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Nestled between Oklahoma City and Dallas along well-traveled Interstate 35, explore an outdoor getaway in the Arbuckle Mountains. Sulphur Oklahoma is home to a National Park Service site along with the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Find a luxurious hotel, a quaint historic town along with a large lake for recreation. Get all the top tips for things to do in Sulphur OK.
After two separate trips to Sulphur Oklahoma, it’s the outdoor time I love the most. From the mountaintop overlooks to the cool water of Travertine Creek, Chickasaw offers families lots of fun outdoor activities from hiking to splashing and more.
Here are the top things to do in Sulphur OK.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area
The Chickasaw National Recreation Area is your destination for a getaway in the outdoors. This area features several areas to explore, packed with outdoor activities, like hiking trails, biking, boating and swimming in its natural pools.
Located closest to Sulphur, The Platt Historic Unit features Travertine Nature Center with live animals inside and an interactive area. along with the Travertine Creek and historic buildings. During the Great Depression, the historic structures were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC), like the picnic area and Lincoln Bridge. Be sure and stop to see the resident bison herd near sunset.
Veterans Lake is located nearby. Find a 3-mile trail around the lake and it is popular spot to fish. Camping is nearby.
Arbuckle District is where boaters can enter the Lake of the Arbuckles, at each of its three campground areas: Guy Sandy, The Point and Buckhorn. An additional boat ramp is located at Upper Guy Sandy area too.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area is open 365-days a year and 24-hours a day. This area is a fee-free area. ATVs aren’t permitted in the park.
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Kids love animals, so stop at the Bison Viewing Area located off U.S. Route 177, just south of Sulphur. A herd of 10 buffalo roam in Chickasaw Natural Recreation Area.
After several attempts at bison viewing, we caught the bison near twilight in the viewing area. A special treat – we spotted a couple of baby bison grazing near their mothers.
Chickasaw Cultural Center
Chickasaw Cultural Center, a must for families, is the cultural center for the Chickasaw Nation. With 184 acres to explore, a top is the Chikasha Inchokka’ Traditional Village that features reenactments and living history demonstrations. During our visit, we watched a stomp dance. In addition, traditional dressed docents explained Chickasaw crafts and agriculture.
Along with the village, I found a fine art gallery, café, gift shop and a lake where kids can feed the fish. A beautiful facility that must be explored to be appreciated. Located at 867 Cooper Memorial Dr, the Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission varies.
Bedré Fine Chocolate
What began nearly four decades ago in the small town of Ada, Oklahoma, draws all the road trippers traveling through southern Oklahoma. At the convenient location alongside Interstate 35, Bedré Fine Chocolate offers a shop full of temptations. Grab a treat with the kids and even watch while the chocolates roll off the production line from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
During our visit, we sampled their classic treat, the meltaways, in nearly every flavor available. Along with traditional chocolate, my kids loved the salty snacks dipped in chocolate. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and free to enter.
Arbuckle Trail Rides
Take the kids horseback riding! Arbuckle Trail Rides offers one hour guided tours. Rides start at $40 per rider and each must be 8-years-old or older. Weight restrictions apply. Located at four miles north of Sulphur along U.S. Highway 177. Open year-round and reservations required.
See exotic animals from the comfort of your car as they roam a 200-acre park. The Arbuckle Wilderness Drive-Thru Safari offers feeding from your vehicle as well. Located at 6132 Kay Starr Rd. in Davis. Open daily, across from Turner Falls Park. Adult admission (12 and older) is $16.99 and kids (4 to 11) are $14.99.
ARTesian Gallery & Studios
Browse the selection at ARTesian Gallery and Studios for one-of-a-kind artwork. Dedicated gallery to the Chickasaw Nation artists along with other native Americans artisans, shop for paintings, pottery and more. Located at 100 West Muskogee St. Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Turner Falls Park
If the weather is warm, then the locals line up to splash at Turner Falls Park, home of the tallest waterfall in Oklahoma. Find a natural swimming hole along with camping and hiking trails. Located at Interstate 35 and U.S. Route 77. Open daily with seasonal hours. Admission for 5 and older.
