Northeastern Oklahoma is lake country, pure and simple. There are plenty of reasons to visit this part of the state—the phenomenal cities, tallgrass prairies and wildlife preserves are just a few of them—but lakeside fun and relaxation is far and away the area’s biggest draw. We profiled the popular Grand Lake O' the Cherokees in our overview of Oklahoma's top lakes, but there are so many more fantastic lakes to be found in the region. Since it can be hard to figure out what lake is perfect for your next getaway, we’ve made it easier by overviewing some of the region’s top lakes and highlighting their most unique attractions. If you’re not already planning your next Green Country lakeside getaway, this rundown might be just the inspiration you need.Learn More
Located on the Illinois River a few miles south of Tahlequah, Tenkiller Ferry Lake lies in the heart of the Cookson Hills and reaches more than 25 miles up the river into Sequoyah and Cherokee Counties. Approximately 2,590 acres of project land west of the lake are licensed to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for a state game management area. Popular game species include deer, quail, dove, duck, geese, rabbit and squirrel. Anglers may choose from various bass species, crappie, catfish, bream and walleye. Rainbow trout are stocked below the dam. Facilities include boat ramps, picnic areas, RV and tent campsites, drinking water, group shelters, restrooms, showers, swimming beaches, electric outlets, concession services, playgrounds, nature trails, marinas, cabins, enclosed fishing docks, boat rentals, and swimming pool. The shoreline length around Lake Tenkiller measures approximately 130 miles.
Lake Tenkiller is considered one of the best places in the state to go scuba diving, as its waters are clear from eight to twenty eight feet. Tenkiller Scuba Park is a diver's dream, with sunken vehicles, planes and boats to explore underwater. In some areas of the lake, the remains of homesteads and artifacts left behind before the lake was formed litter the lake bottom and give divers a glimpse of history. The lake's underwater terrain ranges from mildly sloping hills to rock cliffs, and the water goes up to 165 feet deep in places. With an Oklahoma fishing license, divers seeking a thrill can try their luck at spearfishing for non-game fish. Two diving pro shops are located on the lake, offering training, certification and equipment rental.