Lawton is Oklahoma's third largest metropolitan area and home to Fort Sill. The city, population 80,561, was founded overnight in a 1901 land rush. It has a western feel and a strong Native American heritage. It serves as a cultural, recreation, medical, and shopping hub for southwestern Oklahoma and sits in the shadow of the Wichita Mountains.
The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge provides a bulk of the outdoor recreation opportunities in the area. The range's highest peak, Mount Scott offers excellent views. Other outlooks allow sightings of refuge's herds of longhorn cattle, elk, deer, and bison. Within the refuge's 59,020 acres are lakes for fishing and boating, miles of hiking and backpacking trails, routes for rock climbing, and campgrounds. The Holy City of the Wichitas, a replica of Jerusalem, is the setting for an annual Easter play.
Lawton's history can be explored at several sites. Fort Sill is an active U.S. Army Field Artillery Center. Fort Sill's National Historic Landmark and Museum document the history of the fort from the 1870s to present. Apache leader, Geronimo is buried here. The Museum of the Great Plains features collections of Native American art and artifacts from Plains tribes. Throughout the city there are a variety of galleries featuring Native American art.
Lawton hosts several festivals throughout the year. Arts for All in May and the International Festival in September celebrate arts and crafts, and feature food, entertainment, and street dancing. In August the city is decked in full western attire for the Lawton Birthday and Rodeo Celebration. The three-day event features rodeos, street dancing, and food. Additional entertainment can be found throughout the year at the area's casinos.
Lawton is located 86 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. It is accessible via Interstate 44 and U.S. Highway 62/281. There are many national chain hotel and motels.