Discover Oklahoma's Magnolia Capital

Get away to Durant for shopping, museums and a casino gaming resort.

A Ferris wheel and carnival rides provide family thrills at the Magnolia Festival of Oklahoma in Durant.
Photo Credit: Lisha Newman

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Durant may be the official “Magnolia Capital of Oklahoma,” but there is a lot more to this community than just the beautiful flowering trees. This town of 14,000 residents is located in southeastern Oklahoma and is a great hub for exploring many great attractions, such as Lake Texoma with its camping and fishing opportunities; historic Fort Washita, dating from 1842; the Three Valley Museum featuring Choctaw artifacts and great food and shopping in historic downtown Durant.

As I drove into Durant, a sign for a local farmers market caught my eye. I pulled off the highway to find a newly constructed barn, filled with lots of fresh produce and homemade goods. The variety and quality was better than a lot of markets I’ve explored.

Next on the list was a walk down the revitalized Main Street to check out the shops. All of the shopkeepers were very friendly and gave me the scoop on where the locals eat. Durant is hopping with tea rooms, all boasting their own unique décor and house specialties.

At the corner of Fourth and Main Streets sits the Three Valley Museum. Located in the heart of the Red, Blue and Washita River valleys, this museum focuses on the history of southeast Oklahoma. Special exhibits include a small town area on the second floor depicting more than 20 businesses and scenes from the early 1900s, a large display area with transportation exhibits and a Native American area highlighting the tribes that are located in the region.

One of my favorite parts of touring the Three Valley Museum is getting an inside look at the meticulous renovation work they’ve done to the old filling station that now houses the museum.

Each year the city also hosts the Magnolia Festival. The festival draws more than 20,000 visitors each year to enjoy live entertainment, carnival rides, unique activities and tasty festival food.  While you're in town, don't forget to visit Southeastern Oklahoma State University, a picturesque institution known as the “Campus of a Thousand Magnolias.”

Durant is also home to the headquarters of the Choctaw Nation, the third-largest American Indian tribe in the United States. The Choctaw Nation owns the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, which has over 3,000 gaming machines, blackjack tables, live entertainment, Native American dance demonstrations and a large restaurant and buffet. It’s a great destination for thrilling gaming action. For an excellent night’s stay, the Choctaw Casino and Resort offers great amenities including the Oasis Water Park.

With great lodging, dining and activities there’s lots to see and do in Durant. This community offers both small-town charm and big-city opportunities for visitors. Make plans now to explore Durant.

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