Oklahoma City is a thriving city with plenty of unique attractions and entertainment venues. However, you might want to venture out from the big city to see the rest of this gorgeous state. Immerse yourself in the art culture of Bartlesville, or enjoy lakeside fun in the sun in Ardmore, which is located within just a few hours’ drive from Oklahoma City. From woodsy cabins in Sand Springs to waterfront cottages at Broken Bow Lake, there are an abundance of incredible Oklahoma vacation rentals to choose from. When planning your next weekend getaway, consider these communities and towns close to Oklahoma City.

1. Ardmore

river
Source: Flickr/David Hepworth

A vacation rental in Ardmore surrounds you with the beauty of Lake Murray State Park, one of the oldest state parks in Oklahoma located an hour and 30 minutes from Oklahoma City. Venture from your rustic cabin to enjoy lakeside attractions. Rent ski boats, kayaks, or canoes from Lake Murray Water Sports to enjoy the cool waters during the hot summer months, or spend the fall or spring weekends birdwatching from one of the park’s trails. See even more nature at the Tucker Tower Nature Center, or brush up on your history at the Greater Southwest Historical Museum. When hunger strikes, grab lunch or dinner at the Red Dirt Brewhouse, then try your luck playing the slots at the Gold Mountain Casino.

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2. Broken Bow

broken bow

Head to the border of Oklahoma and Texas to spend your days splashing around in Broken Bow Lake. Just three and a half hours from Oklahoma City, Broken Bow offers fun in the sun with activities such as floating, kayaking, or canoeing. Rent equipment from Wild Goose Canoe and Kayak, which is right on the lake. Take a boat tour for the day with Broken Bow Lake Duck Tours, or get in some exercise by taking a jog or walk through Hochatown State Park. River Man Trail Rides offers horseback riding lessons and tours through the state parks that run along the shore of the lake and the Lower Mountain Fork River, offering spectacular views. Before retreating to your cozy cabin or luxurious waterfront vacation rental, stop in for a nightcap at Beavers Bend Brewery.

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3. Sand Springs

Sand springs
Source: Flickr/Todd Morris

Make the one hour and 40 minute trip from Oklahoma City to Sand Springs to tour the Keystone Ancient Forest and immerse yourself in the fall or spring foliage. Walk or hike along the trails or see the live cattle at nearby Pleasant Valley Farms on a Saturday afternoon. A vacation rental in Sand Springs also offers plenty for antique collectors. Find a treasure at the Earth and Soul specialty shop or a handmade item at The Little Quilt Shop in the downtown area. The Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum features artifacts from years past, and the Canyons at BlackJack Ridge gives you the opportunity to get in 18 holes of golf with scenic views of the forest at each hole.

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4. Jet

Arkansas river
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

Travel two hours near the Kansas border to the city of Jet for some weekend fun. Jet is home to Great Salt Plains area, boasting more than 11,000 acres for hiking and birdwatching. See the wildlife at the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, or make a splash in the Great Salt Plains Lake when swimming the shallow waters. Kids enjoy digging for crystals on the shorelines, and families can take their outdoor adventures to the extreme with guided horseback rides from Horse Gentling.

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5. Bartlesville

Phillips 66 Bartlesville
Source: Flickr/David Hepworth

A two and a half hour drive from Oklahoma City lands you in Bartlesville, which houses the Price Tower Arts Center, a famous Frank Lloyd Wright design. Bartlesville is a mecca for family-friendly activities. The Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve features exotic animals, and the Kiddie Park Theme Park features ample age-appropriate rides for little ones. Learn a little more about natural resources when touring the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum, or enhance your historical knowledge at the Bartlesville Area History Museum. When you need a sweet treat, head to Keepsake Candles Factory and Gift Store in the downtown area.

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6. Jenks

Oklahoma aquarium
Source: Flickr/OakleyOriginals

Just an hour and a half from Oklahoma City, Jenks is a town where you can snap a family photo in front of Praying Hands, a large stunning sculpture in the downtown area. Spend your weekend getaway exploring aquatic animals and sea life at the Oklahoma Aquarium, or thrill the nature enthusiasts in your group with a stroll along the Riverwalk Crossing trails. The art lovers can get their fill with a tour of the Philbrook Museum of Art, while music lovers can learn all about the history of music at the nearby Woody Guthrie Center. Before retiring to your vacation rental, stop in at the River City Trading Post for a souvenir.

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7. Tulsa

central park
Source: Flickr/Frank Boston

Trade one big city for another by making the hour and 45-minute trek to Tulsa. Find a mix of outdoor and cultural attractions, such as the Gilcrease Museum that is known for western American art, or stop in at one of the galleries in the Brady Arts District. Treat the kids to a day at the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium, or wander around the Tulsa zoo to see the wildlife. The Tulsa Ballet performs at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on the weekends, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame gives your ears something smooth to absorb. With more than 26 miles of trails at Tulsa River Parks, you can take a leisurely walk or rent bikes from Tom’s Rivertrail Bicycles to see the fall foliage or spring blooms.

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