Oklahoma City is known for its attractions such as The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Tourists can also take a day trip to see some of the most interesting attractions of the state as well.
From pristine wild nature sights to quirky small towns, there are plenty to choose from when taking a day off for visiting from Oklahoma.
Table of Contents
- 15. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
- 14. Poncan Theatre
- 13. Broken Bow Lake
- 12. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
- 11. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
- 10. Heartland Flyer Train Ride
- 9. Frank Philips Home in Bartlesville
- 8. Norman
- 7. Medicine Park
- 6. Little Sahara State Park
- 5. Leonardo’s Children’s Museum
- 4. Lake Murray State Park
- 3. Pelican Bay Aquatic Center
- 2. Lexington Wildlife Management Area
- 1. Tulsa
15. Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
One of the best daily escapes to nature is the small town of Cheyenne. Mostly known as a historic town of Oklahoma, this is the place of the excellent Cheyenne Botanic Gardens.
Travelers who love nature, flowers, fish ponds, and outdoor events are among the first to visit these botanic gardens. During the summer, these gardens are also home to various events such as yarning classes.
14. Poncan Theatre
If you’re after a small town cultural experience you need to head over to Ponca City’s Poncan Theatre. This is one of the best small theatres in the state and it features impressive architecture with impressive acoustics.
Events such as concerts and plays are seen here regularly. There are plenty of shows to choose from, including plays for kids. The theatre’s admission prices are also much lower compared to those of theatres in large cities.
13. Broken Bow Lake
Broken Bow Lake is a top-day trip from Oklahoma for couples. The hike to the lake is rather shorts and this is why couples can find it fun as well. It only takes about an hour to hike to the lake. There are multiple great photo spots to stop at along the way.
Those who have more time to travel can even consider camping here. Designated RV camping sites are found around the lake and you will be able to find all the basic amenities you need such as electricity and showers for your camper here.
12. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
Located midway between Oklahoma and Dallas, Chickasaw National Recreation Area is a top destination for a day spent out in nature. The national park is one of the smallest in the country.
It is also one of the oldest national parks in the US. Hikers know it as the national park of small waterfalls and ponds.
Multiple hiking trails and good car accessibility make it one of the most eco-friendly ways to spend a day away from Oklahoma.
11. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
Another top outdoor day destination is the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Unlike other hiking destinations from Oklahoma, this one is ideal for those with kids.
Buffalos and other animals can be seen at places here. Those traveling with mountain bikes can also find easy trails to follow for a cycling day out.
10. Heartland Flyer Train Ride
Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer Train Ride is one of the unique ways to spend a day away from the busy Oklahoma City. The train ride starts in Oklahoma and stops at Forth Worth in Texas. You can go all the way and stop for a coffee at Forth Worth and return to Oklahoma City in the evening.
Alternatively, you can visit one of the small municipalities along the way where the train stops. Among them, you can consider either Pauls Valley or Norman as some of the most interesting towns for a short layover and return to Oklahoma City evening time.
9. Frank Philips Home in Bartlesville
There are multiple small museums to consider in Bartlesville. But if you’re on a day trip here, you can stop by the Frank Philips Home. This beautiful home was the place where Philips lived and it is turned into a museum that can be visited from Monday to Saturday.
Frank Philips was a local entrepreneur and a personality in Oklahoma’s Hall of Fame. He invested heavily in petroleum and unrefined oil to make his fortunes. Today, his legacy lives both in Oklahoma and in nearby Texas where a high school was named after him to honor his heritage.
Norman is located just 20 miles out of Oklahoma City. It has a population of over 110.000 people and plenty of cultural and sports attractions such as top-tier college football games. But Norman is also the place of multiple free events and fairs throughout the year.
If you’re traveling here at the end of March or at the beginning of April, you can stop by the Norman Medieval Fair. It celebrates multiple medieval aspects such as foods, clothing, and traditions. Admission is free to these fairs and it could be one of the rare sights of medieval-inspired fairs in Oklahoma.
The Chocolate Festival of Norman is another event that’s worth the attention of those who love sweet treats. This festival is also large by national standards and it’s always included in the top 3 chocolate festivals in the US by many food critics. You can taste all types of chocolate and related sweets here.
7. Medicine Park
Medicine Park is a small town known for its cobblestone pathways and pretty natural sights such as waterfalls. The city also boasts an interesting history being founded by a rich lawyer looking to create a municipality that would supply water to the city of Lawton.
Today, Medicine Park is also a popular fishing destination in Oklahoma. There are no fishing gear shops here and you will need to bring your own if you plan to try out trout fishing here yourself.
