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! The 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! Let us help do the destination planning for you! Continue reading to check out top suggestions on easy road trips from Tulsa!
We share something for everyone, including adventures in the cities, quaint mountain towns, and fantastic state parks to enjoy nature in Oklahoma and Arkansas.
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First, let’s talk about Oklahoma road trips from Tulsa.
If you’re looking for what is close to Tulsa and trips within four (4) hours of Tulsa, this article is just what you’re looking for!
We like to road trip like crazy, and we are literally sharing all our favorite places with ya’ll!
Are you ready? You don’t have to spend a lot of money to see incredible places! Visiting most of the destinations below takes minimal planning.
Throw in the essentials, figure out where you’re going to sleep, gas up the car, and just go! Keep it simple, pack lights, and have fun.
Now, let’s get to the destination list…
Starting with one of our favorites, Route 66 is an iconic piece of American History, and it is so cool that Route 66 goes right through Tulsa!
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.
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 hills 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 18.8-mile backpacking trail, The Ankle Express (or Greenleaf Trail Full Loop). 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 excursion.
Be sure to download offline trail map usage if hiking any part of the Greenleaf Trail – cell phone reception is minimal.
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 do the short 1-mile (there and back) hike to the famous Robbers Cave!
Robbers Cave was a hideout for Jesse James, a famous wild west outlaw. It is said he stashed his gold in the Ouachita and Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma!
Who knew there were Salt Flats in Oklahoma! 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!
Pair visiting the Oklahoma Salt Plains with a stop to Gloss Mountain State Park or Little Sahara State Park and see three (3) unique terrains and State Parks in Oklahoma. Continue reading to find out more about Little Sahara State Park and Gloss Mountain!
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.
If not, walk out to the dunes and take some photos! We don’t recommend staying around too long in the summer. It gets hot here!
Get a camera (we have this one) ready to take photos of the red dirt mesas and buttes that make up Gloss Mountain State Park. Escape the hustle and bustle of Tulsa and get into the red dirt to explore Gloss Mountain!
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.
Did you know there is a 77-foot waterfall at Natural Falls State Park? If you’re up for chasing waterfalls in Oklahoma on an easy road trip from Tulsa, be sure to stop at Natural Falls State Park.
The hike to Dripping Springs Falls is a short 1.1-mile loop. You cannot miss this epic Oklahoma waterfall!
There are opportunities for camping and hiking at Natural Falls State Park as well.
We couldn’t believe that Oklahoma was home to one of the largest tallgrass prairies on the planet when we moved to Tulsa. Just 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 (2) great trails to trek near the Visitor Center – check out the Prairie Earth Trail and Nature Trail (they intersect). Hikers will experience solitude as they trek along the tallgrass and through the woods close to a meandering creek.
If taking an easy 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. We love visiting Pawhuska!
Bluestem Falls is another one of the best waterfalls in Oklahoma and is accessible by almost any visitor!
This incredible waterfall is worth checking out – even if you’re going off course from what might have been planned initially!
Pair visiting Bluestem Falls with a trip to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile or a visit to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in the Pawhuska area.
Osage Hills State Park has been a favorite for many people to go hiking, camping, and mountain biking. Sand Creek Falls Trail is one of the most famous hikes and is near the pool camping area. It’s an easy hike offering beautiful views of the falls and then a bluff overlook behind the group camp area.
We visited in the early spring after a thunderstorm; however, the falls and natural pools are more pronounced when there is less water.
It is fun to experience neighboring cities, especially when looking for easy road trip ideas from Tulsa! Visiting Bricktown 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.
There are paved paths leading to the incredible Centennial Land Run Monument, Scissortail Park, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. Don’t forget to bring a lock for the Skydance Bridge! People have started to place locks as a symbol of love and friendship.
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is located in south-central Oklahoma and has a lot of fun things to do in the great outdoors. The area boasts lots of hiking and camping and is full of history from the first Native Americans and the early settlers of the prairie.
The CNRA is centered around Lake of the Arbuckles, which offers many opportunities for water sports such as fishing, swimming, 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!
Quartz Mountain State Park is located in southwest Oklahoma near the town of Lone Wolf. Historically, the mountain was sacred to many Native American tribes. Today, the area is a State Park where visitors can hike, camp, boat, fish, rock climb, boulder, and bike. There is a 3.6-mile paved biking trail, but we didn’t see any formal mountain biking trails.
