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  Photo: Carolyn Fletcher 
Every twist and turn of the Talimena National Scenic Byway in southeastern Oklahoma offers travelers a new vantage point over miles and miles of forested ridges and valleys.

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Experience the beauty of Beavers Bend State Park.

Take advantage of the vibrant autumn offerings in Oklahoma with a 48-hour getaway to one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the state. The changing of the seasons brings new opportunities for recreation and relaxation, so use the following handy itineraries to plan your next fall getaway. Eat at the most delicious restaurants, check out the best attractions and stay in the most comfortable accommodations while making the most of the fall season in Oklahoma.

Broken Bow

Arrive at Beavers Bend State Park the night prior and stay in one of the park’s 47 rustic cabins. Nestled among tall trees on one side and the Lower Mountain Fork River on the other, a cozy cabin at Beavers Bend offers the ultimate in privacy and relaxation.

Day 1:

Morning—Nothing beats an early morning spent on the water surrounded by the vibrant shades of turning leaves reflecting off crystal clear lake waters.  Through the end of October, rent a canoe from Beavers Bend River Floats and watch the sun rise over Broken Bow Lake, or try your luck fishing on the Mountain Fork River. Head to Beavers Bend Fly Shop, located within the state park, to stock up on tackle, learn the best fishing holes or learn how to fly fish from a guide.

Afternoon—Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to the on-site Beavers Bend Restaurant for traditional and hearty American fare. Dine on the outdoor patio to enjoy a wonderful view of the Lower Mountain Fork River with its peaceful flowing water surrounded by majestic cypress trees.  Then, continue your outdoor adventure with a hike on the renowned David Boren Hiking Trail. Take a stroll under trees heavy with colorful leaves within the trail system, which is comprised of seven smaller trails that allow guests to mix-and-match according to their time limit and skill level. For horseback riding, head to the Beavers Bend Depot Inc. to enjoy a one hour trail ride that crosses 2.5 miles of beautiful terrain.

Evening—After a long day outdoors, refuel at Abendigo’s Grill & Patio in Broken Bow. Located a short distance from Beavers Bend State Park, diners at Abendigo’s are treated to upscale American cuisine in a relaxing atmosphere. Linger on the patio to enjoy live music or head back to your cabin and gaze at a night full of stars.

Day 2:

Morning—Nestle under warm, soft covers in your private cabin a little longer than normal, then get ready for another fun-filled day in Broken Bow. Satisfy your caffeine cravings with a trip to The Hocha Mocha and indulge in a fall-inspired drink like spice chai tea or pecan praline latte, as well as a fresh-made pastry. Then, visit Body Harmony Day Spa for a relaxing massage and work out any remaining tension from the previous day’s adventures.

Afternoon—After your massage, drive over to Girls Gone Wine where you can sample from their 16 unique wines and take home a bottle for later. Then, stock up on thick-cut slabs of handmade fudge from WhipPoorWill Resort & Fudge Shop. With a mixture of tried-and-true favorites as well as seasonal specialties, you’re sure to find something to love. Take a leisurely afternoon drive and find the perfect place to picnic. Spread out a blanket under a grove of cyprus trees, snack on your sweet treat and watch as crimson leaves slowly swirl to the ground on a gentle fall breeze.  

Evening—A trip to Broken Bow wouldn’t be complete without dining at Grateful Head Pizza Oven & Tap Room. Warm up inside amongst giant pizza ovens and the restaurant’s rustic atmosphere or visit the outdoor dining area where a giant fireplace and space heaters will keep you toasty under the clear night sky. Order one of their hand-tossed specialty pizzas, each of which comes with fun names like psychedelic supremo, maui waui and tree hugger.

Special tip:  If you visit Broken Bow during the second weekend of November, check out the Beavers Bend Folk Festival & Craft Show. This annual event features turn-of-the-century demonstrations, arts and crafts, live music, a petting zoo and more.

Can’t miss:  Another must-see on any southeast Oklahoma trip is the Talimena National Scenic Byway. This renowned fall foliage drive spans 54 miles in Talihina, roughly one hour north of Broken Bow. A mixture of winding roads and breathtaking scenic vistas draw travelers from across the nation each fall, so be sure to check it out on your way into or out of Broken Bow.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area & Lake Murray State Park

Arrive in Sulphur the night prior and stay at either Echo Canyon Spa Resort or Secret Garden Cottages. Echo Canyon Spa & Resort is a luxury bed and breakfast located on 27 secluded acres. Nine mansion suites and four manor suites are available, and a two course breakfast is served each morning. Secret Garden Cottages offers five luxury cottages located just steps away from the entrance to Chickasaw National Recreation Area. A multi-level deck welcomes guests to relax and socialize under the stars.

Day 1:

Morning—Enjoy a cool morning hike over to the buffalo overlook area within the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, then take the trail down to Lake of the Arbuckles where you can get some wonderful shots of the morning mist rising on the lake. Afterward, head over to Original Fried Pies in Davis for breakfast. Each pie is made fresh daily and filled with fruit, nut and cream mixtures. Savory pies with fillings like bacon, egg and cheese are also available.

