Oklahoma is one of the prairie states of the United States. I went to university in the Northwest part of the state in Enid. And for 30 years, I would have never compared Oklahoma to Northern California until a recent trip to Broken Bow. This article will explain why I think you should consider a visit to this small town in Southeast Oklahoma.
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Broken Bow, Oklahoma: Hidden Gem
As I mentioned, I have been visiting Oklahoma for 30 years. It started with my first visit during my university recruitment tour. And for 4 years, I enjoyed my time in Enid. While I loved that time, I would never refer to Enid as scenic.
The area is so flat that the US Air Force trains pilots to fly jet airplanes there because there’s nothing to fly your airplane into.
And between my time in Enid and my 25 years living in Dallas, I had not heard of Broken Bow.
But my wife and I have been looking for new places to glamp because while I am willing to sleep in a tent, my wife isn’t.
Yet, we haven’t heard about Broken Bow until recently.
And based on our research while staying at Broken Bow, we learned this is because the area has only become popular in the past 5 years.
Where is Broken Bow, Oklahoma?
Broken Bow is in southeastern Oklahoma. And is located in an area of the county we call the ArkLaTex. Because it’s the corner where Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Lousiana touch. I do not know why we don’t call it OkArkLaTex.
The area is hilly, wooded and remote. Livestock might outnumber the humans. We saw plenty of cattle, horses, goats and even some mules on our trek to our cabin.
Broken Bow is a 3-hour drive from Dallas.
If you live in Dallas, the drive is simple though it is on 2-lane backroads.
Though I would point out if you are a fan of Texas history, your drive will take you through Honey Grove. Honey Grove, Texas has less than 2000 people. And if you blink, you will miss it. But this town was founded in an area discovered by Davy Crockett.
If you are coming from out of Texas and you decided to fly in, you will have to fly into one of the Dallas airports and rent a car.
You could also fly into Oklahoma City and drive. But it will take you almost the same amount of time.
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What Should I Expect in Broken Bow, Oklahoma?
Broken Bow is all about the outdoors. You are not visiting Broken Bow, Oklahoma for the big city life. You’re only coming here because you want to enjoy the great outdoors and the lodging reflects that.
Thus you shouldn’t be surprised that the closest traditional chain hotel is over 20 miles away in Idabel. And even in Idabel, the pickings are slim. And you won’t find any of the large Marriott or Hilton resort-style hotels.
Within the town of Broken Bow, the only hotel I saw was a motor-lodge, and it wasn’t a chain.
Instead of staying in a hotel, you are going to camp. But the camping doesn’t have to mean roughing it.
Instead, the area is built for glamping. We talk about glamping in our article on Camping Forge.
Glamping is camping without the discomfort of traditional tent camping.
Where to Stay in Broken Bow, Oklahoma
The most popular option is a luxury cabin. Everywhere you turn in Broken Bow, there are signs for a cabin. And this is where we stayed. The cabins are no different than staying in your house. They will have HVAC, traditional bathrooms, satellite television, nice beds, and furniture. Most will also have gas-fired fireplaces and many are built to look like a log-cabin. These are not roughing it at all. And there’s no shame in staying in a cabin when visiting the outdoors. But don’t be tempted to stay inside all day and watch the television.
Make sure to get outside and explore the area.
Browse Cabin Options in Broken Bow, Oklahoma
If you want to rough it a little bit more, there are several places for you to park your RV. We saw a couple of RV parks in the area. Including within the Beavers Bend State Park.
Third, there is the Lakeview Lodge within Beavers Bend State Park. This is a motel located within the heart of the park. It has around 40 rooms and several suites.
The motel has been recently remodeled. We visited the lodge during the winter and it was practically empty. But they gave us a tour of the rooms. They were traditional hotel rooms. A bed, a flat-screen TV, a small bathroom and in-room Keurig coffee maker. But there is nothing that can compare to the view of the lake. Each room has a view of the lake. And outside the back door is the start of one of the park trails. Many reviews mentioned that there was a small herd of deer that liked to visit the grounds in the evening.
But before we move on, I do want to highlight the fact that this is bear country. I confirmed with locals that black bears are active. Thus if you are camping, make sure to keep food out of your tent. And to bring bear spray.
Things to do in Broken Bow, Oklahoma
There more activities to do in Broken Bow than we expected.
First, there are basic things – the state park has many hiking trails and a large lake for fishing, boating, and swimming. You can rent boats at local marinas and there are fishing guides for hire as well. And there’s a small river where you can go tubing.
Second, wildlife spotting. This goes with the hiking. During the spring and summer, the area is teaming with wildlife. Just keep your distance and be safe.
Third, museums and shopping. There are a handful of boutique shops including at least one that specializes in Bigfoot. As is common in any wooded area of the United States, there are Bigfoot stories. And the local tourist trade capitalizes on this. We saw but did not visit the wildlife museum.
Fourth, small amusement parks. There is the Bigfoot Speedway where kids can drive go-karts. There is a miniature golf course. There is an ax-throwing location. But the must-visit is the Beavers Bend Mining Company. This lovely attraction is better for young kids. It has a dinosaur dig. You can buy a bag of dirt that is pre-seeded with flakes of gemstones. Then your children can pan for gold. And there is a blacksmith who makes small simple metal toys.
Fifth, Nothing. This is a great place to just go and relax. And do nothing.
Where to Eat in Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Just as there are no major hotel chains here, there are not many chain restaurants either.
There was an Arby’s and a Sonic. But there’s no McDonald’s or Burger King or Taco Bell.
There were at least 3 Tex-Mex places but because we cooked dinner at home both of our nights, thus we didn’t try them.
We did eat at 2 of the local places for breakfast. One is Bruch’s which has been there for years and primarily serves locals. Their food was tasty and I recommend grabbing a slice of pecan pie to take home for an afternoon snack.
The other breakfast restaurant we ate at was Old Timey Cafe. This has been opened up less than a year. But we enjoyed it enough to eat there twice. They had traditional breakfast items such as eggs and pancakes as well as southern breakfast staples like biscuits and gravy.
The only dinner we had in town was at Grateful Head pizza. This is a local place. The staff was very nice and the pizza was very good. We no longer have a consistently good pizza place where I live in Dallas and was so glad to have a nice pizza.
There are also several wineries and breweries in the area. We did not visit any of the wineries because neither my wife nor I are wine drinkers. We did visit one of the breweries. We visited the Beavers Bend Brewery. The beer was cold and the vibe was fun.
And of course, being in the south there were several BBQ joints. But since we always ate big breakfasts, we skipped lunch. And thus I didn’t have any BBQ.
If you do want to cook at your cabin or RV as we did, there is only 1 grocery store in town. There is also a Walmart but it is not a supercenter thus there’s no grocery section.
If you are in the Dallas, Texas area and looking for a new place to visit for a family vacation, you should check out Broken Bow, Oklahoma. It is closer to Dallas than Austin. It is full of rolling hills and pine forests. And a great way to escape the city life. The tips in this article will help you have a good time.