Be a tourist in your own community, at lake McMurtry

Kayaking by @lower48er

Story and images provided by the Visit Stillwater Team, unless otherwise noted

In May we launched our series, “Be a Tourist in Your Own Community,” highlighting tips and suggestions about experiencing unique events and attractions in your own backyard. Summers seem to be the season for new adventures, experiencing firsts, and embracing out-of-the-norm itineraries and activities. When planning for summer travel, we often ask ourselves, “What can we do that is new and different with our friends and family?”  This same question can and should be asked when brainstorming summer staycation options.  Those social media snapshots of familiar Monday through Friday faces suddenly summiting peaks, scuba diving with sharks, and hula dancing with island locals really captures the essence of summer travel. However, we challenge you to be an adventure-seeking tourist right in your own backyard!   

  • Because adventures are often spontaneous, include an element of surprise in your plans.
  • Thumb through the Visit Stillwater Visitors Guide and plan a half day experience around the first attraction or outdoor space new to you or outside of your typical preference.
  • Splurge a little! Whether it’s purchasing a new piece of high-end gear specific to your plans or opting for three pieces of chocolate cake for dinner during your staycation, those out-of-the-norm decisions make for an extra memorable experience.   

Lake McMurtry is the perfect place to spread your adventure wings this summer.  Even if you are not the outdoorsy type and think camping is literally for the birds, this experience is still for you. Rent a campsite for just the day. Soak up the fresh air and Oklahoma scenery without the obligation of an overnight stay. If you are new to Lake McMurtry, we recommend reserving a spot on the east side of the lake.

Be sure to stop at the Bait Shop to pick up a Lake McMurtry t-shirt as well as a map of hiking trails. We recommend the yellow trail, whether you complete the full 6.2 mile loop, or just take a leisurely jaunt out and back as far as you prefer. The trail is clearly marked and well maintained, perfect for a warm weather hike with a view of the water along the way.

Consider purchasing a travel hammock from the Stillwater Summit Company to enjoy lounging during your day trip. They carry the popular Eagles Nest Outfitters Inc. (ENO) brand hammocks, which are lightweight, easy to hang and very durable.  

If you haven’t kayaked before or want to try stand-up paddleboarding, Lake McMurtry is a great lake for beginners. Expect calm waters since boat speeds are regulated and explore the shorelines at your own pace. Rent all your equipment at the Bait Shop then get a few pointers from Lake McMurtry staff.

Not in the mood for campsite cooking? Order a pizza! That’s right, Cindy’s Pizza will deliver to Lake McMurtry and is open from 4:00-9:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.  

To learn more about how to be a visitor in your own community, go to, “Like” Visit Stillwater on Facebook, and follow “@VisitStillwater” on Twitter.  If you already consider yourself a seasoned “staycationer,” we would love to hear about your favorite hometown favorites and staycation tidbits.  The Visitor Information Center, located at 2617 W. 6th Avenue, is open 24/7 or call 405-743-3697.  

Cindy’s Pizza delivers to Lake McMurtry