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  Photo: Michael Ives 
The Museum of the Red River in Idabel displays the reconstructed skeleton of a dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, discovered only 12 miles from the museum.

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Take a 30-second road trip on Route 66 in Oklahoma.

Ready to ditch the rat race for a well-deserved vacation but stressed about the overall cost? You are not alone. More and more people are embracing the act of keeping their money where it belongs – in their wallet. While it seems that everyone is looking to save a buck these days, you never have to sacrifice a fun and relaxing vacation in order to meet your savings goals. Budget-conscious travelers are flocking to the Sooner State and have learned one important fact: You don’t have to go broke to have fun in Oklahoma. Browse through this list of top-notch things to do with zero admission fees and embrace one of the most valued words in the English language: FREE!

#1 - Historic Route 66

Oklahoma is home to the largest drivable stretch of Route 66 in the nation. Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of this old highway, remember days past and discover quirky roadside stops along the way as you travel down the historic Mother Road.

#2 - Blue Whale & Totem Pole Park

The Blue Whale of Catoosa and Totem Pole Park of Foyil are wonderful outdoor attractions along the eastern stretch of Oklahoma’s Route 66. Pack a picnic lunch and take advantage of a great photo-op at these fun, out-of-the-ordinary Route 66 pit stops. 

#3 - Round Barn & POPS

Uncover what central Route 66 has to offer by visiting the Round Barn of Arcadia. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this unusual piece of Oklahoma architecture is certainly unique. After the sun goes down, travel down the road to POPS to view its iconic, giant soda bottle illuminated with dazzling LED lights.

#4 - Oklahoma City National Memorial 

Travel to downtown Oklahoma City to see the site of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. Wander through the grounds of the Oklahoma City National Memorial and reflect upon the outdoor Field of Empty Chairs, the massive bronze Gates of Time and the Survivor Tree, a testament to the city’s strength and perseverance. 

#5 - Martin Park Nature Center

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Oklahoma’s central woodlands and take a calming outdoor break at Martin Park Nature Center. This free Oklahoma City oasis features a variety of winding nature trails, a beautiful creek that runs throughout the park, a bird-observation wall and an on-site nature museum. 

#6 - Gene Autry Museum

Celebrate the old “B” movie Western culture of the singing cowboy at the Gene Autry Museum. Learn about the famous Western movie star and toe-tap to the musical hits of the acclaimed singing legend, Gene Autry, in a town that's named after its favorite son.

#7 - Conoco Museum

With numerous computer touch screens, a 40-seat movie theater and a replica development laboratory, it’s a wonder the state-of-the-art Conoco Museum is free.  Take advantage of the free admission and learn about Oklahoma’s oil boom days at this high-tech museum located in Ponca City.

#8 - Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum

Visit this motorcycle museum located directly off the Mother Road in Miami and enjoy browsing through 40 vintage motorcycles on display, plus a 2,000 sq. ft. gift shop.  During your trip to Vintage Iron, don't miss the ever-growing Evel Knievel collection.

#9 - Oklahoma State Capitol

Take a free tour of the Oklahoma State Capitol and marvel at the building’s impressive Greco-Roman architecture as a tour guide leads you throughout the structure. Make sure to point your gaze upward to see the magnificent detail work on the inside of the capitol dome. 

#10 - Oklahoma Governor’s Mansion

See where Oklahoma’s governor resides and get a taste of Oklahoma elegance on a tour of the Governor’s Mansion. Wander through beautiful gardens, view stately architecture and even catch a glimpse of an Oklahoma-shaped swimming pool.

#11 - Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Visit the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur and enjoy a wealth of freshwater streams, flowing creeks with waterfalls and the park’s renowned mineral waters. Popular activities include swimming, boating, hiking and cycling.

#12 - Talimena National Scenic Byway

Known for its magnificent and breathtaking fall foliage, the Talimena National Scenic Byway in southeastern Oklahoma rewards visitors with a winding tour of the area’s forested mountain vistas. While most popular in the fall, the Talimena Drive is beautiful anytime of year. 

#13 - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The breathtaking Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton is a haven for hikers, wildlife photographers and rock climbers. Hike or drive to the top of Mount Scott for spectacular scenery. Free range buffalo, longhorn cattle and prairie dogs call the refuge’s 59,000+ acres home, so be sure to have your camera poised and ready. 

#14 - Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Browse one of the nation's best university art museums, which boasts nearly 16,000 permanent pieces. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman includes a number of European, Asian and Native American items, including works by Vincent van Gogh and Georgia O'Keeffe.

