Best Lakes in Oklahoma

From the Panhandle to Southern OK, you'll find the best lakes in Oklahoma are stellar. Some of them literally! You'll see what we mean, soon.

Let's go on our virtual trip. To see which may lead us to planning a real-life Oklahoma lakes trip. You can roam all the best lakes in the whole state of Oklahoma - keep scrolling on down. Or click to pick your specific interest:

State Parks With Lakes

No, we haven't covered all the lakes in Oklahoma State Parks right here. But as you read through more of our best lakes in Oklahoma below, you'll see even more of OK's state parks with lakes. Here are two of the best:

Lake Murray State Park - Sitting on the largest OK lake, as well as being the 1st of the state's lakes. That's not the only criteria placing it among the best lakes in Oklahoma!

Its waters are blissfully blue & clean.

So huge, there are many nooks & crannies to find.

It's in Recreation Boating/Fishing Foundation's Top-8 Boating & Fishing State Parks.

Yes, the park has so many ideal features!

sea birds on a tire jetty in a lakeGulls Help Direct Your Path Out of the Boating Marina
  • Extended Stay & Senior Discounts
  • Staying Over Options: Tenting, RVs up to full hook-ups, lodge rooms or cabins. 580-223-4044
  • Picnicking, playground, pool, swimming beach, naturalist/ranger programs
  • Marina (all kinds of rentals), meeting rooms, restaurant, laundry, fitness room, store/gift shop, golf course
  • DIRECTIONS: From I-35 Exit 24 onto Scenic St.Hwy.77

Great Plains State Park - Along the foothills of southeastern OK's Wichita Mountains, at Tom Steed Lake's eastern side.

You have a multifaceted environment to explore. From history to nature, this park has it all.

  • Swimming beach, hiking/bicycle trail, playground, rock climbing, wildlife/birding
  • Camping options from tenting to RV sites with full hook-ups.
  • More details: 580-569-2032 or
  • Between Mountain Park & Roosevelt OK. Off Hwy.183, turn West on County Rd 1570E

Northern OK & Panhandle

Lake Carl Etling - Starry, starry nights are just one bucket list item this area's famous for. 

The Lake has 159 surface acres, with 4-1/2 miles of shoreline. Only about half is publicly accessible.

The location enables exceedingly dark skies, drawing astronomy buffs. Especially for August's Perseid meteor shower.

Wanna go? How about staying at the State Park?

Black Mesa S.P. - Campground has tenting & RV sites with water/elec.

Playground, picnicking, WiFi access in office.

Black Mesa Nature Preserve is adjacent, with Oklahoma's highest point. It's a transition where the prairie meets up with the beginnings of the Rockies. Many unique features of flora & fauna.

highway through the plains while the sun is settingSunset View
Driving to the Lake Through the High Plains of Oklahoma

Lake Evans Chambers - A high plains habitat lake.

Not too far West of Lavern. Take E0210 Rd. out of town, as it curves becoming Hollow E0210. Right 1 mile on Hollow 1580. Left 2 miles on Hollow E0200,4 then cross by dam at Mexico Creek. Go right: Ns156 to right turn-off to lake areas.

mapping out Lake Evans Chambers in Oklahoma
  • OK Dept. of Wildlife Conservation created the lake in 1965 for public fishing. With 80 surface acres, the shoreline is nearly 3 miles.4
  • There's one boat ramp, 2 basic rest-rooms. A water well. Any boats must stay at no-wake speeds (max 6 mph).4
  • Spectacular chances to hook bass & channel catfish. Also a top-notch crappie & bluegill lake. It also holds Walleye.4 Try your luck!

Great Salt Plains Lake - Northeast of Jet is this unexpected type of lake & vicinity. Follow Hwy.38N out of town for a good place to start your exploration. Salt Plains State Park is an ideal stop. The Army Corps of Engineers also provide lakeshore facilities.4

  • The lakeside has camping, picnicking, swimming beaches, trails & boat ramps.5
  • The wildlife department stocks channel catfish & saugeye.4

A National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent, quite atypical.

