From Broken Bow to Hochatown, Beavers Bend to Idabel — you can pack a lot into a road trip to McCurtain County, Oklahoma. But we’ll let you in on a little local secret: some of the must-see spots can’t be found on any ole travel guide.
For that, you need the insider scoop. And lucky for you, you’ve hit the jackpot right here. So keep reading. From exclusive hiking spots to down-low foodie finds and hidden roadside attractions, we’ve rounded up some of the county’s most hidden hidden gems.
So whattaya say? Let’s see how good you are at keeping secrets.
Hiking is the essential way to explore Beavers Bend State Park — and the only way to find a true diamond in the rough: Thunderbird Waterfall. Flowing into Bee Branch Creek, this grade-A photo op can be tracked down by foot or by car.
If you’re up for a five-mile hike, go for Skyline Trail. Start at the trailhead labeled Cedar Bluff, across from Dogwood Campground. Hike the trail for about two miles until you reach a dirt road with power lines crossing overhead. Cross the road and you’ll find yourself at the top of the rushing waterfall in about 900 feet.
For an easier trek, load up the car and enter Beavers Bend State Park at the south entrance off Highway 259. Cruise for about two miles, then take the dirt road on the left. Park your car in about a mile, where the power lines cross the road (just like the Skyline Trail option). Thunderbird Waterfall is about 900 feet into the woods, so get that camera ready.
Insider Tip: Head to Thunderbird Waterfall after a good rain. After a heavy storm, the fall’s roaring waters make it one worth chasing.
Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum
Yep, there’s a safari hiding in Broken Bow. But don’t let its cabin exterior fool you. All kinds of critters await at Beavers Bend Wildlife Museum. Located just outside of Beavers Bend State Park, this stop’s a best kept secret for nature lovers, hunters, and history buffs alike. Inside, you’ll find 11 dioramas of taxidermied wildlife in their natural habitats. Keep an eye out for everything from Ouachita National Forest natives like whitetail deer, black bear, and wild turkey to more exotic zebras, antelopes, and even an elephant in the “Out of Africa” exhibit. Tickets are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $4 for the kids, with guided audio tours kicking off every hour.
Insider Tip: Ask the front desk for the scavenger hunt, especially if you’re exploring the museum with kiddos.
Whether it’s a couples trip, bachelorette weekend, or just some quick me time, taking it easy is kind of the whole point of a Hochatown road trip. But getting fussy about your R&R isn’t how we roll. Those in the know, know you can get a massage with a view — all without leaving your cabin (or putting on real pants). Many local spas offer in-cabin packages so you can soak up your luxury stay to the fullest. From Swedish massages to hot stone therapy and facials, licensed massage therapists bring everything they need right to your porch. Tell ‘em we sent ya.
Insider Tip: Save yourself the stress by booking your treatment before you hit the road.
Swincar Off-Road Tours
Photo Credit: Rugaru Adventures
Looking for a Broken Bow tour yet to crack the mainstream? Rugaru Adventures’ off-road Swincar tour just might stop your search. As you buckle into your ATV, you’ll traverse two miles of pines, hills, and untamed terrain on the private Beavers Bend State Park course. Bring a backseat driver for a tandem cruise, or go it alone. Either way, the electric vehicles are so quiet you’ll feel like you’re smack dab in the middle of a nature ASMR video. Guided tours run for one hour a piece, at $65 for a single seat car and $85 for a double seater. All you need’s a driver’s license.
Insider Tip: See the beauty of Beavers Bend from the forest floor…and the sky. Rugaru Adventures also offers zipline tours at its second location.
Mountain Man Meat Market
Photo Credit: Mountain Man Meat Market
They don’t put grills on those cabin decks for no reason! Sitting pretty just outside the main strip of Highway 259, Mountain Man Meat Market has a gourmet cut to up your grill game (plus a few specialty surprises). From Wagyu steaks and Tomahawk ribeyes to alligator sausages, local pulled pork, and their famous bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers, regulars call this their eatin’ good go-to for a reason. Want to fulfill your full lumberjack fantasy? Don’t forget to pick up some premium cigars and a little something from their extensive craft beer selection.
Insider Tip: Stop by from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day for a hot and fresh Certified Angus Beef steak sandwich. Trust us.
The Secret Hole
Shh, this one’s extra insider. In fact, you’ll probably have to butter up a local for directions. Tucked way back in the forest — we’re talking about an hour outside of Broken Bow — the turquoise blue waters of this secret swimming hole give Colorado a run for its money. You might even forget you’re in Oklahoma for a second.
Insider Tip: Good luck! 😉
Get Here Already!
Alright, enough giving out all our secrets. It’s time to scope out those Broken Bow cabin rentals, plot your excursions through Beavers Bend State Park, and of course, book a fly fishing guide.
For even more activity ideas — and a free itinerary builder — be sure to download the Visit McCurtain County app to keep everything straight.
Well don’t just sit there. Gas up the car and get here already! All this is only a few hours away.