Touring Tahlequah

Tahlequah contains a variety of hidden gems for visitors to discover. Experience this exciting town through the eyes of a local, and fall in love with its shops, restaurants, museums and trails.

Photo Credit: Lori Duckworth

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As the capital of the Cherokee Nation and with its nearby natural treasures, Tahlequah has a rich history and scenic landscapes to offer interested guests. With two days spent in Tahlequah, visitors can experience a mix of active options and relaxing destinations. Plan a visit to this Oklahoma city and see for yourself how it earned its designation as one of “The 100 Best Small Towns in America” (Prentice Hall).

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Book a stay at Purdy Cabin Guest Retreat for easy access to all Tahlequah has to offer. At Purdy Cabin Guest Retreat, guests can take in the fresh air from the multi-level deck, offering treetop vantage points of the river below. This Tahlequah cabin also comes fully stocked with board games and puzzles for all ages to enjoy, as well as utensils for grilling and cooking. Throughout the year, Purdy Cabin Guest Retreat also attracts different types of birds. Suet feeders bring in woodpeckers, while seed feeders catch the attention of finches, warblers and wrens. Scout out cardinals, bald eagles, osprey, owls and herons while resting up between excursions.

Get Out & About

After you get settled, don appropriate weather gear, and head outside to wander through the Tahlequah landscape. For the most direct nature immersion, drive over to the J.T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve. Guests will experience a mixture of topography as valleys give way to forests, woodlands, savanna, shrub land and prairie throughout the preserve. While hiking along one of three self-guided nature trails, visitors can also look out for wildlife like elk, white-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats and black bears.

Sports enthusiasts and families can get a glimpse of Tahlequah’s gorgeous greenery with a trip to the Joe Thornton Archery Range. Located on Cherokee Nation tribal lands, this special archery range invites guests to bring their own equipment (or you can rent bows for a small fee on Mondays and Thursdays) and take aim on the 70-meter, Olympic-style range and 3-D target range (featuring dinosaur targets!).

The Tahlequah History Trail highlights city landmarks like Franklin Castle and NSU Seminary Hall along a paved outdoor walkway. Meander through downtown Tahlequah, passing historic sites like the Town Branch Creek, and continue along this two-mile trail to see historical markers that detail local history about both popular and little-known attractions.

Relax & Enjoy

After enjoying the great outdoors in Tahlequah, visitors can treat themselves to indoor indulgences, from local restaurants and attractions to shops and spas. For a few hours of pampering, book a spa package at the Palms Therapeutic Massage & Body Spa. Guests can choose from calming spa treatments like black Baltic body mud wraps, soothing gel facial masks, body butter hydration massages, cellulite cupping treatments and sugar body polishes.

Once that muscle tension has been relieved, venture inside the Briar Patch Market to scout out vintage and antique goods. Then, celebrate a successful haul with a trip to the NSU Jazz Lab for a live show or the NSU Center for the Performing Arts for a thrilling theater performance.

Experience an old-fashioned treat at Tahlequah Drug Co Soda Fountain or pick up a slice of coconut cream pie from the Branch along Muskogee Avenue. Whether you’re in need of breakfast, lunch, dinner or a quick pick-me-up, the Drip contains the perfect solution. Guests can order a java chip frappé to go or curl up with a book on the cozy upper floor or outdoor balcony. Throughout the day, guests can choose between nourishing fruit smoothies, savory hot sandwiches and made-to-order crepes. If you’re looking to feast with friends, sharing a pizza from Sam & Ella’s Chicken Palace, a long-time staple of Tahlequah’s dining scene, is a must.

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