Looking for hidden gems on your Oklahoma vacation? Fill your days with some of the best day trips from Tulsa, OK. Oklahoma’s second biggest city is a short drive from quaint cities, stunning scenery, and endless outdoor activities.
From Tulsa, you can unpack Native American culture in Pawhuska, explore the historic cities of Bartlesville and Claremore, and escape into nature at Sequoyah State Park.
Ready to ramp up your journey to Tulsa? Get inspiration from this complete guide to the most exciting Tulsa side trips!
Top-rated Tulsa side trips
Broken Arrow, OK
Take some time on your Tulsa trip to visit the City of Roses. Broken Arrow is a 20-minute drive away or 30 minutes on public transport. It was once a suburb of Tulsa, but its quaint streets and a great selection of attractions have helped it grow into Oklahoma’s fourth-largest city.
The heart of Broken Arrow is the Rose District, home to the city’s arts and entertainment scene. Stroll down pedestrianized streets lined with blooming rose bushes. As well as some of Broken Arrow’s top attractions, the Rose District is home to unique shops, comfy cafes, cute restaurants, and the weekly farmers’ market.
History buffs will find plenty of gems to keep them occupied, too. Check out fascinating military artifacts at the Military History Museum. The staff are veterans who’ll guide you through the events dating from the American Revolution up to the conflicts in the Middle East.
To learn more about the heritage of Broken Arrow, visit The Museum Broken Arrow. At the entrance, you’re greeted by a vibrant mural depicting the history of the city. Inside, you’ll find exhibits and memorabilia exploring Native American culture, war heroes, and coal mining.
Bartlesville is the go-to destination for one-of-a-kind attractions. The historic city is a short 50-minute drive from Tulsa, letting you explore its stunning architecture, fascinating history, and outdoor fun with ease.
The iconic Price Tower is an immense structure stretching 221 feet into the sky. Inside, you’ll find the Price Tower Arts Center, where you can browse contemporary artwork and take a peek at the restored office of H.C. Price on the 19th floor.
Bartlesville is one of only two places where Lenape Native Americans still live, giving the city a colorful heritage. Discover the past of a significant Bartlesville figure at the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve. The previous ranch retreat of Frank Philips is now a huge art museum.
On your visit to the Woolaroc Museum, you can browse collections of Native American artifacts, colt firearms, and contemporary sculptures. There’s also a wildlife preserve where you can spot animals from around the world and a lovely selection of hiking and nature trails.
Enjoy a peaceful day on the Caney River. Walk the peaceful paths under the shade of leaning pecan trees. It’s a lovely spot for fishing, or you can rent a kayak and float along the gentle waters.
Take a day trip to the birthplace of Walmart. Bentonville is just over a two-hour drive from Tulsa. This vintage-style town has something for everyone, from an unusual history to outdoor fun.
Start your day with a visit to the Walmart Museum, unpacking the humble beginnings of the international giant. Begin in the first 5&10, still with its original ceiling tiles. You can also check out the fun interactive lab with digital games and artifacts.
Keen cyclists come to Bentonville for the beautiful surrounding bike trails. If you want to do some mountain biking, there are challenging routes on the Slaughter Pen Trail. Race through wooded paths and spot some quirky artwork along the way.
Spend your evenings in Bentonville Town Square, surrounded by lots of original historic buildings and showing off a lively ambiance. There are some great restaurants around Bentonville Town Square to soak up the feeling of the city. Sample refined dishes at The Preacher’s Son, a new American restaurant inside a gothic church. Or tuck into tacos and margaritas at the cantina-style Azul Tequila Bistro.
Delve into Native American culture in Pawhuska, in the heart of Osage County, just over an hour from Tulsa. Spend a side trip here for a day of nature, culture, and tasty food.
Spend some time in the charming Downtown Pawhuska, where 86 out of 98 buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1900s architecture will give you a shopping experience with a Wild West twist.
Browse cute shops for artwork and antiques, then stop for a bite at one of Downtown Pawhuska’s tasty restaurants. The Pioneer Women Mercantile is in the 100-year-old Osage Mercantile Building. Stop by the bakery for a sweet treat or linger a while and tuck into their wholesome deli menu.
Osage County is the reservation for the Osage Nation, so has maintained fascinating cultures and traditions. Explore the history and culture of the Osage people at the Osage Nation Tribal Museum, the oldest tribal museum in the United States. Fantastic exhibits bring the attitudes and experiences of the Osage people to life.
Step into a simpler time at the Tallgrass Prairie Reserve. The vast 39,650-acre space is home to over 3,000 bison. Spot 700 plants, 300 birds, and 80 mammals as you explore this idyllic space. Come for a sunrise or sunset to see the gentle sloping hills turning to gold!
Make a stop on Route 66 to see the infamous blue whale. Catoosa is a 20-minute drive from Tulsa, so it’s a convenient spot for a day out. It’s a bustling city with lots of fun attractions to fill your afternoon.
Your first stop has in Catoosa to be the Route 66 Blue Whale. This funky structure rears its head out of a green lake. Walk into his mouth and out onto the lake or bring your fishing gear and rest for a while.
Discover your inner geologist at the D.W. Correll Museum, full of intricate gems, fossils, and shells. Step into a dark room to witness the rock’s luminous glow. If rocks aren’t your thing, they also have a wonderful collection of vintage cars, including a stunning 1906 Cadillac.
