Looking for a break with the family, a romantic getaway with a significant other, or perhaps even a solo retreat? We’ve connected with local experts across the country to put together some of the best weekend getaways in the whole of the United States.
Typically I’m averse to heart-pounding adventure, but suddenly I’ve got my hands clenched around an oar as I twist and turn down a whirling river rapid. My vision is temporarily blurred by a crashing wave, but after wiping the water from my eyes, I look up to see the sun reflecting off the Devon Tower, Oklahoma City’s 50-foot skyscraper.
I’m at Riversport OKC, a man-made adventure oasis located in the city’s Boathouse District, located along the Oklahoma River and just minutes from downtown. The park is known for its adventure course marked by an 80-foot structure complete with six different levels of obstacles that become notably more difficult the more you climb. By the end of the day, I’m on my way to becoming a certified adrenaline junkie — and this is all located just a 10-minute bike ride from my apartment in midtown Oklahoma City.
When most people think of the Sooner State, cowboys, tumbleweeds, and a certain musical come to mind. But Oklahoma offers so much more than that, from urban adventure to peaceful countrysides, a weekend getaway in Oklahoma is always worth taking.
8 Weekend Getaways in Oklahoma
Over the past decade, Oklahoma City’s downtown area has been completely revitalized and is packed with trendy restaurants, concert venues, and a lively bar scene. Several old factories and warehouses that sat dormant for years are being renewed and reinvented as the city continues to establish itself.
Start your weekend with a local brew at one of OKC’s many craft breweries. Locals favor Stonecloud Brewing, located in an old laundry facility built in 1929. Grab dinner at arguably the coolest restaurant in town, The Jones Assembly. Here you can feast on wood-fired pizzas with seasonal toppings or try local favorites like fried okra or cornmeal-dusted catfish.
Adventure lovers can’t miss Riversport OKC’s wet and wild whitewater rafting, heart-pumping zip lining, and high-speed slides. You’ll also want to check out the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (MOA) and the expansive Myriad Gardens downtown. Both offer fun activities for kids and parents alike, from splash pads and playgrounds at the gardens to interactive arts and crafts at the MOA.
Walk along Automobile Alley, where former car dealerships have been transformed into an exciting strip of unique shops and restaurants. Plenty Mercantile will capture your imagination with unique gifts, such as hand-made jewelry and Oklahoma-themed apparel for everyone you know. Then head down the street for a pick-me-up at Coffee Slingers. If you get hungry, stop for a mouth-watering charcuterie plate or a succulent steak at Broadway 10, housed in the historic Buick building (be sure to look up to see the iconic sign). Pro tip: sit at the bar and get a complimentary bowl of bacon to snack on.
Start your next day with a full belly. Breakfast in Oklahoma City is a pretty big deal. Places like Neighborhood Jam and Cafe Kacao can boast hour-long wait times, but the food is well worth it. For something a little more casual, Waffle Champion and Hunny Bunny Biscuit Co. are delicious options. Looking for a sophisticated brunch? Kitchen 324 and Cheever’s have menus that will appeal to every appetite and classy cocktails to match.
Families will also want to visit the Oklahoma City Zoo, where you’ll find lions and tigers and bears and a soon-to-open Sanctuary Asia featuring amazing animals of the Asian continent. Right next to the zoo is the Science Museum, full of educational hands-on fun for everyone.
No trip to Oklahoma City is complete without a visit to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. It’s a beautiful yet somber dedication to the lives lost in the Murrah Building Bombing on April 19, 1995. Runners should also add the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon to their race list when athletes from around the world run together to honor the victims of the bombing. The race begins at the Memorial and passes 168 banners placed throughout the course to pay homage to those who lost their lives in the bombing.
Lastly, don’t forget to add a little romance to your weekend in OKC. Head to the top floor of the Devon Tower for dinner with a view at Vast restaurant before taking a stroll through the Bricktown Canal, or even jumping in a water taxi for a more relaxing way to take in the city.
Where to Stay in Oklahoma City
21c Museum Hotel Oklahoma City
Speaking of historic buildings given new life, nowhere is this more evident than in the new 21c Museum Hotel in OKC’s historic Film Row. Staying at this museum doubling as a hotel is a trip in and of itself. There are free art exhibitions on the ground floor, which rotate regularly. You can do yoga among the art on Saturdays as well. The on-site restaurant, Mary Eddy’s Kitchen, is one of the best in town no matter what time of day you dine. The rooms are spacious and sleek, offering the perfect place to rest your head.View More Hotels in Oklahoma City
Driving into the Broken Bow area, you might feel like you’re in another state. This combination of pine forest and peaceful lakes in Southeast Oklahoma is a nature lover’s dream. Broken Bow is home to Beavers Bend State Park and Hochatown State Park. Keep going slightly Northeast of Hochatown and you’ll hit the entrance of the massive Ouachita National Forest, which sprawls across both Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Although Oklahoma has a reputation for being flat, the Broken Bow area is the exception to the rule. Located at the base of the Kiamichi Mountains, Beavers Bend is a beautiful destination for hiking or fly fishing. While in the area, you’re likely to spot black bears or the occasional bald eagle. Located nearby, Broken Bow Lake is great for fishing as well as canoeing. This Oklahoma lake is known for its clear, deep blue water making it a popular area for local scuba divers, or those looking to get scuba certified.
In nearby Hochatown, tap into your adventurous side with a ziplining tour with Rugaru Adventures to get a bird’s eye view of Broken Bow. Animal lovers won’t be able to resist Hochatown Petting Zoo for family-friendly playtime with adorable animals. The petting zoo is also a certified rehabilitation center, helping prepare wounded or abandoned animals to reenter the wild.
All of this outdoor fun will quickly work up an appetite. Beavers Bend Restaurant and Country Store is a great stop for a meal with a view. Smith Good Eats is the go-to for delicious Southern cooking. Don’t leave without ordering a slice of pie or some banana pudding.
Broken Bow is also a popular option for a girls’ getaway. Gather up your favorite ladies for a trip to Girls Gone Wine, a fun local winery and gift shop. Wine tastings are complimentary, but you’ll want to take buy a glass to sip on the patio afterward as you catch up with friends.
Where to Stay in Broken Bow
Hochatown Country Lodge
Hochatown Country Lodge is located at the edge of Beavers Bend with easy access to all of the area attractions. Guests enjoy two queen size beds in each room along with a fridge, coffee maker, and microwave. There’s also a gated pool located onsite.View More Hotels in Broken Bow
Growing up, a trip to Tulsa always felt like a fancy affair. There’s a sophisticated vibe to this metropolitan city Northwest of OKC. Tulsa is my go-to destination for live music, art, and fine shopping. No matter when you choose to visit Tulsa, or what your musical taste, chances are there’s a killer lineup of shows at The Brady Theatre, Cain’s Ballroom, or the BOK Center. Fuel up for your night of tunes at Prairie Brewpub with local beer and a beautiful cheese plate, or maybe a short rib dish braised in Prairie’s own stout beer. A great post-show option is Tavern, an upscale neighborhood pub that serves up half-price burgers after nine at night.
Spend a leisurely morning grabbing coffee at The Coffeehouse on Cherry Street before strolling through the neighborhood lined with quirky antique shops and art galleries. For more upscale shopping, head to Utica Square for luxury designer shops and cozy sidewalk cafes. You also can’t miss The Farm Shopping Center, a tree-lined open-air market complete with a Saturday farmer’s market during the warmer months.
Art lovers will have a jam-packed weekend with trips to the Gilcrease Museum, Philbrook Museum of Art, and Tulsa Art Deco Museum. When I was in grade school, a field trip to the Gilcrease was a special treat where we learned about the history of the American West through their massive collection of paintings, sculptures, and artifacts. Afterward, the manicured gardens surrounding the museum make for an idyllic picnic lunch spot.
Tulsa is also home to the Oklahoma Aquarium, which features an adrenaline-pumping shark exhibit and an island of sea turtles. Thinking of visiting during the fall? One of Tulsa’s best events of the year is their Oktoberfest celebration featuring authentic German food and drink. The festival has been recognized as a top U.S. Oktoberfest by both USA Today and Conde Nast and will celebrate its 40th year in 2018.
Where to Stay in Tulsa
The Ambassador Hotel Tulsa is a luxurious boutique hotel and a convenient launch pad for a weekend in Tulsa. The rooms are ornately appointed with spacious walk-in showers. Chalkboard, the onsite restaurant, is great for an elegant meal or glass of wine after a long day. You can even book a Tour of Tulsa package, which includes local wine and chocolate, museum tickets, and a self-guided walking map tour of the city.View More Hotels in Tulsa
Lawton is an unexpected source of outdoor fun, history, and wildlife. Enjoy a slower pace of life in this charming Southeast Oklahoma town. Start out with a cheeseburger the size of your head at Meers Store & Restaurant. The Meersburger has been dubbed the “best burger in Oklahoma” and can easily feed four people. But there’s more to Meers than the food, you’ll get a full history lesson while you dine dating all the way back to the Gold Rush.
After lunch, head over to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to see American Bison roam freely. The refuge was created in 1901 to protect animal species in danger of extinction. In addition to bison, you can spot elk, river otters, prairie dogs, and whitetail deer just to name a few. While you’re in the Wichita Mountains, work off that Meersburger by hiking to the top of Mount Scott for expansive views of the surrounding rocky prairie lands and blue-green Lake Lawtonka.
At the base of Mount Scott, you’ll find Medicine Park, a picturesque town known as “America’s Cobblestone Community.” Take a dip in Bath Lake or grab a meal at The Old Plantation Restaurant for another one of Oklahoma’s must-try dishes, the chicken fried steak.
The Fort Sill Army Base is located in Lawton, which continues its long history of training soldiers for the U.S. Army. They also have a museum, open to the public, where you can take an audio tour through the exhibits to learn the full history of the installation.
After you’ve had your fill of nature and history, head back into town and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the surprising number of murals gracing the walls of local businesses. You’ll find paintings of Willie Nelson, Jack Nicholson, and Superman in some pretty unexpected places. And don’t overlook the food scene in Lawton either. Try out Salas Urban Cantina for classic crispy beef tacos or stop by Junction for delicious Korean barbecue in an unassuming dive bar. There’s also Wayne’s Drive-In, a town institution, known for their fried pickles, chicken baskets, and fries.
Where to Stay in Lawton
Hilton Garden Inn
The Hilton Garden Inn provides a comfortable home base for your adventures in Lawton. The central location enables easy access to the mountains as well as to attractions in town such as the Museum of the Great Plains.View More Hotels in Lawton
No Oklahoma weekend getaway guide would be complete without a lake excursion. One of my favorites is Lake Texoma, which as the name suggests, shares a border with our neighbor to the south, Texas. Lake Texoma is one of the largest reservoirs in the U.S. and is known as the Striper Fish Capital of the World because it’s one of the only places in the country where striped bass reproduce naturally.
A weekend at Texoma is as versatile as the lake is big. From a rugged adventure getaway to a luxurious spa weekend, there’s something for every traveler. When it’s hot, there’s no place I’d rather be than right on the water. Don’t have a boat? No problem! Take a sunset dinner cruise, a guided fishing excursion, or rent your own pontoon for the day or weekend. In the spring and fall, Texoma offers tree-shaded hiking trails in Lake Texoma State Park.
If you do happen to snag a boat, motor on over to Anchor N Restaurant for a delicious breakfast or some tasty barbecue. By land, Villegas Panaderia and Mexican Restaurant is a local gem in nearby Durant.
Where to Stay near Lake Texoma
Choctaw Casino Resort
Treat yourself to a luxurious stay at the Choctaw Casino Resort. Whether or not you choose to gamble, there’s an oasis awaiting at this expansive property. Book treatments at the onsite spa, relax at the Oasis pool or just rest up on a pillow-top mattress with plush bedding. Hungry? Grab a bite at one of the resort’s 13 eateries. If you have a little luck and win some extra cash, there’s plenty of onsite shopping to peruse as well.View More Hotels near Lake Texoma
Sometimes a weekend trip centers around where you’re going to stay, and in the case of Bartlesville, you’re going to want to stay at the Inn at Price Tower. The 19-story building is the only skyscraper ever realized by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Not just a hotel, the Price Tower is also an arts center with a mission of inspiring local artists and all those who visit the building. You can take a 60-minute tour of the landmark, which includes a visit to the restored 19th floor of the building.
After your tour, grab lunch at the Copper Restaurant and Bar on the 15th floor for sweeping views of Bartlesville. As if the views weren’t amazing enough, the restaurant does even more to cement itself as one of the most unique dining spots in Oklahoma. This past year, Price Tower started its Wright Chef Competition where culinary artists competed to become head chef of Copper along with free room and board for one year. Chef Jimmy Sanabria-Cardec was the first winner, and you can taste his award-winning dishes in the restaurant anytime.
