Oklahoma is a state that tends to fly under the radar. For all its majesty and hidden beauty, it’s all too commonly viewed as one of the plainer “Plains States.” However, Oklahoma is host to a wealth of exciting activities and hidden surprises worthy of their own Sooner State road trip. From scenic views to thrills and chills, Oklahoma has something to offer every traveler. So fill up your tank, be prepared to take lots of pictures, and get ready to see Oklahoma as never before!
Most people associate waterfalls with exotic, tropical locales. It may surprise you to learn that Oklahoma is home to some of the most picturesque falls in the country.
One of the most beautiful spots in the state is the Chickasaw National Recreation Area which includes the former Platt National Park and Arbuckle Recreation District. Frequently dubbed an oasis in the prairie, this scenic watering hole is full of sparkling mineral streams, lakes, and rivers that are perfect for fishing and boating. The falls rush over the rocks into gorgeous pools filled with some of the clearest water you’ll see in the Midwest.
If you’re looking to take a dip, another popular road trip destination is Turner Falls near the town of Davis. At 77 feet, Turner Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state. The roaring waters make excellent background noise for swimming, hiking, or lazing in the sun. Though it’s most active in the summer, Turner Falls is still a feast for the eyes in the colder months. Make sure you pack layers, though, because Oklahoma gets chilly in the winter!
Thrills and Chills
For the thrill-seekers out there, Oklahoma is an amazing destination for a historic haunts road trip. If you’re looking to explore some of Oklahoma’s spookiest haunts, you’re in for a scare! From Gothic cemeteries to hotels full of otherworldly guests, there’s plenty to send a shiver down your spine.
Take the Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City, for instance. Its mysterious past has led to some reports of apparitions and strange sounds going bump in the night. Back in 2010, the New York Knicks were so rattled by the goings-on in the hotel that they claimed it caused their loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Thirty-five minutes away from the Skirvin is Fort Reno, an old military base with a checkered past. For the history buff that enjoys their facts with a dose of the paranormal, there are professionally-guided tours that explain the background of the Fort as well as some of the ghastly occurrences within its walls. It’s truly one of Oklahoma’s scariest spots and is well worth a visit.
Scoping Out the Cities
While road-tripping, you should definitely make a point of stopping in Oklahoma’s metropolitan areas. These booming cities are full of some of the best examples of the state’s culture and nightlife.
For a taste of big-city culture, make a detour towards Oklahoma City and check out their festival lineup. From musical acts and art festivals, there’s no shortage of activities. If you’re able, plan your road trip around the dates of the Oklahoma State Fair. A whirlwind of color, sound, and excitement, this family-friendly event is a perfect showcase of what the state has to offer.
Preparing for Your Road Trip
It’s always good to visit the mechanic before you hit the road. That way you can check all of your car’s fluid levels, get an oil change, and make sure your tires are properly filled. It also never hurts to carry an emergency kit with some car essentials like jumper cables and basic tools. While there are plenty of mechanics all throughout Oklahoma, getting ready before your trip will save you the headache of being stuck somewhere like the Tallgrass Prairie with a broken down vehicle.
Don’t forget that you’ll be crossing a lot of rural prairies between cities, whether you’re driving down a stretch of historic Route 66 or jetting along Interstate 44 between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It’s a good idea to drop by one of the AT&T stores in Oklahoma so you can make sure you have one of the latest smartphones. That way you won’t find yourself stranded without service or GPS access at any point! Plus, it never hurts to have a newer camera on your phone to take some crystal-clear photos of a beautiful prairie sunset.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what stops to hit on your Oklahoma road trip, what are you waiting for? The Sooner State is beckoning you to come to explore it. From the hustle and bustle of the metro areas to the serenity of a rural waterfall, you never know what you might find. Oklahoma is full of hidden gems to explore, so get out there and find some of them yourself!