Destinations,  Routes

10 Epic Road Trips from Oklahoma City

For the past few years, going on a road trip has been one of the best ways to travel. It gives you the freedom to explore, the flexibility to adjust your schedule however you choose, and safety if you prefer to avoid crowds and groups of people. It’s also an amazing way to see both the entire U.S. and especially the Great Plains. Best of all, almost every major city in America has some great road trip routes you can plan – including Oklahoma City in the heart of the Great Plains.

Oklahoma City is well worth exploring on its own, but you may find yourself wanting to strike out and explore more of the region. There are plenty of good options for road trips from Oklahoma City – including some that take you across the Missouri River and out of the Great Plains entirely.

Oklahoma City Road Trips Hero

Whichever Oklahoma City road trip you choose, you really can’t go wrong: you can see natural wonders and National Parks, incredible art and culture, and national landmarks, and try delicious local food all along the way. Read on to discover some of the best road trips from Oklahoma City and choose one for your next adventure.

In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the 𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 𐒼𐓂𐓊𐒻 𐓆𐒻𐒿𐒷 𐓀𐒰^𐓓𐒰^(Osage), O-ga-xpa Ma-zhoⁿ (O-ga-xpa) (Quapaw), Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Muscogee (Oklahoma), Caddo, Jumanos, Wichita, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Tawakoni, Nʉmʉnʉʉ Sookobitʉ (Comanche), Ndé Kónitsąąíí Gokíyaa (Lipan Apache), Gáuigú (Kiowa), Washtáge Moⁿzháⁿ (Kaw / Kansa), Tonkawa, Coahuiltecan, Karankawa, Sana, Ishak (Atakapa), Kaskaskia, Myaamia, and Yatasi peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.

Oklahoma City to Tulsa

Day Trips from Tulsa Hero
  • Travel Time: 3 hours, 15 minutes roundtrip
  • Overnights: 1+ (Tulsa)
  • Distance: 215 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

If you’re time-constrained, the Oklahoma City to Tulsa trip will be your best bet. Tulsa is one of the shortest road trips from Oklahoma City, with a round trip taking only 3 hours and 15 minutes. As you can see, you can make this road trip in as few as two days. 

Contrary to what most people would think, the road trip’s short length doesn’t mean it is short of things to see along the way. Most roadside attractions are related to the heydays of Route 66, like The Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum, Pops 66 (soda shop with sodas of every kind), and the Round Barn.

Tulsa, where you’ll stay overnight, is Oklahoma’s second-largest city and has many attractions worth exploring. For a gastronomic experience, head to the Blue Dome Entertainment District. If you love history and art, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Gilcrease Museum, which houses one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Western American art. 

Make sure you also stop by The Gathering Place, a 66.5-acre park along the Arkansas River. The park’s landscaping is stunning, as are the entertainment facilities, like the wooden Adventure Playground that resembles a medieval village.

Oklahoma to Dallas-Fort Worth

Oklahoma City Road Trips - Dallas
  • Travel Time: 6 hours, 45 minutes total
  • Overnights: 2+ (Dallas, Fort Worth)
  • Distance: 440 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

From Oklahoma City to the south, we have the Dallas-Fort Worth road trip, which will allow you to cover the two cities (one metroplex) that make up the economic and cultural hub of North Texas. The drive takes three hours one way and is full of interesting pit stops. It’s also worth mentioning that the attractions on the road are more diverse than on the Tulsa road trip. 

From Oklahoma City to Dallas, the first stretch is the longest, covering 208 miles on I-35 S. Along the way, you’ll find Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum Of Natural History, the Spider Bug-Wilson VW, the Toy, and Action Figure Museum, and the Chickasaw Cultural Center. If you are looking for some time outdoors before you leave Oklahoma head to the Chickasaw National Recreation Center in Sulphur.

Once you are in Dallas, you will be overwhelmed with things to do. Check out Uptown, a more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood in Dallas, and head to McKinney Avenue. There are shopping boutiques, incredible restaurants, and unique bars to discover! 

