Whenever I think about a beach trip, I usually start planning a road trip from OKC to Padre Island or check out flights to places down in the Caribbean. But did you know there are actually some great sandy beaches in Oklahoma you can enjoy?
Yes, these are lake beaches, but what’s more Americana than a lake vacation? Here are thirteen Oklahoma beaches perfect for a day trip, weekend getaway, or even a full week beach vacation!
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The Best Oklahoma Beaches
In no particular order…
Lake Arcadia, often referred to as Arcadia Lake, is a reservoir that can be found in Edmond just northeast of Oklahoma City.
It’s a great place to enjoy a swim or try your hand at water sports. It’s also beautiful! I’ve included it on my favorite Edmond Instagram spots because it’s truly a lovely spot.
The lake has 26 miles of shoreline with multiple campsites to choose from if you want to stay right a the lake. Most of these campsites have designated areas for jet skiing and waterskiing.
There’s also plenty of opportunities for fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking.
I’m ashamed to say that growing up in Edmond, I didn’t take enough advantage of being so close to such a beautiful lake, but this is something I fully intend to rectify once my son is old enough to swim!
Cedar Lake is an 86 acre lake that features two sandy beaches. This lake is special because its north shore is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest.
It’s an incredibly scenic area where one can admire the surrounding trees and mountains while taking a dip in its warm waters. Visitors usually swim between the months of May and October.
This is also a popular spot for camping, fishing, and boating. Camping facilities have outdoor grills, playgrounds, pavilions, and picnic areas, making this a great Oklahoma beach for families to enjoy.
Lake Eufaula is the largest lake that is entirely within Oklahoma’s borders. It has a surface area of 102,000 acres and an incredible 600 miles of shoreline.
As you might expect, this lake has several options to choose from when it comes to beaches. You can find beautiful, sandy beaches at Lake Eufaula State Park, Crowder Point East and West, Arrowhead State Park, and Porum Landing.
Furthermore, this lake’s waters are well-known for being crystal clear. That makes it a great place to visit if you enjoy scuba diving. Yes, did you know that you can scuba dive right in Oklahoma?!
Lake Murray is part of the Lake Murray State Park which is the largest park in Oklahoma. This lake has an astounding 5,700-acre surface area and has a wide variety of beaches to choose from.
One of the best is Sunset Beach. Although it doesn’t have any campsites, it tends to be less crowded than other beaches.
Marina Beach is another good choice. It has a lot of sand with picnic tables and playgrounds nearby. It’s a great place to get some shade while the kids go for a swim.
Some of my favorite memories of swimming in Oklahoma are from family vacations when I was young at Lake Murray. I hope it’s a family tradition that I’m able to continue.
Broken Bow Lake
Broken Bow Lake is one of the largest and most popular lakes in Oklahoma.
Located in southeast Oklahoma, this is another lake that provides spectacular views of the Ouachita Mountains.
You have two different state parks to choose from here. These are Beavers Bend State Park and Hocatown State Park.
The waters in this lake are crystal clear which makes them a good spot for scuba divers. It’s also one of the best year-round fishing spots in the entire state.
Tom Steed Reservoir
Tom Steed Reservoir is a massive 6,000-acre reservoir that’s located in Kiowa County. It has one beach which is extremely popular among birdwatchers for its abundance of waterfowl.
There are many different species of birds and ducks you can find here. It’s also an excellent fishing spot. It has tons of catfish, crappies, and large-mouth bass that are waiting to be caught.
On top of all that, this lake has an abundance of facilities. There are group shelters, playgrounds, hiking trails, showers, and much more.
Lake Tenkiller is a reservoir just south of Tahlequah. It was made by damming the Illinois River.
There are multiple campsites here, including Cherokee Landing State Park. This park has a beautiful rocky beach with a peninsula that juts into the lake.
This lake is also considered a dream come true for scuba divers. The waters near Skunk Island are extremely clear, and there’s a lot to explore under the water. There are sunken vehicles, boats and other artifacts waiting to be discovered.
Canton Lake has five different recreation areas. Unfortunately, only the Sandy Cove Recreation Area has a beach. Nonetheless, this beach annually hosts Oklahoma’s oldest fishing contest, the Canton Lake Walleye Rodeo.
It’s a great place for fishing year-round, and it’s also a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, skiing, and boating.
Hunting enthusiasts will also be happy to know that Canton Lake borders a 17,000-acre hunting area. This area has everything from deer, quail, turkey, and even wild hog.
Great Salt Plains Lake
The Great Salt Plains Lake is a reservoir located in Alfalfa County. It’s extremely unique because its water is leftover from an ocean that covered the area in prehistoric times.
As a result, it’s the only place in the world where you can find hourglass-shaped selenite crystals. You can find these while walking along the shoreline. The water is also about half as salty as ocean water.
Additionally, you can take part in more traditional activities such as swimming, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking.
You can find Lake Texoma on the border of Oklahoma and Texas. At 89,000 acres, it’s one of the largest reservoirs in the country, and it has over six million visitors every year. That’s because its beaches are nearly indistinguishable from the ocean with white sands similar to the Gulf of Mexico.
Also, many people call Lake Texoma the Striper Capital in the world. That’s because it’s one of the only reservoirs in the country where you can find striped bass. You can also find many other kinds of bass, crappies, and catfish.
Foss Lake is a lake in Western Oklahoma with 8,800 acres of water and 60 miles of shoreline. Most importantly, it’s home to a sandy beach known as Sunset Beach.
One look at Sunset Beach, and you’ll think you’re in a tropical paradise. Along with its gorgeous shorelines, it also has fire rings, grills, and five palapas.
This is a great place for swimming and sunbathing. Or you can rent a pontoon boat if you feel like spending the day on the water.
Fort Gibson Lake
Fort Gibson Lake has an astounding 19,000 acres of surface area and 225 miles of shoreline. Part of this is comprised of a sandy beach that’s excellent for swimming, fishing, and boating.
This lake is notable because you can visit it almost any time of the year. Its surrounding hills provide great scenery in the spring and beautiful colors during the fall.
Some people will also appreciate the nearby hunting area. You’ll find everything from deer, rabbits, squirrels, and quails.
The Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees can be found in Northeast Oklahoma in the Ozark Mountain Range.
It was created by the Pensacola Dam and is the third-largest lake in Oklahoma. It has 1,300 miles of shoreline and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state.
What to Pack for a Trip in Oklahoma
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
Before you leave for your trip make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I have used World Nomads when I travel since 2016, and I happily recommend them.
Getting coverage is important whenever you’re more than a hundred miles from home in case of an accident, sickness, theft, etc.
Get a travel insurance quote for your trip here.
Pin this Guide to the Best Beaches in Oklahoma
Stephanie is a born-and-bred Oklahoma mom and travel expert who has been to over fifty countries. After living in Eastern Europe for four years, she has moved with her family back to Oklahoma to write about her favorite places growing up: Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, & Route 66!