Pawhuska, Oklahoma is a Hidden Gem

herd of bison in oklahoma

I can’t keep this secret any longer, Y’all. I found Oklahoma’s best-kept secret – Pawhuska, Oklahoma. It’s a super cute western town that’s home to The Pioneer Woman, 2,000 buffalo, the Osage Nation, and an oil tycoon’s vacation home.

Finding this hidden jewel of Sooner State happened by accident. On my way back from Dallas, I ended up catching a rather nasty bug and had to pull over at the nearest motel for some R&R.

TMI? Sorry!

Laid up in an oil boom town, with some unique historical sites (including Frank Lloyd Wright’s only “skyscraper”), I beat the bug and took advantage of this unplanned detour to Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Full disclosure: I was unable to see everything during my first, rather accidental trip to Pawhuska, Oklahoma so I ended up returning for a second weekend following The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile Grand Opening (it was lovely…and delicious!).

So if you’re looking for a unique Girl’s Getaway or a huge herd of bison gets your motor running, Pawhuska, Oklahoma is a must-consider destination.

Here’s my must-see travel guide for Pawhuska, Oklahoma:

The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile & Restaurant in Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Ree Drummond, the infamous Pioneer Woman, is one of my all-time biggest blogger crushes.

I’ve been pretty much obsessed with her ranch life and mouthwatering recipes since she first started posting about all things butter.

If you’re a fellow Pioneer Woman fan, The Merc is the perfect kickoff for your Pawhuska, Oklahoma trip. Offering incredible food (you saw that one coming), slap-yo-momma-amazing kitchenware, and tons of oh-so-stinking-cute clothes and accessories – all set in a beautifully restored century-old building, The Mercantile is truly a once in the lifetime experience.

A quick word of caution: I’m not the only person that loves The Merc. Just a few months ago, the store was averaging over 6,000 visitors per day (with some days totaling over 15,000), which meant long lines. Go early, and if you can, try for a weekday. The restuarant lines can be really, really long.

Historic Downtown Bartlesville

Bartlesville, Oklahoma is everything I envisioned as a turn of the century oil town  – beautiful mansions, historic office space, sporadically placed oil drills, and an eclectic array of regionally influenced art.

While you could spend hours meandering around downtown Bartlesville, a few of the must-see architectural treasures include the iconic Price Tower (Frank Lloyd Wright’s’ only skyscraper), the Frank Phillips Home (1107 SE. Cherokee Ave.), and Nellie Johnstone No. 1 (Oklahoma’s first commercially productive oil well). There are tons of great eateries and shops along the historic district.

Check out the historic Price Tower:

Oil baron Frank Phillip’s town home:

Frank Phillip’s Woolaroc near Pawhuska, Oklahoma

I could have spent a week exploring the beautiful grounds called Woolaroc. From the historic ranch house with its eclectic design to the fascinating museums housing over 2,300 Native American artifacts, Woolaroc offers something for everyone.

Founded in 1925 by oilman Frank Phillips (ever heard of ConocoPhillips?), Woolaroc has served as an education and recreation hub for nearly a century.  And don’t forget the fascinating animals that call Woolaroc “home” – buffalo, elk, longhorn cattle, and even Scottish Highlands are just a few of the many unique animals currently housed on the preserve. You can view all animals from the comfort of your vehicle, making it a highly accessible destination for any travel crews with mobility restrictions.

Isn’t Woolaroc’s Scottish Highland adorbs?!?


Check out the Woolaroc lodge decor!

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Pawhuska, Oklahoma

At approximately 40,000 acres, the Osage County’s Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is the largest tract of remaining tallgrass prairies in the world. There are multiple entrances to the Tallgrass, with a convenient access point running from downtown Pawhuska, just down from the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile.

The 2,500+ head bison herd graze free range on approximately 25,000 acres of pristine grassland. Visitors can drive through the preserve and view bison from their car. It’s important to note that there were limited visitor amenities when on the preserve (aka: no bathrooms and drink machines), so it’s a good idea to take everything you’ll need – snacks, water, etc. – with you.

Check out these super cute baby buffalo we spotted on our Pawhuska, Oklahoma trip:

Buffalo, buffalo, everywhere:

Till next time, Pawhuska, Oklahoma!

I didn’t think I’d be a big fan of traveling to Oklahoma; however, Pawhuska, Oklahoma really changed my mind about the Sooner State! The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile, historic Bartlesville, and the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve made for a great family trip. I’ve heard through the travel blogger grapevine that Pawhuska, Oklahoma just keeps developing – The Pioneer Woman even has her own boutique hotel now that’s located across the street from The Mercantile! I can’t wait to go back to Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Have you been to Pawhuska, Oklahoma?

Share your favorite Pawhuska, Oklahoma memory in the comments below!

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