Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Rustic Cabins Meet Modern Comforts
Tucked away in the lush, rolling hills of the Ouachita Mountains lies the charming small town of Hochatown, Oklahoma. Known for its pristine lakes, abundant wildlife, and beautiful scenery, Hochatown has become a popular weekend getaway destination. But it’s the unique lodging options that really make Hochatown stand out.
Dotting the mountainsides are dozens of cozy, rustic cabins that offer a nice change of pace from typical hotels and resorts. Despite their woodsy, outdoorsy appearance, these cabins deliver plenty of modern amenities for a comfortable stay.
Many cabins come equipped with full kitchens, so you can cook your own meals instead of dining out for every meal. Stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and contemporary furnishings add style and convenience. Of course, you’ll still enjoy touches like wood-burning fireplaces, front porches with rocking chairs, and breathtaking views of the wilderness from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Today's cabins aren't like the spartan, dusty old shacks of yesteryear. You can bask in luxury with amenities like outdoor hot tubs, Smart TVs with streaming capabilities, and WiFi connectivity so you don't have to unplug completely. Central heating and air conditioning, plush bedding, and spa-like bathrooms provide just the right amount of pampering.
Despite the modern interiors, the exteriors maintain a rustic log cabin aesthetic that blends nicely into the natural surroundings. Staying in a serene, secluded cabin makes you feel worlds away from the stress of everyday life. Waking up to melodic birdsong and breathing in the crisp morning air is good for the soul.
Of course, you can still partake in typical indoor cabin activities like playing classic board games, assembling puzzles, and cozying up by the fire with hot chocolate. But you're also perfectly positioned to enjoy the lake via kayak or canoe, hike mountain trails straight from your doorstep, and gather around an outdoor fire pit beneath a starry sky.
What else is in this post?
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Rustic Cabins Meet Modern Comforts
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - From Sleepy Town to Booming Destination
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Outdoorsy Activities Draw Visitors In
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Local Businesses Benefit from Tourism Uptick
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Airbnb Provides Income for Homeowners
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Affordable Alternative to Big City Getaways
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - City Slickers Discover Small Town Charm
- Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Managing Rapid Growth and Preserving Character
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - From Sleepy Town to Booming Destination
Just a decade ago, Hochatown was a sleepy small town that most people had never heard of. With a population hovering around 50 full-time residents, it was a quiet mountain community off the beaten path. Hochatown offered a slower pace of life, beautiful scenery, and not much else.
But that all changed virtually overnight when vacationers started discovering Hochatown's charms. Seemingly out of nowhere, this rural town transformed into a trendy weekend getaway spot. What caused the rapid growth? Hochatown landed on the radar of weekend road trippers thanks to its proximity to Dallas and Oklahoma City.
Urban dwellers tired of the hustle and bustle of big city life were charmed by the gorgeous vistas, abundance of outdoor activities, and laidback atmosphere they found in Hochatown. For families, it presented an affordable, drivable vacation option. Friends saw it as the perfect spot for a fun reunion or girls' trip. Couples viewed it as a romantic escape out in nature.
Visitors raved about their experiences in Hochatown on blogs, social media, and travel sites. Gorgeous photos of the area's mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and wildlife were shared far and wide. Positive reviews praised the scenic beauty, wealth of outdoor adventures, and wonderful hospitality.
As more people heard about this little piece of heaven and added it to their vacation bucket lists, tourism and visitation started to steadily increase year after year. Soon, small businesses started popping up, like craft shops, niche restaurants, lodges, and vacation rental companies. New amenities catered to visitors, like boat rentals and guided fishing expeditions.
The once-desolate downtown area came alive again with new shops and eateries. Little by little, sleepy Hochatown transitioned into a vibrant tourist destination. Long-empty buildings found new purpose. Sidewalks were once again filled with families and couples soaking in the sights.
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Outdoorsy Activities Draw Visitors In
From adrenaline-pumping adventures to serene escapes into nature, Hochatown offers an impressive range of outdoorsy activities to satisfy any traveler. This wealth of options in the great outdoors is a huge draw for urbanites seeking an active getaway immersed in astonishing scenery.
