Growing up in Oklahoma, I’ve taken road trips from Oklahoma City going in every direction you can think of.
The blessing of being situated right in the middle of the country means you can see a lot of different kinds of places after spending a few hours on the highway.
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The Best Road Trips from Oklahoma City
Here are some of my favorite road trips from OKC, organized by how long the drive is.
Keep in mind that your actual time on the road will be longer once you account for pit stops, driving through Sonic (or Braums), switching drivers, etc.
Of course, if you’re one of those drivers who likes to go ninety miles an hour on the highway, you’ll get there faster (if you get there in one piece), but speeding tickets might blow a hole in your trip budget.
Two Hour Road Trips
Anything less than ninety minutes just doesn’t seem like a road trip, does it? You really need to be on the road for an hour and a half to two hours before your trip starts to feel like a real road trip. You need to be in the car longer than it takes to drink a Route 44 from Sonic, right?
Here are the best road trips from Oklahoma that come in at two hours or less.
Growing up, we always viewed Tulsa as a great day trip destination, but why not spend a few nights?
You can enjoy the great food scene, take in a show or college game, and relax in a luxurious (or even budget) hotel. Tulsa feels like a better getaway when you spend a bit of time here.
Medicine Park, Oklahoma
Possibly the cutest town in Oklahoma, Medicine Park is colorful and fun!
There’s a lot to do in this part of the state, so if you spend a few days here instead of trying to rush back before bedtime, you can enjoy a lot more of what southern Oklahoma has to offer.
Combine a stay in Medicine Park with a day hiking (or driving) the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. You can appreciate the magnificence of the longhorn cattle and bison that call the refuge home.
Three Hour Road Trips
If you spend about two and a half hours to three hours on the road, you get a taste of the great open road without risking any negative consequences like cranky passengers or cramped muscles.
A drive from Oklahoma City to Dallas is the quintessential road trip from Oklahoma City. Can you call yourself an Okie if you haven’t set foot in Dallas?
Plan your trip around a college or NBA game so you can rep Oklahoma pride. After all, one of my favorite quotes about Oklahoma is by Baker Mayfield:
You come to Oklahoma to beat Texas.
So why not support our teams and head to Texas to cheer them on?
Four Hour Road Trips
Still, a manageable road trip, four hours in the car usually means at least one pit stop. And it’s the fun you have on a road trip pit stop that makes the road trip, don’t you think?
Amarillo might not be the first place you think of when you are trying to come up with a road trip idea, but it’s actually only four hours from Oklahoma City!
You can enjoy the beauty of Palo Duro Canyon, the mystery of the Floating Mesa, or the kitsch of Cadillac Ranch.
Five Hour Road Trips
If you’re looking to get out of Oklahoma, but you’re not interested in Texas, you can get to some pretty cool places if you are will to spend closer to five hours on the road.
Kansas City, Missouri
Between Chiefs football and Royals baseball, Kansas City has experienced a bit of a sports resurgence in the past few years. But it’s not just a city for sports fans.
You can check out the fabulous Nelson Atkins Museum along with the lesser-known National Museum of Towns and Miniatures, before hitting the Plaza or the Power & Light District.
My home for four years, Lawrence is a quintessential American college town. You can come to appreciate the pure-Americana that comes with this, or get tickets to the hottest show in town: a Kansas Jayhawks basketball game at Allen Fieldhouse.
Both OU and OSU play here each year, but get tickets early. Every game is sold out every year.
Six Hour Road Trips
When a road trip approaches six hours, it’s nice to have a driver to switch off with, so these are great options for road trips with friends or family.
Whether you’re interested in visiting Austin during SXSW or you’d rather be there during the offseason to see more of why the locals are working to “Keep Austin Weird,” don’t overlook Austin when planning a road trip to Texas!
Take in a sunset bat cruise, enjoy the city’s fabulous nightlife, and take a swim in Barton Springs.
It’s easy to forget that Oklahoma and Louisiana are separated by just a sliver of Texas, and you can get to Shreveport in less than six hours of driving, meaning excellent Cajun food is never that far away.
