Since moving back to the US from Europe, I’ve been obsessed with visiting small towns, both those in Oklahoma and those a little further afield like Arkansas and Texas. Basically, if a small town is cute and less than four hours from OKC, I want to see it in person. These adorable smalls towns in Oklahoma are the stuff my Oklahoma weekend getaway dreams are made of, and range from rural towns to quaint towns to everything in between!
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How to Get to the Best Oklahoma Small Towns
If you are new to this part of the world, you might be shocked at just how hard it is to get around without a car. If you are flying into Oklahoma, I have tips for renting a car below. Getting almost anywhere out of Oklahoma City or Tulsa without wheels is very difficult. (And honestly, even getting around OKC and Tulsa without a car is tough).
Driving in Oklahoma is pretty easy. Roads are well marked and maintained other than in very rural areas. I get skittish driving in winter storms on the turnpike, but that might just be me.
Google Maps and other navigation apps work great in this part of the country, though navigation systems in cars can miss some major landmarks if they haven’t been updated.
Do You Need a Car for Your Trip?
It’s awfully hard to get around Oklahoma without a car. If you need to rent one, I use Discover Cars. You’ll be able to pick up a car at the airport or in your hometown.
The Best Small Towns in Oklahoma
For this list, I’ve tried to keep to towns that have less than 25,000 residents, though some have under 500! Technically, according to Oklahoma law, any place with a thousand or more resident can be incorporated as a city. However, if you’re looking for a small town to relax in for an Oklahoma getaway, these all fit the bill as none of them have that “big city” feel. What I’m saying is that you know a town when you see one.
In no particular order…
This might be the most popular small town in Oklahoma to visit these days. Between Martin Scorsesee, Leonardo DiCaprio, and, of course, Ree Drummond, there are a lot of corners of Pawhuska that have been given the Hollywood (or Food Network) treatment.
When it’s not on camera, Pawhuska is a sleepy town of under 4,000 residents. While here, make sure to eat (and shop!) at the Mercantile, take some Pawhuska Instagram photos around town, and indulge in some of the other fabulous things to do in Pawhuska like take a visit out to see the buffalo (bison) at the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.
One of the smallest Oklahoma towns on this list, coming in at about 300 permanent residents, Medicine Park the first resort town built in what is now Oklahoma. It’s also one of my favorite Oklahoma hidden gems!
Many who come here do so to see the waterfall and use the town as a base to explore the area. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge and the Holy City of the Wichitas are both popular stops outside of town.
While here, get some good Oklahoma cuisine at The Plantation (don’t worry, it was never actually a plantation).
With about twenty-five hundred residents, Prague, Oklahoma is less than .02% the size of its namesake Prague in the Czech Republic. But don’t worry, there’s still a lot to do here! You can visit the National Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague, walk down Jim Thorpe Boulevard, and eat barbecue at Cowpokes.
I think this is also a very photogenic city, so if you’re a budding photographer, take note! There are lots of hidden corners to snap a pic of here.
One of the larger towns on this list, Guthrie still boasts a small-town feel because of its gorgeous preserved historic downtown. For a few city blocks, you can close your eyes and go back in time over a hundred years to when Guthrie was the territorial capital. The train station and diners like Stables Cafe add to Guthrie’s charming ambiance.
While only about twelve hundred people live in Yale today, one of their former residents is one of the most famous Oklahomans of all time, the World’s Greatest Athlete Jim Thorpe. While here, you can visit the Jim Thorpe Home, check out the historic Main Street, and see the monument to the Civil War Battle of Round Mountain.
For a small town, there are a number of fun things to do in Yale, including paying a visit to the ghost town of Ingalls which is right next door. You can visit as a weekend getaway or as a day trip from Stillwater, Tulsa, or Oklahoma City.
The second largest town on this list, Tahlequah was actually named one of the Top 100 Small Towns in America. The town serves as the capital of Cherokee Nation as well as being located on the Illinois River, so there are numerous things for travelers of all kinds to do, from learning about Native American and Oklahoma history to enjoying a float trip on the river.