At the top of many visitors' Hochatown bucket lists is renting a kayak and paddling across the crystalline waters of Broken Bow Lake. Gliding silently through coves carpeted in lily pads as you take in the pine-shrouded shoreline makes you feel a world away. Early risers are treated to ethereal fog drifting over the glassy water as the sun peeks over the horizon. Bring a fishing pole and try your luck catching bass, catfish or crappie for a fresh lakeside fish fry.
If speed and splashing are more your style, hop on a jet ski and put it through its paces across the lake. Feel the wind in your hair as you bounce over the waves. For even bigger thrills, take a guided airboat tour. These flat-bottomed powerboats supported by an aircraft-style propeller and rudder system can glide at high speeds across very shallow water. Hold on tight as you zip through peaceful coves, then hit the gas in wide open sections.
When you've had your fill of lake action, head to the hills for hiking. The Ouachita National Forest surrounding Hochatown has over 200 miles of trails catering to all ability levels. Take an easy stroll along creek beds laced with wildflowers. Or challenge yourself scrambling up rocky outcrops and ridge lines that lead to jaw-dropping vistas. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, squirrels, birds and other wildlife.
Cycling is another fabulous way to explore the hills, valleys and backroads encircling Hochatown. Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it. Pull off and dip your toes in babbling creeks when you need to cool off. Serious mountain bikers can test their technical skills on rugged single-track trails that wind through thick forest.
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Local Businesses Benefit from Tourism Uptick
The rapid growth of tourism and visitation in Hochatown has provided a welcome economic boost to local small businesses in recent years. As urban residents plan weekend trips and vacations in Hochatown to enjoy the great outdoors, local entrepreneurs have capitalized on new opportunities. Small business owners have adapted to meet the needs of visitors and improve the town's amenities. This influx of tourism dollars has revived the once-sleepy main street area.
John's Bait and Tackle Shop has been a mainstay in Hochatown for over 40 years. Current owner Mark Johns took over the shop from his father. He explains that the uptick in visitation to Hochatown Lake has been a lifeline for his business. Renting fishing boats, selling bait and tackle, and providing guides has allowed the shop to thrive again after a decade of decline. The family has expanded the store and now offers lakeside cabins. Recurring bookings keep the cabins full on weekends.
The owner of the Hochatown Inn, Sue Murphy, echoes the tourism benefits. Her inn was nearly empty on weekends just five years ago. Today, there's rarely an open room on a Friday or Saturday night. She expanded from 10 to 30 cozy rooms. Visitors check in to enjoy the charming downtown area. Sue partners with nearby restaurants to offer guests discount coupons. She also promotes local hiking trails and outfitters.
Cookie's Cafe is a new breakfast and lunch spot meeting tourist demand for quality dining options. The owner, Cookie Johnson, noticed limited eateries when she first visited Hochatown. Despite no restaurant experience, she leveraged old family recipes to open Cookie's. Her hearty comfort food is a big hit with vacationers looking for a satisfying start to their adventures. She strives to source ingredients locally when possible.
Beyond established businesses growing due to tourism, Hochatown has attracted entrepreneurial new residents. Laura Chen moved from Houston after frequently vacationing in Hochatown. She used her graphic design background to launch a gift shop selling artwork and crafts made by local artists. Ted Snyder relocated from Oklahoma City to open an outdoor outfitter providing kayak, tube, and bike rentals. These new small businesses add vibrancy and amenities to serve visitors.
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Airbnb Provides Income for Homeowners
The rise of Airbnb has provided a new income stream for many homeowners in Hochatown. As tourism boomed, residents with extra space saw an opportunity to cash in. Renting out private cabins via Airbnb generates supplemental income for hosts while providing unique lodging for visitors sick of generic hotels.
Airbnb enables homeowners to monetize empty rooms, guest houses, or even just a spare bed. With tourism surging in Hochatown, demand for accommodations often exceeds supply on weekends. Airbnb helps fill this void, expanding lodging options for visitors seeking a cozy cabin getaway. For homeowners, it delivers extra spending money by sharing their properties.
Tom Wilson has lived in Hochatown his whole life. A few years ago, his daughter went off to college leaving her tiny backyard cottage empty. He decided to list the one-bedroom cottage on Airbnb and was shocked by the enthusiastic response. It's booked nearly every weekend during peak season by couples and small families. The income covers his daughter's college tuition and books.
