Oklahoma is a state in the south-central region of the United States, bordered by Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico. It is the 20th-largest state by area and the 28th-most populous state with about 4 million residents. Oklahoma is known for its diverse landscape, rich Native American heritage, musical legacy and college sports.
Oklahoma has a lot to offer to visitors and residents alike. Here are some of the attractions and events that you can enjoy in Oklahoma:
If you’re looking for some fun and unique places to visit in Oklahoma, you’re in luck. The Sooner State has a lot to offer, from natural wonders and outdoor adventures to cultural attractions and historical sites. Here are some of the best Oklahoma tourist destinations you should check out on your next trip.
**Great Salt Plains State Park** – Jet
This park is home to one of the most unusual geological features in the world: a vast expanse of salt flats that covers about 11,000 acres. The salt was left behind by an ancient sea that once covered the area, and it creates a dazzling white landscape that contrasts with the blue sky. You can explore the salt flats on foot or by bike, or try your hand at digging for selenite crystals, which are unique to this place. The park also has a lake, a wildlife refuge, hiking trails, camping facilities, and a visitor center.
**Natural Falls State Park** – Colcord
If you’re looking for a serene and scenic spot to relax, head to Natural Falls State Park. This park features a 77-foot waterfall that cascades into a pool surrounded by lush greenery. You can admire the falls from an observation platform or hike down to the base for a closer look. The park also has picnic areas, playgrounds, campsites, and a botanical garden with native plants and flowers.
**Chickasaw National Recreation Area** – Sulphur
This recreation area is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. It encompasses the former Platt National Park, which was known for its mineral springs and healing waters. You can still enjoy the springs at the Travertine Nature Center, or swim, fish, boat, or kayak in the Lake of the Arbuckles. The area also has hiking trails, wildlife viewing opportunities, historic buildings, and cultural exhibits.
**Philbrook Museum of Art** – Tulsa
This museum is housed in a stunning Italian Renaissance villa that was once the home of oil tycoon Waite Phillips. The museum showcases a diverse collection of art from around the world, including American, European, Asian, African, Native American, and contemporary works. The museum also has an impressive range of exhibitions, from paintings and photography to glass pieces and sculptures. One of the highlights is the museum’s collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass masterpieces. The museum is surrounded by 25 acres of beautiful gardens that are worth exploring as well.
Lawton is a city in southwestern Oklahoma that offers a mix of history, culture, and adventure. You can learn about the city’s military heritage at the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum, or visit the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center to discover the history and traditions of the Comanche people. For some outdoor fun, you can hike, bike, or rock climb at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, which is home to bison, elk, deer, and other animals. You can also check out the Museum of the Great Plains, which features exhibits on the natural and social history of the region.
**Oklahoma City Zoo** – Oklahoma City
This zoo is one of the oldest and most popular attractions in Oklahoma City. It houses more than 1,900 animals from around the world, including elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers, bears, monkeys, and more. You can also enjoy various shows and encounters with some of the animals, such as feeding giraffes or touching stingrays. The zoo also has a botanical garden with more than 2,000 plant species, as well as a children’s zoo with interactive exhibits and play areas.
**Beavers Bend State Park** – Broken Bow
This state park is located in southeastern Oklahoma along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River. It’s a popular destination for fishing, boating, swimming, and water sports. The park also has hiking trails that wind through pine forests and hillsides, as well as cabins, campsites, golf courses, horseback riding facilities, and a train ride. You can also visit the Forest Heritage Center Museum to learn about the history and culture of forestry in Oklahoma.
**Little Sahara State Park** – Waynoka
This park is named after its resemblance to a miniature desert. It features more than 1,600 acres of sand dunes that range from 25 to 75 feet high. You can have fun riding dune buggies or ATVs on the sand or go sandboarding or sledding down the slopes. The park also has picnic areas, campsites, restrooms, showers, and a concession stand.
– **Oklahoma State Fair**: The Oklahoma State Fair is an annual event that takes place in September at the State Fair Park in Oklahoma City. It features carnival rides, games, exhibits, livestock shows, concerts, competitions and more. The fair attracts more than 900,000 people every year and is one of the largest state fairs in the country. In 2023, the fair will host its first ever College Day, where students from various colleges and universities can showcase their talents and achievements.
– **Oklahoma Sooners**: The Oklahoma Sooners are the athletic teams that represent the University of Oklahoma in Norman. The Sooners compete in the Big 12 Conference and have won 39 national championships in various sports, including football, basketball, softball and gymnastics. The Sooners have a loyal fan base that follows them on their website Stormin in Norman, where they can find the latest news, recruiting updates, schedules and more. The Sooners also have a fierce rivalry with the Texas Longhorns, which culminates in the annual Red River Showdown game.
– **Oklahoma DLC**: Oklahoma DLC is an upcoming map expansion for American Truck Simulator, a popular simulation game developed by SCS Software. The DLC will add the state of Oklahoma to the game map, along with new roads, cities, landmarks and scenery. The DLC will also feature new industries and cargoes related to Oklahoma’s economy, such as oil and gas, agriculture and aerospace. The DLC is expected to be released in late 2022 or early 2023 and is already available for wishlist on Steam.
– **Oklahoma Musical Heritage**: Oklahoma has a rich musical heritage that spans various genres and styles. The state is home to many famous musicians and singers, such as Woody Guthrie, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood and Toby Keith. Oklahoma is also the birthplace of Western swing, a fusion of country, jazz and blues music that originated in the 1930s. Oklahoma has several venues and festivals that celebrate its musical culture, such as the Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa, the Woody Guthrie Center in Okemah, the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in Tulsa.
– **Oklahoma Nature and Wildlife**: Oklahoma boasts a diverse nature and wildlife that ranges from prairies and forests to mountains and lakes. The state has more than 50 state parks and six national parks that offer opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, boating and wildlife viewing. Some of the most notable natural attractions in Oklahoma include the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, where you can see bison, elk and prairie dogs; the Ouachita National Forest, where you can explore trails, waterfalls and caves; the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, where you can enjoy mineral springs and swimming holes; and the Great Salt Plains State Park, where you can dig for crystals.