In south-central Oklahoma, you will find the 13 counties that make up Chickasaw Country - 7,648 square miles of lakes, waterfalls, ziplines, festivals, museums, and so much more! Chickasaw Country is broken up into 4 regions: northwest, southwest, northeast, and southeast. Each of the 4 regions is home to unique events and beautiful scenery.
The southwest region is known for cowboy culture and small-town charm. From Velma to Terral and from Comanche to Burneyville, you will find communities in Oklahoma that are full of Oklahoma history and fun experiences.
Burneyville, Oklahoma is located just north of the Red River and west of I-35. The town was established in 1879 when the post office was built. The town now has a little over 1,000 residents who call Burneyville home. The town was named after David C. Burney who was the father to the Chickasaw Nation Governor, Benjamin Crooks Burney, from 1878 to 1880. Now, Burneyville is home to the Falconhead Resort and Country Club, Sam’s Duck Club, and the Red River Ranch event center.
Comanche, Oklahoma has held many names throughout the years including Tucker, Wilson Town, and Border Queen. However, Comanche became the official name on November 23, 1898 after the Comanche Nation. After the Civil War, many cattle herds traveled their way through Comanche, even the Chisholm Trail. In Comanche, you can play golf at the Comanche Golf Course, eat a steak at Bob’s Catfish and Steaks, and shop at Cowtown Corner.
Healdton, Oklahoma was originally named Mason after the town founder, Elisha Mason. The town later moved one-half mile east to the current location because of the post office, and was then renamed to Healdton to honor the postmaster, Charles H. Heald. Healdton was home to the University of Oklahoma’s women’s basketball coach, Sheri Coale, and actress, Rue McClanahan from Golden Girls. If you’re in town, stop by the Oilfield Recreation Association Golf Course for a golf game and Love’s Floral and Gift Shop for a little shopping.
Lone Grove, Oklahoma is located eight miles west of Ardmore and was founded on February 4, 1885. The town was originally known as Price’s Store, but was officially named Lone Grove when a post office was designated to the town in 1885. Today in Lone Grove you can eat at the Boom-a-rang Diner, get a dessert at the Dancin’ B Restaurant and Gift Shop, and shop at The Legacy Boutique and Gifts.
Ringling, Oklahoma was named after THE John Ringling, founder of the Ringling Brothers Circus. In 1913, John Ringling partnered with Jake Hamon to build a railroad westward from Ardmore to Lawton. Construction began in 1913, but stopped after they discovered oil near Healdton. Instead of continuing the railroad from Ardmore to Lawton, they decided to build a line to Healdton. John Ringling purchased the land surround the new railroad, and the boomtown of Ringling was officially born. If you visit Ringling today, you can stay at the Allie B. Country Getaway cabin and eat a steak at McClintock’s Steak and Fish.
Terral, Oklahoma was established in 1882 just one mile north of the Red River. The town was named after the first postmaster, John Heidelburg Dace Terral. The original town was established in Texas, but was moved to its current location by the postmaster after learning that the Chicago, Rock Island, and the Pacific Railways would span through Oklahoma from Wichita, Kansas to the Red River. Agriculture was a staple to the community back then, and it still is today. The Happy Day Farms Pumpkin Patch is a must-visit during October and Doug’s Peach Orchard is a go-to in the summer months.
Velma, Oklahoma was established in 1886 and named after a local merchant’s daughter. The town began to grow in the late 1800s as a result of cattle herds along the Chisholm Trail. The town was built on cotton, cattle, and of course, oil. Today, the town is still centered around cattle. You can celebrate agriculture every summer at the Annual Old Settler’s Picnic and Rodeo. This celebration has been an annual event since statehood! You might know Velma as Velma-Alma because the Velma school district was consolidated with the Alma, Oklahoma school district in 1946. A country music start graduated from Velma-Alma in the 1970s – Joe Diffie! While you’re in Velma, you can stay at Hat Top Mesa and eat barbecue at the Chuckwagon BBQ and Grill.
Waurika, Oklahoma was open for settlement in 1901 and was officially established in 1903. It is in the middle of cattle country and the Chisholm Trail ran by the town. In Waurika you will find the Waurika Lake, the Waurika Rock Island Depot, and Bill’s Fish House. Every spring make your way to downtown Waurika for the annual Waurika Rattlesnake Festival. Thousands visit the town for the rattlesnake hunt and the festival on the downtown streets. You won’t want to miss it!
We can’t wait for you to visit Chickasaw Country! Remember to take pictures and tag us on Instagram using #VisitChickasaw.
(Originally published on December 17, 2018. Updated on November 25, 2020.)