Contributed by June Blogger of the Month, Kylee Gwartney
Can you believe it’s already June? 2015 is flying by faster than ever and summer has finally arrived! Even though most of us aren’t in school anymore, the summer months always bring the renewed urge to journey as far away from our desks as humanly possible and experience new adventures. If I had a few grand that I could afford to lose, I’d been on the first flight out of Will Rogers Airport to the Bahamas. Alas, I do not, but that doesn’t mean this summer can’t be full of amazing mini-trips close to home. Here are some fun ideas for when you’re dying to get away, but also aren’t trying to be broke for 2 months:
- The Wichita Mountains – Located near Lawton, the Wichita Mountains are one of my favorite places to visit in Oklahoma. My uncle used to take my cousin Hayley and me there every summer when we were younger, and it was always a great time! Hayley and I would sleep the entire way from Tulsa and wake up at the top of Mount Scott in time to have bagels and enjoy the sunrise. After that, we’d go hiking at Elk Mountain until we got to “our” cave, where we’d spend the entire day pretending it was a mansion, eating croissant sandwiches, and lounging on our cave mansion’s “sun roof.” The Wichita Mountains are awesome no matter how old you are, and it’s always cool to see all of the buffaloes on the drive there. Plus, you get a ton of exercise climbing up the mountains without really thinking about it.
- Eureka Springs, AR – Eureka Springs is, in my opinion, one of the coolest places around this area! It’s only a little over a 3-hour drive from Tulsa, but it looks like a completely different and completely magical world. There are so many cute, unique shops all over downtown. My favorite place by far, though, is the Crescent Hotel. Built in 1886, the hotel has had some seriously weird things go down there – like the brief time when it was a “cancer hospital” run by a total psychopath. If you don’t believe in ghosts, I challenge you to spend one night there and not come out with at least some kind of weird story. Aside from having a scary cool vibe unlike any other, the Crescent has some of the nicest staff, a top-notch day spa, and amazing architecture – the outside looks like a castle and the inside looks like something straight out of The Great Gatsby. Oh, and they have beautiful resident cats who live there and roam about at their leisure. What’s better than a fancy haunted hotel with cats lounging around? My family frequently stays here for Thanksgiving and it is awesome.
- Natural Falls State Park – Now, I’ve never actually been to Natural Falls before, but it’s on my list of places to road trip to this summer. A 77-foot waterfall that isn’t surrounded by dirty red Oklahoma water, yet is still somehow in Oklahoma? Count me in.
- Hidden Hills Cabins – If you like being outside but aren’t down with roughing it per se (like me), then you’ve probably heard of “glamping” – glamorous camping. When researching glamping in Oklahoma, I came across Hidden Hills Cabins in Hochatown (north of Broken Bow). Let me tell you, the cabins definitely look glamorous! While the bigger cabins will obviously be more expensive, they do have cabins for just $175/night. They’re pet-friendly and have necessary glamping items like electric fireplaces, Jacuzzi’s, outdoor fireplaces, washers and dryers, outdoor hot tubs, and Wi-Fi. When you’re not lounging in luxury, you can kayak, water ski, snorkel, hike, ride ATVs, and hunt (you know, on the off chance you like shooting things. I’ll go out on a limb and say most glampers either despise hunting innocent animals or simply find the activity to be completely unglamorous.)
- Two Hearts Inn Bed & Breakfast – For all the lovers out there, the Two Hearts Inn Bed & Breakfast in Edmond looks like the place to be. It was voted the best bed and breakfast in Oklahoma by Oklahoma Magazine. Some of the wonderful things you can enjoy are: fireplaces next to gigantic whirlpool tubs, rain-head showers, private decks, fancy beds with memory foam mattresses, a sprawling “backyard”, and breakfast at their in-house restaurant – Inspirations Eatery. Priced from $159 to $269 per night, depending on which suite you choose, this would be a great romantic retreat from any human children and/or furry children you may have. Plus, you can explore the nice shops in downtown Edmond too.
What are your favorite local spots to travel to, fellow Okies?
Kylee Gwartney is the author of teen novel, Catching the Fever, and the creator of kbyeee.com where she posts about style, beauty, and inspiration. She lives in Mustang with her boyfriend and their furry cat children, Rachel McKattams and Noah Cathoun. When she’s not online shopping or eating queso, you can probably find her at a local restaurant drinking mimosas well after brunch time and pretending to be Blair Waldorf.