Photo by River Bend Nature Center via Yelp.com

Nature abounds in this former oil boom town.

Travel + Leisure
July 10, 2014

Start your weekend with a trip to Wichita Falls tourism bureau where you can pick up history brochures that will lead you on self-guided tours of Wichita’s neighborhoods, including the downtown—where buildings like the Keller and LaSalle Crossing were evidence of the oil boom—Southland (full of bungalows built in the first half of the 20th century), and the Eastside, historically an African American neighborhood. Move on to the Rolling Plains city’s impressive outdoor education spots such as the River Bend Nature Center and a park with a designated prairie dog town.

Museum of North Texas History

Learn about Texas’ oil and gas history and cowboy roots at this regional museum, where top exhibits include a collection of 500-plus cowboy hats and Native American teepees and tools.

Pecan Shed

This pit stop is a must for nut lovers. They sell pecans in flavors ranging from honey toasted to praline, as well as housemade fudge.

Coyote Ranch Resort

There are 23 cabins—many with fireplaces, Jacuzzis, iPod docking stations and full kitchens—dotting this 90-acre ranch. Pools and mini-golf keep the kids entertained.

River Bend Nature Center

Hunt for animal tracks on nature trails and explore the 7,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed butterfly conservatory, also home to native creatures such as white quails and box turtles.

Prairie Dog Village at Kiwanis Park

While this 60-acre park also has baseball diamonds, jungle gyms, and shady picnic spots, its most distinctive feature is a prairie dog village, where dozens of the small mammals burrow around.

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