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Have you really visited Oklahoma?

by Don Gammill Modified: June 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm •  Published: June 26, 2013

Can you name and locate the regional areas of Oklahoma? Do you know how many of them there are? And if you know the answer to those questions, here’s a third: how many of them have you visited?

Oklahoma has much to offer in history, scenery and activities to those who want to explore it. You can have an entertaining, enjoyable summer vacation by traveling throughout state and really not have to go all that far.

Take your pick. You can go any direction.

There are six regions, as defined by state officials. Clockwise, starting in the Panhandle, they are: Red Carpet Country to the northwest, Green Country to the northeast, Kiamichi Country to the southeast, Chickasaw Country in the south central, Great Plains Country to the southwest and Frontier Country in the center of the state.

Each is unique, from the landscape to the people, places and things of interest. So it is indeed like visiting another country when you see what each has to offer. Here are samples from each.

RED CARPET COUNTRY

This area features some of Oklahoma’s most interesting natural features, such as its highest point (Black Mesa), sand dunes (Little Sahara State Park),  caves (Alabaster Caverns), a resemblance to the Great Salt Lake region (the

Dune buggies speed over the sand at Little Sahara State Park. (Provided)
Dune buggies speed over the sand at Little Sahara State Park. (Provided)

Great Salt Plains). There also are various museums in each county, as well as the homes of former Gov. E.W. Marland in Ponca City and Territorial Gov. T.B. Ferguson in Watonga.

GREEN COUNTRY

Woolaroc Museum is a must-see near Bartlesville, which also has the Frank Phillips home. Green Country has the Tallgrass Prairie, where buffalo still roam; lakes including the Grand Lake of the Cherokees; American Indian culture in Tahlequah, Muskogee, Pawnee, Pawhuska and several other towns and cities; the Will Rogers museum in Claremore and his birthplace in Oolagah; the Gilcrease Museum and many other sites to visit in Tulsa;

KIAMICHI COUNTRY

Robbers Cave (Oklahoman Archives)
Robbers Cave (Oklahoman Archives)

Here you can find 10 state parks, nearly two-dozen lakes, seven mountain ranges and some of Oklahoma most beautiful scenery. You’ll also find Robbers Cave State Park, where outlaws hid out in the 1800s, the Ouachita National Forest, with Talimina Drive, the Heavener Runestone, believed to be linked to Vikings who visited the area centuries ago and plenty of places to enjoy fresh air.

CHICKASAW COUNTRY

In the lower center of the state, this area features the Arbuckle Mountains, the exotic animal parks, mineral springs around Sulphur, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, the home of legendary movie star Gene Autry and the Gene Autry Oklahoma Museum, Lake Murray State Park, Ardmore, the chocolate factory in Davis and large Indian casinos.

GREAT PLAINS COUNTRY

Visit Lawton and nearby Fort Sill, a premiere artillery training center for the U.S.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers a look at the  boulders that comprise the mountains of the area. PHOTO PROVIDED     ORG XMIT: 1205181830020819
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers a look at the boulders that comprise the mountains of the area. PHOTO PROVIDED ORG XMIT: 1205181830020819

Army and where the famed Indian chief Geronimo is buried. The nearby Wichita Mountains offer some prime climbing spots. There is Medicine Park, once again, a favorite spot among travelers, and the Meers Store, where you can step back into the history of the area. Farther to the southwest is Altus, a top Military Airlift Command site, where some of the largest planes in the U.S. Air Force fly right over you as they land. But this area also features some incredible prairie landscape around Quartz Mountain. The Washita Battlefield National Historic Site is near Cheyenne and you can travel the historic Route 66 through a large portion of the area.

FRONTIER COUNTRY

In the center of the state, pick your favorite. From numerous top notch sports stadiums and arenas in Oklahoma City to the Capital City’s Bricktown entertainment district, several incredible museums and art centers to various other cultural, dining and tourist attractions. And don’t forget the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Just about anything you could want, including shopping centers and the best in entertainment, can be found in Oklahoma City and the surrounding area. Step back into Oklahoma’s history at Guthrie, and ride the trolley. Travel east of Edmond to the Arcadia Round Barn,  visit historical sites in Stillwater, Shawnee, Seminole, Bethany, El Reno and several other towns in the area.

Interested? Check out www.travelok.com, or call 1-800-652-6552 for information. Then, visit Oklahoma.

 

by Don Gammill
General Assignment Editor and Columnist
Don Gammill is general assignment editor and columnist. A native of Ponca City, he graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma). While in college, he was a sports stringer for The Oklahoma City Times....
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