#15 - Honor Heights Park

Nestled in the city of Muskogee, Honor Heights Park is at its most beautiful during the annual Azalea Festival, but can be enjoyed year round. With acres of blooming azaleas, roses and trees, Honor Heights Park is an amazingly beautiful way to spend an afternoon.   

#16 - 45th Infantry Division Museum

View an impressive array of firearms and related military artifacts that span from the Revolutionary War to the conflicts in Vietnam at the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City.  Stroll through the 15 acre grounds filled with tanks, artillery, aircraft and more.

#17 - Lake Eufaula

Make your way to Oklahoma’s largest lake to enjoy a variety of water recreation including fishing, swimming and more. Spend a day at the lake, take a refreshing dip in Lake Eufaula’s cool waters or hike on one of the surrounding nature trails.

#18 - Tulsa Gardens

Visit the Tulsa Garden Center for specialty gardens, statuary, fountains and a Victorian-style conservatory. While there, stop by the Linnaeus Teaching Gardens for access to a wide array of annuals and perennials via paved pathways, and don’t miss the Tulsa Municipal Rose Garden featuring over 200 varieties of roses in bloom.

#19 - Great Salt Plains

From April through October, dig for unique hourglass-shaped selenite crystals on the stark and eerily beautiful salt flats of the Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge near Jet. This time-honored family tradition will have you digging below the surface of the flats for crystal treasure you can take with you.

#20 - Tallgrass Prairie Preserve

Take a scenic drive through the largest protected tallgrass prairie in the U.S. at this large nature preserve near Pawhuska. Keep a look-out for the white-tailed deer, coyotes and buffalo herds that inhabit this stretch of untouched prairie.

#21 - Standing Bear Park, Museum & Educational Center

Take a two-mile leisurely walk through Standing Bear Park in Ponca City while learning about the six area American Indian tribes. Come face-to-face with the 22-ft statue of Ponca Chief Standing Bear, or enjoy a peaceful sitting area at the shaded memorial grove.

#22 - Mount Olivet Cemetery

For a truly unique experience, visit the Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo. View the elaborate burial stones of rodeo greats or make your way to Showmen’s Rest, a special section of the cemetery dedicated to circus performers who used to winter in Hugo.

#23 - Robbers Cave

Hike the wooded terrain of the Sans Bois Mountains to Robbers Cave, a former hideout for outlaws traveling through Oklahoma. Other activities in the area include rappelling, mountain biking and swimming in Lake Carlton.

#24 - Washita Battlefield

Find your way to the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site near Cheyenne for a healthy dose of American history. Take the 1.5 mile self-guided trail through the battlefield to witness the site of Lt. Col. Custer’s 1868 surprise attack on a southern Cheyenne village.

#25 - Twister Museum

Explore the town used in the famous blockbuster “Twister,” and visit the Twister Museum, which is open April through September, for movie props, memorabilia and behind-the-scenes videos. Make sure to take a photo of the famous Wakita water tower, featured prominently in the movie, on your drive into town. 

#26 - Pensacola Dam & Grand Lake

Take a tour of Pensacola Dam, the longest multi-arch dam in the world, and stick around for water recreation and ATVing in and around Grand Lake. With over 1,000 miles of shoreline, Grand Lake has become a top tourist attraction in Oklahoma.    

#27 - Beavers Bend Area

Visit beautiful Beavers Bend State Park, take in the unique displays at the Forest Heritage Center, enjoy the crystal clear waters of Broken Bow Lake, or take advantage of the spectacular fishing opportunities along the Mountain Fork River in one of the most scenic areas of the state.

#28 - Arts Districts

Peruse a multitude of art galleries and meet Oklahoma artisans during a monthly art event in one of the state’s acclaimed arts districts. Attend the First Friday Gallery Walk in the Paseo Arts District, the 2nd Friday Circuit of Art in Norman or LIVE on the Plaza in Oklahoma City’s re-emerging Plaza District.

#29 - Red Slough Wildlife Management Area 

View over 300 species of native birds while exploring marshes, wetlands, lakes and forest at Red Slough. Tucked inside the Ouachita National Forest, this area is one of the premier watchable wildlife destinations in the state.

#30 - Tulsa River Parks

Take the bicycle out of the garage, dust off that pair of rollerblades and head to Tulsa River Parks, located along the banks of the Arkansas River. With playgrounds, picnic areas and seasonal entertainment, Tulsa River Parks is a haven for outdoor recreation.

#31 - Museum of the Red River

The Museum of the Red River is known for its reconstructed skeleton of the dinosaur Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, which was excavated only 12 miles from the museum. This Idabel museum also features ethnographic art, Native American artifacts and archaeological materials.

