Since moving to Texas, we are always on the hunt for weekend fun. With the warm weather we had this fall, we were looking for the perfect place to get away and enjoy some cooler temperatures. Thankfully, I found plenty of fun fall things to do in Chickasaw Country, Oklahoma, just about 3 hours from DFW. We had no idea what we would find, but we were pleasantly surprised. Here is what we found to recommend on a weekend trip to the area.
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Disclosure: We were the guests of Chickasaw Country for the purposes of this review. As always, opinions are 100% our own.
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Things to Do in Chickasaw Country on a Weekend Visit
1. Hiking in Chickasaw National Recreation Area
After we settled in, one of the first things we did was head to Chickasaw National Recreation Area. It was walking distance from our hotel, The Artesian Hotel, Casino, & Spa, in Sulphur.
This area covers close to 10,000 acres and spans from the trails located near the Travertine Nature Center to Lake of the Arbuckles. We started out on the Veteran’s Trail in search of the resident bison herd. Along the way we saw deer and stunningly gorgeous autumn leaves. We also found the herd, and were able to capture a few photos from a safe distance.
On another day we drove to Travertine Nature Center and set off hiking. We found some ponds and fresh water springs near the Antelope Springs and Buffalo Springs trails. The highlight however was the waterfall at Little Niagara. It was so beautiful and peaceful.
I wish we had more time to explore this diverse area because there’s everything from natural springs to lakes and sunset viewpoints to enjoy. Nature lovers won’t want to miss this spot.
2. A Culinary Treat at Taste of Ada
Who doesn’t love an opportunity to sample delicious food? We went to Waddell Vineyards for the Taste of Ada event, and it did not disappoint! The backdrop was beautiful and we tried some delicious flavors from Arbuckle Craft Coffee and other local vendors.
Every year the event hosts a silent auction with works donated by local artists who interpret the event’s theme in their own way. Half of the proceeds from the auction are donated to the AAC (the Ada Arts Council), which helps them serve the local art community. There were some fabulous pieces on display.
3. History Lessons at the Chickasaw Cultural Center
The Chickasaw Cultural Center was one of our favorite things to do in Chickasaw Country. Covering 184 acres, this center provides an insightful journey into the rich history and traditions of the Chickasaw people.
This campus has everything from a research library and movie theater to an exhibit hall with artifacts and outdoor gardens. There is even a restaurant (Aaimpa’ Cafe) that serves traditional Chickasaw food like homemade fry bread and pashofa.
Be sure to spend extra time outdoors exploring the village with its Council House, replica ceremonial mound, and stickball field. There are daily Stomp Dance demonstrations in the Traditional Village, so check the times before your visit to ensure you don’t miss it.
4. Shopping in Tishomingo and Sulphur
Retail therapy, anyone? Tishomingo and Sulphur have charming downtowns filled with a variety of boutique stores. From handcrafted gifts to unique souvenirs, we truly enjoyed wandering and shopping around.
These towns exude a warmth that big cities often miss. And don’t even get me started on the friendly store owners who were more than happy to chat and share their local secrets!
Some stores we loved: The Mix Mercantile, 3rd & Broadway, and Bromide Mountain Co. (Sulphur). In Tishomingo don’t miss Kedford Boutique, Home Decor and Cafe, and Junk Stars.
5. Paranormal Activity at Flower Bluff Manor in Sulphur
So my friend doesn’t believe in ghosts, but I have to say I’m a believer. We had the opportunity to go on a ghost tour at Flower Bluff Manor with Paranormal Investigations of Oklahoma and it was a hoot!
Our guides gave a brief haunted history, and made several attempts to communicate with the other side. I’m not sure we actually experienced much of anything, but we certainly had a fun time!
6. Eat at The Legendary Old Red in Tishomingo
Old Red is a must-visit in Tishomingo. Owned by country music superstar Blake Shelton, this place is an intriguing blend of his musical history and modern day entertainment. With its rustic feel and live music, it was the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a casual lunch. Their burgers were delicious!
7. Relaxation at Spa 211
After all the walking and shopping, what better way to unwind than with a spa day? Spa 211 in Tishomingo offers a range of services to melt away stress. I had a fabulous hot stone massage and enjoyed every minute of pampering. If you are looking for a weekend treat, this is the place to go!
8. Festive Fun at Harvest Fest at the Chickasaw White House
The Chickasaw White House was the location for many important social and political events in Chickasaw Country. It was the home of Chickasaw Governor Douglas H. Johnston and his family from 1895 to the 1970s.
Today it is a tribute to the Chickasaw people and their history. We visited during their annual Harvest Fest which featured hayrides, games, arts and crafts, food, and live music.
9. Picturesque Views at Tucker Tower at Lake Murray
Last but not least, we made our way to Tucker Tower. Set in Lake Murray State Park overlooking the lake, the entire area is especially breathtaking during the fall.
The tower has a fabulous historical collection explaining the works of the WPA in the 1930s and the local history. I highly recommend climbing to the top of the tower for those spectacular views.
Where to Stay in Chickasaw Country Oklahoma
We were hosted by The Artesian Hotel, Casino, & Spa. It’s a unique property with a fascinating history.
At the turn of the 20th century two gentlemen built the New Winston Hotel on the site where The Artesian sits today. That property existed for over 50 years before it was destroyed by a fire in 1962.
Ten years later The Chickasaw Nation purchased the property and renamed it the Chickasaw Motor Inn. This was the first business owned and operated solely by the tribe.
The inn was demolished in 2006 as plans were made to rebuild The Artesian Hotel similar to its original design. The current property opened in 2013 and has a pool, bathhouse, casino, spa, retail shops, and fitness center. We highly recommend Springs at the Artesian for dinner and Bedré Cafe for coffee and breakfast.
We loved that there were so many things to do in Chickasaw Country. It is the perfect blend of nature, culture, and fun-filled activities. We had a memorable weekend getaway and can’t wait to return!