Discover the Great Outdoors: 27 Epic Road Trips From Tulsa
Are you looking to plan a road trip with your friends or family this weekend? Maybe you’re up for a solo photography trip to see some of the most beautiful places in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Either way, road tripping from Tulsa is an excellent idea for a weekend, and we’ve got some fun suggestions on places to go!
Hit the Open Road: 27 Incredible Road Trip Ideas Starting From Tulsa
This article has ideas for destinations within four hours of Tulsa in Oklahoma and Arkansas to help you plan a road trip you’ll never forget.
1. Route 66 Historic Route
- Location: Across Oklahoma
- Route 66 Tulsa: Section goes right through Tulsa
Starting with a local favorite, Route 66 is an iconic piece of American History.
Everyone should drive at least a few sections of this historic landmark at least once in their lifetime.
There is a lot of history and many Route 66 attractions near Tulsa, such as: The Blue Whale, East Gateway Arch, Route 66 Rising, Tally’s Good Food Café, Mother Road Market, and Buck Atoms Cosmic Curious, among a ton more.
To make a fun day trip from Tulsa, drive the historic Route 66 route to Acadia and stop for lunch or a soda at Pops 66 Soda Ranch.
A trip along Route 66 in Oklahoma is one of the most iconic road trips to do in the USA. Oklahoma is proud of Route 66, and there are so many neat stops along the way.
2. Greenleaf State Park
- Location: Braggs, Oklahoma
- Greenleaf State Park from Tulsa: 64 miles ~ roughly 1 hour southeast
Ready to head to the woods this weekend? Greenleaf State Park is a beautiful and convenient option due to its proximity to Tulsa, making it an easy road trip in Oklahoma.
The park is nestled in the Boston Mountains next to Greenleaf Lake. Greenleaf State Park is the perfect place for camping, hiking, fishing, and recharging from city life in nature.
The park is famous for its backpacking trail, The Ankle Express. The lower section of the trail takes hikers across an epic swinging bridge.
To hike to the swinging bridge, there is a trailhead near Cypress Row Campground where hikers can trek the lower section of the Greenleaf Trail to the swinging bridge and back for a 4.9-mile day-hike.
Be sure to download offline trail map usage if hiking any part of the Greenleaf Trail – there is no cell phone reception.
3. Robbers Cave State Park
- Location: Wilburton, Oklahoma
- Robbers Cave State Park from Tulsa: 116 miles ~ roughly 2 hours south
A short 2-hour drive from Tulsa, Robbers Cave State Park is the perfect road trip. Plan an easy day trip there and back, or stay and camp.
The Sans Bois Mountains in eastern Oklahoma will take your breath away and reinvigorate your spirit. The hiking trails through the pine-oak forest, along with the geology of the area, are incredible.
Be sure to hike to Robbers Cave. Robbers Cave was a hideout for Jesse James and Belle Starr, famous wild west outlaws. It is said Jesse James stashed his gold in the Ouachita and Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma.
4. Salt Plains State Park
- Location: Jet, Oklahoma
- Salt Plains State Park from Tulsa: 160 miles ~ 2 hours and 40 minutes northwest
Salt Plains State Park is an easy road trip from Tulsa.
The Oklahoma salt flats are located west of Great Salt Plains Lake. The north side of the lake is quite lush and has camping along with the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, while the west side of the lake is truly a barren salt flat.
If visiting for more than a pit stop to take photos, camp, and spend the day digging for crystals.
Planning tip: Pair visiting the Oklahoma Salt Plains with a stop to Gloss Mountain State Park and Little Sahara State Park and see three unique State Parks in Oklahoma.
5. Little Sahara State Park
- Location: Waynoka, Oklahoma
- Little Sahara State Park from Tulsa: 186 miles ~ roughly 3 hours west
Oklahoma has incredibly diverse terrain, and Little Sahara State Park is another testament to that. Little Sahara State Park consists of 1,600 acres of sand dunes. Everyone should take a road trip from Tulsa to see the Oklahoma sand dunes.
Bring your toys and spend the weekend camping if you like ATVs, dirt bikes, or dune buggies.
6. Gloss Mountain State Park
- Location: Fairview, Oklahoma
- Gloss Mountain State Park from Tulsa: 160 miles west ~ roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes
Escape the hustle and bustle of Tulsa and get into the red dirt to explore Gloss Mountain. Get your camera ready to take photos of the red dirt mesas and buttes that make up Gloss Mountain State Park.
The main attraction is Cathedral Mountain, which can be reached by hiking along the Cathedral Mountain Trail also known as Gloss Mountain State Park Trail.
There is no camping at Gloss Mountain, and there are no places to stay overnight at the park. There are restrooms.
7. Natural Falls State Park
- Location: Colcord, Oklahoma
- Natural Falls State Park from Tulsa: 77 miles east ~ roughly an hour and 15 minutes
Did you know there is a 77′ waterfall at Natural Falls State Park?
If you’re up for chasing waterfalls in Oklahoma on a fun road trip, be sure to stop at Natural Falls State Park.
The hike to Dripping Springs Falls is a short loop.
There are opportunities for camping and hiking at Natural Falls State Park as well.
8. Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve
- Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma
- Tallgrass Prairie Preserve from Tulsa: 76 miles north ~ roughly an hour and 40 minute
Oklahoma is home to one of the largest tallgrass prairies on the planet. For an easy road trip from Tulsa, drive the dirt road through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve with a herd of 2,500 free-ranging bison and over 40,000 acres of protected prairie land.
There are two great trails to trek near the Visitor Center – check out the Prairie Earth Trail and Nature Trail. Hikers will experience solitude as they trek along the tall grass and through the woods close to a meandering creek.
9. The Pioneer Woman Mercantile
- Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma
- The Pioneer Woman Mercantile from Tulsa: 56 miles northwest ~ roughly 1 hour drive
If taking a road trip from Tulsa to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, be sure to stop in Pawhuska at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, made famous by food blogger Ree Drummond.
“The Merc” has a coffee shop, a restaurant, and a super fun country cooking store! Pawhuska is a cute little town to walk around as well. You’ll love visiting.
10. Bluestem Falls
- Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma
- Bluestem Falls from Tulsa: 62 miles northwest ~ roughly 1 hour and 15 minute drive
Bluestem Falls is another one of the best waterfalls in Oklahoma and is easily accessible to almost any visitor.
Pair visiting Bluestem Falls with a trip to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile or a visit to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
11. Osage Hills State Park
- Location: Between Pawhuska and Bartlesville, Oklahoma
- Osage Hills State Park from Tulsa: 60 miles north ~ roughly 1 hour and 10 minute drive
Osage Hills State Park has been a favorite for many people to go hiking, camping, and mountain biking in the Osage Hills. Sand Creek Falls Trail is one of the popular hikes. It’s an easy hike offering beautiful views of the falls and then a bluff overlook behind the group camp area.
12. Oklahoma City Bricktown
- Location: Oklahoma City (OCK), Oklahoma
- OKC Bricktown from Tulsa: 106 miles southwest ~ roughly 1 hour and 35 minutes
Visiting Bricktown in OKC makes for the perfect road trip.
There are cool things to do in Bricktown. Check out OKC’s Riverwalk, hop on the Bricktown Water Taxi, catch a game at Chickasaw Ballpark, bar hop, restaurant hop, grab a coffee, and enjoy this neat part of the city.
Don’t forget to bring a lock for the Skydance Bridge. People have started to place locks as a symbol of love and friendship.
13. Chickasaw National Recreation Area
- Location: Sulphur, Oklahoma
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area from Tulsa: 147 miles ~ roughly 2 hours and 35 minutes south
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area (CNRA) is located in south-central Oklahoma and has a lot of fun things to do in the great outdoors. The area boasts ample hiking and camping and is full of history from the first Native American Indians and the early settlers of the prairie.
The CNRA is centered around the Lake of the Arbuckles, which offers many opportunities for water sports such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating. The park is also home to many species of wildlife who call the hardwood forest-western prairie ecotone home.
Even though this is a National Park Service site, it is free to enter.
14. Quartz Mountain State Park
- Location: Lone Wolf, Oklahoma
- Quartz Mountain State Park from Tulsa: 248 miles ~ roughly 3 hours and 45 minutes southwest
Quartz Mountain State Park is located in southwest Oklahoma near the town of Lone Wolf. Historically, the mountain was sacred to many tribes. Today, the area is a state park where visitors can hike, camp, boat, fish, rock climb, boulder, and bike.
Baldy Point itself stands at 2,040 feet above sea level and offers epic views of the Wichita Mountains. Visitors can hike along trails through the beautiful rocks.
Our favorite hike with epic views is to the top of Baldy Point from Cedar Valley.
15. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
- Location: Lawton, Oklahoma
- Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge from Tulsa: 196 miles ~ roughly 3 hours southwest
The Wichitas may be small mountains by some standards, but they are substantial mountains in the Central Great Plains. The Great Plains grassland meets the eastern edge of the Wichita Mountains, which rise through rocky outcroppings and steep cliffs to more than 2,464 feet above sea level.
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is located near Lawton, Oklahoma, covering 59,000 acres of south-central Oklahoma. The refuge includes hiking and mountain biking trails, camping, rock climbing, and picnic areas to make outdoor recreation accessible to folks seeking some of the best of Oklahoma.
For folks wanting to explore the backcountry, check out Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area.
Historically, the refuge was established to protect species in danger of extinction. As a result, bison, elk, turkey, prairie dogs, and river otters were reintroduced.
There is one campground, Doris campground. Make reservations online.
16. Beavers Bend State Park
- Location: Broken Bow, Oklahoma
- Beavers Bend State Park from Tulsa: 207 miles ~ roughly 3 and a half hours southeast
Beaver Bend State Park is touted as being one of Oklahoma’s crown jewels. As a result, the area has become a popular getaway in Oklahoma.
The park features many outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking, and boating.
The park is located in the foothills of the Kiamichi range of the Ouachita Mountains. The forests are lush with pines, oaks, and hardwoods.
17. Devil’s Den State Park
- Location: Winslow, Arkansas
- Devil’ Den State Park from Tulsa: 136 miles ~ roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes
If you are looking to get out into the mountains to camp, stay in cabins, and hike for the weekend, Devil’s Den State Park will not disappoint.
Devil’s Den State Park has incredible hiking trails to explore, including the famous Devil’s Den Trail leading hikers through beautiful rocky terrain and caves. Be sure to also hike to Yellow Rock Bluff.
While visiting Devil’s Den State Park, dip your toes in Lee Creek, take lots of pictures, camp, or stay in cabins and breathe in the fresh mountain air of the Ozarks.
18. Mount Magazine State Park
- Location: Paris, Arkansas
- Mount Magazine State Park from Tulsa: 219 miles ~ roughly 3 hours and 50 minutes
Tell all of your friends you are going to Paris – Paris, Arkansas, that is!
Mount Magazine is home to the tallest mountain in Arkansas – Signal Hill. Signal Hill is at an elevation of 2,753 feet. Plan an easy road trip from Tulsa into the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas to go camping and hiking.
If camping isn’t your thing, check out the lodge at Mount Magazine. Visit during the fall for an impressive fall foliage display of the Ouachita Mountains in western Arkansas.
There are many wonderful things to do at Mount Magazine, including catching a sunrise at sunrise point, a sunset at Cameron Bluff Lookout, taking pictures, hiking, camping, and enjoying the scenic drives.
Be sure to stop in the town of Paris to see the recreation of the Paris, France Lovelock Bridge as the Lovelock Fence.
19. Buffalo National River
- Location: Ponca, Arkansas
- Buffalo National River from Tulsa: 167 miles ~ roughly 3 hours
Buffalo National River is a National Park Service Site known as America’s First National River. It is one of the few undammed rivers in the US.
Buffalo National River is a fantastic place for outdoor recreation. Visitors can fish, float the river, camp, and hike miles of trails. Unfortunately, the cell phone reception can be non-existent in the area, so be sure to download trail maps for offline use.
20. Whitaker Point
- Location: Kingston, Arkansas
- Whitaker Point from Tulsa: 170 miles ~ about 3 hours and 22 minutes
Plan an easy road trip from Tulsa to hike one of the most famous hikes in Arkansas – Whitaker Point Trail (a.k.a. Hawksbill Crag).
Since it is kind of far to drive there in a day, hike, and drive home from Tulsa, we always camp within Buffalo National River.
The trail is moderately difficult. The most significant dangers are the cliffs, so be sure to stay smart and watch where you step.
- Location: Bentonville, Arkansas
- Bentonville from Tulsa: 114 miles ~ roughly 2 hours
No worries if you’re not up for a nature trip, head on over to Bentonville, Arkansas, known for being a trendy outdoorsy and artsy city in the Ozarks.
Plan an easy road trip from Tulsa to Bentonville to enjoy boutique stores, local restaurants, views of the mountains, and Crystal Bridges Museum.
We love heading to Bentonville for the day. We usually head there early, grab a coffee, bop around town, then head back home to Tulsa. Sometimes, we even stop at Natural Falls State Park (in Oklahoma) since it is on the way.
22. Beaver Lake
- Location: Garfield, Arkansas (near Eureka Springs)
- Beaver Lake from Tulsa: 147 miles ~ roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes
Plan the perfect fall getaway from Tulsa and head to Beaver Lake. Beaver Lake is touted for its crystal-clear mountain water, spectacular views of the Ozarks, and its proximity to the quaint mountain town of Eureka Springs.
We love camping at Dam Site Lake Park Campground because it is on the coolest little island jetting out into the lake.
If you’d like to bring your kayaks, you should.
If you’d like to check out Eureka Springs, it is only 20 minutes away.
23. Eureka Springs
- Location: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
- Eureka Springs from Tulsa: 148 miles ~ roughly 2 hours and 45 minutes
Nestled in the Ozarks, visitors heading into Eureka Springs are greeted by local art, restaurants, hotels, cottages, and seasonal festivals. There is always something fun going on in Eureka Springs.
The town is a great place to base from during a northwest Arkansas weekend getaway because it is close to many great hiking and mountain biking trails.
If you’re into unique history, check out the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel. It is said to be one of the most haunted places in America.
24. Mount Nebo State Park
- Location: Dardanelle, Arkansas
- Mount Nebo State Park from Tulsa: 209 miles ~ about 3 hours and 15 minutes
Mount Nebo State Park is filled with natural beauty and offers a variety of activities. If you’re looking for an outdoor weekend road trip idea, this Arkansas state park has what you need.
Along with incredible views from the mountains around it as well as Lake Dardanelle, there are also plenty of historic trails to hike or mountain bike on your trip here.
The visitor center even has ice cream (always good after hiking all day).
25. Petit Jean State Park
- Location: Morrilton, Arkansas
- Petit Jean State Park from Tulsa: 227 miles ~ about 3 hours and 40 minutes
Petit Jean State Park was Arkansas’s first state park, and after visiting, you’ll see why.
The park is home to fantastic hiking trails, including the Seven Hollows Trail, Cedar Falls, Rock House Cave, and Bear Cave Trail.
Camping is available, as well as cabins for folks wanting to stay up there. The lodge is beautiful, and so is the pool for visitors staying in cabins.
You can rent kayaks to paddle the lake near the visitor center. There is also a paved biking trail wandering the length of the park. Petit Jean State Park makes for a great road trip from Tulsa.
26. Pinnacle Mountain State Park
- Location: West of Little Rock, Arkansas
- Pinnacle Mountain State Park from Tulsa: 274 miles ~ 4 hours southeast
Pinnacle Mountain State Park is located near Little Rock, Arkansas. The park has 15 miles of trails for visitors to hike, run, or mountain bike on. Visitors can hike up to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain too. It’s a challenging climb, but it is well worth it. The view from the top is amazing and breathtaking!
Pinnacle Mountain State Park does not have campsites. It is a day-use only park.
The park is certified as a Trails of Tears National Historic Site.
27. Crater of Diamonds State Park
- Location: Murfreesboro, Arkansas
- Crater of Diamond State Park from Tulsa: 258 miles ~ roughly 4 hours and 30 minutes southeast
Crater of Diamonds State Park is just so incredible – because where else can you go mining for diamonds in the USA?!
People come from all over the world to experience what this park has to offer.
Crater of Diamonds is a great place to hang out all day, but it is especially great for geologists and nature lovers.
If you are an avid rockhound, then there is no better place than this place. The best part about the park is that you can keep whatever you find.
It is free to enter with your vehicle, but there are fees for camping and mining activities.
Apps We Use To Plan Road Trips From Tulsa
- Oklahoma State Parks App – for researching Oklahoma State Parks
- AllTrails – for finding epic hiking and mountain biking trails
- National Park Service App – for exploring National Park Service Sites
- Pinterest – Search by destination to get free travel guides and tips!
Have Fun Out There
The journey is always exciting, but the destination even more so – that is why you’ll love these road trip ideas from Tulsa.
Ashlee & Pablo
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Featured image credit: Emily Steward Photography.