Southeast Oklahoma is a veritable wonderland of offbeat gems and fantastic roadside attractions, including a memorial for fallen circus performers, and the highest hill in America (which offers outstanding scenic views of sprawling Choctaw Country). Here are some of the quirkiest and most interesting offbeat roadside stops across gorgeous Choctaw Country.
Fill up before you hit the road at Heavener's Southern Belle Restaurant, a classic diner housed in a vintage 1940s railcar. Southern Belle specializes in old-school Southern style cookin’ in its truest form. You can taste the love put into the food here; everything, down to the croutons and the creamy Ranch dressing, is homemade and outstanding. Fried chicken, gumbo, catfish, pies, and more can be found on the menu, along with numerous other Southern staples. Ask the waitstaff about the history of the train car while you're at it. This food is as authentically Oklahoman as it gets!
Mount Olivet Cemetery in Hugo is home to "Showmen's Rest,” a section of the cemetery dedicated to late and great circus performers. From elephant trainers to trapeze artists, you'll find all kinds of unique gravestones and memorials dedicated to circus heroes throughout history. The monuments contain little hints as to what each performer did during their life, making it a fascinating little stop.
If you’re looking for something a little more interactive, you’ll want to plan a tour of the Endangered Ark Foundation. The Foundation serves as a sanctuary for retired circus elephants and has the second largest herd of free-roaming Asian elephants in the United States. This stop will thrill children and adults alike!
Okay, so the ‘World's Largest Peanut’ in Durant may be one of a few across the country, but it's a neat tribute to the town's agricultural history and is certainly a sight to behold. The larger-than-life peanut is just a short jaunt off the beaten path and is perfect for a funny little photo op for tourists and travelers. Think about how much peanut butter that sucker could make!
During the Great Depression, Oklahoma was the preferred stomping grounds for notorious outlaw couple, Bonnie and Clyde. The Stringtown Shootout Memorial pays tribute to two officers, one of whom died during a shootout with Clyde and some of his pals outside a dancehall along old Highway 69. Of course, given their track record, Bonnie and Clyde were doomed from the start, but this spot commemorates one of Clyde's earlier run-ins with the law. Whether you're a history buff or just like offbeat roadside attractions, this is a must-see!
Cavanal Hill is a fascinating stop in Oklahoma. The hill stands 1,999 feet high... which is one measly foot short of the official mountain status. That does, however, make Cavanal the world's highest hill, which is just as cool if you ask us! Whether you hike or drive to the top, Cavanal offers some pretty amazing views of the Poteau River Valley. It's a fittingly quirky and beautiful end to your offbeat adventure through Southeast Oklahoma.
From outlaws to circuses to massive peanuts, Oklahoma is a quirky place filled with hidden gems and strange little stops guaranteed to keep your road trip around the region exciting and interesting. Even the most unexpected stops are sure to intrigue and entertain.
Whether you’re looking to wander off the beaten path, explore hidden gems, take a peek into the past, or enjoy beautiful scenery as you cruise, Choctaw Country in Southeastern Oklahoma has all the makings of the great American road trip.