The second stretch, from Dallas to Fort Worth, is only 33 minutes away. While Dallas and Fort Worth now form one metroplex, the two have their separate personalities and couldn’t be any more different. 

Your second overnight will be in Fort Worth, mainly because the city has tons of attractions worth seeing. You’ll notice Fort Worth is a lot more casual and laid-back than Dallas. 

In fact, some people argue that Fort Worth is closer to being a “true Texan” city, at least if we think of Texas in cowboy-stereotype terms. Looking back on history, such a statement is right. Fort Worth is an iconic Western town and has roots as being the line that marked “where the West begins” back in 1843. Moreover, the town was also the last major stop on the legendary Chisholm Trail, the road cowboys used to drive herds of Longhorns from Texas to the railheads in Kansas. As you can imagine, Fort Worth had a terrible reputation as its red-light district sprang up with gambling parlors, saloons, and dance halls to entertain the cowboys who galloped through town. 

Today you will still find gentlemen in their best cowboy boots and hats, Wrangler jeans, and pearl button-ups. Foodies should head to the Stockyards district for dinner. Then put on your cowboy boots and head to Billy Bob’s Texas to experience a true Texas dance hall. It is a pure country experience you can’t miss. 

To make your way back to Oklahoma City, you’ll also take I-35 N, which gives you a chance to make a few pit stops you couldn’t make on the initial stretch.

West Texas Loop

Things to Do in Lubbock Hero
  • Travel Time: 11 hours
  • Overnights: 2+ (Amarillo, Lubbock)
  • Distance: 730 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

The West Texas Loop is one of my favorite Oklahoma City road trips on this list. It takes you to explore the wild-west plains of West Texas. The journey allows you to explore Amarillo and Lubbock before making your way back to Oklahoma City. While you can complete this road trip in three days, you might want to consider an extra night somewhere else along the way. 

On your way to Amarillo, or “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” you’ll find many attractions that relive and celebrate Route 66, like The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, The Tower Station, and U-Drop Inn Café. 

Once you reach Amarillo, the highlights you should visit are Cadillac Ranch, a public art installation with ten Cadillacs buried nose-down in a field, and Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the second-largest canyon in the United States. Those with an unquenchable appetite should stop by The Big Texan Steak Ranch, home of the 72oz steak. You get the meal free if you can eat the entire steak and sides – plus your photo on the wall of fame!

You’ll venture into the Llano Estacado region from Amarillo to reach Lubbock, known as the ‘Hub of the Plains.’ The road passes through Hereford, Texas’ cattle capital, and crosses the historic Ozark Trail in Dimmitt before ending in Lubbock.

I suggest heading to the Depot Entertainment Center in Lubbock. Visit the Buddy Holly Museum and find some delicious Texas fare before finding a dance hall and learning how to two-step. 

Best of Kansas

Kansas Sunflower Fields Hero
  • Travel Time: 10 hours, 30 minutes 
  • Overnights: 3+ (Wichita, Kansas City, Lawrence)
  • Distance: 720 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

We go up to the north with this Oklahoma road trip, which I’ve decided to call the Best of Kansas road trip. As the name suggests, this out-and-back road trip takes you to the three major cities of America’s heartland and the Sunflower State: Wichita, Kansas City, and Lawrence. 

To do this road trip, you’ll take I-35 N, and, in about two hours and a half, you’ll have reached Wichita. As the Air Capital of the World, Wichita has many attractions related to the United States aviation history and aircraft production. One day is more than enough to taste Wichita’s Midwestern charm. 

Then, you’ll move on your way to Kansas City. On the drive from Wichita to KC, you’ll pass Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, the largest expanse of tallgrass prairie left in the world. Besides having more barbeque restaurants per capita than any other US city, Kansas City also has stunning architecture and museums you can visit, like the Nelson Atkins Jazz Museum. On your way back, you’ll do an overnight stay in Lawrence before returning to Oklahoma City via I-35. 

