Shawnee Travel Guide

Read on to discover the best places to visit, things to do, local culture and customs, safety tips, transportation options and more in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Introduction to Shawnee

Located in the heart of Frontier Country, in the Great Plains of Oklahoma, Shawnee is a small city with a rich history, stunning natural landscapes and a welcoming community. Surrounded by rolling hills, tranquil lakes and sprawling fields, Shawnee offers a perfect blend of outdoor recreation and cultural attractions that make it a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a week-long vacation.

List of Places to Visit in Shawnee

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

Shawnee has a rich cultural heritage that is reflected in its numerous museums and historical places. Some must-visit attractions include:

Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center

This museum offers an in-depth look at the history and culture of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Visitors can see exhibits on Potawatomi life, traditions, and artifacts on display.

Santa Fe Depot Museum

A must-visit for train enthusiasts, this museum highlights the importance of the railway in the development of Shawnee. It houses exhibits on railroad history and displays vintage equipment.

Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

This museum offers a stunning collection of art from around the world, including ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pieces, as well as contemporary works.

Natural Attractions of Shawnee: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Shawnee boasts several natural attractions for visitors who love the great outdoors:

Lake Thunderbird State Park

This park is a popular destination for hiking, camping, fishing and boating. Visitors can relax on the beach or explore the park’s many trails.

Gordon Cooper Technology Center Nature Trail

A 1.5-mile hike through the woods, this trail offers beautiful views of the prairie and the chance to spot wildlife.

Shawnee Twin Lakes

A favorite spot among outdoor enthusiasts, this pristine lake offers activities like fishing, boating, camping, and hiking trails.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Shawnee

Shawnee and its surrounding areas offer a diverse array of hiking and biking trails for visitors to explore. Some popular picks include:

  • Shawnee Twin Lakes Trail
  • Bricktown Canal Trail
  • McLoud Nature Trail
  • Bohanon Park Trail

Best Things to Do in Shawnee: Activities and Tours

Shawnee offers a range of activities and tours to suit all interests:

  • Visit The Old Shawnee Town for a glimpse into the city’s past
  • Attend a Citizen Potawatomi Nation powwow for traditional dancing and food
  • Check out the FireLake Arena for live music, rodeos, and sporting events
  • Try your luck at FireLake Grand Casino or travel 20 miles to Oklahoma City’s famous casinos.

Week-Long Itinerary for Shawnee

Day 1: Visit the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center and enjoy a traditional Potawatomi meal at the Eagle Aviary Café

Day 2: Explore Lake Thunderbird State Park and its many trails and enjoy a picnic by the lake

Day 3: Visit some of the museums, including the Santa Fe Depot Museum

Day 4: Hike the McLoud Nature Trail and enjoy a picnic lunch

Day 5: Visit the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art

Day 6: Take a trip to Oklahoma city and visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and downtown Bricktown.

Day 7: Relax by the lake and enjoy the local hospitality.

Food and Drink Scene of Shawnee

Shawnee has a rich culinary history, influenced by the agrarian traditions of its citizens, and Native American and Mexican traditions. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Chicken Fried Steak: A southern classic, this dish is a favorite among locals
  • Fried Catfish: Another southern staple, this dish is available at many restaurants in and around Shawnee.

Local Beverages

  • Braum’s Ice Cream and Dairy Store: A Shawnee favorite, Braum’s is known for its delicious ice cream, milkshakes, and burgers
  • Meeker Wines: Located in nearby Meeker, this winery produces some of the best wines in Oklahoma.

Where to Stay in Shawnee: Hotels, Hostels and Guesthouses

Shawnee offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences:

  • Hampton Inn Shawnee
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites Shawnee I-40
  • La Quinta Inn and Suites Shawnee
  • Bungalow on Broadway

What to Buy in Shawnee: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Some popular souvenirs and local products include:

  • Pottery and Native American art: Shawnee is home to many galleries and shops selling beautiful Native American pottery and art.
  • Blue Bell Ice Cream: A favorite among locals, Blue Bell can be found at grocery stores throughout Shawnee

Local Culture and Customs of Shawnee

Shawnee boasts a strong sense of community and a rich cultural heritage. Residents are friendly and welcoming to visitors, and visitors are encouraged to respect local customs and traditions.

Best Time to Visit Shawnee

The best time to visit Shawnee is in the fall when the weather is mild, and the leaves turn stunning shades of autumnal colors.

Do’s and Don’ts of Shawnee


  • Try the local food
  • Respect local customs and traditions
  • Take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities


  • Litter
  • Trespass on private property
  • Disturb local wildlife

Safety and Health

Safety in Shawnee

Shawnee is a safe place to visit, but visitors should still take normal precautions and watch their belongings when in crowded areas.

Health in Shawnee

Visitors to Shawnee should be up to date on their routine vaccinations. The city has hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies available should visitors require medical attention.

Getting to Shawnee: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Shawnee

The nearest airport to Shawnee is Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, about 38 miles away.

Bus Stations Near Shawnee

Shawnee does not have its own bus station, but it is possible to take a Greyhound bus to the nearby city of Oklahoma City.

Other Options

Driving is the most convenient way to get around Shawnee and its surrounding areas.

How to Get Around Shawnee

Visitors can rent a car or use ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to get around the city.

Where to Go Next from Shawnee: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Some popular destinations for day trips or excursions include:

  • Oklahoma City: Home to numerous cultural attractions, restaurants, and shops, Oklahoma City is just a short drive from Shawnee.
  • Wetumka: A small town known for its unique Chickasaw Indian Museums, restaurants, and Heritage Festival which is held annually.
  • Tulsa: Boasting a vibrant art scene, a growing music scene, and incredible outdoor dining and shopping opportunities, Tulsa is Oklahoma’s second-largest city and worth a day or two of exploring.


Shawnee is a hidden gem in Oklahoma, with its stunning natural landscapes and lively community. Visitors can indulge in outdoor adventures, learn about local culture and history, and experience southern hospitality at its finest. So pack your bags and head to Shawnee for an unforgettable vacation!