Oklahoma’s Big Three
Eufaula, Grand and Tenkiller are some of the state’s largest lakes – and among its biggest outdoor attractions – but water isn’t the only reason they’re so popular with visitors.
|Photo: Carolyn Fletcher|
Breathtaking views, serene swimming beaches and endless thrills are just a few of the things awaiting you at one of Oklahoma’s big three. Our stunning state is covered with more than a million surface acres of water, and Tenkiller, Grand and Eufaula are all sure bets for lake fun. Get ready to sink your toes in the sand, cast a reel and soak up some Oklahoma sun at these three lakes.
Known as the state’s “heaven in the hills,” Lake Tenkiller in Cookson boasts beautiful emerald water, towering rock bluffs and serene shorelines that seem to stretch on forever. A trip to Tenkiller caters to every kind of outdoor enthusiast. Crystal clear water at Tenkiller has made this lake a haven for scuba enthusiasts. An underwater dive park packed with sunken treasures beckons divers year-round. Take a trip to Nautical Adventures Scuba for everything you need to dive from certifications to supplies. Real adventure seekers take diving as an opportunity to catch their next meal as Tenkiller is teeming with largemouth and spotted bass and clear enough for spearfishing.
If you’re more interested in what’s on Tenkiller’s surface, you may be better suited for a boat rental. Cookson Bend Resort & Marina offers everything from wakeboards to pontoons. Rent a stand up paddle board and sweep your way through the smooth water to find yourself surrounded by breathtaking views of rolling hills and sparkling water reflecting a clear blue sky.
There are plenty of activities on dry land in the Tenkiller area. A stay at family resort Fin & Feather gives access to sand volleyball, basketball, tennis, catch-and-release fishing, a playground, shaded disc golf course, enclosed pool and overnight accommodations close to the water. Get closer to nature by pitching your tent at one of Tenkiller State Park’s 144 tent sites scattered between 10 separate camping areas crawling with wildlife like deer, quail, dove, geese and rabbits.
Breathtaking views, serene swimming beaches and endless thrills are just a few of the things awaiting you at one of Oklahoma's big three.
No one goes hungry at Lake Tenkiller, where lakeside dining is a popular summer pursuit. Clearwater Café at Pine Cove Marina is a premier dining spot on the water. The restaurant’s patio boasts umbrellas for shade and twinkle lights for when the sun goes down. Mouthwatering steaks and fresh seafood are just a couple of the options at Clearwater.
With 105,500 surface acres and 600 miles of stunning shoreline, Eufaula is Oklahoma’s largest lake and proves to be the perfect setting for swimming, boating, fishing and waterfront camping. The water is the star in Eufaula, where sandy beaches are prime spots for swimming and area marinas rent all types of watercrafts. Cut through the expansive lake on a tube behind a speed boat or go at a slower pace on a pontoon. The lake is capped on the north and south sides by Lake Eufaula State Park and Arrowhead State Park, each boasting plenty of fun in the water and on the shore.
When you grow weary of the water, head back to shore and dry off for a relaxing game of golf at nearby Fountainhead Creek Golf Club or Arrowhead Golf Course. Eufaula caters to a variety of interests with miles of trails for biking, hiking and horseback riding winding throughout the two state parks.
Marinas and bait shops are sprinkled along the shores to ensure successful fishing trips. Crappie, catfish, striper and many types of bass are commonly caught at the lake. Eufaula Lake even has an enclosed, heated dock so the fun won’t stop when warm weather fades.
Eufaula is the ideal location for adventure-seeking families. Kids love the Lake Eufaula Damsite ATV Trail and parents love the wide variety of kid-friendly activities. The Deep Fork Nature Center puts youth face-to-face with area landscapes and wildlife, and the nearby Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort boasts paddle boats, miniature golf, a pool and a sand volleyball court.
When the sun sets, tuck into a tent at one of the nearby campsites. The Belle Starr Campground on the east side of the lake is a popular option where you can enjoy a waterfront site complete with picnic tables, grills and comfort stations. With more than 150 RV sites between the two parks, there’s plenty of space to bring your own RV for a more luxurious camping experience.
Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees
The view of northeast Oklahoma from a parasail 500 feet above the water’s surface is hard to beat, and parasailing is just one of many activities offered at Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees in Grove. Although only about half the size of Lake Eufaula, Grand Lake makes up in amenities for anything it lacks in size. With five park areas situated around the shoreline, there are plenty of lodging, dining and recreation options.
Known for its friendly lake culture, Grand Lake’s restaurants, lodges, resorts and shops are as laid back as they come. Stay at the Tera Miranda Harbor & Resort, where you’ll have your pick of lodges and cabins with amenities like equipped kitchens, outdoor decks and a community pool. Tera Miranda’s Quarterdeck Restaurant whips up mouthwatering breakfasts, lunches and dinners for your convenience.
Ideally situated in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Grand Lake is the supreme setting for making memories. Start with watching your children catch their first fish. A fishing dock, cleaning station and lighted boat ramp make the Honey Creek Area a dream for fishermen angling for bass, catfish, bluegill, spoonbill and crappie.
Whether you desire to speed over the water on skis or watch it shimmer from a parasail, Sail Grand Waterfront has you covered. They rent leisurely pontoons, opulent yachts or fast and furious Jet Skis. Harbors View Marina, located in the lake’s Duck Creek area, also has plenty of rentals available, as well as an old-fashioned soda and ice cream bar so you can load up on sweet treats before hitting the water.
Even the most enthusiastic lake lovers need some time away from the water. Grand Lake is just as well known for recreation on land as it is for activities in its sparkling waters. Dry off and head to D-Day Adventure Park and try your hand at paintball, where seven playing fields offer action-packed entertainment. Hogan’s Off Road Park is Disney is the ideal setting for ATV and ORV adventure with five square miles of trails and rock structures. Or, load up the kids and head to Monkey Island Trail & Hayrides where you’ll find guided horseback rides and a petting zoo.
Other Great Oklahoma Lakes
The great thing about Oklahoma lakes is that the fun doesn’t stop with these big three. Along Lake Texoma’s beautiful shores is the Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club, a championship layout featuring picturesque lake views and exquisitely maintained greens. The lake also boasts hundreds of campsites, several resorts, riding stables, marinas and even fishing guides to make your lake trip one to remember.
In south-central Oklahoma, stunning sunsets and almost 6,000 acres of blue water teeming with smallmouth bass await you at Lake Murray in Ardmore. Rolling hills and lush forests surround the lake, which boasts plenty of camping, biking and hiking opportunities and the historic Tucker Tower. Once constructed as a retreat for Oklahoma’s governor, it now contains a nature center and viewing deck. Whether you use golf clubs, fishing rods or water skis to enjoy Oklahoma’s lakes, a fantastic time is guaranteed.
- Fishing, Grand Lake Area, Lakes and Boating, Lake Eufaula Area, Lake Tenkiller Area, Outdoor Recreation Areas, Eufaula, Grove
- Grand Lake
- Lake Eufaula
- Oklahoma Outdoor Recreation Guide
- Oklahoma Travel Guide and Map Kit
- Monthly TravelOK eNewsletter
- Nature & Outdoor Recreation