Day 1: London – Tulsa
Your holiday starts in Tulsa, where you will find a distinctive mix of influences from Native American ancestors and the oil tycoons of the 1900s. The Gilcrease Museum houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of art and artefacts of the American West, while the Philbrook is one of America’s finest art museums located in an Italian Renaissance 72-room villa surrounded by 23 acres of botanical grounds - compliments of Oil Barron - Waite Phillips. The Brady Arts District is one of the city’s most vibrant area for live music and is home to the famed Woody Guthrie Center. At its centre, Guthrie Green is a green space that hosts live music performances and regular farmers’ markets. Cherry Street is another eclectic music, art and food district to look for. Stay 2 nights at La Quinta Inn (or similar).
Day 2: Tulsa – Tahlequah – Fort Gibson – Muskogee – Tulsa (approx. 155 miles)
Today, take a little loop drive to some of Tulsa’s neighbouring towns, starting off in Tahlequah with a visit to the Cherokee Heritage Center, home to Diligwa – 1210 Cherokee Village, Adams Corner Rural Village, and the Trail of Tears exhibit. Next, travel on to Fort Gibson, the first army post in the Indian Territory, which was in operation from 1824 to 1890. The last stop is Muskogee, where you can find the Ataloa Lodge Museum, boasting one of the largest privately owned collections of Native American artefacts in the US as well as the Five Civilized Tribes Museum where you can get an introduction to the heritage and cultures of the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Seminole tribes. Afterwards, return back to Tulsa for your overnight stay.
Take a drive along the historic Route 66 and pass by the eclectic towns of Sapulpa, Bristow, Stroud, and Chandler as you head to Oklahoma City, the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. Be sure to visit Bricktown, Oklahoma City’s renovated warehouse district, where you can find lively evening entertainment, with over 30 canal-side restaurants and clubs to choose from. Stay 3 nights at Best Western Saddbleback Inn (or similar).
Day 3: Tulsa – Route 66 – Oklahoma City (approx. 107 miles)
Day 4: Oklahoma City
Be sure to visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, which preserves the rugged individualism and romantic spirit of the frontier, and features a collection of classic and contemporary Western art, including works by Charles Russell, Frederic Remington, and the famous 18-foot sculpture, The End of the Trail. Other must see attractions include the Oklahoma City National Memorial, OKC Museum of Art, the Myriad Botanical Gardens, the State Museum of History, the State Capitol, the Paseo Arts District, and the Boathouse District on the Oklahoma River.
Day 5: Oklahoma City – Sulphur – Oklahoma City (approx. 85 miles)
Native American culture is the focus for today, with a visit to the Chickasaw Cultural Center, located near Sulphur, where you can see the exhibits and live demonstrations. This is the USA’s largest tribal cultural centre, built on a section of more than 100acres of rolling hills, woodlands and waterways. Also take time to visit the Chickasaw National Recreational Area, which brings together diverse flora and fauna in a combination of eastern deciduous forest and western prairie. The Travertine Ranger Station Visitor Center offers the opportunity to take a short hike in and around this area of outstanding beauty. In nearby Davis, visit scenic Turner Falls and try some mouth-watering Oklahoma food at Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies and Smokin’ Joe’s Rib Ranch. Return back to Oklahoma City for your overnight stay.
Day 6: Oklahoma City – Stockyard City – Ponca City (approx. 193 miles)
Today, why not get a true Americana experience and enjoy your breakfast at Cattleman’s Steakhouse in the heart of Stockyard City? For over 80 years, Stockyard City has been the place for cattlemen, horsemen, farmers, ranchers and real cowboys to congregate. Cattle auctions take place on Monday and Tuesday each week –beginning at 8am. From Stockyard City, drive on to Ponca City where you can find the magnificent Marland Mansion, a 55-room, 10-bedroom, 12-bathroom, 7-fireplace and 3-kitchen ‘Palace on the Prairie’. Take a photo stop at the Standing Bear Statue, a tribute monument to all Native Americans. Stay 1 night at Comfort Inn & Suites (or similar).
