The city of Lawton is a historical city situated in Comanche County in Southwest Oklahoma.
Built on the reservation land of several Indian tribes, it is the fifth largest city in the state of Oklahoma and famous for being the cultural and commercial center of the region.
In fact, it was included in the Forbes’ list of “Best Small Places for Business and Careers.”
Founded in 1901, the city is located near the Wichita Mountains which are a mine of wildlife and natural resources.
They also provide the residents and visitors ample opportunities for fun outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, rock climbing and fishing etc.
What Lawton is most famous for is the Fort Sill Army Base, which lies in the north of the city.
Fort Sill was built in 1869, in the hostile Indian territory during the Indian wars and has several historic landmarks that bring thousands of tourists every year.
Lawton is a city that boasts of a rich heritage and has several historical landmarks.
It is a place of adventure and makes a great holiday destination for history buffs as well as for those who crave adventure and love outdoor activities.
With its museums, heritage centers, waterparks, wildlife refuge, military base and other scenic sights, the city of Lawton provides its tourists a lot to do.
1. Visit the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum.
Established in December, 1934, and opened in January of the next year, the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum is a preservation site of the Field Artillery as well as of Fort Sill.
Fort Sill is an active US military base covering almost 94000 acres of land.
It is also a historic site where the Indian wars were fought between the U.S. government and European settlers against the Native Americans or Indians.
Now, it is one of the most important military bases in the United States and the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum is a post war museum that showcases the local history of Fort Sill as well as the history of the cadets who have been a part of it for the past 100 years.
Timings: open five days a week, from Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5p.m.
2. Visit the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum
Established in 1934 and opened in 1935, the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum is another site that showcases the history of Fort Sill and is an active military base.
Divided into two parts, the indoor area showcases a collection of more than 70 artillery guns, various types of swords, and military uniforms.
What to do:
The visitors also get to see a short, historical film as well as the largest part of ENAIC computer, a computer that was built in order to calculate the route of shells during the Second World War
The outdoor area exhibits larger machinery that includes various tanks, cannons as well as an automated nuclear rocket launcher named Atomic Annie, developed at the commencement of the Cold War in 1950s.
Timings: open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and takes roughly 2 hours to tour.
3. Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center
It is situated in Medicine Park, considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in America.
The aquarium was built with the aim of conserving species by educating the people about them.
What to do:
You can enjoy seeing various species of animals. It houses more than 90 species of fish, both native and exotic, reptiles, turtles, birds and mammals.
The center also has a botanical garden which also serves as a great picnic spot, making the center both an educational and fun place to go to when in Lawton.
Timings: open throughout the week between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and has free parking.
4. Go for a swim in the Bath lake Medicine Park
This is a great place to visit during the summers and spend some time outdoors.
What to do:
It is a popular spot for swimming and picnic and also offers the view of beautiful waterfalls and gorgeous mountains. In the winters, it is a popular spot for trout fishing.
Timings: open from 10 a.m to 8 p.m everyday.
5. Explore the City of Wichitas
Also known as the Holy City, the city of Wichitas is located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, 22 miles northwest of Lawton.
What to do:
You can view an interesting fact about it is that it looks very similar to Israel in the biblical times and has structures like the temple court, the Lord’s Supper building,
Herod’s Court and Pilate’s judgment hall, which were constructed of locally-quarried granite in the 1930s.
It also has a memorial for the Oklahoma bombing victims, Veterans walkaway and the World Chapel which is a very popular location for weddings.
Timings: Fall is the best time to visit the city as it is neither too hot nor too cold.
6. Visit the Museum of the Great Plains
As stated by its name, this museum is based on the cultural and natural history of the Great Plains of North America and its aim is to collect, preserve, research and exhibit the same.
Located in Elmer Thomas Park, it covers an area of 18000-square-feet.
What to do:
It has interactive activities through which one can learn about the history and culture of the Indians.
It has several cool exhibits including a recreation of the 1960s’ archeological excavation and the tornado simulator.
Timings: open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m but the hours are changeable so make sure to check the timings before visiting.
It also offers off street parking.
7. Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center
Opened in 2007, the center fulfills its purpose of depicting the culture, history, way of life, customs and traditions of the Comanche tribe.
It uses performances and other narrated displays to showcase the various facets of the Comanche tribe.
It also represents Comanche art and boasts of having the largest collection of Comanche fine art.
The center also has a gift shop which has books, coins and other stuff related to the Native American culture.
Timing: Open from Monday to Saturday, it has free entry.
8. Have a great day out at Elmer Thomas Park
This park is a great spot to enjoy the day with a picnic and hiking and relaxing with your feet dipped in lake Helen as you watch the ducks swim in the lake.
It is a short drive from both the Museum of Great Plains and Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center.
Timings: the park opens between 6 a.m and 11 p.m
9. Go camping at Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation
Lake Elmer makes for a great getaway spot.
