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Located between Texas and Kansas, is where you’ll find Oklahoma. Having probably heard of Oklahoma thanks to the work of Rodgers and Hammerstein (their first musical Oklahoma!), John Steinbeck (in his novel, Grapes of Wrath), or the emotional songs of Woody Guthrie, it is likely that you don’t think the state sounds too appealing. Given its creation in 1907, and then being hit by the great depression in the 1930s, many people believe this state to be a bleak, depressing place – but that is no longer the case. Today, Oklahoma is a Republican state, with a thriving economy and a large religious community. It is in the unique position of being almost exactly in the middle of the USA, with a broad history coming from both the south and the west, not to mention it’s native American culture scene.
From Western museums to its Southern comforts, Oklahoma is a combination of what makes America - 33 state parks, mountains, wildlife, and plains as far as the eye can see; Oklahoma is a thriving state ready to be explored. When booking your Oklahoma car rental in advance with Enjoy Travel, you'll find prices starting from as low as $36 per day.
Guide to Oklahoma
Covering an area of nearly 70,000 square miles, Oklahoma is the 20th largest state in the USA. The state lies partially in the Great Plains and is bordered by Arkansas and Missouri on the East, Kansas on the North, along with Colorado, New Mexico and Texas in the South.
Classed as a very geographically diverse state, Oklahoma is one of four states to harbor over 10 distinct ecological regions within its 11 borders; with the East of Oklahoma containing around 8 of these regions and the Western half only containing 3. Despite the West containing fewer, however, it still contains many rare and diverse species.
Oklahoma, along with its vast plains, also has four major mountainous ranges: the Ouachita , the Wichita, the Ozark and the Arbuckle Mountains. The Ozark and Ouachita Mountains are the only major mountainous regions between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians and are a sight to be seen.
Along with this, to the Northwest of Oklahoma you will also find natural forests, which are the perfect place to spot all sorts of wildlife and give yourself time to slow down with nature.
Climate and Weather
Oklahoma has what is known as a ‘continental climate,’ which means it tends to have cold winters and hot summers. The state tends to have a distinct change between winter, fall, spring and summer, with benefits to each season. Oklahoma City averages a cool 37°F in January, all the way up to a scorching 82°F in July. Along with this, it can have extreme weather conditions, and tornadoes aren’t uncommon – so make sure you are aware of all safety precautions necessary before travelling here.
Tornadoes in Oklahoma
Central Oklahoma is known for its quickly developing thunderstorms and tornadoes in the spring and summer months. Those planning to visit Oklahoma during these times (or any time!) should remain alert when checking for weather warnings – this means, if there is a weather service announcement, it is best you take it extremely seriously and comply with any instructions given to you.
Two definitions you need to be aware of are ‘tornado watch’ and ‘tornado warning.’ A ‘tornado watch’ means the current weather conditions in Oklahoma could potentially lead to a tornado developing, while a ‘tornado warning’ means a tornado is imminent or has already been sighted nearby. If a tornado warning is issued while you are in Oklahoma, you need to take shelter in a safe place as quickly as possible until it is safe to leave. Tornadoes should be taken very seriously, and weather warnings always listened to.
These weather warnings shouldn’t put you off visiting this incredible state, however, we just advice you to be vigilant, listen to weather warnings and take them all seriously as and when they arise.
Things to do in Oklahoma
Oklahoma isn’t lacking in things to do; located centrally in the middle of a culturally and geographically diverse area of the USA, there is so much to see and do in this beautiful state.
Visit the Philbrook Museum of Art
At the museum, you’ll find the museum gift shop, event hall, library, children’s space and the exhibition hall.
Visit the Armstrong Auditorium
Edmund, the home of the Armstrong Auditorium, is an eight-story arts venue that attracts international tours, including the Russian Ballet, the Vienna Boys Choir and many more. With extravagant décor; including a crystal candelabra which was used by the Shah of Iran to celebrate the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire, it is certainly a sight everyone should experience when heading to Oklahoma.
As a relatively small auditorium, with seats available for 823 people, it is an intimate occasion that is fully equipped to show state-of-the-art performances that shouldn’t be missed.
Visit the Cave House
In downtown Tulsa you’ll find the Cave House; a unique home that attracts both locals and tourists alike. The home itself has been decorated by mother and daughter team, Linda and Kate Collier, and has been fashioned from recycled findings.
Originally a restaurant in the 1920s, the Cave House was a popular hangout for outlaws during the Prohibition, which is thanks to the tunnel system that is said to pass under the house.
Eating out in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has a diverse range of districts, so you will be spoilt for choice when looking for somewhere to eat out. With a large population of Vietnamese people for example, due to immigration in the 1970s, there are a vast variety of Vietnamese restaurants if you head over to the Asian district.
Oklahoma is also home to some of the most unique and unusual places to eat out in the whole of the USA. Although traditional restaurants and take outs can be found across the whole state, you might be after something a little more outlandish, with an atmosphere you’ll never forget
Olli's Station Restaurant, Tulsa
If you’re a railroad enthusiast, you might want to check out Ollie’s Station Restaurant in the heart of Tulsa. This restaurant is located on an old train station and displays antique railroad memorabilia from all over the state.
Southern Belle Restaurant, Heavener
Right at the top of the list of ‘unusual restaurants’ in Oklahoma is the Southern Belle Restaurant in Heavener. Located inside a 1905, fully restored railcar, the Southern Belle is a sight to be seen. It may look small, but don’t let looks deceive you, this restaurant can actually hold up to 50 diners at a time.
Tokyo Pot, Stillwater
As mentioned, Oklahoma isn’t lacking in choice; and it has a number of incredible Asian restaurants you have to check out. One of them is an Asian-inspired restaurant called Tokyo Pot in Stillwater, which features a Shabu Shabu dining experience.
Molly's Landing, Catoosa
Rated one of the best restaurants in the whole of Oklahoma, Molly’s Landing isn’t one to be missed. Located in a rustic log cabin, this family-run restaurant was constructed in 1984 and originally was built for a family who had moved from California.
There are several airports in Oklahoma, with the busiest being Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa is the only international airport in the state.
Getting around Oklahoma
If you’re in and around central Oklahoma, we recommend walking as much as possible. Not only will you be able to explore things you never would by car or public transport, but you’ll also experience Oklahoma in a whole other light, and probably meet some locals too. That being said however, Oklahoma City centre is extremely easy to navigate by car, with nearly 2,500 miles of four-lane roads, the city itself is the sixth most driveable city in the whole of the USA.