There’s also a lot to do out in nature here. You can play on Cross Lake or enjoy the Red River National Wildlife Refuge.
Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
If you’re looking to escape to a place with a true resort feel, head to Lake of the Ozarks! This is a chill place to enjoy a family-friendly vacation on the water.
Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
You don’t have to head all the way to Iceland to enjoy natural hot springs, just drive east to Arkansas!
At Hot Springs National Park the most popular activities are hiking and enjoying the hot springs at the bathhouses that cool the water down to a temperature that’s safe to enjoy.
Seven Hour Road Trips
While a little ambitious for a two-day trip, enjoy these seven-hour road trips if you are lucky enough to have a three or four-day weekend on your hands (or even longer).
If you’re looking to eat some serious southern food, you can definitely do worse than Memphis. Enjoy the kitsch of Graceland and the vibes of Beale Street, but do not skip a visit to the National Civil Rights Museum.
If you love geeking out on space and science, then Houston is your best bet for a great road trip. Besides enjoying the city, you can spend a day exploring the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
This was one of the places that I loved visiting as a kid, and I highly recommend Houston as a great road trip from Oklahoma City for families looking for an educational trip.
San Antonio, Texas
It seems like San Antonio is constantly hosting some of the most important sporting events in the country, so it is common for friends and family to plan road trips to San Antonio around one of these events.
Whether it’s March Madness or a Big XII or even the Superbowl, San Antonio is a great place to go if your favorite team is competing.
Of course, there’s way more to San Antonio than sports and the Riverwalk. Spend time at the Alamo, but take time to visit the other four San Antonio Missions as well. Together they comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Eight Hour Road Trips
While you can easily do a road trip where you drive more than eight hours, I’ve decided this is going to be the longest trips I cover for this post.
Eight hours is short enough that you can do the road trip solo if you want, provided you give yourself time for breaks.
Yes, Oklahomans love to road trip further away, and it’s not unheard of to load the kids up and drive all the way to the east or west coast.
However, in that case, practically every city in America would be a road trip destination, and I think there’s a certain point that spending ten or twelve hours driving means you need more than a long weekend to enjoy the trip.
So while eight hours might seem like a short drive for some, I think all of these cities make for a great long weekend away while still being reachable comfortably in a day even if you want to stop for long breaks and enjoy dinner out once you arrive.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
While Oklahoma and Texas are part of the Southwest region of the US, if you want to feel like you’re really exploring the American Southwest, take a trip out to Santa Fe.
Santa Fe is a great place for an art-centric road trip, and you can explore the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, and the Museum of International Folk Art, along with historic Native American and Spanish Colonial architecture.
St. Louis, Missouri
There are tons of great free things to do in St. Louis. You can go on a free brewery tour at the Budweiser Brewery, enjoy the city’s free art museums, and take in the gorgeous architecture erected for the 1904 World’s Fair.
If you love history, take a day trip to Cahokia Mounds, a UNESCO World Heritage Site just over the border in Illinois.
Roswell, New Mexico
For an Americana-packed kitsch fest, head to Roswell, New Mexico to do as much (legal) Area 51 tourism as you can get away with. Make sure to pick up some alien souvenirs before heading back to OKC!
While my family typically heads to the beach towns further south on North Padre Island, you save hours off of your beach trip drive if you head to Galveston since you can get there in under eight hours of drive time.
This charming beach resort town has a great throw-back amusement park, historic architecture, and, of course, fabulous swimming on the Gulf of Mexico.
Road Trips that Take More than Eight Hours
If you’re still looking for ideas, here are ten more road trips from OKC that take a little (or a lot) longer:
Taos, New Mexico (9 hours)
Marfa, Texas (9 hours)
North Padre Island, Texas (10 hours)
Denver, Colorado (10 hours)
Nashville, Tennessee (11 hours)
New Orleans, Louisiana (11 hours)
Chicago, Illinois (12 hours)
South Padre Island, Texas (12 hours)
Vail, Colorado (12 hours)
Atlanta, Georgia (13 hours)
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