Baldy Point itself stands at 1,870 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. Be sure to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes (yes, we did see one – which is why I always hike with hiking poles). The trails are not well marked throughout the park, and cell phone reception is hit and miss. We recommend downloading offline trail maps while out exploring. We love how remote this area is!
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, fishing, and picnic areas to make outdoor recreation accessible to folks seeking some of the best outdoor recreation in 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.
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, boating, and biking.
The Park is located in the foothills of the Kiamichi range of the Ouachita Mountains. The forests are lush with pines, oaks, and hardwoods.
Beavers Bend was established in 1937. There are roughly 12 miles of hiking trails at Beavers Bend State Park. The trails are mostly hardpacked with a few dirt and gravel roads.
Alligators are known to be in the area, so be careful playing in the water at Broken Bow Lake and the river.
Just in case you decided to scroll to the end, below are great ideas from road trips from Tulsa to destinations in Oklahoma!
Tell us the truth! Are you surprised by all the fantastic road trip options from Tulsa in Oklahoma? We just love Oklahoma.
Now, onto Arkansas – one of our favorite states in the South!
Arkansas is another one of our favorite road trip destinations. Like Oklahoma, Arkansas has impressive state parks. We can’t wait to share some of these easy road trip ideas from Tulsa to see epic state parks in Arkansas!
All of these locations (except one) are within four (4) hours of Tulsa to keep road trippin’ easy, as promised!
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 from the Ozarks! Plan to spend a day or two exploring this incredible Arkansas State Park – it is one of our favorites!
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 Ozark 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. It is just so cute!
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.
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. Steel Creek Campground is about 30 minutes away from the trailhead. However, there are a few sleepy towns to find lodging at in the area if you aren’t up for camping.
Start hiking early, bring snacks and water, and don’t forget a camera (we have this one)! The trail is moderately difficult. The most significant dangers are the cliffs, so be sure to stay smart and watch where you step.
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.
It is possible to go to Bentonville and back to Tulsa on the same day, depending on what you’d like to do!
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.
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 lake toys, you should! We always bring out Badfish stand up paddleboards to paddle out on the lake.
If you’d like to check out Eureka Springs, it is only 20 minutes away! More on Eureka Springs below!
Nestled in the Ozarks, visitors descend into Eureka Springs to be greeted by local art, restaurants, hotels, cottages, festivals! There is always something fun going on in Eureka Springs!
Eureka Springs 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. There is usually something fun going on in town, from live music to festivals.
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. We have never stayed long enough to find out – haha!
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!). Mount Nebo State Park is not a far drive from Tulsa – making an easy road trip destination!
Petit Jean State Park was Arkansas’s first state park, and after visiting, you’ll rightfully 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!
Pinnacle Mountain State Park is located in 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 has a number of campsites. There are also cabins to stay in. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature with epic views!
The Park is certified as a Trails of Tears National Historic Site.
Crater of Diamonds State Park is just so incredible – because where else can you go mining for diamonds in the USA?! So, we decided to add it because it’s not every day you can take a road trip to mine for diamonds (even though it is a little more than 4 hours away from Tulsa).
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 some fees for camping and other activities.
It’s a really fun place to go, and you can spend as much time as you want. There are many things to see here, so make sure you give yourself enough time to take it all in.
Camping is available at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
We told ya’ll Arkansas was awesome! Below is a quick summary of the destinations in case you like to scroll through.
Road trips close to home are an excellent, inexpensive way to spend the weekend or time off. Local road trips allow people to explore parts of their own countryside, especially when living in places with extraordinary destinations and things to see – like in Oklahoma and Arkansas!
If you love photography, all of the destinations in this article provide an excellent opportunity because of the scenery.
For nature lovers, there are many great places to go hiking or even camping for longer trips.
If you just want to get away and check out another neighboring city, road trips are the perfect opportunity to keep it simple and just go!
Search your area for destinations that look interesting and plan out a path while allowing yourself plenty of time to follow it.
There is always some sort of neat roadside attraction to stop at. After that, it’s all up to the driver where they want to go.
Having a budget and sticking to it allows us to travel to so many different local places all the time. You can do it too! Exploring local gems is so exciting.
Local apps we like using include the:
The journey is always exciting, but the destination even more so – that is why we love road trips from Tulsa!
Below are 27 great ideas for your next easy road trip from Tulsa all within 4 hours to some of the most epic destinations and hidden gems in the USA!
Thanks for reading!
Ashlee & Pablo
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You might enjoy our other articles exploring Oklahoma and Arkansas:
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I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!