For Oklahomans, Lake Murray State Park holds a special place in their heart.
The first and largest of all public recreational spaces in the Oklahoma state park system, this gorgeous nature preserve incorporates 12,500 acres of spectacular rolling hillsides, dense woodland and the sparkling lake that gives the park its name.
Centrally located between Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Forth Worth, Dallas and Witchita Falls, the park is a popular destination for hiking, boating, golfing, bird watching and camping. With many people choosing to spend their summer vacation here.
Below are just some of the reasons why.
Whether its hiking or biking its various trails, enjoying aquatic related activities on its 5,728 surface acres, partaking in a round of golf, or checking out over 100 species of birds, the park offers visitors plenty of recreational activities.
Here are some more details about them.
Swimming and Boating at Lake Murray State Park
Given its size and picturesque aesthetic, many people are attracted to the lake for its swimming and boating activities.
The lake is not lifeguarded so you will have to swim with caution. However, its shimmering waters are perfect for cooling off on a hot summer’s day.
In terms of boating, the lake can accommodate everything from kayaking and SUP to canoeing and row boats.
Fishing at Lake Murray State Park
As you would imagine the lake is a haven for those who love fishing, particularly for smallmouth bass.
Most anglers cast a line at its lower end, due to there being deep areas and rocky, uneven terrain at other parts of the lake.
At the north end of the lake, largemouth bass is also abundant, thanks to there being a significant amount of grass there.
If you are a non-resident, you will need to procure a fishing license. These come as either a one day, or six consecutive days, pass.
Hiking at Lake Murray State Park
Hiking is a very popular activity at the park, so be sure to bring your hiking boots.
Overall there are two main rocky, tree-framed trails to tackle. Both of which have several side sections coming off it.
The Lake Shore Trail showcases tremendous lake views as you skirt the perimeter of the water, while the Buckhorn Hiking Trail follows the lake and even crosses a small bridge.
Both are considered relatively easy trails and can be completed within a couple of hours.
Biking at Lake Murray State Park
Just like hiking, mountain biking is also regularly practiced at Lake Murray State Park.
One of the best trails to tackle is the Beaver Trail, which is a terrific path that conveys excellent views as it leads you around the lake’s shoreline.
However, if you don’t fancy that, then there are ten different miles of trails to choose from, which are sure to provide you with a thrilling experience.
Birding at Lake Murray State Park
For those into birdwatching Lake Murray State Park provides fantastic opportunities to spot more than 100 native birds that reside in the park.
This includes the likes of red-tailed hawks, roadrunners and the scissor-tailed flycatcher, which just happens to be Oklahoma’s state bird.
The Tucker Tower structure is a great location to check them out. So be sure to bring your binoculars.
Golfing at Lake Murray State Park
If you love golf you will love playing a round at the park’s onsite 18 hole course.
Beautifully maintained and quite challenging for all abilities, the course features a stunning landscape of stately oak trees that line the fairways, manicured greens, several strategically places ponds and other water hazards. It even has a stunning natural waterfall too.
For those who are interested, there is also a practice range and a pro shop within the complex too, as well as group and individual lessons available.
Visitor’s Center at Lake Murray State Park
The park has a very cool visitor center that is worth visiting, especially in the winter when the temperatures drop.
Within the center there are a series of fascinating exhibits and displays you can walk through that highlight the park’s geology, natural and cultural history. They are well worth checking out if you have the time.
Pets at Lake Murray State Park
The park is very pet friendly and allows dogs in some cabins, as well as several other areas. Some restrictions might apply, so it is worth contacting the park’s main office for further clarification.
Camping at Lake Murray State Park
For those wanting to stay overnight the park has a plethora of options available.
This includes over 800 campsites, which are situated between eight different campgrounds, six of which are open 24 hours a day and three of which are gated.
These sites range from full RV hookups, with a selection of pull-through sites, to more rustic tent sites. Most of which can be reserved online.
As well as these RV and tent sites the park also offers 56 cabins and a lodge with 32 rooms.
The cabins are situated throughout the park, with many of them being historic structures that were built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. They take the form of snug cottages for couples, as well as larger family size cabins.
The Lake Murray Lodge is perfect for those who want to experience the comfort of home whilst they stay at the park. Rooms are furnished with either a king-size bed, with a sofa sleeper, or a couple of queen size beds. All of which offer fantastic views of the lake as well as easy access to a big outdoor pool and splash area.
Lake Murray State Park
13528 Scenic Hwy 77
Ardmore, OK 73401
Below is a brief YouTube video showcasing different things to do at Lake Murray State Park: