Oklahoma Resort: Lake Murray with Recreation Activities for an Entire Family
Posed on HubPages was the following question: "What are some fun places to visit with the family?"
This made me think of a vacation trip up to Iowa from Houston in which my mother and I had visited our relatives. On our return trip home we discovered a place where we spent our last night and fortunately got there early enough to do a little exploring.
What we learned made us both think that it would be a great place to spend much more time and in answer to the question, it is a perfect place for families.
It just happens to be the largest state park in Oklahoma and is called Lake Murray Resort Park.
Vacation in Oklahoma
Generally, before a trip, I would always do some reading and planning ahead of time to look out for new spots along the way. Reservations would be made in advance so that we did not have to scramble at the last minute looking for lodgings.
Once or twice by not doing this we were caught off guard and ended up having to settle for a less than desirable room for the night. So the lessons were learned!
We had to drive a little further off of Interstate 35 to get to the state park, but we thought that 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 can still give me goosebumps when I think of it!
While Oklahoma was not the focus of our vacation that year in 1998, we enjoyed what we saw of it while driving through it in both directions. Naturally, there is much more to see of Oklahoma and being our neighboring state to the north of Texas, perhaps we will avail ourselves of that in the future.
Lake Murray Lodge
Reservations had been made 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.
We had dinner that night in their Apple Bin restaurant and 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, and that I remember.
There are numerous types of accommodations that can be secured 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 the mantle of statehood.
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.
He actually ran for President of the U.S. but lost to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
There are many recreational activities within the 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 the Lake Murray State Park.
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
Obviously 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 of the recreation activities that are available.
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 were admiring the view when a couple of geese started approaching us from the water.
Kids were back in school, so the particular area in which we stopped was deserted.
Perhaps the geese were thinking 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 on our part. 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!
Lake Murray Chapel
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 just that at Lake Murray.
This intriguing fortress-like castle structure was built in 1933 as part of putting people back to work during the Great Depression through programs like the WPA (Works Progress Administration) and the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps).
In fact, if it were not for those efforts, this Oklahoma state park may never have come into existence.
It served a need back during those gloomy days of the Great Depression, and this Lake Murray 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 got to see the exterior of the Tucker Tower. 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 if ever in that part of the country.
This gem of a park definitely fits the definition of a fun place to visit with the family!
Does Lake Murray State Park look like a place where you would enjoy vacationing?
Lake Murray State Park in Oklahoma
© 2012 Peggy Woods