Oklahoma, Your Next Grand American Adventure

Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma by Kelly DeLay (Creative Common)
Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma by Kelly DeLay (Creative Common)

It’s about that time of year where wanderlust starts to set in. The weather is chilling out and you want to get out of dodge. You could be thinking about the beach. It’s a popular destination no doubt; but have you ever considered taking the road less traveled? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Oklahoma is an underrated state. Both the East and West coast get so much love that “middle Earth” is often neglected. Well, I’m here to tell you that while most people are seeing what the coasts have to offer, there is plenty of adventure in this amazing state that can give other states a run for their money. Since Oklahoma is an older state compared to those in the West, it is rich in historical culture that you cannot find on the West Coast. On top of that, its beautiful geography will leave you in awe. Here are 4 different destinations that you absolutely need to check out; your senses will thank you.

1.  National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

Formally known as National Cowboy Hall of Fame, the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is an internationally renowned museum, which boasts an enormous collection of Western Art and artifacts. Opening 50 years ago, this museum has had over 11 million visitors and counting. Get a sense of historical culture by visiting this amazing museum. In addition to being a museum it also hosts several spectacular occasions throughout the year. Events such as the Chuck Wagon Gathering & Children’s Cowboy Festival, which is held every Memorial Day weekend and the Prix de West exhibition an esteemed invitational art exhibition, are some of the most popular happenings during the year. Be sure to check out what is happing at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum while you are en route to Oklahoma, it’s a guaranteed good time.

2.  Chickasaw Nation

You can explore the Chickasaw Nation and get a chance to learn about the Native American history of Oklahoma. Chock-full of festivals, dancing, casinos, and an assortment of lodging, this is an experience you and your travel mates will be sure to appreciate. Not only are there wonderful cultural activities, but Chickasaw is home to some of the most amazing live musical venues that you should make time to scope out. With an impressive event calendar, Chickasaw Nation has activities that everyone can appreciate.

Buffalo Springs in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Photo used under creative commons by BaronBrian
Buffalo Springs in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Photo used under creative commons by BaronBrian

3.  Red Slough Wildlife Management Area

If watching wildlife or hunting is your preference, Red Slough Wildlife Management Area does not disappoint. Covering over 7,800 acres in McCurtain County in southeast Oklahoma, this area is home to different types of fowl, bear, turkey, and rabbit. There are over 300 hundred species of birds in this area as the wetlands are synonymous to those of Florida and Louisiana. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Red Slough Wildlife is a exceptional and once in a lifetime opportunity to see some of the rarest creatures like the roseate spoonbill, purple gallinule, and white ibis in their natural habitats. Should you decide to go hunting, there are rules and regulations on their site. Either way you’ll be headed for an unforgettable adventure that you will be telling for years to come.

4.  Downtown Edmond Arts Festival

If handmade goods, amazing food, fun activities, and good live music are your thing, then Downtown Edmond Arts Festival is right up your alley. This 3-day event offers so many adventures you will have your hands full trying to figure out where to start. Activities like pony rides, face painting, and other sponsored happenings are prime for an all day escapade. Get a sense of the town pride, as all the food vendors are local.  An arts festival is just what the doctor ordered to shake your vacation up a bit. Immerse yourself in the Downtown Edmond culture and be apart of the celebrations

In this day and age, traveling is done rather sparsely, and being able to do so is almost considered a luxury. Why not take the time you have and go off the beaten path? Exploring the wonder that is Oklahoma will give you an experience unlike any other. While all of your friends are complaining about fighting traffic and overcrowded beaches, you can regale them with your awesome tales from your Oklahoma exploration. So grab your bag and make your way to the Sooner state, and don’t forget to bring your camera.