1. Talimena Scenic Byway
The Talimena National Scenic Byway—a fifty-four mile stretch of highway connecting Oklahoma to Arkansas—is regarded as one of the most picturesque sections of the south central US. Spanning one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies, this destination is a must for travelers, hikers, campers, bikers and sightseers. Prepare for tall trees, stunning mountain vistas, and fall foliage in full bloom.
2. Travel On Two Wheels
Talimena’s twists and turns are best enjoyed with the wind in your hair. Motorcycles and bicycles are common on the drive, and make for an especially thrilling trip. On a cool fall day, find a friend with two wheels and convince them to take you for a ride, or roll the windows down and soak in crisp mountain air as you climb through the Ouachita mountains. As you make your way, keep an eye out for early snow on the peaks and bald eagles overhead.
3. Explore a Bandit Hideout
Each October, thousands of visitors load up the car and head to Robbers Cave State Park, the Wilburton, Oklahoma hideout of famed outlaws Jesse James and Belle Star. While visiting the park, make time for rock climbing, mountain biking, boating, hiking, and camping.
4. Full of Fall Festivals
While in Wilburton, swing by the Robbers Cave Fall Festival, an annual lakeside affair with three days of music, artisan vendors, carnival games, handmade crafts, homespun items, local eats, and the Fall Foliage Cruise—a classic car show that brings in more than 500 pre-1981 vehicles, all customized, restored, and head-turning in their own right.
5. Get Outdoors
It wouldn’t be a visit to Choctaw County without some quality time in the great outdoors. From hiking rugged terrain to casting a line on calm, clear waters, there’s plenty to do outside in Choctaw Country. Robbers Cave State Park boasts several rock climbing and rappelling routes, mountain biking trails, trout fishing, hunting, horseback riding, boating, paddling, and more. Want something out of the ordinary? Check out deep-water scuba diving in Broken Bow, high-up hang gliding in Talihina, wild white-water rafting in Wister, or native artifact exploration at the prehistoric mounds in Spiro.
6. Search for Bigfoot
For an urban legend you won’t find anywhere else, plan a trip to the annual Bigfoot Festival in Honobia. Rumor has it Sasquatch himself even drops by for the festivities. He’s also been known to hide out around Broken Bow from time to time.
7. Stay the Night
From cozy cabins to big group bunkers, glamping with friends to simply camping under a blanket of brilliant stars, Choctaw Country boasts plenty of places for you to scratch your camping itch. Bringing a crowd? Grab a luxury cabin in McCurtain County, or roll in and set up camp at one of Choctaw Country's charming RV parks, or spread out your sleeping bag in someplace mythic, like a teepee or a train car. Unusual? Perhaps. Unforgettable? Absolutely.
8. Sample Southern Comfort Food
It wouldn’t be a trip to Choctaw country without some home-style cooking, and there are plenty of places to get it around here. We suggest pizza and brews from the Grateful Head taproom in Hochatown, burgers and shakes from Treats & Treasures in Talihina, or classic Italian fare from Krebs, better known as Oklahoma’s Little Italy.
9. The Greatest Show on Earth
While passing through Choctaw Country, be sure to plan a visit to Circus City. Mount Olivet Cemetery offers a special resting ground for past performers, and Hugo, Oklahoma is also home to the largest public elephant herd, housed at the Endangered Ark Foundation. Visitors are welcome to meet, feed, and pose with the lovely creatures, who’ve since retired from circus life.
10. Full of Hidden Gems
With annual festivals, shopping and dining, wineries, casinos, and plenty of places to relax, Choctaw Country is full of hidden gems. And with its convenient location between Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, you can get to the getaway faster. Plus, with all the scenic views, getting there is half the fun.