#32 - Historic Downtown Guthrie 

Travel to Guthrie’s renowned downtown area to view the largest Historic Preservation District in the nation. Transport yourself back to the Old West by viewing a Guthrie gunfight, held each Saturday on the streets of this impressive historic district. 

#33 - Sequoyah’s Cabin

Discover an important chapter in Cherokee history by visiting the 1829 log cabin of Sequoyah, the man who created the famous Cherokee syllabary. While there, view Cherokee exhibits and artifacts on display or enjoy the surrounding 10-acre park.

#34 - Sipokni West 

This replica Old West town has served as a movie set for multiple Western movie productions. Stop by this southern Oklahoma attraction and wander through the charming town of Sipokni West, complete with a sheriff’s office, general store, schoolhouse, trading post and more.

#35 - Heavener Runestone 

Join the ongoing historical debate as to whether Norse Vikings visited Oklahoma in the 11th century at Heavener Runestone. View the alleged Viking inscription on the park’s rock wall and decide for yourself.

#36 - Art Deco Walking Tour

Take Tulsa’s walking tour and marvel at the city’s Art Deco giants that hearken back to the 1920s. View the work of internationally recognized architects as you stroll between these historic gems. 

#37 - Mat Hoffman Action Sports Park 

Put your courage to the test at the largest and most challenging skate park in the state. Bring your skateboards, in-line skates or BMX bikes for a rip-roaring good time as you fly across the park’s various elements.

#38 - Black Mesa 

Hike to the summit of Oklahoma’s highest peak at Black Mesa, located in the Oklahoma panhandle. While there, view authentic dinosaur tracks that are preserved in the creek beds.

#39 - Cavanal Hill

Instead of hiking to the highest peak, try hiking to the top of the “world’s highest hill.” Cavanal Hill in Poteau stands 1,999 feet tall and features breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

#40 - JM Davis Arms & Historical Museum 

Travel to Claremore to visit this museum, jam-packed with over 50,000 items including firearms, swords, knives and more. The smallest commercially produced handgun is also located here.

#41 - Ataloa Lodge Museum

Immerse yourself in American Indian culture at the Ataloa Lodge Museum in Muskogee. This museum offers over 20,000 pieces of Indian art and ceremonial items, as well as a large Kachina Doll collection.

#42 - Express Clydesdales Ranch 

Get up close and personal with majestic Clydesdale horses at the Express Clydesdales Ranch in Yukon. Take a free tour of the working ranch and learn about the Western heritage of these magnificent purebred horses.

#43 - Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area 

Surrounded by the beautiful Wichita Mountains, LETRA offers incredible swimming opportunities and a free water slide during the summer months. 

#44 - Plains Indians & Pioneers Museum

This Western-themed museum, located in the city of Woodward, offers displays from a typical frontier town including a bank, saloon, jail and newspaper office. While there, tour an 1870s cabin or see impressive murals by Western artisans. 

#45 - Braum’s Family Farm 

Take a free tour of the Braum’s Family Farm near Tuttle and hop aboard a cow-painted bus on your way to witness one of the largest dairy operations in the world. Receive a free sample of Braum’s ice cream and tour the processing plant.  Be sure to make a reservation for the tour in advance.

#46 - Illinois River 

Travel along picturesque Highway 10 north of Tahlequah for stunning scenery and several access points to the winding Illinois River. Pick a swimming hole at one of the public access points and splash in the cool and briskly flowing waters or cast a line and reel in a big catch. 

#47 - Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area 

This area of undeveloped land in Tulsa offers exceptional opportunities for hiking and mountain biking. Reach the wilderness area’s summit for a panoramic view of Tulsa or take a break and enjoy the heavily wooded surroundings.

#48 - Oklahoma City Boathouse District 

Follow the walking trail along the breathtaking Oklahoma River and let the kids loose on a modern playground located on the banks in Oklahoma City's Boathouse District. This free playground can be found amidst a hub of river activity so when you tire from playing take a break to watch the kayaks, canoes and dragon boats traverse the water.

#49 - Red Earth Museum

For prime examples of American Indian life, make a trip to the Red Earth Museum in Oklahoma City. View paintings, pottery and artifacts while learning about authentic American Indian culture.

#50 - State Parks 

Oklahoma offers 35 state parks to the public, each with its own unique attractions and recreational opportunities. Armed with a massive variety of outdoor fun and activities, Oklahoma’s state parks are one of the best values in Oklahoma. Visit the state parks page to find a state park perfect for you!