What to do:
It makes for a great camping spot as well as provides campers with plenty of opportunities for water activities such as swimming, scuba diving, canoeing, fishing, and kayaking as well as beach volleyball.
There are lessons for kayaking and water slides for children.
Along with that, there is space for tents, RVs, cabins as well as local stores nearby which provide all necessary camping gear, permits and food and drinks.
Timings: from Wednesday to Friday, it stays open between 4 to 7 p.m. On Staurday and Sunday, it is open between 11 a.m and 5 p.m.
10. Take a tour of the historic Mattie Beal Home
Mattie Beal House is a historic mansion with 14 rooms and 2 storeys.
What to do:
Experience the luxury constructed in the early 1900s and built in the Colonial Revival architectural style, the house was built when Mattie Beal won a lottery and bought 160-acres of land south of the town of Lawton.
She also donated land for two city parks, a church and Lincoln school.
Some of the original structure of the house is still intact and along with the original furniture.
The house is open to visitors who can see it on their own or with a guide.
Timings: The house can be visited from Thursday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Parking is also available.
11. Beat the heat at Comanche Nation Water Park
This is a great place to go to in summers, especially with kids. It is open during the summer for the entire week and is a nice spot to go with family and friends.
What to do:
It has water slides, a lazy river, a wave pool and a picnic area where the adults can relax while the kids have some fun.
Timings: The park stays open from 12 p.m to 6 p.m.
12. Visit Fort Sill Post Cemetery
Established in 1869, the cemetery has great historical significance.
Several Native Americans, soldiers and civilians have been laid to rest here, including several pre-eminent Indian chiefs in an area known as Chiefs Knoll, the highest point in the cemetery.
It also provides handicapped parking.
Timings: The cemetery can be visited any day of the week between 7 a.m and 6 p.m.
Tip: requires proper government identification from non-DOD persons.
13. See Geronimo’s grave
Geronimo’s grave is situated in the Fort Sill Post Cemetery.
The great Apache leader known for his bravery and fearlessness is buried with his wife and daughter.
An interesting fact about this place is that the skull of the Native American leader is not buried here with the rest of his body.
It is believed to have been stolen by the members of Skull and Bones, nine years after Geronimo’s death.
The grave provides quite an insight into Geronimo’s life and is an important spot for Native American historians.
Near the grave is also the grave of the Apache chief Loco who was Geronimo’s nemesis.
Timings: it can be visited throughout the week between 7 a.m and 6 p.m.
14. Try your luck at Comanche Nation Casino
Also known as Comanche Nation Entertainment, the casino is owned and managed by the Native American sovereignty and is a great place if you want to try out your luck at gambling.
The casino also has other venues for when you are done gambling; Mustang Sports Grill, a sports bar, Comanche Nation Casino Grill, for dinner and The Club, for concerts or live shows.
The casino remains open 24 hours and has parking facilities.
15. Spend an afternoon at Leslie Powell Foundation and Gallery
Named after a native artist of Lawton, the gallery was opened in 1986, the gallery is a cultural hub that showcases works of art by regional artists from South west Oklahoma.
What to do:
It also has an Indian Arts section that showcases local culture and history.
The exhibit ranges from paintings, drawings, photographs to three-dimensional artworks.
It also holds poetry reading events, author signings and other special events. The gallery is free of charge and offers guided tours.
Timings: open from Monday to Friday, the gallery can be visited between 12 p.m and 4 p.m.
16. Quanah Parker Star House
Another Native American historical building, Quanah Parker Star House belonged to the Quanah Parker, considered to be one of the greatest Comanche chiefs.
Built in 1889, the house has 10 rooms and 14 stars painted on its roof and served as the home of the family of Quanah Parker.
It was the symbol of Quanah Parker’s status and is now an important representative of the Comanche tribe and its history.
Timings: The house is open 24 hours from Tuesday to Friday and from 8 a.m to 10 p.m on Monday, Saturday and Sunday.
17. Quanah Parker Lake
Spread over 89 acres, the Quanah Parker Lake, named after the Comanche chief, is a spectacular spot for photography and watching the sunrise or sunset.
It is also a great spot for adventurers with opportunities for hiking and rock climbing. It has a campsite and is often frequented by fishing enthusiasts.
Timings: it is open all through the year
18. Shop and have fun at Central Mall Lawton
A great place to go for shopping in Lawton or to take a break from sightseeing, Central Mall was opened in 1979 and has more than 70 shops, a movie theatre, an arcade, lunar gold, a play area for children, and a food court.
Timings: it is open from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 12 p.m to 6 p.m on Sundays
19. Go to Mount Scott
Located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Mount Scott stands out in all its 2464 feet glory with its granite peaks and provides an incredible view of the Wichita Mountains, lakes and the surrounding cities.
It is a must-visit place when in Lawton. There is a 3-mile road that goes to its top and driving, biking or hiking are allowed and along the way, one also gets to see plenty of wildlife such as American buffalo, elk, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, and even coyotes.
