Explore natural beauties and discover the diversity of Oklahoma's gorgeous scenery and inspirational places. Admire a beautiful waterfall, trek along a scenic byway overlooking forested hills, or hike among ancient mountains — and that's just the beginning.
Trying to select the Top 10 most beautiful places to visit in Oklahoma is a daunting task. Mother Nature has provided plenty of awe-inspiring locales all over Oklahoma and with 11 distinct eco-regions, the variety of stunning scenery is incredible.
1. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
With over 59,000 acres of ancient mountains dotting a sea of prairie, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Lawton is home to free-range American bison herds, prairie dogs, Texas Longhorn cattle, bobcats and coyotes. The crowning jewel of the park is Mount Scott. From the top you can marvel at the patchwork of lakes, stunning rock formations, and miles of picturesque hiking trails.
2. Quartz Mountain Resort
Nestled between the shores of Lake Altus-Lugert and the Wichita Mountains, Quartz Mountain Resort is the ideal setting for quiet reflection and solitude, family fun or a romantic retreat. The lake glimmers in the sun and moonlight and the stars shine as brightly as any place in Oklahoma. With the resort’s authentic lodge furnishings and delectable restaurant menu, guests can snuggle in for a memorable stay.
3. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
One hundred years ago, American Indians called it the "Peaceful Valley of Rippling Waters" and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur continues to offer precious serenity to visitors. Travertine Creek meanders throughout much of the park and the babbling water is the perfect soundtrack for recreation. From hiking to swimming, camping to picnicking or fishing to wildlife viewing, you are sure to find what best feeds your soul.
4. Beavers Bend State Park
Imagine mountains of fragrant pine forests intermingled with colorful hardwood trees and you’ve found Beavers Bend State Park near Broken Bow. The Mountain Fork River provides clear, cool waters for excellent fishing year-round. A dreamlike mist rising from Broken Bow Lake is the perfect vista while enjoying a morning cup of coffee at Lakeview Lodge.
5. Natural Falls State Park
Beauty often makes you quickly draw in your breath in wonder and Natural Falls State Park is no different; but what it also provides its visitors is a place to exhale. At this quiet oasis in northeastern Oklahoma, a 77-foot waterfall invites visitors to hike down the rugged trails to an enchanting basin pool. Seventeen different fern varieties thrive in the wet kiss of the cascades. Once at the base of the falls, you can drink in the tranquility of the little valley and surround yourself with native flowering trees like the redbud and the luminous dogwood. Camping and hiking are the most popular forms of activity in the park, but a book read at the base of the falls on a sunny summer afternoon could be the most soothing.
6. Talimena National Scenic Byway
The Ouachita National Forest in southeast Oklahoma loves to show off its colors. The Talimena National Scenic Byway has become one of the most popular destinations for fall foliage tours in the region. At each scenic turnout along the way, the vibrant colors on the mountainsides are breathtaking and almost unbelievable in their brilliance.
7. Grand Lake of the Cherokees
The result of the Pensacola Dam project completed in 1940, Grand Lake o' the Cherokees is one of Oklahoma’s most popular lake destinations. With 1,300 miles of scenic shoreline bordered by five state parks, the Grand Lake area is an outdoorsman's delight. This serpentine gem glitters and shimmers in the summer sunlight between rolling green hills that beg you to slow down and just enjoy the view.
8. Glover River
The last major free-flowing river unencumbered by dams or water releases; the Glover River offers secluded beauty unmatched in the state. Canoeing and small-mouth bass fishing are popular on this gorgeous waterway. The fact that the river is still uncommercialized lures the most experienced adventurer to this best-kept secret in southeast Oklahoma.
9. Black Mesa Area
Located in the farthest northwest corner of Oklahoma, the panhandle area is the epitome of stark beauty. The Black Mesa plateau is Oklahoma’s highest point at 4,973 feet and rewards hikers with a rare view of a tri-state area. The nearby Black Mesa State Park and Nature Preserve feature amazing watchable wildlife, including golden eagles, black bears and bighorn sheep. In the amazing solitude of this scenic area, the wide-open spaces dotted with blue sage evoke visions of cowboys on horseback and the prehistoric creatures that used to call this area home.
10. Robbers Cave State Park
Climb the steep sandstone bluffs and pretend that you’re an outlaw on the run with Jesse James at Robbers Cave State Park. The Belle Starr View Lodge gives each guest a panoramic view of the lakes and forest that lay hundreds of feet below. As a popular destination for equestrians, the best view of all might just come from the top of a horse.
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Enter to win a fun family getaway in Enid, Okla. complete with a two-night hotel stay at Holiday Express Inn and Suites, $100 gift cards to both Napolis Italian Restaurant and Swadley’s Barbecue, and passes to Leonardo's Children's Museum, the Cherokee Strip Heritage Center, and Enid Escapes. Visit travelok.com/contests to register.