Where to Stay in Sulphur
Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center
During my visit to Sulphur, Oklahoma, my family stayed at the Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center, located next the the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. With over 1,700 acres to explore, the Chickasaw Retreat offers the ultimate refuge for relaxing and reconnecting as a family.
During my stay, I enjoyed a Junior Suite. With a spacious room, I found plenty of space for a roll-away or pack-n-play. A separate kitchenette provides a small refrigerator, a full-size microwave and separate sink. The luxurious bathroom included a soaking tub for rejuvenating along with a separate shower.
In a separate building, I found a wellness center that rivaled any health club with lots of machines and an indoor track. With a steam room and a dry sauna, relaxing comes easy at the Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center. I also found the Sole’renity Spa, with services like manicures and pedicures, massages, facials, wraps and waxes. My kids enjoyed the indoor pool during our stay as well.
Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center is located at 4205 Goddard Youth Camp, Sulphur, Oklahoma.
The Artesian Hotel
Offering refined lodging steps from all the sights, The Artesian Hotel anchors the revitalized downtown of Sulphur. The original hotel opened in 1906 and was named after the mineral water found on the property during construction.
After a 2013 rebuild, The Artesian offers visitors and locals a respite of refinement. The 81-room hotel features a traditional bathhouse, an indoor and outdoor pool along with shopping and restaurants. Make an appointment at the kid spa while you enjoy a treatment of your own at Sole’renity Spa.
Located in the center of the revitalized downtown of Sulphur at 1001 West 1st Street.
Where to Eat in Sulphur, Oklahoma
Springs at the Artesian
During our visit, my family enjoyed dinner at The Artesian Hotel’s restaurant, Springs at the Artesian. In an upscale atmosphere, I found home-style inspired entrees.
We sampled several entrees for dinner. My 12-year-old son ordered a classic cheeseburger served on a pretzel bun with Bibb lettuce. My 9-year-old ordered the chicken pot pie off of the kids’ menu. With a flaky crust and loaded full of tender chunks of white meat chicken along with a rich béchamel sauce, this kids entrée would have satisfied me. I ordered the Pecan-Encrusted Tilapia along with a glass of Merlot from the Springs’ full bar. Afterwards we enjoyed something chocolate.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For a quick lunch we stopped by the Bedré Café, located on the street-level shopping area of The Artesian Hotel. In a 1950s inspired malt shop I found a large selection of Oklahoma’s own Bedré Chocolates. Along with assorted baked goods and coffee-house style drinks, Bedré Café scoops up hand-dipped ice cream and blends up shakes.
My family enjoyed the panini of the day along with a turkey club wrap and a cup of tomato soup. My sons loved the Arbuckle Shake made with vanilla ice cream and Bedré chocolates most of all. Imagine that. Open 7 am. to 4 p.m. daily.
The Rusty Nail
Take a moment to relax at the Rusty Nail, a boutique tasting room in Sulphur. Open Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. Located at 218 W. Muskogee Ave.
Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies
Located right off Interstate 35, Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies provides a regional road trip snack with savory and sweet pies. We sampled the cherry and apple along with the pizza-style and beef and vegetable. Starting with a super flaky pastry dough, it’s filled and pinched before your eyes.
Located at exit 51 in an old Sinclair’s gas station it’s open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find other shops across North Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Allergen Alert: All pies are fried in peanut oil.
Fat Bully’s Burgers
After exploring the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, I pulled the SUV into Fat Bully’s, where they were serving up half-pound burgers and live music. During our visit we sampled a metric burger and my youngest had a kid’s meal. All the burgers sat on toasted buns with trimmings on the side.
Located at 3133 Chickasaw Trail in Sulphur. Fat Bully’s serves from lunch to dinner, Friday through Sunday. Live music on most Saturday nights and amazing sunsets every night.
Tips for Visitors:
- Bring some water shoes and towels. My kids waded across all the waterfalls and splashed in the natural pools at the Chickasaw Natural Recreation Area.
- Swim at your own risk. No lifeguards on duty.
- Several venomous snakes live in Oklahoma.
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