Timings: from Monday to Thursda, it can be visited at any time between sunrise and sunset. From Friday to Sunday, it stays open between sunrise and noon
20. See a race on Lawton Speedway
A 4-mile long track, the Lawton Speedway was built in 1963, and is a wonderful opportunity to get some fun and excitement when in Lawton.
Several local races take place on the track that is 4 miles long.
The track holds races every Saturday from April to August making it a nice entertainment for visitors on the weekends.
Timings: it holds racing from March to September on Saturdays. Their schedule is available on their website.
21. Go hiking at Lake Lawtonko
The lake is located in the north of Lawton and is a great spot for overnight camping trips. Surrounded by the Wichita Mountains, it is a sight to behold.
What to do:
It is a popular spot for hiking with its 4 mile long Green Trail as well as for swimming, boating and water sports.
It also has on sight provisions such as bathrooms, hot showers, a gas station and a food store for the campers and makes for a wonderful experience.
Timings: it is open from 7 a.m to 11 p.m throughout the week.
22. Lawton Rangers Rodeo
Another thrilling experience for the tourists.
What to do:
Lawton offers an opportunity to see a live rodeo show while hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls compete in various activities.
With the singing of the national anthem and the American flag being carried into the arena, the rodeo will definitely raise the American spirit and provide for a memorable experience for any newcomers.
Timings: It has a weekly schedule that needs to be checked on their website which also offers online tickets.
23. Visit Mt. Scott Kiowa Untd Methodist Church
The church lies on the northern shore of Lake Lawton and is a traditional native church. It is known to be the “Mother Church” of the Southern Plains Indians.
Timings: It holds Sunday School at 10 a.m. and Sunday worship services at 11 a.m. every Sunday.
24. Spend a fun evening at Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park
Another fun place to visit with friends and family, this adventure park has an obstacle course with zip lines, trampolines, stunt bags and slam dunk tracks.
It is a great place to have fun and burn some energy and enjoy with the kids.
Timings: it stays open from 4 to 7 p.m from Monday to Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m on Friday, 11 a.m to 8 p.m on Saturday and 12 to 7 p.m on Sunday.
25. Take pictures of the scenic view at Forty Foot Hole
Located in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Forty Foot Hole is a 30-minute drive from Lawton and a great place for hiking and walking with a 15 mile trail.
Timings: The trail is open throughout the year and leads to picturesque views of wildlife and waterfalls, with picnic tables and public barbecue grills.
26. Have mouth watering Mexican food at Los Tres Amigos
In case you want to have mouth watering meals, Los Tres Amigos is the place to go to.
It is a year- old Mexican restaurant that serves delicious Mexican dishes as well as other American dishes.
What to do:
It is a popular spot among the locals and a must visit for the tourists for its shrimp bruschetta and Mexican draft beer.
Timings: the restaurant is open throughout the week from 11 a.m to 10 p.m.
27. LOL Family Fun Center
Laugh Out Loud is a fun center where you can go with your family and have a chill time, especially if you are traveling with kids.
What to do:
It has a gaming arcade, bowling alley, roller-skating rink, bumper cars, and laser tag and several other fun games.
This place offers great food and lots and lots of fun.
Timings: from Monday to Wednesday, it remains closed for private parties. it is open on Thursday from 12 to 9 p.m, on Fridays from 4 to 10 p.m, on Saturdays from 11 a.m to 10 p.m and on Sundays from 12 to 9 p.m.
28. Have a movie night at Vaska theater
Opened in 1948, it is an old time theater that initially had only one screen. In 2022, another screen was added.
What to do:
It shows discounted films and live stage entertainment.
It also holds comedy nights. This is a wonderful place to spend an evening with the loved ones and relax and have fun.
Timings: it stays open at all times.
29. Have a game night at Shori Arena eSports
This is the one and only esports lounge in Lawton, located just off Fort Sill.
It is a fun hangout spot with lots of fun games to play and compete with friends and family.
Timings: Tournaments are held here every Friday and Saturday.
30. Enjoy a night at Apache Casino
Apache Casino, now a hotel, was opened in 1999 and is the only casino hotel in the region.
It also works as an event center and often holds concerts or disco nights.
It offers more than 900 slot machines, Blackjack, Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold ’em, Vegas-style Roulette, and Craps and is the perfect place to enjoy the night gambling.
Timings: it stays open 24/7.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How far is Lawton Oklahoma from the Texas border?
Lawton OK is 310 miles or 499 km away from Texas. It takes an approximate of 5 hours to reach Lawton from Texas by car, without any stops.
Q2. How big is Lawton OK?
With an area of 210.9 sq. Km, Lawton is the largest among the 10 towns in Comanche County, with three-fourth of the popular if Comanche county residing there. It is also the fifth largest city in the state.
Q3. What is the safest town in Oklahoma?
Lone Grove is the safest town in Oklahoma. With a population of 6000, it lies on the southern edge of Oklahoma and reported zero violent crimes in 2021 and eight in 2022. Their average for violent crimes and property crimes is far below the state average.