Pauls Valley, OK
Some may call it “The Queen of the Washita” and others may call it “The King of Garvin County,” but across the map we all know it as - Pauls Valley, Oklahoma!
Visitors here can explore 12 beautiful downtown blocks of historic architecture, colorful landscaping and avenues of mighty fine eateries and attractions. Located off the corridor of I-35, Pauls Valley makes for a short and sweet road trip from anywhere in the state. Also, with the implementation of the new Amtrak Station, located next to the Santa Fe Depot & Museum, passengers of the Heartland Flyer can stop here to enjoy a delightful day in Pauls Valley.
What to Do
The Santa Fe Depot and Museum is full of treasured history displayed through antique collections of old photos, memorabilia and pioneer artifacts. Also, a steam locomotive and coal tender that once traveled over these tracks has a permanent home near the depot with a vintage red caboose resting behind the engine.
One of the most unique attractions in Pauls Valley is the Toy & Action Figure Museum. Browse the exhibits and more than 12,000 iconic classic pop culture figures on display from early edition G.I. Joes to Star Wars figurines and every pop culture character you can think of from your childhood. You will leave this museum feeling like a kid again! Head a couple of doors down to see the founder of the Toy & Action Figure Museum's fine art collections at Stark Art Gallery. Kevin Stark takes you into his creative mind with his art gallery full of colorful pieces and a whimsical stage for musical productions. Famous for his art productions, Stark is also known for designing popular action figures for cartoons like The Simpsons and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as creating custom toys for American legends like Steven Spielberg.
Walk down the brick roads of downtown Pauls Valley to visit the many local shops. From western wear to boho-style outfits and fantastic made-in-Oklahoma gift ideas, Pauls Valley is a wonderful shopping destination.
If you are visiting in June, you cannot miss the Okie Noodling Tournament and Festival. Participants travel across rivers and lakes using their bare hands to catch the biggest catfish in the state. The festival is full of family activities and live entertainment too!
Where to Eat
Man oh man, have you found the right places for delicious dishes?! Pauls Valley is home to one of the best barbecue eateries around. Established in 1933, Bob's Pig Shop is not only popular for its knockout barbecue but also for its quirky atmosphere of knotty pine walls embellished with Okie oddities, retro décor and industrial antiques. Head over to The Grille Restaurant & Bar, where you can get any comfort food your heart desires, from burgers, to steak and good old southern meals. Save room for dessert, as you won't want to pass up on a slice of one of Amy's heavenly cakes or signature thumbprint cookies! Craving delicious Steak, authentic Mexican cuisine or flavorful Italian? Pauls Valley has you covered!
Where to Stay
If you're looking for a place to stay, try the Judge's Inn. This quaint bed and breakfast was built by a judge who unfortunately passed away before he could live in it. The Inn boasts of the history and elegance of years gone by, which is brought to life again for guests to enjoy. It is updated with the feel of history and original design, yet modern and relaxing. There are two private rooms with their own private baths available to book. Breakfast is self-serve with a variety of options.
Pauls Valley was founded in 1857 by a young lad by the name of Smith Paul. Originally from North Carolina, the ambitious Smith Paul left home at an early age to find a new life for himself living with a Chickasaw tribe in Mississippi. When the tribe was forced to move to Indian Territory, Paul accompanied them on the journey of The Trail of Tears. Shortly after resettlement, the reverend he was working for passed away and his Chickasaw wife married Paul. The family found a new home in an unsettled bottomland that Paul described as “rich with blue stem grass so high that a man on horseback was almost hidden in its foliage." The Paul family became the driving force behind the development and agriculture of the land, which became known as Smith Pauls Valley. The rapid growth of the township led to the coming of the Santa Fe Railroad in 1887, who then shortened the town's name to Pauls Valley. Soon to follow was the construction of brick buildings and streets, which laid the foundation for what the town stands on today. In fact, with over 17,000 square yards, Pauls Valley has more brick streets than any other town in the United States.