Summer is upon us and the one thing at the top of our minds at this time of the year is usually, “What are we going to do for vacation?” Some of us plan ahead months in advance for trips to Europe. Some of us plan ahead for trips a little closer to home. But some of us, like me, don’t really plan ahead for vacation at all.
Life is so busy and unpredictable in my household that we usually take advantage of extra time right when it happens. So, what is more perfect than a destination only one gas tank away? You hop in the car, drive an hour or so, stay for a day or two and back home you go. Easy peasy.
Broken Bow, Oklahoma, in McCurtain County is one such destination. This picturesque area is about 2.5 hours north of Longview, is located at the foothills of the Kiamichi Mountains and is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest and Beavers Bend State Park. You’ll discover plenty of fishing, camping, hiking, swimming and much more whether you’re on a family vacation or a romantic getaway.
If you plan to stay overnight or a few days, renting a cabin or staying at a rustic lodge is something you should consider. However, before you go or decide on where to stay there are a few things to think about. Some cabins are very secluded while others aren’t, and other cabins are right off the highway while some require a long, steep climb.
There are plenty of great options in the area, but here’s a few we recommend.
Beavers Bend Luxury Cabin Rentals are spacious and beautifully furnished, with fully equipped kitchens, WiFi and hot tubs. Kiamichi Cabins also offers luxury accommodations with fully equipped kitchens, plus linens and towels, private decks and central heat and air.
Hochatown Country Lodge is located in front of Beaver’s Bend State Park at their main entrance, making it a great choice to be close to the action. The lodge has non-smoking rooms and cabin rentals as well, but keep in mind pets are not allowed.
If you prefer to stay in a RV and want to buy one before your trip, consider visiting Hayes RV Center here in Longview. The company has a wide assortment of RVs available at its location at 5009 Judson Road. For more information, call the store at (903) 663-3488. There are several places to stay in your RV while in Broken Bow, such as Beaver’s Bend State Park, Hochatown RV Park and Secluded Acres. And if you need parts and service during your trip, Robbins RV & Motorsports in nearby Idabel can take care of you. Worried about where to go for groceries and necessities? No need. There’s a Walmart nearby and Whiskey Joe’s is a local favorite with a great selection of beer, wine and spirits.
Speaking of Beaver’s Bend State Park, there’s definitely plenty of fun to be had when you visit. You can head out on Broken Bow Lake in a yakanoe (combination of kayak and canoe), paddle boat, paddle board, canoe or a Jet Ski. The state park also offers regular and miniature golf, zip lining, tennis, guided horseback rides on scenic trails, hayrides, trout fishing and fly-fishing.
If you love hiking, the David Boren Trail offers 16 miles of trails with four of them suitable for mountain biking. You can hike along ridge tops, meander through the tall trees, cross over creek bottoms and enter areas so remote you’ll think you’ve left civilization behind. If you’re a novice hiker, don’t worry; these trails can be split between short and long hikes for your enjoyment.
Broken Bow Lake also has some of the clearest waters in the state, which makes it a popular place for scuba divers. Rent a pontoon or party boat from Bandits ATV & Boat Rentals and grab some fishing gear from Beaver’s Bend Marina for a relaxing day of fishing and soaking up some sun at the same time.
And of course, there’s swimming. When you’re ready to cool off, there are plenty of designated swimming areas along the 180-mile shoreline. Stevens Gap is the main swimming area and considered one of the best spots for swimming. Just use caution with the little ones because the water does go deep. Another great place to take the kids is Beavers Bend Land & Water Park, which has bumper boats, paddle boats, canoes, a swimming area and a beach.
Beavers Bend also has enough streams, ponds and rivers, such as Mountain Fork River, for different types of water activities. Enjoy Mother Nature at her finest with a scenic canoe or kayak adventure with Yippie Kayo Kayak, who will take you down the pristine river lined with cypress trees. But please be sure to call ahead for river conditions!
Aside from the outdoor adventures, you can try your hand at world-class gaming at Choctaw Casino or you can head into Broken Bow to visit one of the many shops and boutiques in the city. Broadway Boutique, nestled in historic downtown Broken Bow, is a hidden little gem of a shop filled with a large variety of upscale clothing, jewelry and accessories to create a unique new look. It also has home décor accents, dip starters and lovely serving dishes. Once Upon a Time Antiques is a popular spot for (what else?) antiquing, and Janet’s Treasure Chest has unique offerings for keepsakes and souvenirs, including Bigfoot hair!
When you’ve worked up an appetite after all that playing, there’s a surprising amount of variety in the area when it comes to dining. You’ll want to stop by The Oaks Steakhouse. It’s not just a steakhouse, though; it offers a salad bar with more than 40 items, plus tacos, sandwiches, burgers, fish, pasta, chicken entrees and much more.
If you’re in the mood for barbecue, pay a visit to Hochatown BBQ – it’s a one-stop adventure in the making with delicious barbecue, mini-golf, a gift shop and a place to take old-timey photos as a memento of your trip.
Stop in to Abendigo’s Grill & Patio for dining with live entertainment, Grateful Head Tap Room & Pizzeria for pizza and beer, and The Blue Rooster for fried chicken, shrimp and catfish.
The entire strip of U.S. 259 within a few miles north and south of Broken Bow, but especially near Beaver’s Bend State Park, is filled with shops, wineries, restaurants and more so you’ll find plenty of places to eat, shop, play and stay in the area.
- 2204 S. Park Drive
- Mon-Sat 11a-9p
- Summer Hours: Fri & Sat
- Open until 10p
- 259 Stevens Gap Road
- Tue-Sat (Kitchen) 4-9p;
- (Sportsbar) 4-11p
- 10251 U.S. 259
- Open 7 days a week, 11a-9p
- 9123 U.S. 259 North
- Closed Monday; Tue-Thur & Sun 10:30a-3p; Fri & Sat 10:30a-7p
- 8 miles north of Broken Bow on west side of U.S. 259
- Same parking lot as Grateful Head Pizzeria • 580.494.6361
- Mon-Thur 11a-8:30p; Fri & Sat 11a-9:30pm; Sun 10:30a-9p
The Oaks Steakhouse
Abendigo's Grill & Patio
Grateful Head Tap Room & Pizzeria
The Blue Rooster
- 120 N. Broadway St.
- Mon-Fri 10a-6p; Sat 10a-4p;
- Closed Sunday
- U.S. 259, 1/4 mile north of Beavers Bend State Park entrance
- 9a-6p, 7 days a week
- 4836 U.S. 259
- Mon-Sat 10a-5p, Sun 10a-3p
- 506 S. Park Drive
- Closed Sun / Mon-Sat 10a-9p
Janet’s Treasure Chest
Once Upon a Time Antiques
- 9160 North U.S. 259
- 580.494.3333 or 580.236.0918
- Mon-Fri 9a-4:30p, Sat 9a-6p, Sun
- by reservation only
- 1300 NE Lincoln Road, Idabel;
- U.S. 259 North, Idabel
- 866.286.6551 • 877.902.9001
- Check websites for hours
- www.robbinsmostorsports.com /
- 5900 East U.S. 70
- Call ahead for River Conditions
- Hochatown State Park
- 196 Marina Lane
- Mon-Sun 9a-5p
- 6 miles north of Broken Bow on
- U.S. 259A
- 1790 S. Park Drive
- Open 24/7, year round
Bandits ATV & Boat Rentals
Robbins RV & Motorsports
Yippie Kayo Kayaks
Beaver’s Bend Marina
Beaver’s Bend Resort Park