14 Best Getaways & Day Trips from Tulsa to Get You Outside

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Take a break from the chaos of life and enjoy an authentic Oklahoma experience with our list of the best weekend getaways and day trips from Tulsa.

Whether you are looking to explore nature, go hiking, biking, or camping in some of Oklahoma’s most scenic places, take a break from work without taking vacation time! Check out this list of easy day trips and weekend getaways that will revitalize not only your body but also your spirit.

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Little Sahara State Park

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Best Weekend Getaways from Tulsa

Whether you are new to Tulsa or are just looking to recharge from the workweek without taking vacation time, you cannot miss this list of outdoorsy weekend getaways near Tulsa.

We hope to inspire you to explore locally.

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1. Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Located in Osage County, north of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is the largest tallgrass prairie on the planet. It consists of over 40,000 acres of protected prairie land. There are various scenic views along what could be described as an expansive, beautiful drive for visitors to enjoy free-ranging bison year-round and even see newborn calves in springtime.

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Free ranging bison at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

There are two different trails to hike near the Visitor Center, the Prairie Earth Trail, and Nature Trail. Hikers can experience solitude as they trek along the tall grass and through the woods.

2. Bluestem Falls

If you’re planning on visiting the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, be sure to take some time out of your day for an easy hike near Pawhuska. Touted as one of the best waterfalls in all of Oklahoma and accessible by almost any visitor, Bluestem Falls is worth checking out, even if it means going off course from what might have been planned initially.

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Bluestem Falls

3. The Pioneer Woman Mercantile

Though not a super outdoorsy activity, you simply cannot, I repeat, cannot visit the Pawhuska area without visiting The Pioneer Woman Mercantile by blogger and Food Network personality Ree Drummond.

The town of Pawhuska is full of cute southern prairie charm. Walk around, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy small-town Oklahoma at its finest. Visit the Pioneer Woman Mercantile for the ultimate weekend adventure.

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Drummond Ranch red truck

4. Osage Hills State Park

Are you looking for a hiking and camping adventure through rocky terrain and the gorgeous Osage Hills? Head from Tulsa to Bartlesville and explore Osage Hills State Park. The drive from Tulsa will take about an hour and a half to get to Osage Hills State Park; however, it’s worth the trip.

Be sure to hike the popular trail to Sand Creek Falls (a.k.a. Osage Hills Falls). Park near the swimming pool. The trail sign is easy to see, and the hike is only 0.5 mile out and back. So get your feet wet (if it is warm enough), take some photos, and enjoy the falls.

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Osage Hills Falls

This area has many hiking and mountain biking trails for those looking to take in the beautiful views and wander the Osage Hills.

We hiked to the falls during the late winter. Read more about what to wear hiking, here.

5. Greenleaf State Park

Tucked within the Boston Mountains of Eastern Oklahoma, go camping, hiking, and enjoy a water sport activity of your choice next to Greenleaf Lake. The area is super rural, and the forest is lush.

Greenleaf State Park has one of the neatest campgrounds, Cypress Row, nestled next to the lake under giant Cypress and Oak trees.

The park is home to one of the longest backpacking trails in OklahomaThe Ankle Express. The Ankle Express is a 19-mile loop through the mountains. The hike is primitive, with some steep grades and uneven surfaces.

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Greenleaf Trail swinging bridge

Suppose you’re not interested in an epic backpacking trip, no worries. Hike the lower section, the Greenleaf Trail, to the park’s famous swinging bridge. The lower section is 4.9-miles out and back from the campground trailhead. Who doesn’t love discovering a swinging bridge in the backwoods?!

6. Robber’s Cave State Park

Robber’s Cave State Park makes for the perfect mountain escape close to Tulsa. Robber’s Cave State Park is a unique place located in the Sans Bois Mountains. It was once home to wild west outlaws like Jesse James and Belle Starr.

Here you can explore an enormous cave that used to be their hideout. This part of Oklahoma has so much hidden history, just waiting for your discovery. Don’t miss hiking the short trail to the cave through the rocks.

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Robber’s Cave

7. Salt Plains State Park

One of the most fascinating natural wonders in Oklahoma are the salt plains. Just outside Jet, you will find Salt Plains State Park, and it is well worth a road trip or weekend camping excursion to dig for crystals in this unique area.

Don’t forget to bring a camera. Your friends will not believe you are in Oklahoma.

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Salt Plains State Park

8. Gloss Mountain State Park

Get away from the hustle and bustle of Tulsa and into the red dirt to explore Gloss Mountain State Park. The main attraction is Cathedral Mountain, which can be reached by a hike along the Cathedral Mountain Trail. Spectacular views await your eyes at the top of the mountain.

