Grab your swimsuits and dust off your fishing poles.
A landlocked state may not be the first spot that comes to mind when you think of waterfront fun, but Oklahoma's lakes will easily tempt you think again. Home to more than 200 lakes, the state actually has more shoreline than the entire east coast of the U.S.
Fishing enthusiasts flock to Oklahoma’s scenic lakes and Fishing Trail to lure the more than 40 documented species of fish—including the coveted and giant paddlefish—while leisure travelers charter yachts or capture the wind on sailboats for a relaxing adventure. But the lakes in Oklahoma offer more than just fishing and boating. Kayaking, scuba diving, water skiing, canoeing, and swimming are popular ways to enjoy the waters and verdant wildernesses in Oklahoma too. So load up those swimsuits, dust off your fishing poles, and get ready to swim in some of the best lakes in the Sooner State.
Located just two hours east of Oklahoma City, Lake Eufaula is Oklahoma’s largest lake with 600 miles of shoreline and 102,000 acres. Anglers swear by this fishing hot spot, and species found in its depths include everything from crappie and sandbass to largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Kentucky bass, and catfish. While fishing is popular, others steal way to the lake for boating fun, golfing, swimming and tubing, shopping, or to discover entertainment venues, locally-owned restaurants, and various year-round festivals.
Historic Civilian Conservation Corp buildings, rustic rolling prairie, well-maintained trails, and a looming limestone tower make Lake Murray at Lake Murray State Park one of the oldest and most visited lakes in Oklahoma. Tucker Tower, a 65-foot CCC-built tower meant as a summer home for former Oklahoma Governor William H. “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, boasts a thriving geological museum and nature center today. The lake's 5,728-acres of clear, cool water invites revelers to swim, boat, fish, or take in some water sports. Plenty of camping and cabins are available along with the renovated and modern Lake Murray Lodge, so there’s no excuse not to stay for the famous Oklahoma sunsets and starry skies.
Sand Springs, Oklahoma
Located just 23 minutes from Tulsa, Keystone Lake is known for walleye, striper, bass, and catfish, but it is a boater’s paradise as well. Surrounded by unique cross-timber terrain of the Keystone Ancient Forest, which is filled with 500-year-old cedars and 300-year-old post oak trees, this lake boasts of 54,000 surface acres of natural beauty. For the adventurers, it also offers ATV areas, mountain biking and hiking trails, and plenty of courtesy docks and boat ramps.
Broken Bow Lake
Broken Bow, Oklahoma
Nestled among some of the most stunning scenery in the state, Broken Bow Lake is a gem within the Ouachita Mountains foothills. On the water, enjoy kayaking, boating, or fishing for cold water trout. Back on land, golfing and more than 15 miles of hiking trails await too. The lake's location in southeastern Oklahoma makes it a favorite getaway for travelers from Arkansas and Texas as well.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Northwest of Oklahoma City, Lake Hefner is a local’s favorite for all kinds of outdoor adventure and recreation. There are more than 10 miles of walking and cycling trails that circle the 2,500-acre lake, while the water’s breezy reputation and rocking waves are perfect for sailboating and kite surfing. The picturesque lighthouse on the lake’s east shore is one of the most photogenic spots near Oklahoma City, especially when the sun sets.
Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees
With 46,500 surface acres of water and 1,300 miles of shoreline, Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in northeastern Oklahoma’s Grand Lake State Park is one of the most popular and visited lakes in Oklahoma. With eight different areas to explore, this lake has something for every kind of traveler. From world-class crappie and bass fishing to jet skiing in the Snowdale area to simple and relaxing solitude under the wide blue skies, Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees has it all.
Ponca City, Oklahoma
Swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, hunting, and equestrian activities draw lake lovers from around the state and beyond to Ponca City. With designated swimming areas at Pioneer Park and Sandy Park, Kaw Lake is also known for sporting some of Oklahoma's largest catfish, as well as crappie, sand bass, and walleye. Kaw Lake is also one of the best spots to spot the American Bald Eagles who overwinter along the lakes in Oklahoma.
Tom Steed Reservoir
Birdwatching enthusiasts delight in the abundance of waterfowl that frequent the Tom Steed Reservoir. An enormous 6,000-acre reservoir, The Tom Steed Reservoir also has a swimming beach and boat ramps, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation stocks the waters with saugeye and striped bass. But the abundance of migratory birds, including sandhill cranes and the rare whooping crane, make the lake a true wildlife treasure.
Lake Texoma shares its borders with Texas, and attracts over six million visitors every year. Boating and world-renowned fishing tournaments abound here, but white sand beaches like one would find in the Gulf of Mexico also make this lake popular for family getaways, sunbathing, or swimming during the hot summer months.
Great Salt Plains Lake
Cherokee, Oklahoma and Jett, Oklahoma
One of the Sooner State’s most unique areas, Great Salt Plains Lake near Jett is all that remains of a prehistoric ocean that once covered the state. Though a landlocked body of water, this lake is as salty as the name suggests. However, it is still popular for swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Nearby, the Great Salt Plains Wildlife Refuge is the only place in the world where visitors can dig through the ancient salt surfaces to find hourglass-shaped selenite crystals.
For more Southern Living news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Southern Living.