Wedged between Texas to the south and Kansas to the north, OKLAHOMA is more West than Midwest, where ranchers sport Stetsons, Native American tribes mingle with oilmen and locals say “fixin’ to” a whole lot. Created in 1907 and romanticized by Rodgers & Hammerstein in their first musical, Oklahoma!, the state was one of the hardest hit by Depression in the 1930s, encapsulated most famously in John Steinbeck’s novel (and John Ford’s film) The Grapes of Wrath, but also in Dorothea Lange’s haunting photos of itinerant families, and in the sad yet hopeful songs of local boy Woody Guthrie. Today the state is a solidly Republican, conservative stronghold, the “buckle” of the Bible belt, with a booming economy largely thanks to oil and gas.

For visitors the main draws are Americana-laced Route 66, great live music and a couple of dynamic cities; artsy Tulsa, in the hilly and wooded northeast, and the revitalized capital, Oklahoma City. The state also claims a large Native American population, with 39 sovereign tribes (there are no “reservations” here) – “oklahoma” is the Choctaw word for “red man” – and many of its towns host museums devoted to Native American history.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Total eclipse of the heart (of America): where to see the 2017 solar eclipse

Total eclipse of the heart (of America): where to see the 2017 solar eclipse

Most visitors who trek through the vast interior of the USA are in search of natural wonders on the ground. But on August 21, 2017, they’ll be in search of a…

24 Nov 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
A Las Vegas survival guide: the dos and don’ts of Sin City

A Las Vegas survival guide: the dos and don’ts of Sin City

Few destinations can match the unbridled hedonism of Las Vegas. Nevada’s pulsating desert city, a tangle of neon-lit casinos and roaring freeways, is one of t…

16 Nov 2016 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
The dos and don'ts of Thanksgiving travel

The dos and don'ts of Thanksgiving travel

The only thing more challenging than an interminable turkey meal with a squabbling family? Getting there in the first place. Thanksgiving may kick off the mo…

11 Nov 2016 • AnneLise Sorensen insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month