Oklahoma’s Big Three
Eufaula, Grand and Texoma are 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|
In Oklahoma, Eufaula, Grand and Texoma lakes are the giants of fun. These man-made reservoirs – created as supplies of municipal water and hydroelectric power – also provide countless opportunities for water sports and recreation.
I’ve fished Lake Texoma for years, trying to catch one of the lake’s big fish. At Lake Eufaula, I recall seeing three bald eagles fighting over a single fish. They flew right over my boat, paying me no heed. And once, during a trip to Grand Lake, my family enjoyed the thrill of a close encounter with a stunningly beautiful red fox – a resident of one of the lake’s many cabin communities.
When you look at a map of Oklahoma, you’ll notice that the eastern half of the state has dozens of lakes. The most significant is Lake Eufaula, an enormous, 102,000-acre reservoir impounded in 1964 and dedicated by President Lyndon Johnson.
At Lake Eufaula, I recall seeing three bald eagles fighting over a single fish. They flew right over my boat, paying me no heed.
Eufaula boasts a couple of state parks to help visitors better enjoy the lake and its surrounding scenery. Lake Eufaula State Park is a paradise for both tent and RV camping, and it also offers a swim beach and hayrides. Park manager Sue Hughart says the nature center offers regular interpretive programs. Arrowhead, the other state park, is located on a peninsula farther south on the lake, near the town of Canadian. Here you’ll find a group camp with kitchen and bunkhouses that will accommodate 144 campers, in addition to numerous tent and RV campsites. Other attractions include 25 miles of equestrian trails, stables, miniature golf and an 18-hole golf course with pro shop.
Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees
Located in scenic northeast Oklahoma, Grand Lake is less than half the size of Eufaula, but it may be twice as popular. It’s an easy drive up the Turner Turnpike from Tulsa, and more than a few Tulsa residents maintain second homes here.
Oklahoma is proud of its lakes, and it is so pleased with Grand that it has situated some five state park areas along its shores. There’s Twin Bridges Area at Grand Lake State Park, in the lake’s headwaters, followed by Bernice, Honey Creek, Disney/Little Blue and Cherokee Area, which has three separate locations.
One of the things you’ll notice about Grand Lake is that it is very well outfitted with shops, restaurants and marinas. Leaving the city doesn’t mean you have to leave all the amenities behind. Stay a day or a week – there’s plenty to do here and in nearby Grove, Afton and Langley.
One of the top bass lakes in Oklahoma (and a favorite among tournament anglers), Grand also supports everything from golf and camping to sailing and four-wheeling. It may be the top pleasure boating lake in Oklahoma, and water skiing is a favorite summertime activity here.
With the Red and Washita rivers feeding it, Lake Texoma is one of the top freshwater striped bass fisheries in the nation. Although it supports excellent populations of other bass and catfish, the lake is legendary for its stripers.
“Lake Texoma is so special, it has its very own fishing license available from both sides of the lake,” says Lake Texoma State Park manager Richard Keithley. “Not only can you fish it with a Texas or Oklahoma permit, you can also buy a Lake Texoma permit.”
As with Grand, there’s no shortage of marinas, boat ramps and lakeside amenities here. Lake Texoma State Park offers both tent and RV camping (with restrooms and showers), as well as hiking trails and a nature center.
Chickasaw Pointe Golf Club, located nearby in Kingston, is ranked as one of the top courses in the state; Golf Magazine ranked it one of the country’s top 20 courses in the “under $50” category.
Whether you use golf clubs, fishing rods or water skis to enjoy the state’s lakes, a fun time is guaranteed anytime you visit one of Oklahoma’s big three.
- Grand Lake
- Lake Eufaula
- Oklahoma Outdoor Recreation Guide
- Oklahoma Travel Guide and Map Kit
- Monthly TravelOK eNewsletter
- Outdoors & Nature