Overlooking the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.

9 Ideal Destinations For A 3-Day Weekend In Oklahoma

From Wild West cowboy culture to rich Native American history, Oklahoma is a magnificent state filled with stunning attractions. No matter where you go, this state in the South Central United States boasts unique sights and amazing activities for the whole family. In addition to this, Oklahoma also showcases endless natural beauty in the form of mountains, waterfalls, rivers, and more. Put it all together and Oklahoma is the perfect destination with loads of spots to spend a three-day weekend.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, cityscape in Bricktown at dusk wtih vibrant colors.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, cityscape in Bricktown at dusk.

The capital and largest city in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City embodies the state’s beauty. From cultural attractions showcasing cowboy culture to amazing shopping areas, there is no end to the fun you can have in this city. If you’re into Oklahoma’s history, there are many museums filled with spectacular items. For example, you can start your day at the iconic National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Displaying more than 28,000 photos, equipment, and items of Western and American Indian origin, the museum is a trip back in time. Another great spot is the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. This site honors the 150+ victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. So, you can show remembrance for the victims and learn about what happened during the fateful night.

After learning about the city’s past, you can enjoy the local hotspots. As with many major cities, Oklahoma City boasts a bustling entertainment district known as Bricktown. Once the city’s old warehouse and distribution center, it is now one of the state’s most popular destinations. Riddled with red brick buildings, you’ll find dozens of bars, hotels, shops, and eateries for an endless array of fun. So, you can get a room at the Hilton Garden Inn, have some seafood at the famous Crabtown, and grab souvenirs for all your mates. After enjoying the hustle and bustle of Bricktown, end your day with a relaxing evening at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Encompassed by beautiful trees, flowers, and plants, this place will relieve you of stress for an amazing three-day weekend in Oklahoma.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Lincoln Bridge constructed in 1907/1908, Chickasaw National Recreation Area with yellowing leaves.
Lincoln Bridge, constructed in the early 1900s, Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

Nestled along the foothills of the Arbuckle Mountains, the Chickasaw National Recreational Area is a natural area in Oklahoma. Covering an area of nearly 10,000 acres, it showcases a wide range of natural sights such as rivers, lakes, hardwood forests, mountains, and more for a stunning environment. If you’re into waterside activities, head over to the magnificent Lake of the Arbuckles. This 2,500-acre lake is filled with crystal-clear water and you’ll always find loads of boats and people fishing here. So, cast your line and catch a catfish, bass, or crappie to enjoy for dinner!

Apart from the water, the Chickasaw National Recreational Area features dozens of recreational activities that are perfect for a weekend outdoors. For example, you can hike on one of the many trails spread throughout the area. One of the best options for beginners is the Travertine Creek Trail which spans 1.5 miles through beautiful bridges, gentle slopes, and calming views. For animal lovers, you can opt for wildlife watching as the area houses species such as the flying squirrel, white-tailed deer, bull snake, and nine-banded armadillo. There is no end to the outdoor fun you can have in the Chickasaw National Recreational Area. So, set up your weekend tent/RV at either of the two campgrounds and join the 1+ million visitors who visit each year.


View from Mt. Scott in Lawton Oklahoma
The view from Mt. Scott in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Combining historical value with outdoor activities, prepare for an exhilarating three-day weekend in Lawton. Home to 90,000 people, this city is filled with opportunities and endless enjoyment. If you’re interested in the local history, check out the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum, which showcases Post-Civil War memorabilia and artifacts. Or, spend your day at the Museum of the Great Plains, a wellspring of local history and items. Lawton is any history lover's dream with these sites and many others, such as Geronimo’s Grave and the Mattie Beal home.

Once you’ve delved into the city’s past, it's time to enjoy Lawton’s vibrance. In this regard, the first place on your list should be Elmer Thomas Park. With everything from a playground to picnic areas, it is the perfect place to enjoy some downtime with your friends and family. Moreover, with many of the locals frequenting this park, you can make new friends and have interesting conversations!

