Jared here! I wanted to fill you in on a little fun fact about me: I am a HUGE history nerd. I love learning about the backgrounds of people and places in Oklahoma, so when I found out that Lake Murray State Park was the first state park in the state, I just had to go check it out for myself. Once you hear about all the neat things I experienced, I know you’re going to want to check it out yourself so stay tuned for a chance to win your very own Lake Murray getaway!
Let’s travel back to the 1930s. Franklin Roosevelt had just been elected President of the United States and was tasked with getting the nation back on track after the stock market crash of October 1929. This task was intensified in Oklahoma with the agricultural crisis of the Dust Bowl. Two of the federal programs President Roosevelt created directly affected south central Oklahoma during this time. The Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps were integral in the creation of Lake Murray and several facilities in the area. Named after former Governor of Oklahoma William “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, the state park is the largest in the state, covering more than 12,500 acres.
My first stop of the day was to the state-operated Lake Murray Lodge. Comprised of more than 100 guest rooms, mainland and floating cabins, the lodge is a perfect getaway for the family when you’re looking for a relaxing weekend. Exciting new plans are in store for the lodge as they are building a brand new lobby and wing of rooms just feet from the water’s edge.
Adjacent to the lodge is the thrilling aqua playground that is Lake Murray Water Sports. Fun for the entire family is in store when you head down to the banks of this water wonderland. Paddleboats, kayaks, wave runners and even a party barge called the Big Kahuna can be rented from Lake Murray Water Sports. If deep-water excursions aren’t your thing, try out the inflatable slide and trampoline in the shallows or the 18-hole miniature golf course overlooking the property!
After getting my fair share of fun on the water, I figured it was about time to head to the southern end of the lake to see Lake Murray’s most famous attraction, Tucker Tower. Another WPA project, this tower was originally designed to be a retreat for Oklahoma governors. That plan never came to fruition, and instead, the tower was finished as a geological museum that originally housed the famed Lake Murray Meteorite (the fifth largest meteorite in the world!). It is currently open as an extension of the Lake Murray Nature Center.
The tower can be accessed via short hike along a peninsula on the lake, but don’t miss out on learning more about the history and ecology of the area in the Lake Murray Nature Center, constructed in 2013.
One of the best views in Chickasaw Country can be found high above the lake when you take the stairs to the top of Tucker Tower. Don’t take my word for it—check this out!
With a newfound appreciation of Lake Murray (and sunscreen), I decided to make one more stop on my way out of the area. Being the avid amateur golfer that I am, I couldn’t visit the area without stopping by the Lake Murray Golf Course to hit some balls on the driving range!