Day 7: Ponca City – Wichita (approx. 30 miles)
Continue your discovery today, as you drive across the state border into Wichita, Kansas’ largest city in the heart of the United States. Wichita’s colourful history is brought to life on the Guided Trolley Tour. Immerse yourself in the 1870s and experience Wichita as a Wild West settler at Old Cowtown Museum. Also, within the ‘Museums on the River District’ is the Wichita Art Museum, the renowned Botanica Wichita Gardens and the Mid-America All Indian Center. Walk to the iconic 44-foot-tall Keeper of the Plains statue placed on the sacred ground of the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas River. Old town is the place to spend your evening with a large selection of GREAT restaurants and diverse clubs offering live music & entertainment. Stay 1 night at Hotel at Old Town (or similar).
Day 8: Wichita – Yoder – Hutchinson (approx. 50 miles)
Take a drive to the quaint Amish village of Yoder, home to the unique Carriage Crossing Restaurant, a great place to stop for lunch and to browse around the Country Traditions Store for handmade Amish quilts. Then, it’s on to Hutchinson, where you can spend the remainder of your afternoon at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, a world-class space museum featuring the largest collection of US space artefacts outside of the National Air and Space Museum, and the largest collection of Russian space artefacts in the Western world. Stay 1 night at Hampton Inn Hutchinson (or similar).
Day 9: Hutchinson – McPherson/Canton – Lindsborg – Salina (approx. 145 miles)
Hedrick’s Exotic Animal Farm has animal adventures not typically found in Kansas. Visitors are invited to view, feed, and pet the animals. Before departing Hutchinson, perhaps visit Strataca, an underground adventure 650 feet below the Kansas prairie and the only salt mine tour of its kind in North America. Head north toward McPherson/Canton to the Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, home to roaming herds of bison and elk. From here, travel to Lindsborg,a unique Swedish community offering main street shops, museums, art galleries and working studios as well as cultural and ethnic events. A few of the must see galleries and studios include Birger Sandzen Memorial Gallery, Elizabeth’s, Hemslojd, Inc., Old Mill Museum, Red Barn Studio and The Station. Stay 2 nights at Hampton Inn Salina (or similar).
Day 10: Salina – Abilene – Lawrence (approx. 138 miles)
After breakfast drive east to Abilene -- the end of the famous Chisholm Trail. Discover the history of Abiline at the Dickinson County Historical Museum, the Childhood Home and Presidential Museum of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Seelye Mansion. And, try not to miss the Fried Chicken Dinner, served daily at the Brookville Hotel. Continue east to Lawrence. Stay 2 nights at Hampton Inn Lawrence (or similar).
Day 12: Lawrence
Learn how Lawrence played a crucial role in America’s slavery vs. abolition debate. Lawrence is now a thriving community, rated amongst the top 15 in ‘The 100 Best Small Arts Towns in America’. Spend your day visiting one of the four great museums on the grounds of the University of Kansas - all offering free admission. You can also browse seven blocks of boutique shops, restaurants and nightclubs on Massachusetts Street in Lawrence's university downtown.
Day 13-14: Lawrence – Kansas City/Overland Park (approx. 35 miles)
Fort Leavenworth played an important role in peacekeeping among the various Indian tribes as the increasing number of invading settlers headed west. Visit the Buffalo Soldier Monument and Frontier Military Museum before heading south to Kansas City/Overland Park where there are thousands of otheractivity options. A few recommendations are - Legends Village West District, Arabia Steamboat Museum, American Royal Museum, Hallmark Visitors Center, Louisburg Cider Mill, Mahaffie Stage Coach Stop, Legler Barn Museum and Downtown Overland Park. You will have many choices for great BBQ - ask locals for their favourite recommendations. Spend your late afternoon and evening shopping and dining. Stay 2 nights at Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Conv. Ctr. (or similar).
Day 15: Kansas City/Overland Park – London
Your Great Plains of USA adventure comes to an end today as you head to Kansas City Airport, where you will return your car rental before boarding your overnight flight back to London.