If you’re in Lawton with kids, you must visit the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center. This aquarium has hundreds of animal species on display, such as the massive South American Boa Constrictor and menacing Alligator Gar. For an adult-only trip, head over to the Apache Casino instead. Amazing staff, great games, delicious food, and many drinks are all available here for a fun end to your weekend in Lawton.

Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge

Salt Plains State Park sign and park in Oklahoma
Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge sign in Oklahoma.

The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is a treasure trove of salt plains and wildlife. Spend days exploring the wildlife refuge’s 32,000+ acre area, which houses all sorts of natural sights and activities. For example, get on the Eagle Roost Nature Trail and take a scenic hike through wooded and open areas. Or, go digging for the majestic hourglass selenite crystals, which are only found in the salt flats of this park. If you’re here during the summer, head to the Great Salt Plains Lake, an ideal place for swimming and boating under the hot sun. If you’re looking to enjoy outdoor activities, this wildlife refuge is the perfect weekend destination for you.

While outdoor sights and activities are one thing, the prime attraction of the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is the wildlife. With a mix of salt flats, woodlands, and grasslands, this refuge provides a habitat for various animal species. The park boasts hundreds of unique animals ranging from migratory birds to small mammals. So, go exploring to witness animals such as snowy plovers, white-tailed deer, porcupines, American bullfrogs, and even great blue herons. If you want to see as many animals as possible, join the Harold F Miller Auto Tour, which covers 2.5 miles of animal-rich areas. After enjoying the day exploring, head back to camp for a relaxing night encompassed by Oklahoma’s verdant beauty.


Eighty-Niner Day Celebration Parade - April event commemorating Oklahoma's first land run in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Eighty-Niner Day Celebration Parade, in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Image credit Andreas Stroh via Shutterstock.com

A timeless three-day weekend awaits you in the charming old-school town of Guthrie. Boasting a stunning historic district and downtown area, Guthrie feels like a recreation of 19th-century America. Stroll through the quaint streets riddled with commercial architecture from the 1900s, which will take you back in time. Take a few hours to stop by the unique Oklahoma Frontier Drug Store Museum. This intriguing establishment showcases apothecary artifacts, alchemy equipment, herbal tonics, and other items from the 19th and 20th centuries. If this wasn’t spooky enough, try out the Guthrie Ghost Walk, which covers horrifying spots like the Territorial Jail for an occult experience.

Another great thing you’ll enjoy about Guthrie is its tight-knit environment and friendly vibes. Home to 10,000 residents, you will make a few friends during your weekend stay here. A great way to meet the locals is by watching a rodeo show at the Lazy E Arena. This arena has hosted rodeo shows for the past 40 years with authentic horses, clothing, and performances. You can also enjoy the day playing a game at the Cimarron National Golf Course. With 18 holes for all skill levels, anyone can play for a fun time surrounded by the town’s scenery. Put it all together and you’re sure to have an amazing three-day weekend in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

Ouachita National Forest

A hiker exploring the Ouachita Mountains with flowing water and mountains.
A hiker exploring the Ouachita Mountains.

Any nature lover’s dream, Ouachita National Forest is a massive 1,784,000-acre national forest in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. From the scenic Ouachita Mountain Range to the calming Wister Lake, this forest is rich with diverse natural sights and biomes. With woodlands being the most abundant, you will find amazing walking trails and driving routes that split through the thick tree cover. The Talimena Scenic Drive is a perfect example providing panoramic views of the Winding Stairs Mountain as well as many verdant forests. For a more involving experience, hike along the 223-mile Ouachita National Recreation Trail. This continuous trail is one of the region’s longest providing beautiful views, camp shelters, riverside activities, and a fun time outdoors.

If hiking isn’t your thing, there is still a lot more to see and do in the massive Ouachita National Forest. Whether you are into bicycling and hunting or fishing and boating, the forest features multiple spots where you can have fun. So, rent a boat at the Cedar Creek Recreation Area, where you can spend hours cruising through the still waters of the creek. Get out of the water, and you can walk over to the Crystal Vista Trail, where you’ll find people rockhounding for the area’s abundant quartz crystals. Once you’ve spent the day having fun, end it off with fishing or hunting. This way, you can catch food to enjoy as dinner when you get back to camp at night. So, with all sorts of activities, limitless natural sights, and a calming environment, Ouachita National Forest is one of Oklahoma’s best weekend destinations.