With a population of a little under 10,000, Poteau is home to the World’s Tallest Hill as well as being the doorstep to the Ouachita National Forrest, one of Oklahoma’s National Park Service sites, and the Talimena Scenic Drive, one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful drives. For a real treat, visit Poteau during the Poteau Balloon Fest for even more stunning views!
Broken Bow & Hochatown
Broken Bow has a population of around four thousand, while Hochatown doesn’t even have an official headcount. Yet these two southeastern Oklahoma towns are huge draws thanks to their proximity to Beavers Bend State Park. Numerous glamping options and decked-out cabins have been made available in recent years, so this is the perfect place to escape a bit into small-town lake life.
This town of about three thousand residents owns a piece of some important American history and pop culture. That’s because it’s on Route 66, and its location on the Mother Road means every building on Main Street is seen by motorists from all over the world who come to drive the most famous road trip in America. It’s Rock Cafe is also the inspiration for Pixar’s Car, so it continues to inspire children for almost two decades.
Come to Stroud (or drive through it!) for a slice of Americana that can’t be beat!
With a population of just 247 people, Arcadia is official the smallest Oklahoma town on this list. Yet its red, round barn on Route 66 is one of the route’s most photographed spots. In fact, the town is home to both the Arcadia Round Barn and Pop’s, two of the best things to see on Route 66.
There is not a ton of things to do in Arcadia, and most will stay in neighboring Edmond. Yet it’s a can’t-miss Oklahoma town. Come in on Saturday to hit up the farmer’s market, tour the barn’s museum, and then go buy as much soda as your heart desires over at Pop’s.
While Chouteau has about two thousand residents, it’s known statewide as one of the most important places to visit the Amish in Oklahoma. Thus, the Amish Cheese House and the Dutch Pantry are two of the most important things to do in Chouteau. Here, eating your face off is an important cultural experience.
For those who want to get out in nature, you’ll be happy to know that the Blue Hole (of Oklahoma) is located nearby in Mayes County.
This town of about 1200 people boasts one of the most magnificent churches in Oklahoma. St. Anthony of Pauda towers above the town and reminds me of driving around Slovenia as much as driving around Oklahoma. There’s just something about seeing steeples above the skyline that takes your breath away.
The rest of the town offers beautiful murals, historic architecture, and, of course, is just a short drive from the gorgeous Gloss Mountain State Park.
This town of about five thousand is located right on the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, one of the most beautiful places in Oklahoma. The Artisan Hotel and Spa makes for an elegant start to your time here, allowing you to combine outdoor adventures with small-town life. Explore the Platt Historic District and make sure you see nearby Turner Falls over in Davis if this is your first time in the area.
While about three thousand people call Eufala home year-round, the town bustles in the summer when travelers descend on Lake Eufala, Oklahoma’s most peaceful lake. The historic downtown is full of antique shops and cute eateries, and Robbers Cave State Park is just a stone’s throw away!
This town of eighteen thousand is the largest Oklahoma small town on this list, but it’s got enough charm to keep you wanting more! Just thirty minutes west of Oklahoma City on Route 66, you can come to town for the onion burgers, to tour Fort Reno, or to ride the Heritage Express Trolley for an overview of the town.
The town is also home to a portion of the Chisholm Trail, one of Oklahoma’s National Park Sites.
This town of just about three hundred people is the gateway to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and hosts an annual car show. There are actually quite a few things to do in Shidler, including golfing, enjoying the street art, and learning about local cowboy folklore.
Pin this Guide to the Best Oklahoma Small Towns for Your Oklahoma Adventures!
Stephanie Craig is a born-and-bred Oklahoma mom and travel expert who has been to over fifty countries. After traveling all over the world, Stephanie moved back to Oklahoma to explore more of her own backyard. Her favorite things to do in Oklahoma include visiting the Blue Whale of Catoosa, the Arcadia Round Barn, and the Talimena Scenic Byway.