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Cathedral Mountain Trail at Gloss Mountain

9. Little Sahara State Park

You’ll think you’re in another world when entering Little Sahara State Park. It’s tucked away in Oklahoma, but there are massive sand dunes varying between 25 and 75 feet tall. Driving around the flat prairie to get here gives no indication of what awaits once entering.

Little Sahara is a popular place for ATVs, dirt bikes, dune buggies, and landscape photographers. There is also a campground.

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Little Sahara State Park sand dunes

Pack your camera gear, and make sure you’re ready to capture every moment of this trip.

Planning Tip: Visiting Gloss Mountain State Park and Little Sahara State Park pairs well together. Since they are close together, it makes a day trip even better because you can easily enjoy both places without getting worn out before it’s time to go home or head back to work on Monday.

10. Natural Falls State Park

Home to a 77′ waterfall, Natural Falls State Park makes for a fun road trip from Tulsa. Tucked in the Ozark Highlands near the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas, take a short hike along the Dripping Springs Trail to the famous waterfall.

Add visiting Natural Falls State Park to your weekend bucket list.

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Dripping Springs waterfall

11. Lake Tenkiller

Touted as being one of the clearest lakes in Oklahoma, if you’re looking for one of the best lakes to camp at in Oklahoma, Lake Tenkiller is your place. Since the water is so clear, it makes for a great place to swim and enjoy water sport activities such as kayaking. There are also multiple places to camp managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or at Tenkiller State Park.

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Cookson Bend Campground

Visitors can camp right on the water at Cookson Bend.

12. Oologah Lake

Looking for a hike close to Tulsa to spend half a day? Check out the Skull Hollow Nature Trail. Don’t be deceived by the name; the trail wanders along the lake through the forest through the rocks with incredible views. The 1.2-mile loop is perfect for meandering any time of the year.

Along the trail, wood signs point out the different types of native trees, such as Mockernut Hickory, Sugar Maple, and Black Walnut. Keep your eyes peeled for armadillo.

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Skull Hollow Nature Trail Oologah Lake

We hiked during late winter and were the only people out here. Escape city life and recharge with some solitude in nature.

13. Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

Redbud Valley Nature Preserve is another perfect day trip and weekend getaway from Tulsa. Head out of town to hit the trails. There are miles of trails at the preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy. One of our favorite trails is the Bluff Trail which takes hikers along the bluff to see incredible geology tucked with the trees. It is free to hike here, so come check it out.

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Hiking the Bluff Trail

We hiked here during the late winter and the weather was nice and cool. It is only open on the weekends so be sure to keep that in mind.

14. Route 66

Route 66 is one of the most iconic routes in America, and Tulsa has been a significant stop on this famous route for years (est. 1926). The community takes great pride in showcasing its Route 66 history to visitors from around the world. Recently Oklahoma invested heavily into restoring many landmarks that are along historic Route 66 as well as adding new stops and memorabilia.

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Blue Whale Route 66 roadside attraction

You don’t have to go far to drive along this famous historic route. There are many neat things to see along the road, such as murals, signs, and boutique shops. We personally love visiting the Blue Whale near Catoosa – it is just so charming. So, if you’re looking for something to do on the weekends and you live in or near Tulsa, why not hop in your car, get some fresh air, and cruise Route 66.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for fun weekend getaway ideas to reconnect with nature and rejuvenate your soul, then look no further. If you live in Tulsa and just want an outdoorsy day trip without taking vacation time, check out our list of the best weekend day trips near Tulsa.

Thanks for reading.

Ashlee & Pablo


Shop Gear

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Oboz Men’s Hiking Shoes

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Oboz Women’s Hiking Shoes

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Yeti Hopper Cooler

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More Oklahoma Adventures

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Arkansas Adventures

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Ashlee Fechino

Ashlee Fechino is an outdoor recreation and travel writer and founder of The Happiness Function. Her goal is to help inspire people to build a life they love by sharing how simple and fun it is to travel locally, connect with nature, and explore off-the-beaten-path. You don't have to spend a lot of money or use a ton of vacation time to explore close to home. Ashlee holds a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability and is passionate about the outdoors. She is married to an expat Argentine, Pablo! They camp in their Aliner often and love road trips and hiking.

32 Comments

  1. Anushka on August 4, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    Wow so many things to do just a little ways from Tulsa! The Salt Plains look really cool, I’ll need to add that to my list!



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 9:43 am

      Hi Anushka – thanks for reading. We hope you have fun exploring Oklahoma’s State Parks 🙂



  2. Shelly on August 4, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Looks like some fun weekend getaway ideas to add to our list.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 9:43 am

      Hi Shelly! Thanks for commenting. There are some really neat weekend getaways from Tulsa!



  3. Linda (LD Holland) on August 5, 2021 at 9:28 am

    We have not spent any time in Oklahoma. So great to see all the great things there are to see and do around Tulsa. Some awesome outdoor spots to enjoy with such a wide variety of scenery.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 9:44 am

      Hi Linda! Hope you can make it to Oklahoma someday. It is a really unique state!



