Medicine Park, Lawton, Oklahoma

8 Most Scenic Small Towns in Oklahoma

When you think of vast and beautiful Oklahoma, you probably think of wide, open fields, cowboys on horses, and family-owned farms. The south-central state offers much more, however, and its small, quaint towns are the perfect hosts for summer vacations and weekend getaways. Not only are warm and welcoming towns scenic, but they are also filled with historical attractions and natural areas that await exploration.


 The Murray County Courthouse in Sulphur, Oklahoma.
The Murray County Courthouse in Sulphur, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Roberto Galan /

Sulphur is a picture-perfect road trip destination just over an hour's drive from Dallas, Texas, and Oklahoma City. Nature, arts and culture, and superior shopping and restaurant options combine to make this pretty, small town a top getaway location. Sulphur is located at the base of the Arbuckle Mountains and has a rich history due to its location on the Sante Fe and Frisco Railroad lines. It's also home to mineral water springs that were once believed to have medicinal and healing properties.

Start your visit at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, which offers 22 miles of trails that you can use year-round for hiking, biking, birding, and wildlife viewing. The scenic area is also available for fishing, swimming, boating, and camping, among other outdoor activities and adventures. You can also spend a day exploring the role that Sulphur played in the development of the American West at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. The Foreman Prairie House Historic Site offers a look into life in early Oklahoma with its period decor and exhibits.


Downtown Guthrie, Oklahoma
Old town of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Kit Leong /

Guthrie is as easy on the eyes as it is on a vacation itinerary, as it is filled with scenic spots, historical sites, and cultural attractions. Pretty Guthrie is known for its historic downtown, and visitors can take a trolley ride through it to view Victorian-era buildings and homes and hear interesting stories about the area's past. This charming small town also plays host to a wide variety of special events each year, including some of the state's biggest holiday celebrations.

If you're a history lover, Guthrie's unique Frontier Drugstore Museum and the Owens Art Place Museum are must-sees. The Oklahoma Territorial Museum and Carnegie Library showcase the state's history through introspective exhibits, galleries, and tours. For the more adventurous tourists, the Avid Extreme Sports Park and Battle Park Paintball won't disappoint. Head to scenic Mineral Wells Park or Mitchell Park to see the town's quieter outdoor side.


Afternoon sunlight shines on the Bartlesville Community Center.
Afternoon sunlight shines on the Bartlesville Community Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Matt Gush /

Beautiful Bartlesville is a thriving town featuring an expansive park and trail system for enjoying local wildlife, as well as world-class arts and entertainment opportunities and historical attractions. The town also has a thriving art scene, with plenty of galleries that visitors can explore. Each year, Bartlesville plays host to the OKM Music Festival, which features internationally recognized musicians and performers.

One of the town's top destinations is the Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve, a perfect blend of nature and history. The attraction was once the home of oil baron Frank Phillips and has hosted U.S. presidents, movie stars, famous outlaws, and dignitaries over the years. If you want to take in local nature in a peaceful setting, spend a day at Jo Allyn Lowe Park, which offers a duck pond, an arboretum, a fishing lake, and a butterfly garden.


The old business district on Main Street, Davis, Oklahoma.
The old business district on Main Street, Davis, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Roberto Galan /

With the scenic Arbuckle Mountains as a backdrop, you can't go wrong with a trip to quaint-yet-exciting Davis. From serene trails and natural areas to adventurous natural caves, waterfalls, and ziplines, this town has it all. Turner Falls Park draws thousands of tourists to Davis every year, and for good reason. Turner Falls, one of the state's tallest waterfalls, drops into a natural pool where people can swim and cool off on hot days.

Motorcycle and vintage car lovers will enjoy the Forgotten Wheels Museum, a collection of antique vehicles and related items, such as children's toys, postcards, and other memorabilia. The Arbuckle Historical Society Museum—Davis Branch is home to a variety of unique Native American, railroad, and military exhibits.


Aerial view of Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma.
Aerial view of Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma.

Attractive Eufaula has the natural advantage of being located on Lake Eufaula, which is considered Oklahoma's largest and most peaceful lake. Not only did the town win the nature lottery, but it is also home to a 20-block downtown that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can spend hours strolling the streets, browsing antique shops, boutiques, and a variety of eateries and cafes.

Lake Eufaula State Park is a 2,853-acre natural wonderland and beckons visitors with its hiking and biking trails, fishing and boating opportunities, swimming beaches, campgrounds, and much more. Its nature center offers kids' activities and nature-based art classes. Turtle RV Park and Horse Resort is a fun place to stay and ride horses on scenic trails during the warmer months of the year.

Pauls Valley

The Garvin County Courthouse in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
The Garvin County Courthouse in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

Although Pauls Valley is small and quaint, it lacks nothing in the way of interesting things for visitors to do. The cute, charming town has a rich railroad history that date backs to 1903, when the Sante Fe Railway opened a station there. Pauls Valley also has a diverse background in farming and cattle production, and still has a welcoming, community feel today.

For a relaxing retreat, spend a morning or afternoon at the Lakeview Lavender Farm, which features six different varieties of lavender and a pleasing floral scent when the fields are in full bloom. Visitors are welcome to pick their own flowers or take home a plant to enjoy at home. The Sante Fe Depot Museum is located in historic downtown Pauls Valley and features 100s of photographs and memorabilia, as well as a 1902 Sante Fe steam engine in the adjoining park.


Childrens Playground in Redbud Park, Marlow, Oklahoma.
Children's Playground in Redbud Park, Marlow, Oklahoma. Image credit: J. Stephen Conn via

Named by Niche as one of the "Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma," Marlow offers the best of small-town living while being within easy driving distance to the bustling cities of Dallas and Oklahoma City. One of Marlow's biggest draws is the pretty, creek-fed Lake J.W. Taylor, which is available for boating and fishing all year long. The picturesque town was founded by the Marlow Brothers, whose interesting story is depicted in the "Sons of Katie Elder" movie starring John Wayne.

If you're traveling with children, don't miss the 13,000-square-foot western-themed playground in Marlow's Rosebud Park. You can also take a guided tour of the park's stored Outlaw Cave and hike and bike along the scenic nature trails. DT Ranch Country is a must-stop for animal lovers, as it's a donkey rescue facility with an interactive petting zoo.

Medicine Park

Medicine Park, Oklahoma
A beautiful scene from Medicine Park, Oklahoma.

Pretty Medicine Park was once considered a resort town and still draws in visitors looking for a relaxing respite from everyday living. The town has a unique and interesting history, as Medicine Creek, which was known for its healing properties, drew in famous people, such as presidents, actors, and infamous outlaws, from all over. Today, some of that history is still evident through the town's cobblestone buildings and exciting outdoor recreational opportunities, such as swimming and fishing in Bath Lake. The lake is located downtown and features waterfalls, beautiful scenery, and stairs for easy access to the deeper areas.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is another popular spot for nature lovers, as it offers almost 60,000 square feet of mixed grass prairie for exploration. The refuge is home to American bison, white-tailed deer, and many other animal species. If you prefer to do something indoors, check out Medicine Park's Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center.

No matter where your travel adventures take you in Oklahoma, you'll find a scenic spot to stop and enjoy for a few hours, days, or even weeks. Not only are the Sooner State's small towns pretty, but they're welcoming and steeped in history, culture, and tradition that is just waiting to be explored.

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