Afternoon—If you’re feeling adventurous, head to the Air Donkey Zipline Adventure in Davis. This fun course will have you soaring between six platforms at roughly 60 feet in the air. Thrill seekers will be treated to an unparalleled view of the lush Arbuckle Mountains dotted with multi-colored leaves. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, the Chickasaw Cultural Center is a world-class museum complex with numerous exhibits and even a traditional Chickasaw Village with live demonstrations. Stop by the Aaimpa Café to sample traditional Chickasaw fare like grape dumplings and Indian fry bread.

Evening—The Rusty Nail Winery is your next stop for fall getaway fun. Located in Sulphur, Rusty Nail offers free tastings of all their wines. Whether you prefer light and sweet or dark and bold, you’re sure to find something new at this hardware store-turned-winery. For dinner, enjoy top-notch Italian cuisine at Roma Italian Restaurant in Sulphur or venture over to Davis for an early dinner at Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch where the savory smell of slow-cooked barbecue perfumes the chilly fall air for miles.

Day 2:

Just 45 minutes south of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area is Ardmore, home of Lake Murray State Park. Head down the night before to stay in one of Lake Murray’s 56 comfortable cabins or stay at a luxury bed and breakfast like the Shiloh Morning Inn, a luxurious and romantic retreat located on 73 acres in Ardmore.

Morning—In the morning, head over to Lake Murray State Park Golf Course where you can play a round at the 18-hole golf course. Meticulously maintained, visitors will encounter tree-lined fairways, strategically placed water hazards and a gorgeous natural waterfall. If golf isn’t your game, the Lake Murray State Park Trail System has 10 miles of trails to explore. Strap on your hiking boots, grab a camera and hit the trails where you may spot a swarm of beautiful orange and black monarch butterflies migrating south for the winter.

Afternoon—Who says campfires are best after dark? Make the most of your trip by roasting hotdogs over an open fire for lunch. The combination of cooler temperatures and the smell of a campfire will instantly put you in a festive fall mood. Embrace your inner child with a hayride from Lake Murray Riding Stables or visit Woodbine Farms Pumpkin Patch and take home a souvenir.

Evening—Authentic Cajun cuisine and rock ‘n roll go hand-in-hand at Two Frogs Grill in Ardmore, where savory seafood and classic American dishes reign supreme. Another tasty option is McGehee’s Catfish Restaurant, located 20 minutes south of Ardmore in Marietta. This hidden gem boasts its own grass airstrip and is rather famous with pilots from all over, who drop in specifically for the famous catfish. Stop by for all-you-can-eat fried catfish served piping hot under a generous helping of fries and golden hushpuppies.

Wichita Mountains

Arrive the night prior and stay at the Stardust Inn Bed & Breakfast, a privately owned Medicine Park cottage or Quartz Mountain Resort, Arts & Conference Center. Stardust Inn has been featured in Southern Living Magazine and offers four Western-themed suites, each with a two-person Jacuzzi tub perfect for warming up on a chilly fall day. Quartz Mountain Resort, Arts & Conference Center offers over 100 guest rooms and 11 cabins.  

Day 1:

Morning—Nature is the name of the game, and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has it all. Take a drive through the Wichita Mountains where you can see free-roaming buffalo or take a hike through the beautiful Charon’s Garden Trail, a 2.4 mile long trail scattered with granite rocks and the Apple and Pear boulders named for their resemblance. A visit to the refuge wouldn’t be complete without a trek to the top of Mount Scott. A paved road is open to drivers and bikers, so head to the summit and enjoy an unobstructed 360 degree view of the area’s beautiful fall foliage. For more extreme adventure, connect with a guide to experience rock climbing and rappelling.

Afternoon—Browse the Museum of the Great Plains, which is home to over 3,000 Plains Indian artifacts from the 20th century, as well as the unique Red River Trading Post, an outdoor replica of local 1830s to 1840s trading posts. Browse the 1902 Elgin Depot, as well as a 1926 locomotive, located on the museum grounds and imagine how travel may have been like during Oklahoma’s early years.

Evening—After a day of exploring, satisfy your appetite at the Meers Store & Restaurant. Come prepared to face packed tables, because the top-notch burgers at this popular restaurant gather crowds from all over. Each burger is seven inches in diameter and made fresh from the store’s own grass-fed Longhorn herd. It comes topped with American cheese, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and mustard, and pairs perfectly with an ice cold Meers Gold Beer, handcrafted in Oklahoma by Krebs Brewing Company.

Day 2:

Morning—Wake up early and make the short drive over to Quartz Mountain Nature Park to watch the sunrise and see the shimmering reflections on the granite face of Baldy Point. Afterward, head to Quartz Mountain Resort and dine in luxury at the Sundance Café. The elegant restaurant offers a comfortable blend of rustic coziness with two large fireplaces that warm up chilly fall visitors.

Afternoon—A trip to Medicine Park wouldn’t be complete without walking the quaint cobblestone streets and exploring unique shops and art galleries. Browse everything from handmade Native American jewelry to artwork you won’t find anywhere else. Grab a hot chocolate and walk along the gentle river that flows through the center of town.

Evening—Conclude your 48 hour Medicine Park getaway with a meal at the Old Plantation Restaurant. Located downtown, visitors to this fully renovated 1910 building are treated to a charming look back in time with a scattering of old photos lining the wall and some original furniture from the building’s yesteryears. Steak, seafood and burgers top the menu, but be sure to save room for a heaping helping of the cobbler of the day served a la mode.