  4. Shelbs on August 5, 2021 at 11:08 am

    We don’t live too far from Oklahoma so I’m glad we’ll have some fun stops planned now! The Bluestem Falls is top of my bucket list as well as the whale off of Route 66. Semi-strange roadside attractions are my favorite thing! lol



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 9:44 am

      Hi Shelbs! Awesome! Have a great trip visiting Oklahoma.



  5. Jazmin on August 5, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Wow every location in Tulsa looks so different yet amazing. Ive never been to Oklahoma and will look forward to what it has to offer when I pass by. Especially the town of Pawhuska. Love those little towns with a historic vibe.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 9:45 am

      Hi Jazmin – Pawhuska is so cute! Don’t miss visiting all of The Pioneer Woman stores and restaurants. So fun!



  6. Hannah on August 7, 2021 at 9:40 am

    These weekend getaways from Tulsa look amazing! Tallgrass Prairie Preserve looks incredible! What a wonderful adventure! Robber’s Cave looks so cool too! Those would definitely be the first two that I visit! Thanks for the great guide!



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 9:45 am

      Hi Hannah – thanks for reading and for commenting. Those are two of our favorites as well!!



  7. Krista on August 7, 2021 at 10:12 am

    Wow there are definitely a lot of beautiful places near Tulsa to visit for the weekend. I’m loving how many different landscapes there are as well to choose from.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 8:08 pm

      Hi Krista – we love that about Oklahoma too. There is so much to see and do.



  8. kmf on August 7, 2021 at 10:16 am

    I’ve never been to Oklahoma so this guide is awesome. These look and sound like the best weekend getaways or day trips from Tulsa.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Karen! Thanks for the feedback. There are so many really unique places to visit in Oklahoma and not far from Tulsa. It is so fun to explore.



  9. Megan on August 7, 2021 at 11:30 am

    I expected the prairie, but would never have guessed there were little desserts, waterfalls, and salt plains in Oklahoma! It’s a bucket list item for me to visit some salt flat sometime!



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 8:10 pm

      Hi Megan! We hear that ALOT. We thought the same before we moved here too! It has been so fun exploring Oklahoma. Hope you can make it to the Oklahoma Salt Plains someday.



  10. Renee on August 7, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    Wow! There are some awesome spots for day trips! I think I want to do them all! But maybe Robbers Cave would be top of the list.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Renee! Robber’s Cave is so fun. You would love exploring the area.



  11. Farrah on August 7, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    I’ve never been to Tulsa but I love that there are so many cool state parks + places to visit near there! I’d love to go someday! *-*



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 8:11 pm

      Hello Farrah – Sounds like Tulsa is on your bucket list now 🙂 Thanks for reading. We hope you can make it out to explore Oklahoma in the future.



  12. Haley on August 7, 2021 at 7:32 pm

    I love this guide! The Natural falls look absolutely gorgeous.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 7, 2021 at 8:12 pm

      Hey there, Haley! Thanks for reading and for the nice comment. Natural Falls is even better in person. When are you visiting? 😉



  13. Trea on August 8, 2021 at 9:34 am

    Wow, I can’t believe how much there is to do. I love the falls. The water is so clear! Very detailed guide. Thank you!



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 9, 2021 at 11:27 am

      Hi Trea! Isn’t it so cool?! Oklahoma has really neat things to see and do. We love living in Tulsa.



  14. Cosette on August 8, 2021 at 12:42 pm

    The salt plains look really cool, didn’t know they were near Tulsa. Of course you have to visit Ree Drummonds mercantile shop, if you’re in the area!



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 9, 2021 at 11:28 am

      Hi Cosette! Thanks for reading and commenting. The Salt Plains are so neat – such a treat to see and take photos at. Ree Drummond is such an inspiration. She started off as a blogger too!



  15. simplyjolayne on August 9, 2021 at 10:59 am

    I think the Pioneer Woman is adding life to Oklahoma like Chip and Joanna are to Waco, TX. I bet it would be fun to visit, especially to take some pics with that awesome red truck. The waterfalls look pretty amazing.



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 9, 2021 at 11:30 am

      Hi there! We love Ree Drummond. She is so inspiring to me since she started off as a blogger too. We haven’t been to Waco but heard it was really fun to see what Chip and Joanna have done. It is on our bucket list! Pawhuska is a great little town. We visit often – it is only about an hour from Tulsa. It makes for the perfect weekend getaway from Tulsa!



  16. Rowan on August 25, 2021 at 5:34 pm

    Oh wow this looks awesome – I’d love to see bison!



    • Ashlee Fechino on August 26, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Yes! They are easy to see right from the road. It is soooo neat!