Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula Offers Fun And Adventure
Oklahoma’s Lake Eufaula, a body of water with 800 miles of shoreline, is a favored area for many who reside in the state known for its rolling plains and hot, arid climate.
Oklahoma’s largest lake is in southeastern Oklahoma near the city of Eufaula. The maximum depth of the lake is 87 feet deep. The lake covers 105,500 surface acres and has multiple marinas for tourists. Rentals are available at some marinas for renting houseboats, pontoon boats, ski boats and paddle boats. Marinas also provide boating accessories and groceries to ensure tourists are prepared on their expedition.
“Lake Eufaula has beautiful sandy beaches for sunning, watching the sun rise and catching rays,” said Connie Morris, director of the Lake Eufaula Association, on Facebook. “You can always find a quiet cove for boating or fishing when the Oklahoma wind blows.”
For tourists who bring their own boat, there are many boat ramps available for stress-free access to the lake. Tourists can enjoy water sports including skiing, wake-boarding and tubing while zooming across the lake, or unwind on a slow moving pontoon boat. Paddle boat and canoe rentals are also available for tourist or locals to use.
Most tourists are reeling about one thing – fishing. Fishing tournaments are held every year, and fishermen come from all around to compete for bragging rights at Oklahoma’s biggest lake. Fishing at Lake Eufaula is a year-round sport, and some marinas have enclosed, heated docks for fishing in comfort during winter. Bait and fishing supplies are available at the marinas and at more stores in the area. Fish that can be found in Lake Eufaula include white bass, catfish, crappie and striper, among others.
Lake Eufaula also has shoreline activities for those not feeling adventurous on the water. Many different species of wildlife call the Eufaula area their home, and can often be seen in their natural habitat. The nature center in the Eufaula State Park is a notable place to learn about these animals.
Miles of hiking, biking, equestrian and ATV riding trails can be explored around Lake Eufaula. In the 31,800 acres of public hunting areas near the lake, wildlife can be found. Also, the Lake Eufaula State Park and the Arrowhead Area at Lake Eufaula State Park both offer beautiful 18-hole golf courses.
Tourists can also enjoy playgrounds for children and swimming beaches along the shores of Lake Eufaula. Pets are allowed at the parks, and admission is free to the lake. A favored place to eat for tourists after some time out on the lake is Boom A Rang and Braum’s.
Boom A Rang is 50s-style diner chain for American cuisine serving burgers and chicken-fried steak, plus breakfast fare if tourists are early risers. Sara Monas, a recent Lake Eufaula tourist, said, “Boom A Rang is a great place to experience the hospitality of the Oklahomans who call this lake their home as well as a decade swap to the 50s.”
Another more local spot for tourists to visit is Braum’s Ice Cream shop. Braum’s is known all over Oklahoma for the freshest ice cream in the hot state, but one Eufaula resident swears Lake Eufaula’s is the best Braum’s in Oklahoma. “I might have convinced my wife to move to Lake Eufaula when I retired just because their Braum’s is unlike the other ones,” said military veteran John Mason. “Maybe it has something to do with a hot day, ice cream and a lake… who knows? I’m a child at heart, and living here is like being at summer camp all year long.”
The history of the lake is interesting. Ellen Gallagher, a member of several of the lake’s associations, like Lake Eufaula Home Owner’s Association, is well versed in the lake’s history and its environmental impact. “Part of the reason my mom, a single mother, moved to Lake Eufaula is the hydroelectric power it provides to the city,” she said. “I mean my entire home is powered by this dam, and I couldn’t be more grateful to my mother for wanting to raise her family here. I am continuing to raise my family here and run our little bait shop for tourists so they can see the beauty we see.”
U.S. Congress approved construction of the Eufaula Dam and Lake in 1946 to provide flood control, hydroelectric power, water supply, and recreation to Southern Oklahoma. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of the 975 meter-long dam in 1956, and it was completed in 1964. President Lyndon B. Johnson came to Oklahoma to dedicate the dam on Sept. 25, 1964. The hydroelectric power station was designed to provide 90,000 kilowatts of electric power from the lake waters.
According to the Corps of Engineers, in 2015, the Eufaula lake cost $121.4 million, and has prevented nearly $575.5 million in flood damages since its completion. The lake and dam attract about 2.5 million visitors every year.
The Eufaula Dam is east of the city of Eufaula, Oklahoma. It is 3,200 feet long and 114 feet high. It is constructed with concrete. The hydroelectric power plant has three turbines, each rated at 30 megawatts. State Highway 71 runs across the top of the dam for a perfect view of the lake. The lake is so big it covers parts of McIntosh County, Pittsburg, Haskell and Okmulgee counties.
If you are looking for a summer destination spot, then look no further. Lake Eufaula has sun, water, fishing, boats and more. Grab your swimsuit and visit Oklahoma’s largest watering hole for tourists and locals alike.