Lake Murray: Oklahoma Resort with Family Recreational Activities
When my mother and I were returning home to Houston from a trip to Iowa, we discovered a place where we spent our last night while on the road. Fortunately, we got there early enough to do a little exploring.
What we learned made us both think that it would be a delightful destination to spend much more time and is a perfect recreational place for families. That site happens to be within the largest state park in Oklahoma and is known as the Lake Murray Resort Park.
Traveling Through Oklahoma
Generally, before a trip, I always do some reading and planning ahead of time to look for new spots along the way. Reservations are made in advance so that we do not have to scramble at the last minute, looking for lodgings. Once or twice by not doing this, we were caught off guard and had to settle for less than a desirable room. So the lessons were learned!
We had to drive a little further off Interstate 35 to get to the state park, but we thought it would be worth doing as it would be our last afternoon and evening before heading back home the next day.
On our way up to Iowa, we had planned some extra time to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Capitol building. That memorial still gives me goosebumps when I think of it!
While Oklahoma was not the focus of our vacation that year, we enjoyed what we saw of it while driving through it. Naturally, there is much more to see of Oklahoma that is our neighboring state to the north of Texas. Perhaps we will avail ourselves of that in the future.
We made reservations to stay at the Lake Murray Lodge, and since our room overlooked the lake, we had terrific views of not only the sunset over those sparkling waters but also the sunrise the next day.
The month of our visit was late October, and the crackling fire in the stone fireplace inside of the inn added a welcoming ambiance.
Dinner that night was in their Apple Bin restaurant, and we were served a warm homemade type of meal. I no longer remember what we specifically ordered, but know that it was good. My mother always liked her desserts, and she had a smile on her face as she was eating it.
There are numerous types of accommodations at Lake Murray in addition to those at the lodge. Others include cottages that can sleep many people and which would be perfect for family gatherings.
If you like to camp, everything from RVs to tents can be accommodated. There is a grocery store for camper's convenience, and since this is in a state park, park rangers patrol it regularly for safety concerns.
This lake got its name from William H. Murray, who was active in politics even before Oklahoma took on statehood's mantle. Oklahoma became the 46th state to join the United States of America on November 16, 1907.
He was involved in working with the local Indians and became the first speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1907 to 1909. William H. Murray was also the ninth governor of Oklahoma from 1931 to 1935. Mr. William Murray ran for President of the U.S. but lost to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
There are many recreational activities within Lake Murray State Park. Included are some of the following:
- All types of water sports including swimming, water skiing, jet skiing, paddle boats, sailboats, and lake cruises
- Horseback riding
- Golfing including miniature golf
- Hiking the trails
- Dirt biking and other ATV forms of fun
Even things like tetherball (as shown in one of the photos above) or ping pong and also prearranged hayrides can keep families with kids active and engaged while spending time in this delightful place.
How about picnics?
Having fun with friends or family in this large 12,500 acre (51km²) state park with 150 miles of shoreline should be no problem!
Encounter with Geese
Arriving in the afternoon and only planning to spend the night at Lake Murray, my mother and I did not have the opportunity to do many recreational activities.
To get a better perspective of the lake, we decided to drive around a portion of it. In one area with outdoor grills and picnic areas, we got out of the car and admired the view when a couple of geese started approaching us from the water. Kids were back in school, so we were the only people in that particular area.
Perhaps the geese thought that they might be able to get some morsels of food from us? I don't know what was in their minds. All I know for a fact is that once they got out of the water, they both quickly started approaching us and were squawking loudly.
Geese can be quite territorial, and my mother and I decided that getting back into our car was probably the best response. Were these geese just welcoming us or demanding the space as their own? We will never know. At least I got some excellent photos of them!
Not too many state parks (of which I am aware) have chapels, but this one at Lake Murray has been here since 1961.
The doors were open, so my mother and I took a peek inside. It is a lovely structure with pretty stained glass windows. This nondenominational chapel can be reserved for special events like weddings or even funerals. For those people wishing a quiet indoor place to meditate, this chapel provides it.
This intriguing fortress-like castle structure was built in 1933 to put people back to work during the Great Depression through programs like the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).
If it were not for those efforts, this Oklahoma state park might never have come into existence. It served a need back during those gloomy days of the Great Depression, and this state park has been functioning ever since providing a beautiful playground for visitors seeking rest and recreation.
Tucker Tower, while uncompleted for some time, has been operating since the 1950s as a museum and nature center with artifacts such as fossils as well as wildlife exhibits on display. Probably the most sought after exhibit is the 500-pound meteorite, which fell in the area. Scientists have sliced it in half to enable the study of this massive missile from outer space.
Views from the top of the tower are stunning, as can be seen in this accompanying video. Unfortunately, the museum had closed by the time my mother and I arrived, so we merely saw the Tucker Tower's exterior. The location certainly provides excellent lake views!
With easy access to an Interstate highway in south-central Oklahoma near Ardmore and a nearby airstrip, getting to visit the Lake Murray State Park is relatively easy. This gem of a park fits the definition of a fun place to visit with the family!
Check the source links below for fee schedules for the park as well as lodgings.
Does Lake Murray State Park look like a place where you would enjoy vacationing?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods