Discover the Great Outdoors: 27 Epic Road Trips From Tulsa

road trips from Tulsa

Are you looking to plan a weekend road trip from Tulsa with your friends or family? Road-tripping is an excellent idea, and we’ve got suggestions on places to go.

I live in Tulsa, and this article has ideas for destinations within four hours of the city in Oklahoma and Arkansas to help you plan.

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.

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 Café, Mother Road Market, Buck Atoms Cosmic Curious, and more.

For a fun day trip from Tulsa, drive the historic Route 66 route to Acadia, Oklahoma, and stop for lunch or a soda at Pops 66 Soda Ranch. Oklahoma is proud of Route 66, and there are many neat stops to explore.

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 close to home.

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.

The park is famous for its backpacking trail, The Ankle Express. The lower section of the trail takes hikers across a swinging bridge.

To hike to the swinging bridge, there is a trailhead near Cypress Row Campground. Hikers can trek the lower section of the Greenleaf Trail to the swinging bridge and back for a 4.9-mile day hike.

If hiking any part of the Greenleaf Trail, be sure to download an offline trail map— there is no cell phone reception.

3. Robbers Cave State Park

Couple exploring Robbers Cave in Oklahoma.
Robbers Cave.
  • Location: Wilburton, Oklahoma
  • Robbers Cave State Park from Tulsa: 116 miles ~ roughly 2 hours south

Robbers Cave State Park is a short two-hour drive from Tulsa. Plan an easy day trip there and back, or stay and camp.

The Sans Bois Mountains in eastern Oklahoma will reinvigorate your spirit. The hiking trails through the pine-oak forest and the area’s geology 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

Couple walking across the Salt Plains in Oklahoma holding hands.
Salt Plains State Park.
  • Location: Jet, Oklahoma
  • Salt Plains State Park from Tulsa: 160 miles ~ 2 hours and 40 minutes northwest

The Oklahoma salt flats are located west of Great Salt Plains Lake. The north side of the lake is lush and has camping along with the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge, while the west side of the lake is a barren salt flat.

If you are visiting for more than a pit stop to take photos, camp and spend the day digging for crystals.

Planning tip: Combine visiting the Salt Plains with a stop at Gloss Mountain State Park and Little Sahara State Park to see three unique State Parks in Oklahoma.

5. Little Sahara State Park

Girl sitting with little dog on the sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park.
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. It’s kind of shocking to see.

Bring your toys and spend the weekend camping if you like ATVs, dirt bikes, or dune buggies.

6. Gloss Mountain State Park

Pablo Hiking at Gloss Mountains State Park.
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 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

If you’re up for chasing waterfalls on a road trip in Oklahoma, be sure to stop at Natural Falls State Park. Dripping Springs is a 77-foot waterfall tucked away.

You can camp at the 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, which has a herd of 2,500 free-ranging bison and over 40,000 acres of protected prairie land.

There are two great trails near the Visitor Center—check out the Prairie Earth Trail and connecting Nature Trail. My favorite part about hiking here is the solitude and peace of the prairie.

9. The Pioneer Woman Mercantile

Red Drummond Ranch Truck.
Drummond Ranch Truck in front of The Merc.
  • Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma
  • The Pioneer Woman Mercantile from Tulsa: 56 miles northwest ~ roughly 1 hour drive

If you are taking a road trip to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, be sure to stop in Pawhuska at The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, which food blogger Ree Drummond made famous.

“The Merc” has a coffee shop, a restaurant, and a super fun country cooking store. Pawhuska is also a cute little town to walk around. I love visiting.

10. Bluestem Falls

  • Location: Pawhuska, Oklahoma
  • Bluestem Falls from Tulsa: 62 miles northwest ~ roughly 1 hour and 15 minute drive

You can add a quick stop to Bluestem Falls while you’re on your trip to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile or the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve (that is what we did).

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 is a good place to go hiking, camping, and mountain biking. Sand Creek Falls Trail is one of the popular hikes. It’s an easy trail offering views of the little falls. Behind the group camp area is a bluff overlook.

12. Oklahoma City Bricktown

Mural in OKC Bricktown.
Mural in OKC Bricktown.
  • Location: Oklahoma City (OKC), Oklahoma
  • OKC Bricktown from Tulsa: 106 miles southwest ~ roughly 1 hour and 35 minutes

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.

Paved paths lead to the Centennial Land Run Monument, Scissortail Park, the Skydance Bridge, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum.

13. Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Oklahoma Buffalo.
Oklahoma buffalo.
  • 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. The area boasts 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 opportunities for water sports such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, and boating.

Although this is a National Park Service site, it is free to enter. However, you must pay to camp.

14. Quartz Mountain State Park

Ashlee hiking at Quartz Mountain State Park.
Top of Baldy Point in 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. 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 amazing views of the Wichita Mountains. Visitors can hike along trails through the rocks.

Our favorite hike with views is to the top of Baldy Point from Cedar Valley.

15. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Hiking in Charons Garden Wilderness Area.
Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area.
  • 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 Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is located near Lawton, Oklahoma. The refuge includes hiking and mountain biking trails, camping, and picnic areas.

For folks wanting to explore the backcountry, check out Charon’s Garden Wilderness Area.

Keep your eyes peeled for bison, longhorn cattle, turkey, and prairie dogs.

There is one campground, Doris Campground. We stayed here, and it was nice.

16. Beavers Bend State Park

Beavers Bend State Park Oklahoma
Broken Bow Lake.
  • 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.

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. We love camping here and kayaking the Mountain Fork.

17. Devil’s Den State Park

Yellow Rock Hiking Trail in Arkansas
Yellow Rock Bluff overlook.
  • Location: Winslow, Arkansas
  • Devil’s Den State Park from Tulsa: 136 miles ~ roughly 2 hours and 20 minutes

If you are looking to spend the weekend camping, staying in cabins, and hiking in the mountains, Devil’s Den State Park will not disappoint.

The park has some of our favorite hiking trails in Arkansas, including the Devil’s Den Trail, which leads through rocky terrain and caves. The views from the Yellow Rock Bluff are incredible.

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

Mount Magazine State Park Cameron Bluff at Sunset.
Cameron Bluff overlook at sunset.
  • 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, at an elevation of 2,753 feet. To go camping and hiking, plan an easy road trip from Tulsa into the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas.

If camping isn’t your thing, check out the Lodge at Mount Magazine.

There are many wonderful things to do at Mount Magazine, including catching a sunrise at Sunrise Point, a sunset at Cameron Bluff, taking pictures, hiking, camping, and enjoying scenic drives.

Be sure to stop in the little town of Paris to see the recreation of the Paris, France Lovelock Bridge as the Lovelock Fence.

19. Buffalo National River

buffalo national river hemmed in hollow float in
Buffalo 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. Cell phone reception can be non-existent in the area, so be sure to download trail maps for offline use.

20. Whitaker Point

hiking whitaker point trail
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 to 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.

21. Bentonville, Arkansas

Yellow Rock Trail overlook in Arkansas
Hiking the Yellow Rock Bluff trail.
  • 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 enjoy boutique stores, local restaurants, views of the mountains, and the Crystal Bridges Museum.

We love going to Bentonville for the day. We usually head there early, grab a coffee, bop around town, and 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

fall-camping-in-the-ozarks-dam-site-lake-park-campground
Beaver Lake during the fall.
  • 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 a little peninsula, jetting out into the lake. If you’d like to bring your kayaks, you should.

23. Eureka Springs, Arkansas

  • 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.

It is a great place to base yourself during a weekend getaway in northwest Arkansas because it is close to many great hiking and mountain biking trails.

If you’re into history, check out the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel. It is said to be one of the most haunted hotels in America.

24. Mount Nebo State Park

mount nebo state park sunset point
Sunset Point at 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. For an outdoor weekend road trip idea, this Arkansas state park has what you need.

It has incredible views from the mountains around it and Lake Dardanelle. There are also historic trails to hike or mountain bike.

The Visitor Center even has ice cream — yes, we got some!

25. Petit Jean State Park

rock-house-cave-trail-road-trip-arkansas
Rock House Cave.
  • 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 Trail, Rock House Cave Trail, and Bear Cave Trail.

Camping and cabins are available. The lodge and the pool for cabin visitors are beautiful.

You can rent kayaks to paddle the lake near the Visitor Center and a paved biking trail wanders the length of the park. Petit Jean State Park is one of our favorite road trip destinations for a weekend camping trip.

26. Pinnacle Mountain State Park

best hiking trails in Arkansas
Hiking in Arkansas.
  • 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 miles of trails. You can hike up to the summit of Pinnacle Mountain.

Pinnacle Mountain State Park does not have campsites. It is a day-use-only park.

27. Crater of Diamonds State Park

mining for diamonds at crater of diamonds state park
Mining for diamonds.
  • 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 incredible because where else can you go mining for diamonds in the US? The best part is that you can keep whatever you find, and people find diamonds all the time.

It is free to enter with your vehicle, but there are fees for camping and mining.

Helpful Apps We Use To Plan Road Trips From Tulsa

Have Fun Out There

One of our favorite things to do on our days off is pack up our Aliner and road trip someplace to go camping and hiking. We hope this list of some of our favorite spots within a few hour’s drive from Tulsa helps you plan a fun adventure.

Ashlee & Pablo


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Featured image credit: Emily Steward Photography.

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer sharing the best-kept secrets that aren’t in your typical guidebook. Her goal is to inspire people to travel with a sense of adventure by sharing hidden gems across the U.S. and beyond. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo. They camp in their Aliner often and love wandering the world. Follow their latest adventures on Instagram @thehappinessfxn.

26 Comments

  1. Cosette on October 18, 2021 at 11:05 am

    I simply love road trips. These all sound amazing. Would love to see that soda shop on Route 66. We did part of route 66 in Arizona, New Mexico and California.



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 19, 2021 at 8:44 am

      Hi Cosette! We love road trips too. I bet it was so fun to see the western part of Route 66! We’d love to do that someday too.



  2. Nina on October 11, 2021 at 9:29 am

    Robbers Cave State Park looks so cool! I’d love to go hiking there



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 11, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Nina! Robbers Cave State Park is one of our favorites!



  3. Susanna on October 11, 2021 at 4:03 am

    Wow, Oklahoma has some fantastic state parks! I love that they are so accessible by car from Tulsa. Thanks for putting Oklahoma and Tulsa on my list of great natural escapes for an epic road trip in the United States



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Susanna! Thanks for reading! A road trip through the US is going to be epic!!



  4. Sarah | Travel for a Living on October 10, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    What amazing places. We were planning on doing a big US road trip this year, but unfortunately had to cancel. But I’ll make sure I keep your recommendations handy. And fingers crossed we get to come over next year instead.



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 11, 2021 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Sarah! We hope you can visit the USA next year! Come visit Oklahoma and Arkansas! 🙂



  5. Burt Randall on October 10, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    These states seem wonderful for camping and hiking. It was an interesting and fun article to read !!



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 11, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Uncle Burt! Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂



  6. simplyjolayne on October 10, 2021 at 10:11 am

    I would guess that a lot of people now go to Pawhuska because of “The Pioneer Woman” and to see the mercantile. Amazing how they create destinations from their brand. Good to know that beyond the fun of seeing the Merc, there are other things to do in the area as well.



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 11, 2021 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Simply Jolayne! The Pawhuska Area is so fun to explore. There is quite a bit to see and do! You’d have a blast. Thanks for reading.



  7. Hannah on October 10, 2021 at 1:04 am

    All of these road trips from Tulsa look incredible! I’d love to explore Robbers Cave State Park and Beaver Lake looks beautiful, what an idyllic place! Also, how fun does Pops 66 Soda Ranch sound?? I want to go!! Thanks for the great guide!



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 10, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Hi Hannah! Thanks for reading. Both Robbers Cave State Park and Beaver Lake State Park in SE Oklahoma are incredible. You’d love them. Pops 66 Soda Ranch is soooo unique! 🙂



  8. Susan on October 9, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    Wow, Robbers Cave and Salt Plains SP both sound really fun! Thanks for sharing these ideas!



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 10, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Susan! Happy adventuring!



  9. Kate on October 9, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    What a great list! I would love to visit all of your recommendations, but Salt Plains State Park is first on my list! What incredible landscapes – it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. Adding it to my bucket list!



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 10, 2021 at 9:31 am

      Hi Kate! We had fun reading your comment. We hope your next trip to Oklahoma is filled with wonderful outdoor adventures!



  10. Linda (LD Holland) on October 9, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    I love when a city like Oklahoma has so many different road trip options. We too like to just get in the car and drive. We have done parts of Route 66 and found some fun spots. But these days we are seeking out wonderful outdoor parks to hike. Great to see so many in the Oklahoma area. Definitely looks like a spot for our travel wish list.



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 10, 2021 at 9:31 am

      Hi Linda! Thanks for leaving a comment. We enjoyed hearing from you. We hope you can make it down to Oklahoma on your adventures.



  11. Rhonda on October 9, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    What a great selection of walking and hiking locations. I’d love to see some of those bison herds in the wild. Thanks for the road trip suggestions.



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 10, 2021 at 9:32 am

      Hi Rhonda! We think seeing the bison herds is such a treat too!



  12. Cristina Sala on October 9, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    Ashlee querida y Pablo
    He quedado maravillada y sorprendida de la cantidad de lugares paradisiacos que se pueden hacer desde Tulsa a Arkansas. Increible la Ruta 66 realmente historica. Las montañas Sans Bois.El parque Gloss Mountain. El Parque Little Sahara con las dunas de arena y muchisimos parque mas. Los felicito por la cercania a vuestro hogar y los felicitto por vivir alli con tanta naturaleza tan cerca. Las fotos BELLISIMAS



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 10, 2021 at 9:33 am

      ¡Hola Cristina! Gracias por dejar un comentario tan bonito. Nos encanta saber de usted en nuestro sitio web. Esperamos que pueda visitarnos en Oklahoma algún día. ¡Te amamos! Abrazos



  13. Megan on October 9, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    I dream of going on a swinging bridge someday! And I’m not much of a soda drinker, but that soda shop looks so fun! My kids would definitely love it 😉



    • Ashlee Fechino on October 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Megan! Thanks for reading. The swinging bridge was so neat! I bet your kiddos would love Pops 66 Soda Ranch. So fun!