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Refuel with a tender steak at Molly’s Landing. This cozy log cabin has an eclectic style and a beautiful garden. Steak, oozing cheese potatoes, and a fantastic choice of wine complement the fun and lively atmosphere at this top-notch restaurant.
Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Claremore is a 33-minute drive from Tulsa. This historic town is the birthplace of Will Rogers and is packed with fun things to do.
Start your day in the Lilac District, Claremore’s historic downtown. It’s home to quaint brick storefronts and some of Claremore’s top attractions. It’s the perfect place to rummage through vintage shops and antique stores. Browse the Retro 66 Vintage Market and The Cranberry Market to find hidden treasures. When you’re done, fuel up on the patio of the Main Street Tavern, and soak up the historic downtown ambiance.
Take a visit to the Will Rogers Memorial Museum to see the world’s largest collection of the famous cowboy’s memorabilia. The museum also hosts his saddle collection and the entire portfolio of his writings. The grand estate gives you a chance to commemorate him in grand surroundings. Get nostalgic in the movie theatre playing a selection of his best films.
Keen history lovers will also want to visit the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum, home to the world’s largest private arms collection. Explore over 12,000 firearms, Old West saddles, and posters from World War I.
Sequoyah State Park, OK
Take your Tulsa side trip outdoors with a day in Sequoyah State Park, less than an hour’s drive from Tulsa. The picturesque area is an idyllic setting for outdoor activities on and off the water.
The prime location offers 225 miles of shoreline on Fort Gibson Lake. Spend a day lazing on the beach or take the opportunity to make a splash. Rent a kayak and glide across the blue waters. Go to the Paradise Cove Marina to rent boats, watercraft, and fishing supplies.
There’s a range of hiking trails to discover in Sequoyah State Park, too. Take the short Fossil Trail to spot native animals and fossils etched into the rocks. For a dreamy sunset, take the Inspiration Point Trail. The hiking trail ends at the tree on the tip of the peninsula and gives you the best lakeside views.
Cover more ground by exploring Sequoyah State Park on horseback. The stables offer one-hour guided rides for all levels. They’ll take you through the scenic woodlands and help you appreciate the park’s natural beauty.
Beautiful scenery and a pretty town make Fayetteville a great spot for a day out. It’s a two-hour drive from Tulsa over the Arkansas border, but will promise you an action-packed day out. Spend your afternoon wandering about pretty gardens, quaint streets, and rolling hillsides.
Start in Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens to get a feel for the city. The historical area has a cute square with flowers blooming from season to season. Period buildings feature the old post office and bank. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, you can browse the colorful farmers’ market and pick up pretty plants, fresh produce, and vibrant artwork.
Take some time to stop in the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks. The beautiful garden has vibrant flowers, mosaics, and glasswork woven throughout. Pack a picnic and soak up the serene surroundings.
Beer drinkers won’t want to be the designated driver on a visit to Fayetteville. The Fayetteville Ale Trail gives you a deep dive into the craft beer culture of Northwest Arkansas. Stop at 20 different breweries to collect all the stamps on your Ale Trail passport!
Oklahoma City, OK
Get a taste of cowboy culture in Oklahoma City. The state capital is an hour and 30 minutes drive from Tulsa or two hours on public transport. This thriving city has something to keep every type of traveler entertained.
Make sure to take a visit to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, one of the most popular places to visit in Oklahoma City. Inside, you’ll find over 28,000 artifacts and artwork that will delight culture, art, and history lovers. Step into life in the 1800s with a huge recreation of an old western town.
If you want to see cowboy culture in action, head to the Historic Stockyards City, one of the world’s largest livestock markets in the world. Pick up fun Western-themed clothes and souvenirs, or catch a country music show.
Finish your day in Oklahoma City in the buzzing Bricktown Entertainment District. The historic district is a hub for the best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in Oklahoma City. Take a sunset cruise down the Bricktown Canal or try the outdoor mini golf course at Brickopolis.
A visit to Muskogee is a must for history buffs. Located on the Arkansas River, the city is under an hour from Tulsa and has lots of impressive sites and outdoor activities to keep everyone entertained.
The War Memorial Park is a serene green space with monuments for World War II. Here, you’ll find the impressive USS Batfish. This huge submarine had a significant role in the war and is now an exciting museum. Step on board and explore the crew cabins, torpedo rooms, and various military artifacts.
The Five Civilized Tribes Museum contains crafts and clothing from significant Native American tribes. Marvel at elaborate baskets and wood carvings. Knowledgeable staff are on hand to answer any of your questions.
Spend some time in the unique Castle of Muskogee. This 36,000-square-foot attraction is home to the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival. Get lost in the dungeon and catacombs, get on board the pirate ships, or discover the magical mermaid cave.
Natural Falls State Park, OK
The stunning Natural Falls State Park is one of the most popular day trips from Tulsa. It’s only an hour and 15 minutes away, so you can spend a whole day in this natural paradise. The 120-acre park is full of hidden gems, including a 77-foot waterfall.
Witness white jets of water shooting into the blue pools below. Known locally as ‘The Dripping Springs,’ this was a filming site for the 1974 movie Where the Red Fern Grows. The easiest way to see the falls is by taking the Dripping Springs Trail. Along the way, you’ll have gorgeous views and can also take the side trails to get to old ruins and a former sanitarium.
There are lots of other outdoor activities to help you enjoy the scenery at Natural Falls State Park. Unwind during catch-and-release fishing, and practice on the 18-hole disc golf course. Or get competitive on the basketball and volleyball courts. If you don’t want the fun to end, you can camp overnight in a fabulous yurt!