Airbnb income also allows some homeowners to afford lakefront homes. Mark Davis could never swing the mortgage solo on his three bedroom cabin right on the lakeshore. By renting it out on weekends through Airbnb, the high seasonal demand generates enough cash flow to cover most mortgage payments. During the week when it's not booked, he enjoys the place to himself.
For Monica Rogers, Airbnb provides her main source of income. She owns a large A-frame house with an adjoining guest suite. After retiring early from teaching, she listed the guest quarters on Airbnb catering to solo travelers and couples. Her property is booked over 70% of all nights and provides ample income paired with her modest retirement savings. She enjoys meeting travelers and sharing tips about enjoying Hochatown.
Homeowners manage to find a healthy balance between tourist bookings and personal use. Airbnb allows hosts to set parameters like minimum stay durations, maximum occupancy, and blocked-off dates when not available. By strategically limiting bookings, homeowners still get plenty of use despite the steady stream of Airbnb guests.
Local officials ensure Airbnb hosts meet safety codes and register with the town. But overall, they embrace Airbnb as an affordable way to rapidly expand tourism capacity without overburdening infrastructure. Airbnb also spreads the economic impact across more residents compared to vacation rentals run by outside companies.
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Affordable Alternative to Big City Getaways
For urbanites seeking a weekend escape or longer vacation, popular big city destinations like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles often come with headache-inducing price tags. Between steep hotel rates, expensive dining and entertainment options, and costly flights, a trip to a major metropolis can quickly devour a travel budget.
That's why Hochatown has become such an appealing alternative for travelers wanting to get away affordably. This charming small town delivers a vacation vibe and wealth of activities at a fraction of the price. According to Jessica Morris, an avid budget traveler and blogger at Trekin’ On A Shoestring, “I’m blown away by how much bang I get for my buck in Hochatown. I can plan a whole weekend here for what a single night in a big city hotel would cost me.”
Intrepid travelers have discovered they can rent an entire private cabin on Airbnb with a full kitchen for less than a standard hotel room in many cities. Self-catering from the local market and general store saves substantially over big city restaurant tabs. While world-class museums, theater, and nightlife may be lacking, Hochatown’s wealth of outdoor pursuits won’t break the bank. A smattering of local cafes, shops, and bars provides low-key entertainment options.
Beyond direct trip costs, road tripping to Hochatown from Midwest or South Central hubs like Oklahoma City, Dallas, Tulsa, and Little Rock can be much cheaper than flights to the coasts. Day trippers from these cities can escape to Hochatown without paying for any lodging. The scenic and relatively short drives make it possible to set out early on a Saturday and return home that evening.
According to Brandon Cox of the popular Get Up & Go travel blog, “I can practically see the stress melting off my family as soon as we turn off the highway and see those first beautiful mountain vistas on the way into Hochatown. The pace immediately slows, shoulders relax, and everyone gets excited about getting out into nature. It’s amazing how this charming little town resets our mindset.”
Urban parents find Hochatown a refuge where kids can roam free without safety worries that plague bigger cities. Kids cherish hikes to hidden waterfalls, learning to fish, and late night s’more roasts under the stars. For budget-conscious families, it’s an easy weekend trip that avoids airfare and lets them spread out affordably.
Groups of friends make the road trip from surrounding states to reunite outdoors while avoiding chaotic crowds. Bachelorette parties come for a relaxed vibe without breaking the bank. Couples rekindle romance strolling the peaceful trails.
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - City Slickers Discover Small Town Charm
After being cooped up in cramped urban confines, city dwellers find Hochatown's wide open spaces and fresh air restorative. This quaint small town provides an escape from big city headaches, a simpler pace, and a warm welcome.
Meg Sanders, an accountant living in downtown Dallas, used to spend her vacations at crowded resorts trying to maximize her fun per dollar. But she found herself returning home more drained than rejuvenated. Her first trip to Hochatown changed everything. Cruising across the lake admiring the pine forests as the wind blew through her hair, she felt present in the moment instead of worrying about work emails and rush hour traffic. She befriended Sue, owner of the Hochatown Inn, whose sincerity and hospitality made her feel immediately at home. Now a stay at the inn is a cherished annual tradition, her favorite weekend of the year.