While it’ll be hard to peel yourself away from the Price Tower, there’s plenty more to discover in the Bartlesville area. Frank Lloyd Wright wasn’t the only notable architect to make his mark in Bartlesville. A short drive from Price Tower is the palatial La Quinta Foster Mansion, designed by Kansas City architect Edward Buehler Delk. Now home to Oklahoma Wesleyan University, you can still view hand-painted ceilings and stained glass details during a self-guided tour.
While you’re in town, it’s a must to take a quick half hour drive to Pawhuska to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile. Ree Drummond, the mastermind behind The Pioneer Woman brand and popular Food Network TV show, created The Mercantile to share her famous comfort food and coffee with visitors far and wide. “The Merc” is located in a century-old Osage Mercantile building on Pawhuska’s Main Street offering a culinary wonderland of tasty treats and kitchen gadgets. Guests to “The Merc” can also take a free tour of The Lodge where her show is filmed.
Where to Stay in Bartlesville
Inn at Price Tower
As mentioned above, the Inn at Price Tower is a must when visiting Bartlesville. Take in the art, the views, and the art deco furnishings first-hand from your private hotel room.View More Hotels in Bartlesville
Growing up in Oklahoma, learning about the Land Run of 1889 was a big part of my grade school education. We even simulated our own Land Run in 4th grade, a competitive event amongst my peers where we set out to stake our own plot of land the way settlers did in The Unassigned Lands that currently comprise Central Oklahoma.
Following the Land Run, Guthrie’s population boomed overnight and would eventually become the first capital of Oklahoma. Needless to say, this town is steeped in Oklahoma History. Visit the Oklahoma Territorial Museum for a complete history of the Land Run and how Oklahoma became the great state it is today.
But Guthrie isn’t all about the past. The city is putting a lot of effort into revitalizing its historic downtown. Jump on the First Capital Trolley for a tour of downtown, stopping off to shop and eat as you please.
Speaking of eating, Katie’s Diner serves up classic stick-to-your-ribs diner food like fluffy pancakes and fried okra, a true Oklahoma staple. For a memorable dinner with great service, head to Gages Steakhouse for tender steaks in an elegant atmosphere. Coffee lovers should try both Hoboken Coffee Roasters and Rick’s Fine Chocolates & Coffee. Need something a little stronger? Check out Roosters Hard Times Club for a cocktail. Keep your eye out for any drinks made with Prairie Wolf Spirits, a new distillery located right in Guthrie.
Still looking for more to do? If there’s a rodeo in town, it’s mandatory to head to the Lazy E Arena for an action-packed night of entertainment.
Where to Stay in Guthrie
Hampton Inn and Suites Guthrie
The Hampton Inn and Suites is a popular choice for Guthrie travelers. Enjoy clean rooms, a free breakfast, and indoor pool all within a short drive of all the best spots in town. All rooms are also equipped with a mini fridge and microwave.View More Hotels in Guthrie
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is one of Oklahoma’s oldest national park destinations. This peaceful location is home to natural mineral water streams, waterfalls, and lakes. Although a fun destination year-round, Chickasaw is a lovely place to take a refreshing dip during Oklahoma’s hot summer months. Hike to Little Niagra Falls and then take a dip in the cool waters below. Nearby, Turner Falls Park features Oklahoma’s largest waterfall and the ruins of the Collings Castle.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is one of the most kid-friendly vacation spots in Oklahoma. In addition to the falls, there’s Arbuckle Wilderness Park with over 200 acres of land where hundreds of exotic animals roam free. Take a family safari in your own car as you drive through the park and encounter these beautiful creatures up close and personally. Visitors to the park can also enjoy the House of Reptiles Petting Zoo, bumper boats, hay rides, and more family fun.
Driving through the area, you’ll see dozens of signs for Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies. Follow those signs! An Arbuckle Mountain fried pie with a hot cup of coffee is a right of passage for anyone passing through the area. Be sure to pick up extras to share.
For more dining options, drive a half hour south to Ardmore. Two Frogs is always fun for dinner with delicious options from fried mushrooms to crawfish fettuccine alfredo.
Where to Stay in Chickasaw
Best Western Plus Inn & Suites
This newly-built Best Western Plus Inn & Suites in Ardmore offers modern amenities with all the comforts of home. The property features an indoor pool, a hotel bar, and free breakfast each morning.View More Hotels in Chickasaw