With its rich Native American history, Oklahoma, the 20th-largest state in the US, is the ideal place for a summer vacation. Whether you’re planning a road trip on the historic Route 66 or prefer to spend your time in downtown Oklahoma City soaking up the art and culture, there’s plenty for everyone here. Explore all the state has to offer and find out about the best things to see and do in The Sooner State with our travel guide.
Oklahoma is a diverse state, with miles of rolling plains, beautiful state parks and lakes for camping and fishing, quirky small towns that haven’t changed in the past 50 years and buzzing urban centers like Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Whatever your idea of the perfect vacation, it’s a great place to enjoy a weekend vacation or a longer stay.
Myriad Botanical Gardens, Oklahoma City
This 17-acre garden and urban park is an oasis of calm in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City. The highlight is the Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory, with its waterfalls, tropical flowers and plants and exotic animals.
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City
Oklahoma vacations just aren’t complete without a trip to this museum, which showcases the best of the Wild West. Here you’ll find the largest collection or rodeo photos and memorabilia anywhere on the planet.
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa
Known as the ‘Museum of the Americas’, this fascinating museum houses one of the largest collections of Western and Native American art and artifacts in the world and is a must-see on any Oklahoma trip.
1. Oklahoma City – Whether you’re looking for casinos, art and culture, shopping or history, downtown OKC has it all. Check out the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, head for the American Banjo Museum, or explore eclectic Bricktown where you’ll find industrial warehouses converted into chic wine bars, restaurants and boutiques.
2. Tulsa – Budding astronauts and aviation enthusiasts big and small will love a trip to the Tulsa Art and Space Museum. Jazz fans will enjoy a wander around the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame – if you’re lucky you may even catch a performance.
3. Lake Murray State Park – Oklahoma’s state park is a 12,500-acre natural paradise with Lake Murray at its heart. Here you’ll find beautiful beaches, the lake for fishing and wakeboarding, and miles of wilderness for hiking, biking, and camping, as well as vacation rentals in log cabins.
4. Broken Bow Lake – Another great place for water skiing, fishing and outdoor pursuits, Broken Bow Lake at Beaver’s Bend Marina is located on Mountain Fork River in the South East of the state.
5. Historic Route 66 – Did you know that there are more still-drivable miles of historic Route 66 in Oklahoma than any other state (367 to be precise)? If you’re planning a road trip, make sure you check out the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City and stop off at all the historic motels, theaters, stores and gas stations along the route, as well as the almost-ghost town of Oakhurst.
With an average temperature of 61.5°F, the weather in Oklahoma state is generally pretty pleasant for sightseeing and outdoor pursuits. It can get pretty cold in the winter, with average nighttime temperatures of around 26°F in January. So, if you’re planning a trip to the state park or lakes, summer may be a better time to visit. The hottest month is July when temperatures peak at around 93°F.
The best way to see Oklahoma is by car, although there are excellent public transport links in the major cities. There are three major interstate roads: the I-35, the I-40, and the I-44. US Route 66 runs almost parallel to I-44.