Over 150 years ago, the Chickasaw tribe settled in south-central Oklahoma and has been carving out a unique and storied history ever since. Set amid a landscape brimming with rippling waters and rolling hills, the current-day Chickasaw Nation shares a cultural heritage that opens up a new reality. From stomp dances to sacred forests, don’t skip out on this must-see corner of the Sooner State.
Tradition comes alive at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in the town of Sulphur. Occupying 184 acres, the center offers one of the most extensive tribal cultural experiences in the country, including a traditional village, stomp dances, reenactments, films, artifacts and immersive exhibits. A true testament to the creativity and resilience of the Chickasaw people, the center also hosts frequent events for the public and boasts a restaurant that serves up traditional dishes such as pashofa, a Chickasaw corn soup.
Native American Capital
In Tishomingo, be sure to take a guided tour of the original Chickasaw National Capitol Building, which was built in 1898 and now serves as a museum focused on the tribe’s fight for independence. Next door, the Council House Museum displays a one-of-a-kind collection of pottery, jewelry and more.
Billed as the most beautiful lake in Oklahoma, Lake Murray, southeast of Ardmore, features crystal-clear water and family-friendly beaches. Small but picturesque, it’s the perfect place to spend the day boating, swimming or fishing and is renowned as one of the state’s best lakes for landing small and largemouth bass. Anglers should also visit the Blue River, east of Tishomingo, for the chance to land the waters’ world-famous trout. Home to a number of annual fishing derbies, as well as deer, turkey and hog hunting, the Blue is truly an outdoor lover’s playground.
Lake Texoma, on the border with Texas, is another local favorite and one of the largest lakes in the state. Striped bass are the most sought-after catches, but crappie and catfish are also on the menu. Boating, sailing and water sports round out the bountiful offerings at this popular getaway.
Falls and Trails
Surrounded by the high granite cliffs of the Arbuckle Mountains, Turner Falls Park features nature trails, caves and the tallest waterfall in the state. Cascading 77 feet into a natural swimming pool, the falls are a majestic summertime favorite among locals and tourists alike looking for a break from the heat, so be sure to get there early.
In Sulphur, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area has more than 30 miles of trails, as well as a nature center, educational tours and the Lake of the Arbuckles, a hot spot for fishing and water sports. Enjoy the soothing sight of the Little Niagara Falls or try a trail ride on horseback through the recreation area or one of the nearby ranches.
For More Information
Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department