If you’re feeling the need to travel, but don’t have the time or funds to go very far, don’t worry – we found plenty of adventures for you to choose from. Oklahoma is full of places to visit that range from adventurous to relaxing, which can be enjoyed in one day or on an overnight stay. Here are 15 beautiful places in Oklahoma to cure your wanderlust:
1. Alabaster Caverns State Park, Freedom
Get ready to explore this unique state park and take an adventure unlike anything else in Oklahoma. The highlight of the 200-acre Alabaster Caverns State Park is the cavern formed of alabaster, a rare form of gypsum, making it the largest natural gypsum cave in the world that is open to the public and the only gypsum show cave in the United States. Daily guided tours of Alabaster Cavern leave promptly on the hour from 9am-4pm. Make sure to bring your walking shoes because the cavern tour involves a strenuous walk of approximately 3/4-mile, during which visitors will climb or go down a total of 330 steps. Due to these natural features and conditions, the cave is always cool and damp.
2. Turner Falls, Davis
One of Oklahoma’s most beautiful gems lies nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains in southern Oklahoma. Turner Falls is the largest waterfall in the state at 77 ft., and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the Sooner State. You can swim, hike, explore caves and relax. It is the perfect getaway for the whole family to enjoy.
3. Beavers Bend State Park and Broken Bow Lake, Broken Bow
Beavers Bend State Park is located in the mountainous region of southeast Oklahoma along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. It offers crystal clear waters, towering pines and breathtaking scenery. It has almost every outdoor activity you’re looking for in a state park and it’s right here in Oklahoma. Beavers Bend State Park is comprised of 1,300 acres and boasts a postcard-like setting. It is an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered!
4. Natural Falls, Siloam Springs
Natural Falls State Park is the perfect location for an adventurous getaway. The park features a stunning 77-foot waterfall and miles of hiking trails. It offers stunning views and solitude to relax and unwind.
5. Stafford Air & Space Museum, Weatherford
If you're looking to do a little space travel, head to Weatherford to the beloved Stafford Air & Space Museum. The museum is a Smithsonian affiliate museum and houses many aerial and outer space artifacts.
6. Lake Murray, Ardmore
Lake Murray State Park, located in Ardmore, is full of outdoor activities to keep the whole family busy from sunup to sundown. It is the largest state park in the state, boasting over 12,000 acres of exceptional beauty. You can tour the iconic Tucker Tower - a geological museum and nature center open to the public. Visitors can rent watercraft, stay the night on a floating cabin or even rent a houseboat for a single day or longer.
7. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Lawton
Located in southwest Oklahoma, the Wichita Mountains are rocky promontories full of natural beauty and breathtaking views. These mountains are home to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge – 59,000 spectacular acres full of free-roaming wildlife. Mt. Scott, the second highest mountain in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, stands at 2,264 ft. above sea level. Spend several days exploring the mountains and stay the night in Medicine Park - a quaint town next to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.
8. Myriad Botanical Gardens
In the heart of Oklahoma City lies the Myriad Botanical Gardens, an urban garden 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. Myriad Gardens is the perfect day adventure, or you can extend your trip and check out more of Oklahoma City's top attractions.
9. Copper Sky Ranch, Big Cedar
Located in the stunning Ouachita National Forest, Copper Sky Ranch is the perfect rugged getaway. Rent a 27-ft. tepee for an overnight stay in a glamorous tent full of amenities or rent ATVs to ride on the trails nearby. You'll feel like you stepped into the movie, "Dancing With the Wolves" - since the same company that made the tents for the movie are the same makers of the ones you'll be sleeping in!
10. Black Mesa
The highest point in Oklahoma can be found at Black Mesa at 4,973 feet above sea level. Black Mesa is located in the Oklahoma panhandle, along with portions of New Mexico and Colorado. It is a favorite spot for bird-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, as there is an abundance of bird species and wildlife in the park and preserve. The hike to the top of the mesa takes about 4 hours roundtrip. This formation (pictured above) in the Black Mesa area is called the "Wedding Party," with stones representing the bride, groom and minister.
11. Little Sahara Park, Waynoka
One of the most unusual eco-regions in Oklahoma can be found in Little Sahara State Park. Named after its resemblance to the Sahara Desert, Little Sahara contains an immense amount of dunes that have formed over time from terrace deposits. The park offers over 1,600 acres of rideable sand dunes ranging in height from 25 feet to 75 ft. Amenities include showers, picnic areas, RV hookups with electric/water and tent sites. Seasonal concessions provide refreshment, and fuel and grocery are located nearby. You can rent ATVs and dune buggies or view the vast beauty from the viewing platform.
12. Buffalo Creek Guest Ranch, Talihina
If you're looking for an authentic ranch experience, book a night at Buffalo Creek Guest Ranch in southeastern Oklahoma. This bed and breakfast is the perfect place for the outdoorsman to get away and enjoy nature.
13. Lendonwood Gardens, Grove
A trip to Grove wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Lendonwood Gardens. Lendonwood is an eight-acre Botanical Garden with over 1,200 different types of plants. During spring you can view the stunning azaleas, peonies, rhododendrons and much more. There are six distinct garden areas including the display garden, oriental garden, Japanese pavilion, English terrace garden, American backyard garden and the azalea garden. It's the perfect getaway for a quiet afternoon away.
14. Blue Hole Park, Salina
Sometimes all you need to cure wanderlust is a beautiful ice-cold swimming hole. Blue Hole Park is a popular swimming spot and summer destination for Oklahomans looking to cool off in refreshing water. Young swimmers will love to catch crawfish in the clear water and a concession stand is open during summer months.
15. Great Salt Plains, 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. Before heading into the park, stop in town to pack a picnic lunch, grab a shovel, 5 gallon bucket, sunscreen and water. Have fun digging for crystals!