Wild bison, world-renowned Route 66, and plenty of historic attractions are just a few reasons to book a stay at a cozy vacation rental in Oklahoma this Thanksgiving. Look forward to experiencing Oklahoma’s easygoing ambiance while enjoying country scenery with lakes, forests, and wide swaths of prairie. From cowboy shows and illuminated gardens to delicious Thanksgiving buffets, Oklahoma’s ready to give you a vacation you won’t forget.

1. Oklahoma City

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Thanksgiving vacation in Oklahoma’s capital city puts you close to fantastic eateries, vibrant nightlife, and cultural opportunities to learn more about the native peoples and settlers of the state. Ingrid’s Kitchen is the perfect place to get a family-style Thanksgiving feast. Be sure to make reservations, because spots are limited. Immerse yourself in cowboy culture at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and explore Oklahoma’s Old West past with Western artifacts and hands-on displays. Save some time for visiting the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, which has special events and discount prices during the long holiday weekend.

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2. Tulsa

Tulsa fountains
Source: Flickr/Logan Smith

For an art-focused getaway, make Tulsa your Thanksgiving vacation destination. With over 10,000 works of art and thousands of historic Native American and Western items, the Gilcrease Museum is a must-see for art lovers and history buffs. Bring the whole gang to enjoy the special family art activities that take place during Thanksgiving break, then browse the gift shop for special presents for your loved ones, keeping an eye out for the shop’s Thanksgiving-week sales. In the evening, continue your celebration of art at the Philbrook Festival at Philbrook Museum of Arts. Stroll garden paths illuminated by garlands of twinkling lights while you sip hot chocolate and listen to live entertainment. The museum’s regular exhibits are also open, with the addition of a fantastic Lego sculpture inspired by the holiday season. Ti Amo Ristorante Italiano serves up a delicious Thanksgiving Day buffet in a semi-formal setting with all your favorite Turkey Day foods.

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3. Sulphur

Chickasaw National Recreation Area
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A vacation rental in Sulphur puts you right in the center of the region of Oklahoma that Native Americans called “the land of rippling water.” Enjoy a special Thanksgiving meal served in style at Springs at the Artesian, then take some time to enjoy the natural beauty of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Celebrate Native American Culture with a trip to the Chickasaw Cultural Center. An immersive environment shares the story of the Chickasaw people and their culture. Reserve Saturday for the opening night festivities of the town’s Christmas in Sulphur Festival, complete with an illuminated parade and tree-lighting ceremony.

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4. Stillwater

Oklahoma State pond
Source: Flickr/wordjunky

Stillwater is known for its shopping opportunities, and Black Friday is a perfect time to hit the stores. Major shopping centers include Bradford Plaza, Pioneer Square, and Lakeview Pointe, but be sure to save some energy for a trip downtown. With complimentary carriage rides, real reindeer in the park, and Santa and his elves working together in a full-size workshop, there’s plenty of encouragement to check out the local boutiques along Main Street during your Thanksgiving getaway.

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5. Clinton

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Settle into a cozy vacation home in Clinton for a small-town Thanksgiving with plenty of charm. Pick up a homemade pecan pie at Cafe Downtown Clinton to serve with your Thanksgiving feast, or opt to eat out at the casual Thanksgiving buffet at the Branding Iron Restaurant. If you love the thrill of the highway, add a stop at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton to your vacation itinerary. Discover more about the history of this iconic highway while you sit in an authentic 1950s-era diner listening to big band music and reading about travelers from generations past.

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6. Duncan

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Step into the old west at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center when you celebrate Thanksgiving in Duncan. Exhibits vary from kid-friendly to detailed historic information for true historians about the cowboys who traveled the trail herding cattle from ranches in the South to markets in the North. The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center hosts the Cotton County Art Council Holiday Show every holiday season. Stop in the gift shop for Chisholm Trail memorabilia and cattle-themed merchandise for souvenirs and gifts.

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7. Tahlequah

Cherokee capital square
Source: Flickr/peggydavis66

The capital of the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah gives you an opportunity to steep yourself in Cherokee culture during your vacation. Visit the Cherokee Heritage Center to tour an ancient Cherokee village. Take your canoe down the Illinois River to enjoy the autumn stillness and think about those who traveled the same route in days gone by. Finish your journey through Cherokee culture with a walk through the Tahlequah Original Historic Townsite, where street signs are written in Cherokee as well as English, and see some of the oldest buildings in Oklahoma.

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8. Claremore

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Thanksgiving weekend starts a magical time in the small city of Claremore. Head to West Bend Green outside of the Claremore Expo Center, and enter a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink, real reindeer, and opportunities to shop for handmade goods from local artisans. Learn more about Oklahoma’s favorite son at the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of Will’s Country Christmas, featuring hayrides, a cowboy show, lantern tours, and visits with Santa.

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9. Enid

Source: Pixabay/AmberAvalona

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to learn more about the past at the Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center. Take a walk around Humphrey Heritage Village, where seasonal displays teach your family about how Christmas was celebrated in the area over 100 years ago. Watch the younger members of your group enjoy an old-fashioned craft with the schoolmarm while you decorate a Victorian-style ornament to take home as a souvenir.

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