By Billy Hathorn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

While trips to Disneyland or New York City have their own kind of frenetic charm, sometimes the only vacation you can envision lies far from the maddening crowds. Imagine air crisp with the scent of pine trees, flawless, sapphire-blue lakes underneath a cloudless sky and all the fun of summer camp surrounded by luxury cabin accommodations. Broken Bow, Oklahoma is the ideal destination to get away from it all that you’ve probably never heard of, which is why it’s so perfect.

Located in southeastern Oklahoma, the area was settled by Choctaw Indian tribes before the current town was built in 1911. With just a few thousand residents, Broken Bow isn’t much larger than it was when it was first incorporated into a town. The downtown area exudes classic American charm, but it’s the lush landscape dotted with clear lakes that is the real draw. Broken Bow Lake, created from damming the Medicine Fork River, spans more than 22 square miles. Thickly wooded shores frame the lake, home to a range of wildlife that includes eagles, deer, owls, black bear and road runners.

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Foggy morning at Broken bow lake…

There’s an almost endless array of fun activities that make the most of the region’s natural advantages. Fly fishing for bass and trout, kayaking, nature hikes, horseback riding and swimming are all classic activities, but the nearby Beavers Bend Resort Park offers guided eagle-sighting tours, miniature golf, tennis courts, jet skis, arts and crafts, archery and hayrides. The lake is even a favorite among snorkelers and scuba divers due to its clarity beneath the surface. In town, there are two history museums dedicated to remembering the Native American tribes that once inhabited the region. Displays of pottery, arrowheads and other artifacts pay tribute to the area’s long history.

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Blue hour…tent and fireplace…perfect!

Accommodation in the area is plentiful. Visitors can choose between camping near the lake, luxuriating in the surroundings of a bed and breakfast, taking advantage of convenient chain hotels or going all out on the nature theme in a mountain cabin. While camping can be a fun way to get back to nature, most of the Broken Bow cabins in the area offer private luxury retreats surrounded by woodland and their own set of fun activities to enjoy. You can indulge your sense of adventure during the day before returning for a well-earned rest in the heart of the forest with a gentle breeze through pine boughs as your only lullaby.

There’s a range of eateries in town offering everything from Mexican cuisine to down-home American cooking. Dine under the stars or line dance to a live country band after a day of water sports and fresh air. No matter what pace of vacation you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Broken Bow. If you simply want to swing in a hammock under a cloudless sky or want to leave a wake across the lake going full throttle on jet skis, you’ll have ample opportunities to tailor your visit to exactly the vacation you need in this beautiful and untamed part of Oklahoma’s spectacular hill country.

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Fishing at Broken Bow lake