14 Day Trips From Tulsa That Get You Outside

Ashlee and Pablo at Little Sahara State Park in Oklahoma

Whether you are looking to explore nature, go hiking, biking, or camping in some of Oklahoma’s most scenic places, you can take a break from work without taking vacation time.

We live in Tulsa and want to share our favorite places for weekend getaways and easy day trips that get you outdoors.

Best Weekend Getaways from Tulsa

Ashlee sitting with little dog on the sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park.
Little Sahara State Park.

If you are new to Tulsa or are just looking for ideas to recharge from the workweek, you’ll love this list of outdoorsy getaways.

We hope to inspire you to explore locally — there are a lot of cool places to visit.

Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Free-ranging bison at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

Located in Osage County, north of Pawhuska, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve is the largest tallgrass prairie on the planet. It consists of over 40,000 acres of protected prairie land.

There is a beautiful drive where visitors can see free-ranging bison year-round and even see newborn calves in the springtime.

Where to Hike: Two great hiking trails — the Prairie Earth Trail and the Nature Trail — are near the Visitor Center.

We love that you can experience solitude as you trek along tall grass and through the woods. The trails are dog-friendly.

Bluestem Falls

Pablo sitting at 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 walk near Pawhuska.

Bluestem Falls is worth checking out, even if it means going off course from what might have been planned initially.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile

Drummond Ranch red truck.

Though not an 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 (so that’s why it makes the list).

The town of Pawhuska is cute. Walk around, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy small-town Oklahoma at its finest.

Pair a visit to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and Bluestem Falls with a visit to the Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

Osage Hills State Park

Osage Hills Falls.

Are you looking for a hiking and camping adventure through rocky terrain and the Osage Hills? Then, head from Tulsa to Bartlesville and explore Osage Hills State Park.

The drive from Tulsa will take about an hour and a half; however, it’s worth the trip.

Be sure to hike the popular trail to Sand Creek Falls (a.k.a. Osage Hills Falls). You can 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.

We hiked to the falls during the late winter/early spring. They were kind of washed out, but it was still nice to get out of town for the day and get some fresh air.

Greenleaf State Park

Tucked within the Boston Mountains of Eastern Oklahoma, go camping, hiking, and enjoy fishing and kayaking at Greenleaf State Park. 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 Oklahoma –- The Ankle Express. The Ankle Express is a 19-mile loop through the mountains. The hike is primitive, with some steep grades and uneven surfaces.

If 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.

Robber’s Cave State Park

Ashlee and Pablo at Robbers Cave State Park.
Ashlee & Pablo standing outside of Robber’s Cave.

Robber’s Cave State Park is the perfect mountain escape close to Tulsa. It 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. Don’t miss hiking the short trail to the cave through the rocks.

This part of Oklahoma has so much hidden history, and I am just waiting for you to visit. We were blown away the first time we came here.

Salt Plains State Park

Ashlee and Pablo holding hands at Salt Plains State Park.
Salt Plains State Park.

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

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

Gloss Mountain State Park

Pablo and Sunny hiking the Cathedral Mountain Trail.
Pablo and Sunny hiking the Cathedral Mountain Trail at Gloss Mountain.

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.

Be sure to hike early if you’re visiting during the summer — it gets very hot out here.

Little Sahara State Park

Ashlee standing on the sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park in Oklahoma.
Ashlee standing on the sand dunes at 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 the park.

Little Sahara is a popular destination for ATVs, dirt bikes, dune buggies, and landscape photographers. It also has a campground.

Planning Tip: Gloss Mountain, Salt Plains, and Little Sahara State Parks pair well together. You can see all three places on a day trip from Tulsa (that is what we did).

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 iconic waterfall.

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

Lake Tenkiller

Ashlee on the rocks at Lake Tenkiller.

We love 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 sports such as kayaking.

There are also multiple places to camp managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Tenkiller State Park.

You can camp right on the water at Cookson Bend (link to Recreation.gov) — that’s why we like camping here.

Oologah Lake

The Skull Hollow Nature Trail 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 — it’s not creepy. The trail wanders along the lake through the forest and rocks with nice 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.

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

Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

Ashlee hiking the Bluff Trail.

Redbud Valley Nature Preserve is another perfect day trip and weekend getaway from Tulsa. Head out of town to hit the trails. The preserve has miles of trails 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.

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

Route 66

Blue Whale Route 66 roadside attraction.

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. Oklahoma continues to invest in restoring many landmarks along historic Route 66 and adding new stops and memorabilia.

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 charming and quirky.

Thanks for reading.

Ashlee & Pablo

Save for Later!

Pin this guide on Pinterest to plan your trip later.

Follow The Happiness Function on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube.

Posted in

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.


  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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? 😉

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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 🙂