  • Of course you'd see the migrating birds, etc. But here you'll find the largest salt flat in North American lower elevations.
  • Selenite crystals form in these flats, a crystalized gypsum which needs salt to chemically form.
  • They're also unique only to this salt flat area.6

Northeastern Oklahoma Lakes

Grand Lake O' the Cherokees - 1300 miles of shoreline! Wow!!

The names says it all.

One fabulous way to use its facilities is at Grand Lake State Park.

  • The park has a nice swimming beach & two playgrounds. 
  • What's extra special is the wildlife observation here: With a nature center & naturalist, a feeding area & a sighting tower. 
  • Grand lake has terrific fishing too. 918-257-8330.

From I-44 Exit 289, go East on Rt. 60/69 (Historic Rt.66). Make right at Rt.85, continue straight as it becomes E.Rt.85A. Entering Bernice as W.Rt.85A, continue across Neosha River bridge to park.

Fort Gibson Lake - An all around favorite, from views of vacationers & locals.

It's huge alright, 51,000 acres. So has lots of options according to your own preferences.

But also among the best lakes in Oklahoma for several reasons!

  • Its spirited fishing (catch bass, crappie, catfish, panfish)
  • Harmonious scenic lakeside drives
  • Multiple swimming beaches
  • A variety of lakeshore trails. 
  • Army Corps of Engineers has 8 camping choices, plus 11 other park areas. 

There are two state parks,1 we'll tell you about.

Sequoyah Bay State Park - Elec/water camping (Reserve On-line)

  • Also playground, swimming beach, full-service marina. 918-772-2046. 
  • From Wagoner, take Hwy.16S. Go East at Gray Oaks Rd. (100th St.N.).

Sequoyah State Park - Want a SP upgrade? This is it!

  • Like a resort, with a lodge, cottages, multiple water & swimming choices. So much more. 
  • Take A Look>

Southern Oklahoma Lakes

A lake that fools you with telling which side is right side up because of the reflection into still waters.

Raymond Gary Lake - Smaller, very pretty lake, with 263 acres & just over 10 miles of shoreline. Best public access at Raymond Gary State Park.

  • It's got lively fishing opportunities, with watercraft rentals available. 
  • There's a swimming beach, too. 
  • Campsites with variable options up to full hook-ups. They also having Camping Cabins. 
  • Further details: or 580-873-2307
  • Going East from Fort Towson on State Hwy. 70, take Rt.209S

Clayton Lake - Within the Kiamichi Mountains, it's small with just 2 miles of shore & 66 surface acres.

But how precious it is for sport-fishing opportunities & an entertaining state park:

Clayton Lake State Park - What's nice is choice of stay: primitive or RV campsites or cabins. 

  • Also swimming & boating. 
  • Pretty good fishing for black bass, crappie and catfish.2 
  • It's a nice peaceful place. Ideal place to bring your kayak. 918-569-7981

Broken Bow Lake - Clear blue waters come from its rock-strewn lake-bottom.

You'd think the name is related to the Native American Choctaw of the area. Yet it was actually named for a  Nebraska town.

  • Nearby Broken Bow OK, became the home of the pioneering business Dierks brothers. They hailed from Broken Bow NB.3 

Today, many delightful pastimes are afforded lakeside. The state park here is a prime example:

Beavers Bend State Park - 580-494-6300.

  • Scenic drive just getting there. And there's so much to do once you arrive. 
  • The feel & amenities of a resort. 
  • Lot of ways to stay. Try out the lakeside Lodge or Cabins. 
  • Breakfast included with lodge & kitchenette in cabins. 
  • Or there are plenty of Campsite Variations>
  • DIRECTIONS: From Broken Bow, take Hwy 259N to right turn-off for park options. Hwy 259A for lodge. 

Central OK & OK City

Lake Eufaula - With 102,000 acres of water surface, this gorgeous area is definitely one of the best lakes in Oklahoma!

All types of camping, fabulous fishing, so much to explore in a boat.

Lots to do and scout out, down every road and around every corner.

One all-around access is from Lake Eufala State Park, where there's a delightful swimming beach. Check out their Yurt Rentals!

I-40 Exit 259, take Hwy.150S for 5+ miles

Fort Cobb Lake - 4,000 surface acres gets enough water for all kinds of rewarding action.

A marina (think rentals) & all kinds of boating.

Splendid fishing for likely crappie, catfish, walleye or bass catches.

