15 Best Small Towns to Visit in Oklahoma

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Oklahoma, famously known for its unique pan-like shape on the map, is located in the South Central United States. Its name was derived from the Choctaw language and roughly means “red people”. This state was settled during the westward expansion and is home to small mountain ranges, prairies and forest.

Also a location for the resettlement of many Native American tribes, there are now 25 Native American languages spoken here, second only to the state of California. Come visit to appreciate its wild nature and history and disconnect from normal life.

Lets have a look at the best small towns to visit in Oklahoma:

1. Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park, OklahomaSource: flickr
Medicine Park, Oklahoma

Medicine Park is a town located in Comanche County, in the Wichita Mountains. It was founded in 1908 by Elmer Thomas, a new member of the Oklahoma State Senate. He transformed the land he purchased into a resort location, complete with a swimming hole. This quickly turned into a cobblestone resort community that is now Medicine Park; tourists are still drawn here to this day.

Take a few days and visit for a natural paradise resort destination vacation – it is near the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and has been landscaped with beautiful gardens and trees. Go fishing or kayaking on Medicine Creek or admire the waterfalls. Pamper yourself at Stardust Inn Bed & Breakfast and relax over coffee at Mrs. Chadwick’s Bakery and Coffee Bar.

2. Guthrie, Oklahoma

Guthrie, OklahomaSource: wikimedia
Guthrie, Oklahoma

Located in Logan County, Guthrie was first established as a railroad station. Its population skyrocketed after the land run in 1889, and soon had 10,000 residents. Later, Guthrie became the first capital of the state of Oklahoma! Nowadays, the town is known for its commercial architecture and historic tourism.

Wander the Guthrie Historic District National Historic Landmark, which includes more than 2,000 buildings. The Victorian architecture is a perfect backdrop for Wild West entertainment and historic tourism opportunities like trolley car rides and carriage tours. Catch a show at the historic Pollard Theater or stop in at the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum. Enjoy a meal and step back in time at the Stone Lion Inn Murder Mysteries and Dinner at the first Oklahoma state capitol!

3. Eufaula, Oklahoma

Eufaula, OklahomaSource: flickr
Eufaula, Oklahoma

Eufaula is located in the southern part of McIntosh County and is named after the Eufaula tribe, a part of the Muscogee Creek Nation that was resettled here from the southeast. The name is a reference to the original Creek town that functioned as a meeting point in Alabama before they were moved out west. The current town was established with the railroad and grew steadily as more people moved out to Oklahoma.

Come visit this former frontier town and explore the lasting legacy on Main Street. You can stop in at a true Oklahoma store, Our Favorite Place, or explore Hoepfner Kiwi Farm. Meat lovers will rejoice at the restaurant I Smell Bacon! Or, enjoy a lunch at Treasures by the Lake. Have a quiet retreat at Falls Inn Bed and Breakfast and relax.

4. Carlton Landing, Oklahoma

Carlton Landing, OklahomaSource: flickr
Carlton Landing, Oklahoma

Located on the shores of Lake Eufaula, Carlton Landing is a planned community in eastern Oklahoma. The land was developed with childhood lake vacation memories in mind, and has preserved that peace and tranquility we associate with those happy days. Developed as a New Urbanism society and incorporated in 2013, Carlton Landing has worked hard to preserve the natural lake surroundings that make it an ideal resort getaway.

Enjoy a variety of summer sport activities: boating, kayaking, and swimming are just three fun ways to spend your vacation here. There are also a variety of hiking and biking on wooded trails should you want to get out and explore nature! Rent a lakeside cottage and enjoy a lunch at Buds on the Lake. Bring a book and be prepared for a very laid-back, quiet vacation here at Carlton Landing!

5. Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Beaver's Bend State Park - Broken Bow, OklahomaSource: flickr
Beaver’s Bend State Park – Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Broken Bow is a city in McCurtain County, Oklahoma and is named after a town of the same name in Nebraska which was the hometown of the founders of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, the Dierks brothers. The land that became Broken Bow was previously owned by the Choctaw Tribe until being converted into a lumber town. Nowadays, the town is a getaway for those in search of a quiet place to relax.

Get back in touch with nature at Beavers Bend Resort Park or Hochatown State Park. You can play a few rounds of golf at Cedar Creek Golf Course and enjoy the tranquility. Head down to the water at Broken Bow Coves. If you’re a hunter, this is the “deer capital of the world”. Don’t forget to brush up on your regional history at the Gardner Mansion and Museum of Native American artifacts!

6. Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

Pauls Valley, OklahomaSource: flickr
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma

Pauls Valley is the county seat of Garvin County, Founded and settled by Smith Paul, a North Carolinian who married a Chickasaw woman, the town’s economy has mostly been based on agriculture and oil production. Pauls Valley was one of the earliest European settlements in the Indian Territory, and soon became a railway station.

Come visit this peaceful valley, especially if you’re a cartoonist – the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame is located in the Toy and Action Figure Museum here. Also be sure to check out Santa Fe Depot Museum and Plaza for some railroading history. If you’re feeling lucky, Jet Stream Casino is nearby. Have some southern food at Punkin’s Catfish Barbecue and put your feet up at Pauls Valley Bed and Breakfast!

7. Ada, Oklahoma

Ada, OklahomaSource: flickr
Ada, Oklahoma

Ada is the county seat of Pontotoc County and was named after Ada Reed, the daughter of an early settler. The town is also the headquarters for the Chickasaw Nation, as well as an Oklahoma Main Street City. Originally settled by the Daggs family in the 1880s, a Dagg relative named Jeff Read soon followed and established Reed’s Store in town. The post office was later built and named after his daughter, Ava.

If you’re looking for a view with peace and quiet, visit Wintersmith Park and enjoy the lake. Catch a show at McSwain Theatre or shop at Serendipity on Main. Enjoy a drink at Vintage 22 or a hearty meal at Pig Skins BBQ and continue relaxing at the Artesian Hotel, Casino and Spa. Small town charm will keep you here long than you’d expect!

8. Sulphur, Oklahoma

Sulphur, OklahomaSource: flickr
Sulphur, Oklahoma

Sulphur is located in Murray County and is surrounded by mineral springs – the city gets its name from the sulphur in the water. The land formerly belonged to the Chickasaw Nation until Noah Lael, son-in-law of Chickasaw Governor Cyrus Harris, built a ranch in the area. Soon, people used the site of current-day Sulphur as a meeting place and the area and springs around it was turned into a reservation and called Platt National Park.

Brush up on your Chickasaw history at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, or the Chickasaw National Recreation Area – the natural beauty is incredible! Pamper yourself at the Artesian Hotel Casino and walk around Veteran’s Lake. Treat yourself to a delicious meal at Springs at the Artesian or have something sweet at Bedre Cafe.

9. Claremore, Oklahoma

Will Rogers Memorial Museum - Claremore, OklahomaSource: flickr
Will Rogers Memorial Museum – Claremore, Oklahoma

Claremore is a town in Rogers County, and was home to the entertainer Will Rogers. The town was named by French explorers who mispronounced the name of the local Osage Chief Gra-moi, as Clairmont. Claremore later passed to the Cherokee National until Clem Rogers, father to Will Rogers, moved to the area and began advocating for Oklahoma Statehood. Now, the town is a part of Oklahoma’s Main Street program, and has a recently renovated historic district!

When in town, visit the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, and the J.M Davis Arms & Historical Museum. Grab some warm and delicious nuts at The Nut House before walking along Claremore Lake – you can even go fishing there if you want! Take a boat out at Redbud Bay and enjoy a meal at Hugo’s Family Restaurant. You’ll appreciate taking some time to get to know this historic town.

10. Chandler, Oklahoma

Chandler, OklahomaSource: flickr
Chandler, Oklahoma

Located in Lincoln County, Chandler is named after Judge Chandler, a former member of Congress. The land the town is built on was opened in 1891 to settlement, and soon became an agricultural society. Situated on Route 66, there are many attractions for those devoted to the “Mother Road”.

Visit Chandler to see their Route 66 Interpretive Center and the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Museum and Hall of Fame. There are also the Lincoln County Museum of Pioneer History and a restored Phillips 66 gas station. Browse the Route 66 Interpretive Center and have a meal at the quirky Hungry Horny Toad. Book yourself a few nights at the Lost Creek Bed and Breakfast and disconnect for a few days.

11. Grove, Oklahoma

Grove, OklahomaSource: flickr
Grove, Oklahoma

Grove is a city in Delaware County, in the northeastern corner of Oklahoma. It used to be a part of the Cherokee Nation and was named after a grove of trees at the site on which the town was built. It was also the only incorporated town in the county when Oklahoma was incorporated as a state.

Grove underwent renovations to become a fishing center around Grand Lakes, and hosted the Bassmaster Classic. Treat yourself to a fishing retreat and stay at the Grand Lake Casino. Walk through Lendonwood Gardens or to Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, or  refuel at the Lazy Parrot Inn and kick back for a few days.

12. Davis, Oklahoma

Davis, OklahomaSource: flickr
Davis, Oklahoma

Split between Garvin and Murray counties, Davis is named after Samuel H. Davis, a settler who opened a dry goods store in the area. He petitioned to build a depot and post office near his store and the town started growing around it. Davis had a bustling cotton farming economy and soon became a successful town.

Visit Davis and explore Turner Falls Park, the oldest park in Oklahoma. It is in the Arbuckle Mountains and boasts a lovely waterfall, the largest in Oklahoma. It’s now a water resort with activities like swimming, cave exploration, hiking trails and camping for your entertainment! Also be sure to visit the literary castle of writer Ellsworth Collings. A true nature getaway, you’ll be able to relax out in the quiet or listen to the soothing sounds of the waterfall.

13. Wainwright, Oklahoma

Greenleaf State ParkSource: flickr
Greenleaf State Park

Wainwright is a town in Muskogee County and was named after a local merchant, William Henry Wainwright. The town grew with the arrival of the railroad and was agriculturally based until it later transitioned into a ranching community.

Stop in at Wainwright if you need a break from the highway. The surrounding areas are peaceful and you can hike at the nearby Greenleaf State Park. Refuel at Charlie’s Chicken and stretch your legs in this sleepy town – it’s off the beaten path and ideal for a pit stop.

14. Moffett, Oklahoma

Moffett, OklahomaSource: flickr
Moffett, Oklahoma

Located in Sequoyah County, Moffett was originally settled by Cherokee and Cherokee freedmen after the Civil War. Up until WWII, it was a gambling and bar hotspot for soldiers from the nearby Fort Smith. The US government banned soldiers from going to Moffett and the town stopped growing after that.

Head out here for some peace and quiet in this sleepy town. The Arkansas River is nearby so bring your walking shoes or fishing pole! Explore the surrounding area including the old Army Base in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Check out Sequoyah State Park or Ben Geren Regional Park and take a moment to get away from everyday life.

15. Afton, Oklahoma

Afton, OklahomaSource: wikimedia
Afton, Oklahoma

Afton is located in Ottawa County and is named after the Scottish river, Afton. The town developed after the arrival of the railroad to the Cherokee Nation. Locals argue as to whether the name originated from a Scottish railroad surveyor who named the town or if it was inspired by Robert Burn’s poem “Flow Gently Sweet Afton”, but either are inspired by the river in Scotland.

Come visit this railroad town and take a hayride at Monkey Island Trail & Hayrides! You can also visit the Afton Station Packard Museum on Route 66 or have some BBQ at Nowhere on Route 66. Relax at Shangri-la Resort and take advantage of your day off to recharge your batteries.

15 Best Small Towns to Visit in Oklahoma:

  • Medicine Park, Oklahoma
  • Guthrie, Oklahoma
  • Eufaula, Oklahoma
  • Carlton Landing, Oklahoma
  • Broken Bow, Oklahoma
  • Pauls Valley, Oklahoma
  • Ada, Oklahoma
  • Sulphur, Oklahoma
  • Claremore, Oklahoma
  • Chandler, Oklahoma
  • Grove, Oklahoma
  • Davis, Oklahoma
  • Wainwright, Oklahoma
  • Moffett, Oklahoma
  • Afton, Oklahoma