I always hear the question, “Are there any beautiful places in Oklahoma?” As a matter of fact, we have so many amazing places it’s impossible to list them all. Here is your (starter) Oklahoma bucket list of the most incredible places to see in the Sooner State. Check them out and see how many you’ve visited!
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. Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow
Beavers Bend State Park is a gem in southeastern Oklahoma, comprised of 1,300 acres about 10 miles north of Broken Bow. The park boasts of a postcard-like setting and is an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered.
2. Talimena National Scenic Byway, Talihina
Famous for its spectacular fall foliage, the Talimena Scenic Drive is a 54-mile route in southeastern Oklahoma that takes you through the Talimena State Park, Ouachita National Forest and the Cedar Lake Recreation Area. Stop at one of 22 majestic vistas or visit several historic gateway towns along the way.
3. Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Sulphur
Situated in the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains in south-central Oklahoma, Chickasaw National Recreation Area is full of natural and mineral springs that attract visitors from all over the country.
4. Oklahoma Panhandle, Western Oklahoma
Named after its resemblance to the handle on a cooking pan, Oklahoma’s Panhandle occupies the extreme northwestern portion of Oklahoma. The area is a 166-mile-long and 34-mile-wide strip of land stretching west towards New Mexico. The area is filled with rugged, breathtaking beauty. (pictured above: Gloss Mountains.)
Guthrie is a rare community that offers the best qualities of small town Oklahoma living along with the culture, history and economic growth most often found in much larger cities. The town's quiet, tree-lined streets, beautiful neighborhoods and history make this place a must-visit Oklahoma destination.
6. J.T. Nickel Preserve, 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.
7. Little Sahara State Park, Waynoke
One of the most unique topographies lies within Little Sahara State Park in Waynoke, Oklahoma. It is not only a favorite spot for ATV riders, but is a spectacular place to visit to enjoy a desert-like scenery full of sand dunes. The park boasts picturesque vistas and has a lovely viewing platform to enjoy the beauty of the sand from a distance.
8. Tenkiller State Park, Vian
Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Lake Tenkiller State Park is a gem in the woodlands of Oklahoma. The lake is a clear water paradise and is surrounded by beautiful thick foliage, rugged cliffs, rolling hills and spectacular views. Lake Tenkiller State Park has become known as “Heaven in the Hills.”
9. Medicine Park
Located in southwestern Oklahoma is the vintage cobblestone resort town, Medicine Park. It is surrounded by natural beauty on all sides, with a creek running right through it and the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge right next to it. It is one of Oklahoma's most charming small towns to visit!
10. Natural Falls State Park, West Siloam Springs
Natural Falls State Park is located in the Ozark Highlands of Oklahoma and is home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the state. The area boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the state and offers many outdoor activities for visitors to the park.
11. Robbers Cave State Park, Freedom
Robbers Cave State Park in the San Bois Mountains of southeastern Oklahoma. Robbers Cave has over 12 miles of trails that wind you through caves, lakes, streams and breathtaking scenery. The popular caves are made of sandstone (not the usual limestone) and were popular hideouts for outlaws Jesse James and Belle Star.
12. Turner Falls Park, Davis
Turner Falls is located in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains and is considered Oklahoma's tallest waterfall at 77 feet. This picturesque waterfall flows with crystal clear water into a swimming hole that is a favorite summer spot for Oklahomans.
13. Alabaster Caverns State Park, Freedom
The caverns within the 200-acre state park are formed of alabaster and offer tours for visitors. The caves are the largest natural gypsum caves in the world open to the public.
14. Illinois River, Tahlequah
The gorgeous Illinois River winds its way through the Cookson Hills in northeastern Oklahoma. It runs over 60 miles through rocky bluffs and is surrounded on all sides by a variety of lush greenery and trees. The river is one of Oklahoma's most popular destinations for river and float trips.
15. Quartz Mountain, Lone Wolf
Nicknamed Baldy Point, Quartz Mountain in southwestern Oklahoma is a outdoor oasis for those wanting to explore the outdoors. The rugged mountains are made from granite and overlook Lake Altus-Lugert.
16. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Lawton
Located in southwestern Oklahoma, near Lawton, Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is over 59,000 acres of beautiful land. Visitors can hike, bike, climb, rappel, camp, fish and enjoy all nature has to offer.
17. Grand Lake, Grove
This stunning 46,000 acre lake is located in northeastern Oklahoma and is one of the top bass fishing lakes in America. The area contains five state parks with majestic beauty surrounding its shores on all sides.
18. Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Pawhuska
The Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Oklahoma is the largest protected area of tallgrass prairie on Earth, spanning 39,000 acres. It is home to a host of wildlife including white-tailed deer, coyotes and more than 2,000 bison.
19. Great Salt Plains State Park, Jet
The Great Salt Plains State Park is comprised of a huge expanse of salt plains that are remnants of an ancient ocean that once covered this part of Oklahoma. The Great Salt Plains Lake is located at the park with 41 miles of shoreline and is a shallow, salty lake with fishing opportunities. The refuge is the only spot in the world where crystal enthusiasts can dig for hourglass selenite crystals, a rare and fragile form of selenite, which is a form of gypsum.