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By Lindsay Vidrine
Another holiday season is behind us and if you’re like me, it was a marathon not a sprint. We celebrated with various families and friends over three weeks and across two states.
In the midst of the presents and chaos I couldn’t help but notice that the most appreciated gifts seemed to be experience-based instead of something you’d find at the mall. Whether it was a gift certificate to a state park or tickets to a sporting event, people seem to be seeking experiences to share with their loved ones.
Some of my own most memorable gifts can also be linked back to experiences at museums and performing arts venues or weekend getaways that helped me to relax and unwind. This has led me to add a new resolution to my list this year – making time to explore Oklahoma in 2011.
Luckily there are several helpful resources and ideas to help inspire and plan an adventure. A good place to start is TravelOK.com’s deals and coupons section. They’ve gathered more than 100 discounts from all around Oklahoma, making it easy to find a vacation package or discount admission coupon to one of the state’s caliber museums. From romantic getaways to scrapbooking weekends to restaurant discounts, I love scoring a good deal almost as much as I love to travel.
Looking for something to please the entire family? Pack up the board games, bicycles and hiking boots and head to a state park cabin or lodge. Whether you’re looking to curl up next to the fireplace or catch an adrenaline rush on a trail, Oklahoma State Parks have a wide variety of activities and amenities to suit everyone. Even in winter, there are naturalist programs, eagle watching and other activities planned at the parks.
Part of the fun of traveling is trying local fare along the way. The crew of Discover Oklahoma has long-been a go-to source for the state’s best eats and is celebrating its 20th season on-air with a new Destination Dining Guide. This guide is filled with more than 120 restaurants from across the state that are worth the drive just to take in the ambiance, friendly staff and delectable cuisine of Oklahoma’s unique restaurants. Order a free copy of the Discover Oklahoma Destination Dining Guide at www.TravelOK.com.
Get off the beaten path, venture onto the soil of one of Oklahoma’s Agritourism attractions. Dive headfirst into the world of agriculture by trying your hand at feeding cattle, riding the fenceline atop a horse, working the land by visiting a u-pick farm or staying at a working Oklahoma ranch. There’s nothing more memorable than learning new skills and trying new things with your family or friends.
Take advantage of free brochures to help make trip planning a breeze. The 2011 Oklahoma Travel Guide is now available, as are other specialty brochures such as the Oklahoma Indian Country Guide, Oklahoma Route 66 Guide, Oklahoma Agritourism map and more. Go to www.TravelOK.com or call 800-652-6552 and have the free guides mailed to you directly.
Wherever 2011 takes you, I hope it brings safe travels and lots of memories along the way.