Oklahoma, a state in the South Central United States, has a rich Native American history. Its name is derived from the Choctaw language, and dozens of Native American tribes have roots here. Oklahoma’s prairie landscape makes it a prime location for natural gas, oil, and agricultural exports. The capital city of Oklahoma City has over 600,000 residents who enjoy a shared love of the Oklahoma City Thunder and a rich Western history. Its varied geographical regions, exciting cities, and quintessentially American history make it a great destination for your next vacation.
Things to do in Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is known as “the Horse Show Capital of the World” with dozens of equine events throughout the year. Here, visitors can watch everything from rodeos to dressage shows. Several museums throughout the state cover everything from local history to modern art—don’t miss the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Additionally, Oklahoma has a wide variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation. Three large lakes, Eufaula, Grand, and Tenkiller, are perfect for boating, swimming, and sunbathing. The flat plains and rugged mountain ranges are perfect for observing nature, such as bison and bald eagles.
Best cities to visit in Oklahoma
The larger cities in Oklahoma, such as Tulsa and Oklahoma City, are full of museums, cultural activities, and sporting events. Enjoy food trucks, live music, and great shopping in Tulsa’s eclectic districts. See Oklahoma City from above on the Sandridge Sky Trail, an adventurous attraction in the capital city. Edmond, a quaint city, has over 200 restaurants. Try Signature Grill for a fine dining experience. Norman is the home of Oklahoma University, creating a culture of art, athletics, and nightlife.
Best small towns in Oklahoma
Step back in time when you visit Medicine Park, a town of 400 at the base of the Wichita Mountains. Walk down cobblestone streets as you learn about American history, and go to the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge to enjoy wildlife viewing, hiking, and more. Broken Bow is a rustic mountain town, with average summer temperatures exceeding 80 degrees—perfect for enjoying the summer months at Ouachita National Forest. Chandler is a Route 66 community, full of museums and memorials commemorating the iconic highway.
Best lake vacations in Oklahoma
There are over 200 lakes in Oklahoma, allowing visitors to enjoy boating, sunbathing, and swimming throughout the state. Lake Tenkiller is known as the state’s “Heaven in the Hills.” Beautiful natural cliffs surround the lake, and the water is clear enough to attract scuba divers and spearfishers. Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma’s largest lake, features sandy beaches and smooth water for boating. Adventurous families will enjoy the opportunities to camp, hike, ride ATVs, golf, and ride horses.
Best National Parks in Oklahoma
There are several nationally protected areas in Oklahoma, each providing visitors with insight into Oklahoma’s history and natural beauty. Chickasaw National Recreation Area has springs and streams, perfect for boating, fishing, and camping. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail honors Cherokee Indians who were forced to relocate to Oklahoma in the 19th century. The Cherokee County Historical Museum features thousands of artifacts from the Cherokee Indians, as well as hundreds of dolls. Washita Battlefield, located in Cheyenne, is an important site to the Indian Wars that took place here. Guided tours take place during the summer months, which highlight the area’s trails and significant locations.