One of the best aspects of being in a relationship is having a built-in travel buddy to explore this beautiful world. Traveling together presents opportunities to share awe-filled moments or to learn something new about each other. It’s easy for many couples to neglect setting aside this valuable time, even for a quick getaway. Work and childcare responsibilities can be hard to put on hold, and, sometimes, it’s just overwhelming to know where to start in planning a new adventure.
Fortunately, Oklahoma City offers a growing list of direct flights across the United States; plus, there are lots of drivable destinations both in and out of state. Whether you’re looking for a chance to fully unwind, explore a new dining scene or tackle some fun recreation in the great outdoors, here are three great locations you and your partner – or friends – should consider for your next escape!
Choctaw Casino and Resort, Durant, Oklahoma
Couples craving a break from the daily grind can treat themselves to an all-inclusive experience at the newly renovated Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, just two and a half hours southeast of the OKC metro. In 2021, a $600 million expansion project was completed, offering guests a gorgeous 3-acre pool complex with cabanas and pool-side bars, 1,000 luxurious guest rooms, an expanded gaming floor and new dining venues. This exquisite facility also features a Native American art walk showcasing 58 pieces by Choctaw artists, each with a QR code so guests can enjoy their own self-guided tour.
Spend your day relaxing at Aqua, the resort’s tropical oasis where towering palm trees surround opulent pools, including a family-friendly option complete with waterslides and an exclusive, adults-only pool with swim-up bar. Rent a cabana, lounge around a fire pit or enjoy the hot tub adjacent to the pool. Afterward, get fully pampered at The Spa with a massage treatment or simply bask peacefully in a steam room or one of the whirlpool tubs in the couple’s suites.
To elevate your stay, the resort conveniently offers two Starbucks locations, several cocktail lounges and on-site restaurants, like 1832 Steakhouse, which rewards guests with an exceptional fine-dining experience. Try your hand at one of the 7,000 slot machines or 40 new table games, many of which are in non-smoking areas.
If you’d rather not test your luck, catch a movie at the resort’s cinema where they have six screens featuring blockbuster and first-run films. Many weekends also offer incredible lineups of live performances by musical artists and comedians, so check their online calendar in advance to purchase tickets.
Santa Fe , New Mexico
If you and your partner are looking to road trip out of state, venture west to the nation’s oldest capital, just a seven-and-a-half-hour drive from Oklahoma City. Santa Fe rests in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and is beloved for its beautiful mixture of art, history and some of the most vibrant food in the country.
One of the best ways to experience this foodie odyssey is through a walking tour. Consider booking the New Mexican Flavors Tour of Santa Fe Plaza to sample food and drink pairings while also sightseeing landmarks like the San Miguel Chapel, the oldest Catholic Church in the United States. Visitors can also learn how to make classic New Mexican foods by taking a cooking class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
For breakfast, don’t miss a trip to The Pantry for their legendary breakfast burrito. Tomasita’s is another popular restaurant that consistently delivers excellent New Mexican cuisine, including stuffed sopapillas and their renowned margaritas. End your day at Geronimo, a picturesque adobe-style restaurant built in 1756, known for their sophisticated “global eclectic” cuisine and highly refined service.
Galleries and museums dominate the Santa Fe map and Canyon Road is the perfect place to kick off your art tour with more than 100 art galleries, boutiques and restaurants to explore. Visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum to discover the inspiring works this artist contributed to the world of modern art in the 20th century.
For a more interactive art adventure, make your way to Meow Wolf, the original immersive art museum, which inspired OKC’s Factory Obscura. Guests of all ages will enjoy the mind-bending elements of this one-of-a-kind museum, inspiring both creativity and play. Then, for a quiet respite in downtown Santa Fe, take a stroll through the tranquil sculpture garden of Nedra Matteucci Galleries to admire the stone and bronze sculptures.
Santa Fe is also an outdoor adventure hub, given its proximity to the Pecos Wilderness and Santa Fe National Forest. The Winsor Trail to Nambe Lake is a beautiful, shady trek through the Sangre de Cristo subrange, leading to a gorgeous alpine lake. The Santa Fe Botanical Garden, near downtown Santa Fe, features walking paths through an orchard and lush gardens of roses, lavender and native plants. Mountain bikers and hikers also enjoy the Dale Ball Trail system, a 25-mile network of natural trails offering a quick escape to the neighboring mountains.
Just an hour outside of Santa Fe, visit Bandelier National Monument, where 11,000-year-old petroglyphs and historic cliff dwellings reside among the surrounding canyons. Wooden ladders along the main Pueblo Loop Trail provide access to these unique archeological sites.
After a busy day of adventuring, experience the transcendent power of water in one of Santa Fe’s soothing pools, springs or spas. Ojo Santa Fe Spa Resort is located just outside of town and offers guests daily access to spring-fed thermal pools, a seasonal saltwater pool and restorative spa treatments, so you can end your trip fully rejuvenated.
The country music capital of the world is just a direct flight away from Oklahoma City, ready to welcome you with its epic live music scene, delicious hot chicken and, of course, Southern hospitality.
Music is the common thread connecting the soul of Nashville with its people, so a perfect starting point for your trip is the Ryman Auditorium, nicknamed the “Carnegie Hall of the South.” Choose from a self-guided tour or the VIP experience, which includes backstage access to this iconic venue boasting 130 years of legendary performances.
The Grand Ole Opry put down roots at the Ryman in 1943, broadcasting the voices of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and the like into homes across the country. Thirty years later, the Opry moved to its current 4,440-seat Grand Ole Opry House, where you can take a tour and experience live performances today.
Continue your ultimate Music City experience with a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame to learn about the evolution of this industry and view priceless artifacts, such as instruments and stage wear donned by your favorite musicians. Just across the street from the museum is the Music City Walk of Fame, a tribute to the artists who have contributed to all genres of music.
Nashville is, undoubtedly, a culinary destination known for its incredible BBQ and hot chicken, but if you limit your tastebuds to these dishes, you’ll be missing out on the breadth and depth of other creative, noteworthy restaurants. Treat yourselves to brunch at Henrietta Red, a contemporary American restaurant focusing on vegetable-forward dishes, a wide variety of oysters and craft cocktails. Food is meant for sharing, and Butcher & Bee draws people far and wide to experience their inventive, Mediterranean family-style plates. Start with the bacon-wrapped dates and whipped feta before moving on to their avocado crispy rice and roasted chicken, all enjoyed on a secluded back patio.
When you do pick up some local hot chicken, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is always a crowd favorite offering six levels of heat and delicious sides to accompany your meal. If BBQ is what you’re after, Edley’s Bar-B-Que takes great pride in smoking their meats low and slow and making their sides from scratch daily. They strive to make all their patrons feel like family with memorable meals and unparalleled service.
Plan time for relaxation at Belle Meade Historic Site & Winery, a beautiful Greek Revival Mansion on a private estate. Take a historic tour to learn about the families who lived here, followed by a complimentary wine tasting.
Beyond making memories, navigating your way around the world is great for building communication and connection, even if unexpected challenges arise during your trip. The highs and lows of traveling as a couple can deepen the bond shared with your other half and may even inspire new habits to positively change your day-to-day routines once you return home. Happy travels!