Tulsa, OK is a Top Pick for Affordable, Summer Vacations

Rich history and big-city fun make Tulsa, Okla., a perfect vacation getaway. The nation’s 46th largest city is a haven for musicians and artists, stunning architecture, and around-the-clock family entertainment.

Dozens of free museums introduce visitors to the state’s native heritage, while city and state parks showcase the beauty, history and wildlife of the Oklahoma plains. If you're looking for a free ride, stop by one of the city's four bike depots along the river trail where you can borrow a bike for up to 24 hours at no cost.

Another free place to visit is the Hardesty Regional Library and Connor's Cove, which made our list of the Top 10 Libraries for Children. This library includes a 420-seat, nautical-themed area.

Guests can visit more than 2,800 furry friends at the Tulsa Zoo and Living Museum, where tickets are only $4 for kids and $8 for adults. Admission is half price on Mother’s and Father’s Day, and parking is free each weekday.

Next door, the Oxley Nature Center offers 804 acres to explore, dig for fossils or just relax in the natural beauty of Mohawk Park. The site is home to more than 200 varieties of birds, 50 species of butterflies, flowering plants and native wildlife. Admission is free and a $2 parking fee applies.

Sports fans can catch a Tulsa Drillers home minor league game, and find concession deals on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Or, head to Family FUNday Sundays, when the first 500 kids eat for free.

Hotels: 39

Restaurants: 200-plus

Other Attractions: Tulsa International Speedway, Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Andy B's arcade and go-karts, Oklahoma Aquarium, Stone Bluff Cellars winery, Big Splash Water Park

Sources: www.visittulsa.com, www.yelp.com

Explore other cities like Tulsa, OK that have both a strong sense of history and vibrant  arts & culture scenes:

Tupelo, MS

Sheridan, WY

Abingdon, VA

Paducah, KY