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.

How to get your hippie on in San Francisco

How to get your hippie on in San Francisco

Born in California, the Summer of Love movement aimed at nothing less than transforming American society. And for a window of time, San Francisco was the centre…

26 May 2017 • Mike MacEacheran insert_drive_file Article
20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

20 places to embrace the great outdoors in the USA

Whether you're dreaming of a week-long expedition or an afternoon spent in the sun, the USA is ripe with possibilities for an outdoor adventure. From hiking to…

16 May 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
The best weekend getaways in the USA

The best weekend getaways in the USA

The USA is a big place – but no matter where you’re based, it’s easy to hit the road for a couple of hours or hop on a plane or train for a total change …

04 May 2017 • Rebecca Hallett 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