After a hectic week negotiating multi-million dollar deals at his law firm, Mark Davis relishes leaving his corner office behind to chop wood and cook over an open fire by his Hochatown cabin. His mind empties of TODO lists and billable hours as he casts his fishing line across rippling waters. Watching his kids play freely in nature untethered from electronics, he sheds the stresses of the big city rat race. He returns to Chicago re-energized and refocused on what matters most.
When artist Jennifer Lawson feels creatively blocked holed up in her Cincinnati loft, escaping to her Hochatown retreat gets the juices flowing again. Long strolls drinking in the textures, colors and compositions of the landscape ignite inspiration. She'll hike for hours gathering images and experiencing the space, then rush back to translate feelings into passionate brush strokes. The fresh perspective spurs her most celebrated works.
Yoga instructor Amanda Singh of Houston was disheartened to see her classes populated by more cell phones than people. Nobody knew each other's names. She wanted to help people meaningfully reconnect with themselves, their bodies, and nature. At a Hochatown wellness retreat, Amanda found the perfect environment. Morning yoga on a wooden deck overlooking the mist-covered lake created community and presence. New friends cooked communal meals from nearby farms. Evenings spent gathered around a bonfire sharing stories and sipping tea brought people together. Amanda strives to recreate that dynamic in Houston through yoga hikes and nature excursions. But Hochatown remains her inspiration.
When elite marathoner Tyler Evans suffered an overtraining injury that jeopardized his Olympic dreams, doctors ordered a complete mental and physical reset. Arriving depleted in Hochatown, Tyler was uplifted by lush forests and fresh air that invigorated his senses. Gentle hikes and evening bike rides along winding backroads reignited his passion. Chatting with locals over home-cooked meals at the cafe soothed his soul. He returned to Seattle refreshed, refocused, and ready to train smarter.
Welcome to Hochatown: How This Oklahoma Town Became an Airbnb Hotspot Overnight - Managing Rapid Growth and Preserving Character
As idyllic as Hochatown's transformation into a trendy getaway spot may seem, the rapid influx of tourists has created growing pains. Locals grapple with managing breakneck growth while preserving the town's authentic character.
Randy Thompson, a lifelong resident, worries that Hochatown's charm will be swallowed by commercialization. "It used to be just a few family-run shops and eateries downtown. Now flashy chain stores are moving in trying to capitalize on the boom." He also laments how busy the hiking trails have become, longing for the days when he could wander for hours without seeing another soul.
But Mayor Alice Jennings welcomes the growth. "We're thrilled that people are discovering our little slice of heaven. Smart planning can help us manage the increase in tourism and investment while maintaining our heritage." She partnered with urban developers to create a master plan guiding expansion. Strict zoning regulations limit chain stores and high-rise hotels. Tax incentives encourage building styles and materials that mesh with existing architecture.
Sue Murphy of the Hochatown Inn believes heritage tourism is the answer. "Visitors travel to immerse themselves in our culture and history." She's launching walking tours showcasing landmark buildings and the stories behind them. Other ideas are an annual Hochatown History Festival and converting the old train depot into a museum exploring the town's roots.
To manage congestion, the city installed more stoplights and improved roadways connecting highways to downtown. They worked with state parks officials to formalize parking areas and clearly mark hiking trail paths to prevent overcrowding and environmental damage.
According to environmental advocate Lisa Carson, the influx has taken a toll on habitats and wildlife. She lobbied for regulations limiting commercial lakefront development and noise and light pollution. Her coalition pushes eco-friendly practices like solar cabins.
Police chief James Ayers added personnel to keep pace with call volumes. Officers aim for friendly enforcement educating visitors about rules and safety. James also started a program where officers lead city tours for at-risk youth.
Lifelong resident and cowboy Cole Jefferies says local character stems from pioneering families who settled the area generations ago. To keep those traditions alive, he organizes an annual cattle drive and rodeo showcasing riding, roping, bull riding, and barrel racing. Visitors can attend a chuckwagon cookoff or take horseback riding lessons at his Triple J Ranch. Cole also mentors young riders and hands down Western lifestyle skills.