BNSF power, pulling a string of empy coal hoppers on Union Pacific's old Katy main, passes through Chouteau, OK - Home Of The Wildcats!
Train on Union Pacific's old Katy main, passes through Chouteau, Oklahoma. Image credit Doug Wertman via Wikimedia Commons

Home to the largest Amish community in the state, Chouteau is an interesting reprieve from the usual weekend. The town of 2,100 residents embodies Amish culture, with many shops, restaurants, and establishments to back it up. Go shopping at one of the many Amish stores such as Rustic Elegance & Design or Junk and Disorderly. Both of these shops are filled with antiquities and quirky items which are perfect to take home as a souvenir of your travels. If you get hungry strolling through town, you can try out the local specialties at the Amish Cheese House. With homemade breads, cakes, pies, and more, your taste buds will thank you for the experience.

Choteau is also known for having a positive environment with lots of fun recreational activities. If you’re here with family, Guy Williams Park is a great place to spend a few hours. You can have a picnic, play games on the playground, or have a fun session of disc golf! Lake Hudson is another great attraction boasting 12,000 acres of pristine water. Here, you can find people camping, hiking, swimming, and fishing throughout the day for a lighthearted outdoor adventure. Chouteau is an ideal weekend town with rich Amish culture.

Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge

Longhorn cattle (Bos taurus) in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge
Longhorn cattle in Oklahoma's Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.

Located in southwestern Oklahoma, the breathtaking Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is perfect for a three-day weekend. This iconic wildlife refuge has been active for over a century and preserves some unique animal habitats. So, start off your weekend by taking in a wildlife-watching experience in the refuge. Just a few hours outdoors, you can spot American bison, Texas longhorn cattle, nine-banded armadillos, river otters, and burrowing owls. The refuge houses about 400 animal species for an array of cute, large, small, and unique animals to meet and watch. In addition to the diverse fauna, the region’s varying biomes provide abundant plant life, which is also beautiful to see and learn about.

While wildlife is definitely the highlight here, the wildlife refuge also offers many recreational activities. One of the most popular things to do here is rock climbing, thanks to the many steep slabs and cliffs found here. Great Expectations is a high-rated climbing route. On the other hand, if you’re here for a more relaxing weekend, opt for activities like hiking, fishing, and photography to calmly take in the sights. Set up camp at one of the many campsites, and you won’t even know when three days pass by.


Lake Veteran on a beautiful day at Sulphur, Oklahoma.
Lake Veteran at Sulphur, Oklahoma.

A short distance from the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Sulphur is a quaint city home to 5,000 people. The town is named after its prime attraction, a set of sulfurous natural water springs that attract tourists from all over. First discovered by Native Americans thousands of years ago, these springs were nicknamed "The Land of Rippling Water," and some believe they possess medicinal properties. So, if you don’t mind the unique odor and taste, spend a few hours relaxing in the springs and revitalizing your mind and body.

Apart from the springs, Sulphur is the perfect mix of Oklahoma’s vibrant culture and outdoor beauty. The town has a small-town feel which is ideal for a three-day retreat from the urban hustle and bustle. To meet the locals, enjoy some games and snacks at the Artesian Hotel Casino, which is always filled with people. Or, grab some delicious souvenirs at The Spice & Tea Exchange, which offers all sorts of unusual spices and teas. With these and dozens of other stores, parks, and eateries, you will surely have a great weekend in Sulphur.

From the hustle and bustle of Oklahoma City to the serene environment of the Ouachita National Forest, Oklahoma is a diverse state. No matter what you’re into, there is an ideal destination where you can enjoy the perfect three-day weekend in this state. Moreover, thanks to its central location, getting to and from Oklahoma is easy, so you won’t have to worry about traveling.


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