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.

Your USA itinerary: 6 ideas for an American adventure

Your USA itinerary: 6 ideas for an American adventure

The USA’s sheer scale and scope means it’s impossible to see everything the country has to offer in one go ­– and you shouldn’t try. From sprawling na…

15 Mar 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why you should visit Key West, Florida

7 reasons why you should visit Key West, Florida

Once a rip-roaring buccaneers’ town, the preserve of pirates and wreckers, Key West is now the quirky, tropical heart of the Florida Keys. The island’s bois…

14 Mar 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
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