Best of Texas

Dallas to San Antonio Drive - Texas State Capitol Building
  • Travel Time: 17 hours
  • Overnights: 5+ (Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas)
  • Distance: 1,115 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

The Best of Texas road trip is one of the longest road trips from Oklahoma City. It covers 1,115 miles, and you’ll need at least six days to complete it. By the end of the journey, you’ll have a taste of the best cities in the Lone Star State.

I’ve created this itinerary to combine all the main urban centers that make up The Texas Triangle: Austin, Dallas–Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. To complete the circuit, you’ll drive through Interstate 35, Interstate 10, and Interstate 45. Your first overnight will be in Fort Worth, and the second in Austin. As the capital city of Texas, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in Austin. One day here is truly not enough (it isn’t for any of the cities either), which leads me to the following suggestion: if you can afford to add a few extra days, it will make the road trip more enjoyable. 

Austin is home to ​​Sixth Street, famous for its bars, and Rainy Street, which took old houses and turned them into restaurants and bars that grad students frequent. The city also has tons of excellent BBQs and Congress Avenue Bride, where you can see the bats flying out at dusk. 

From Austin, you’ll continue to San Antonio, your third overnight. All these three cities, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio, are along Interstate 35. So, this stretch is pretty direct. 

Your fourth stop is Houston. Take Interstate 10, and you should be in the world capital of space exploration in less than four hours. This drive is full of natural attractions, like Natural Bridge Caverns and Jacob’s Well Natural Area, two perfect spots to stretch your legs. 

From Houston, you’ll make your way to Dallas via Interstate 45. In this itinerary, Dallas is your fifth and last overnight stay before returning to Oklahoma City via Interstate 45. 

Best of Missouri

Oklahoma City Road Trips - St. Louis
  • Travel Time: 17 hours, 15 minutes (without tolls on I-44: 19 hours)
  • Overnights: 3+ (Lake of the Ozarks, St. Louis, Kansas City)
  • Distance: 1,160 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

Oklahoma borders Missouri in the Northeast, and the drive from Oklahoma City to Kansas City has tons of attractions that make a road trip well- worth it. The essence of the Best of Missouri road trip is the same as the Texas one. You’ll cover the major highlights of the Show-me State. 

The Best of Missouri road trip is also one of the biggest Oklahoma City road trips, taking 17 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Unlike the Texas road trip, this one doesn’t cover as many cities. Instead, you’ll explore only three: Lake of the Ozarks, St. Louis, and Kansas City. 

The first stretch goes from OKC to Lake of the Ozarks, where you’ll spend the night. This reservoir is a dream for outdoor lovers, along with the Lake of the Ozarks State Park. 

The second stop is St. Louis, also known as the “Gateway to the West.” The main attraction here is Gateway Arch National Park. From St. Louis, you’ll drive to Kansas City via I-70 W. You’ll make your way back to Oklahoma through Kansas State, which will give you the chance to pass through cities like Emporia and Wichita. 

Haunted Oklahoma

Haunted Houses in Oklahoma
  • Travel Time: 8 hours
  • Overnights: 3+ (Tulsa, Ponca City, Alva, plus you can stop for other nights 
  • Distance: 470 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

The state of Oklahoma is home to beautiful landscapes and historical attractions. However, it also has some spooky attractions for adrenaline seekers. While paranormal phenomena fascinate me, I completely dread visiting haunted houses, let alone spending the night in one. However, not everyone is like me, and some people have the guts to visit spooky places. 

If you’re one of them, this is one of the top Oklahoma City road trips to consider. Haunted Oklahoma travels through some of the state’s spookiest cities. I’ve listed Tulsa, Ponca City, Alva, and El Reno as your base stops for overnights, but you can add more to your itinerary! 

First, take I-44 Or I-35(toll-free) to Tulsa. Oklahoma’s second-largest city has haunted places to spare. The Hex House and Cain’s Ballroom are some of the most famous haunted places in the city. On the way to visit the Ruins of Gaudini’s Circus in Edmond, where a carnival went bankrupt, they left all of the equipment in a field, leaving behind an eerie sight. 