If you want to enjoy a day out near Medicine Park, you can also consider the nearby Lake Lawtonka. This is the perfect destination if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy a relaxed day out in nature. However, Lake Lawtonka gets very busy on the weekend and you should prioritize your visit here during a weekday if you want to enjoy some alone time out in nature.
6. Little Sahara State Park
The Little Sahara State Park has been named after the famous Sahara Desert given the dunes resembles. This place is a unique outdoor attraction that tends to attract off-road sports fans of all ages and from different vehicle categories.
The first type of experience you can have here for a day is a standard ATV ride. You can ride up and down the dunes with your rented ATV here for hours. Since they are no public roads here, you can enjoy maximum freedom.
Dirt bikes are also popular on the dunes. You can either arrange to bring your dirt bike here or you can hire one for the day to enjoy even more freedom in what is often called ‘A Disneyland for Adults’.
Jeep rides are also popular here. On weekends, you can also visit the Little Sahara State Park to see different types of motorized competitions. Jeep rides are popular here and you can find hundreds of these cars here during the summer days making their way across the dunes.
5. Leonardo’s Children’s Museum
Located in Enid, Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is only a short drive away from Oklahoma City. It represents one of the top destinations of the county for both children and adults.
The museum is split into small attractions and exhibitions. Kids can pretend they’re out shopping here in the designated play-stores of the museum. You can even use the museum to ease the kids’ fear of doctors. There are areas where kids can become dentists and start playing with their siblings or other kids which can ease the fear of dentists.
Some areas of the museum are simply worth visiting due to their impressive architecture. The design styles of this children’s museum vary and even the exteriors can feel like stepping into a different reality.
4. Lake Murray State Park
Lake Murray State Park offers an incredible sight certainly worth visiting multiple times. Most visitors agree Lake Murray is one of the cleanest in the country. You can see from its clean waters just how well the administration of this lake does its job.
Many come to camp around the lake here. But a fun experience which you can have here is to paddleboard. There aren’t many places in the US where this sport can be enjoyed in such clear areas and such a well-preserved state park. You can bring your paddleboard here or you get one from Oklahoma City.
3. Pelican Bay Aquatic Center
Only a short drive away from downtown Oklahoma City, the Pelican Bay Aquatic Center can be one of the most fun experiences if you love swimming. The small aquatic center is known as one of the local attractions for families.
Opening hours are changing due to the current circumstances and it’s often worth checking them in advance. But the outdoor aquatic center benefits from plenty of fresh air, a few pools, slides, and a designated parking area. It can be the place to spend a full day when visiting Oklahoma.
2. Lexington Wildlife Management Area
The Lexington Wildlife Management Area is one of the ideal locations for those who love hunting. It can be your destination for a day if you love to buck hunting. This place is very popular in the state and it can get crowded during the hunting season. To beat the crowds, you will need to be here early and to find your best spot before the bucks start moving around.
Fishing is also possible in the wildlife area of the region. You can combine both hunting and fishing if you’re an active person. However, both of these are subject to seasons and regulations so you need to ensure you’re not hunting or fishing outside the hunting season.
Tulsa is one of the rich cultural hubs of Oklahoma. It would take days to see some of its most important attractions but you can choose one of the following activities or attractions depending on who you’re traveling with and depending on your passions.
The Brady Arts District is growing in popularity with those who love art as well as with regular tourists. There aren’t many areas in Oklahoma to see an entire street with art attractions. But Tulsa has an entire district that is also the home of the Brady Theatre. Some of the quirkiest plays can be seen here.
The Gathering Place is the second most popular attraction of Tulsa. This attraction is part of a riverside attraction and its administrators have included multiple activities both for kids and for adults here. You can see it as the place that combines most types of outdoor activities you can enjoy in Oklahoma in a single location. You can go skating or paddleboard here. Even kayaking is a popular activity here. For a simple experience, you can even consider hiking.
The Tulsa Air Space Museum offers a similar experience but to those who love air travel and space travel. Bill Pogue was a famous local to leave his mark on space exploration. You can find multiple attractions to remind you of its influence here. The museum is also among the leaders for multiple types of exhibits such as the Bell 47-K helicopter or even a planetarium. Founded in 1998, it has grown the number of attractions constantly.
You can also book a night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino if you want to turn your day trip into a night trip. This historic hotel is the ideal place for gambling, bets, and all types of casino games. It might be the top attraction for those who need to find a casino away from busy Oklahoma City. Since it’s a Hard Rock hotel, it also exhibits multiple interesting artifacts. Many of them are inspired by classic guitars. But even iconic electric guitars can be seen around the hotel. You will need to book a room here to have access to its casinos and the artistic exhibits around the hotel as you cannot simply walk-in to see what the hotel used for the classic décor here.