Play golf, go hiking or take a bike trail. Playground & swimming beach.

 All this available at Fort Cobb State Park - 405-643-2249.

From I-44 (Bailey Turnpike), Exit 44 onto Rt.64/9W into Fort Cobb town. Make right at Country Rt.2550/146.

American Horse Lake - West of Geary.

100 surface acres & almost 7 miles of shoreline.

A terrific fishing lake, especially for largemouth bass & sunfish.4

Best Lakes in Oklahoma for Swimming

Cherokee Landing State Park - On sparkling Tenkiller Lake, with among the nicest OK Swimming Beaches. But also, a super park because it has so much to offer.

There's a wonderful sandy swimming beach.

Kids will love the playground. Or take them boating, fishing or play disc golf! 

Book a campsite from basic to full hook-ups (must reserve on-line). 918-457-5716

  • In Northeastern OK. Exit 297, I-40 to Vian. Take Hwy 82N, about 20 miles.

Lake Texoma - Right on the Texas border, as you might imagine by its name.

It's the 2nd largest Oklahoma lake, so it's huge.

Giving it a great chance to have one of the best swimming lake beaches in OK.

Tenting & RV sites available (on-line reservations a must) at Lake Texoma State Park, which has a swimming beach. But we've got more, yet!

lake with treed shoreline and some sandy beach areasLake Texoma

Out of Willis OK - Hwy.377/99N, left on Buckaloo Bend Rd., left at Powell Rd., left on Lake Rd., arrives at boat ramp.

  • Follow instead the dirt road heading straight off (not curved right), caution for conditions. Ends at wide sandy lakefront beach.

Burns Run West Campground - From Rt.91 heading west in Cartwright, before it curves, take right off onto E.2180 Rd. Right on Boat Club Rd., left on W.Burns Run.

  • Nice swimming beach for campers here.

Sunset Swimming Beach - At Sunset Camp Public Use Area. 

  • From Rt.91 heading west in Cartwright, before it curves, take right off onto E.2180 Rd. Make right onto Willafa Woods Rd. Take 1st left after Oak Hills/E2164, onto unnamed road, follow out.

Caney Creek Rec Area -  When using the campground or day-use area you can choose to swim. Some shoreline is rough/rocky. But there is a small sandy beach area.

  • South out of Kingston, take S.Chickasaw St. changing to Rock Creek Rd. Make left at E.Lasiter, bending right into Muncrief Rd., left into park.

Best Lakes for OK Fishing

But really, though, not just A-OK, but Oklahoma has really excellent fishing all throughout the state. We'll point out some of the best lakes in Oklahoma known for good fishing.

Canton Lake - With normal surface acreage: 7,910, it's large enough to support quality sport fishing. 

  • Walleye, Channel Catfish, Crappie, & Bass varieties: Hybrid Stripers, White &  Largemouth. 
  • OK Wildlife management added cedar trees for habitat improvement. Each year they gill-net to evaluate fish populations.4

Northwest of Oklahoma City. Drive from Canton OK, west on 51, then quickly turn right on 58A for about 2 miles to roads accessing the lake.

Tom Steed Lake - Northwest of Lawton, this largest fishing lake is stocked with hybrid striped bass & saugeye.

Go 5 miles north from Snyder on State Hwy 183, then left on E1570 Rd., make right at end.

Best access is Great Plains State Park with boat ramp, campground & swimming beach.4

  • Lake's surface acres = 6400, with a 30 mile shoreline.4
  • Along with stocked species, other lake fish: largemouth & white bass / channel, blue & flathead cats / black & white crappie.4

Lake Thunderbird - East of Norman, take Rt.9 out of town 12 miles. Gets you to the dam area. Then take locals roads exploring. 

Lake Thunderbird State Park is on the lake's north shore, off Alameda Rd.

  • Fishing facilities include docks & jetties, boat ramps & 2 marinas. 
  • There's a campground with many features.4
  • Nearly 60 miles of shoreline enclosing 5377 surface acres.4
  • Fish species are surveyed each 5 years to determine stocking management. Fish habitats are improved with brush piles introduced into the lake.4
  • Available usual fishing catches: largemouth, saugeye, crappie & cats

See References For Best Lakes in Oklahoma>

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