From Tulsa, you’ll drive up to Ponca City, home of the haunted Constantine Theater & Poncan Theater. Your third overnight will be in Alva. Here you want to visit Cherokee Strip Museum, one of Oklahoma’s scariest and most haunted places.

Now it’s time to head back to Oklahoma City. You’ll still have one last overnight in El Reno, home to Historic Fort Reno, one of the most famous ghostly attractions in the state. 

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to make the most of the road trip, you can add Edmond and Guthrie to the itinerary. You’d be hitting these destinations first from OKC and then driving to Tulsa.

Oklahoma National Parks

Fort Smith National Historic Site, Oklahoma
  • Travel Time: 12 hours, 40 minutes
  • Overnights: 3+ (Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Fort Smith National Historic Site)
  • Distance: 470 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

I have put together the Oklahoma National Parks road trip for those like me who prefer less frightening road trips. There are six national parks in Oklahoma. Nonetheless, this 4-day road trip covers only three: Washita Battlefield National Historic Site, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and Fort Smith National Historic Site. 

Your first overnight will be in Cheyenne, OK, the town that houses the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. To reach the Cheyenne from OKC, you’ll take I-40 W. The drive takes around three hours, and you can stop at the Stafford Air & Space Museum to stretch your legs and learn about the cosmos. 

On your second day, you’re heading to Sulphur to visit Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The journey is almost the same as yesterday’s but backward, via I-40 E and then I-35 S. From Sulphur, you’ll follow I-40 E to Fort Smith, your third overnight. As a heads up, Fort Smith lies on the Arkansas–Oklahoma state border. However, Fort Smith National Historic Site is technically in Arkansas, so when you enter the destination on your GPS, make sure you don’t put Fort Smith, OK. Once again, you’ll take I-40 to the West to make your way back to Oklahoma City.

Note: For the remaining two road trips on this list, I’ve been advised by several Little Rock locals that the city has a high crime rate and may not be worth visiting at this point. I urge you to do additional research to understand where in Little Rock you’d like to visit and stay if you choose to do either of these Oklahoma City road trips.

Best of Arkansas

Oklahoma City Road Trips - Hot Springs Arkansas
  • Travel Time: 11 hours, 15 minutes
  • Overnights: 2+ (Little Rock, Hot Springs National Park)
  • Distance: 710 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

The Best of Arkansas road trip is one of the best road trips from Oklahoma City for nature lovers. Dubbed the ‘The Natural State,’ Arkansas is home to stunning landscapes, including the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges. 

Despite taking 11 hours and 15 minutes, you’ll need as few as three days to complete the Best of Arkansas road trip. Although, as usual, you’ll always enjoy each destination a bit more if you add a few more days to your itinerary. 

The first place you’ll explore is Hot Springs National Park, right in the Ouachita Mountains. These hot springs have held an important place within the community. First for its healing properties and now as a recreational space. 

From Hot Springs National Park, make your way to Little Rock via I-30 E/US-70 E. Spend your second overnight in Little Rock, exploring the River Market Area. Then make your way back to Oklahoma City through I-40 W, which crosses the beautiful Arkansas River. 

The OK-TX-LA-AR Loop

Oklahoma City Road Trips - Shreveport
  • Travel Time: 14 hours
  • Overnights: 4+ (Dallas/Fort Worth, Shreveport, Little Rock)
  • Distance: 950 miles
  • Road Trip Route: Map Link

This ambitious road trip, which I’m calling the OK-TX-LA-AR Loop, will take you to discover the main cities of the South Central state’s region comprising Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Formerly the Old Southwest, this region’s fascinating history has been the center of conflicts among different cultures. 

On this road trip, I suggest you go from Oklahoma City to Dallas first via I-35 for your first overnight. Then, follow I-20 to Shreveport for your second overnight, and finally drive along I-30 to reach Little Rock, your third overnight. To make it a loop, you’ll go back to Oklahoma City from Arkansas through I-40. It’s a long drive, taking 5 hours and 23 minutes. So you might want to consider adding another overnight. 

Have any questions about these road trips from Oklahoma City and which one you want to do? Let me know in the comments!

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