If you are coming to Oklahoma City (or if you’re based here), you can take advantage of the incredible day trips available. Most people don’t think about the fact that there are great day trips from OKC available in all directions (we are in the middle of the state, after all)! So if you are looking for a quick escape, look no further than these ten best Oklahoma day trips!
Looking for more Oklahoma travel tips? Check out my blog about our life in Oklahoma at Oklahoma Wonders!
This list of the best things day trips from OKC is brought to you in collaboration with Hotels.com.
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A Quick Note about Traveling Now
Travel today is filled with a certain level of uncertainty, so please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and within regulation as any travel is at your own risk.
If you do decide to travel at this time, here are some important recommendations:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands regularly.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
Where to Stay in Oklahoma City
There are some really fabulous hotels in Downtown OKC, as well as good budget-friendly hotels near the airport. The best areas are in Bricktown and the hotels near the basketball arena.
The Best Day Trips from Oklahoma City
In no particular order…
This classic American road trip need not take you two weeks! While you can start in Chicago and finish in LA, you can also set out from OKC and see how far you get before it’s time to head back home!
I’ve done this in both directions. I think the section between OKC and Catoosa (just outside Tulsa) has more to see, but heading west is just as fun!
Gloss Mountain State Park
If you want to see something that looks more like Arizona than Oklahoma, head to Gloss Mountain State Park, located northwest of Oklahoma City. You can easily drive out and see the park, including the hike up and around Cathedral Mesa, and then make your way back before nightfall. This is the perfect day trip from OKC for photography enthusiast!
The largest waterfall in Oklahoma is located south of Oklahoma City, almost the entire way to Texas. The drive is worth it, as you can actually swim in the pool at the base of the falls, hike above the falls, and even zip line over the park. Stop nearby for some Arbuckle Fried Pies, and I’d call this the perfect Oklahoma day trip!
If you want to day trip for good food, this town, just outside of Oklahoma City, is the perfect half-day trip from Oklahoma City. Eat fried chicken (and fried okra!) at Eischen’s before making your way down the street to order a flight of craft beer at Expenditure Brewery. Pick up some cinnamon rolls from the Tower Cafe, and you’ve had the perfect Oklahoma foodie day!
There are so many great things to do in Pawhuska, from visiting the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile to seeing the gorgeous Blue Stem Falls, that you really could stay here for a few days. Instead, I’ve come up on several day trips, each time checking a few things off my giant bucket list of things to do in Pawhuska.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
One of the first big day trips from Oklahoma City that I took after I began this travel blog was a visit to both Turner Falls and the Wichita Mountains in one day! That ended up being a bit overly ambitious, as there are more than enough things to do here to give it its own day. From finding longhorn cattle and bison to climbing up (or driving up) Mount Scott, give yourself ample time to enjoy it here!
Durant & Lake Texoma
My latest Oklahoma obsession is the adorable Durant. This small town located near Lake Texoma is the perfect base for enjoying a morning in town and an afternoon at the lake. You can stop by the Magnolia Mile Art Alley as well as shopping at the local Amish cheese shop and walking around the charming historic downtown.
Natural Falls State Park
Yes, there are three waterfalls on this list (if you count Blue Stem Falls in Pawhuska). But each is different and all are worth visiting in their own right! Natural Falls is so close to the border with Arkansas that you might think it’s too ambitious for a day trip, but once you’re here it’s very easy to get out to the falls and enjoy the short park hikes.
This city is more than just Oklahoma’s second city. From seeing it’s art deco grandeur to learning about the importance of Black Wall Street, don’t forget that Tulsa needs to be appreciated and explored all on its own!
Shawnee and Prague
If you want a quick escape that feels nearly European, schedule a day to visit Shawnee and Prague. In Shawnee, you can visit St. Gregory’s Abbey and the Monk’s Market. I swear I felt more like I was in Ireland or France than Oklahoma! Follow it up with a drive over to Prague to enjoy its Czech heritage (and pastries!). A great escape for someone looking for a bit of the old country here in Oklahoma.
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for Palm Beach make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance whenever you are more than one hundred miles from home.
I’ve had friends whose phones were stolen, luggage was lost, and my sister even had her passport stolen at a hotel once. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for four years, and I happily recommend them. If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.