little town of Heavener, Oklahoma, that is one-of-a-kind. A few local train buffs decided to refurbish one of its cars and open a restaurant called Southern Belle in Heavener. 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.
4. Get away for the weekend at the
Quartz Mountain Resort. - 22469 Lodge Road, Lone Wolf
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. Take a look at this hidden resort in Oklahoma that is the perfect place to go to get away from it all.
5. Take a ride on the
Amtrak Heartland Flyer for an epic train ride through Oklahoma and Texas. - Oklahoma City Train Depot
100 E.K. Gaylord, Oklahoma City
One thing in life that is worth experiencing is taking a trip on an Amtrak train. There is something unique about traveling by train versus other transportation. You get to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery in a relaxing kind of way. 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.
6. Catch a ride on the whitewater rapids at
Riversport Rapids for a thrilling adventure. - 800 Riversport Drive, Oklahoma City
Summer is going to be here before we know it and one of Oklahoma's newest attractions is Riversport Adventure in the Boathouse District in OKC. It is only one of three man-made whitewater facilities in the nation. The rapids can be adjusted for beginners to advanced rafters and everyone in-between. Trained raft guides will be there to guide you along the whole way. From kayaking to rafting to cycling, this state-of-the-art facility has activities for every age.
7. Step back in time to 1880 and visit the old western town
Sipokni West - 2200 S Saw Mill Road, Reagan
Step back in time to 1880 to the old western town, Sipokni West, where cowboys have gunfights, the old west spirit resides and where spurs and saddles can be found at the local Trading Post. This old western town is located in Reagan, Oklahoma, and was created as a Western movie set by actor Johnny Shackleford. The town is now a tourist museum that can be visited by those looking to explore the Old West.
Ride A Duck along the shores and waters of Broken Bow Lake. - 2820 Stevens Gap Road,
Starting March 2017, the Ride A Duck tour will be open for the season. As one of the coolest ways to tour Beavers Bend State Park and Broken Bow Lake, this adventure is great for the whole family.
9. Dig for selenite crystals at the
Great Salt Plains State Park. - 23280 S. Spillway Drive, Jet
Great Salt Plains State Park in Jet, Oklahoma, is the only place in the world where you can dig for these hourglass-shaped crystals. Not only can you find these one-of-a-kind treasures, but you can also enjoy the only lake in Oklahoma that is half saltwater. Grab those shovels and buckets because digging season is right around the corner and you’ll want to visit this attraction that is unlike anything else in the world.
10. Experience the phenomenon of
Gravity Hill. - Springer, Oklahoma
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.
Don’t forget to bookmark this handy guide of places to visit in Oklahoma! What place are you going to visit first?