After a LONG winter mostly stuck indoors, I sensed being outdoors would be good for our children. So I decided to book a last-minute trip to the quaint destination I’ve been reading about for several years on local message boards: Broken Bow, Oklahoma. Just three hours from Dallas (2.5 hours from Little Rock), this no-fuss destination was perfect for our family.
The thing I loved most about Broken Bow is that it’s not too commercialized. Nothing fancy, but still nice. Yes, there are the kitschy gift stores and some novelty restaurants, but mostly driving up and down Highway 259 you’ll see local cabin rental companies and bait shops. Overall, it’s an unassuming town with the rustic charm of an 80’s movie. (Think: “The Great Outdoors”).
Th town of Broken Bow borders Beavers Bend State Park, a 1300 acre park at the base of the Ouachita National Forest where you will find Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River (which great for fly fishing!).
Things to Do
Most activities are within the state park and include hiking, paddle boating, fishing, horseback riding, mini golf, canoeing, and kayaking. There is also a Heritage Center and Nature Center to learn about local history and wildlife. (You can walk through in about 15-20 minutes.)
Hiking is the one of the best way to enjoy the state park, plus it’s free;). I recommend stopping in the Heritage Center beforehand to talk with a guide and get trail recommendations. They recommended the one 1-mile Cedar Bluff trail (with view above) which easy for everyone in our family (and would be fine for younger children).
We also did the 2.5 mile Beaver Creek/Lookout Mountain Trail that was MUCH harder for my eight and five year old. It would be fine for older children, but if you have younger children like mine you might have to carry them a bit if they get tired. This trail has higher elevations and more rugged terrain. We did it, though, and my girls were so proud! The Forest Heritage Trail (1 mile) is also easy and has a pretty bridge perfect for photos.
A few tips we learned from locals: fishing is best on the bridges. There is a bait shop within the park but also some along the highway. Horseback riding is for ages five and up. Reservations not needed unless it’s a holiday weekend. (And that goes for pretty much all the activities.)
Where to Stay
Broken Bow is full of both rustic and higher-end cabins. Because we have an infant with respiratory issues, a nicer cabin was a necessity. After doing some research it seemed the Hidden Hills Cabins had wonderful reviews.
We booked Run-A-Muk – a two bedroom, two bath cabin on a little creek which my girls loved exploring. I waited until a few weeks before to book our trip so there weren’t many choices in Hidden Hills (a good sign, in my opinion).
But this cabin was the perfect size for us. It came with an Aerobed so one of our girls slept on the floor. My favorite part about the cabin was the huge deck. The cool early March weather allowed for it to be a second living area.
Most of the cabins at Hidden Hills have small kitchens and laundry rooms. Ours had a hot tub and a fire pit. The cabins are pretty spread out and it’s just a few miles from the entrance to the park.
Note: Beavers Bend State Park has cabins but they are definitely more rustic. More like summer camp cabins. The campgrounds along the river looked beautiful; my husband wants to take my daughters back to camp there.
What to Eat
We mostly cooked and grilled at the cabin using food we brought from home. However, there is a grocery store and Walmart nearby. (Walmart does not have a big food selection.)
Several people recommended Grateful Head Pizza so went there for lunch (twice!) because it has a nice outdoor patio. If you’ve been to Broken Bow, please share your recommendations below!
There are also several breweries up and down 259 with tastings and bars.
Overall, Broken Bow was the perfect getaway for a long weekend and would be such a great place to go with several families.
If you’ve been to Broken Bow please comment below with your recommendations. There aren’t many guides on the internet so hope this helps people thinking about booking!