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Lake Stanley Draper is a big city lake in the big city! Formed in 1963 to provide a water source for Oklahoma City, Lake Draper has also proved to be a great addition to recreation in the Frontier Country Region. The 2900-acre reservoir is 'filled' by pipeline from Lake Atoka and McGee Creek Reservoir in southeastern Oklahoma. Named after the prominent, longtime Chamber of Commerce Director, the lake has been developed as a recreation-themed facility for both city residents and visitors. Improvements to the recreation facilities are on-going and plans for more commercial development along the city-owned lakeshore will no doubt make this a focal point of Oklahoma City in future years.
City management has worked steadily to provide activities at Lake Stanley Draper: Both day use and primitive campgrounds are located on the lakefront, with plans for an RV campground in the works. Covered fishing piers around the perimeter provide an easy fishing experience for children and first-time fishermen. Picnic areas, grills and restrooms are strategically located along the 34-mile shoreline with handicap access. A new north shore public area opened recently with even more picnic areas and shelters, a playground, volleyball courts, fishing pier and boat launch. Several additional boat launch locations guarantee easy access to those with fishing and power boats. A 36-hole golf course is planned for the near future. There is currently no swimming beach and swimming is prohibited in the reservoir; however, a pool is provided.
Lake Stanley Draper is known as a premier water skiing lake due to the large expanse of open water. This is a rarity in the Oklahoma City area; having this facility within the city limits guarantees it will get plenty of use from water skiers and personal watercraft. All types of boating are encouraged here and sailing and windsurfing are becoming more popular on the lake. A concession-operated marina provides boat fuel, fishing tackle and licenses, as well as boat, canoe and jet ski rentals, covered wet slips and dry boat storage and camping permits. A seasonal restaurant is located on-site.
Fishing is always popular at Lake Stanley Draper. The covered fishing piers and boat launch sites make this an easy activity to engage in. Here there are no worries if you forget something when leaving home. The marina sells live bait and all sorts of tackle. Channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, sunfish and white bass are the species commonly sought.
City planners have done their utmost to plan space for other desired activities. There is a radio-controlled airplane field south of Lake Stanley Draper and horseback riding stables a short distance away. Especially popular is the extensive system of trails for mountain biking and off-road vehicles. The trails are separated into levels of difficulty to serve all riders. Among the riding trails, several miles of hiking trails have been provided. Official off-road vehicle events are held regularly at the ORV facility and a Dualathlon is held annually in the same area featuring cycling, running then cycling for the final laps.
Because of city ownership, there are no vacation rentals directly along Lake Stanley Draper's shoreline, but nearby developments mean there are excellent real estate opportunities in the immediate area. All amenities may be found in nearby Oklahoma City. The lake is within five miles of Tinker Air Force Base and can be added to the itinerary if visiting a serviceman.
Oklahoma City has an eclectic mix of entertainment and museum choices for the visitor to enjoy. For those searching for nightlife hotspots, the newly-revitalized Bricktown area is an excellent choice. Restaurants, nightclubs, sporting facilities, shops, attractions, condos, and more surround a magnificent canal with its own "water taxi." Water Taxi operators will take you on a tour of the general area and point out locations of interest. Some of the always-popular museums and historical spots include the Oklahoma Science Museum and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Kids and fire truck buffs will love the Firefighters Museum. The Oklahoma City Zoo has varied and ever-changing exhibits, along with favorites such as the Butterfly Garden and the Herpetarium. And many citizens will wish to pay their respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
A bit farther of Lake Stanley Draper, one can find Native American-operated casinos. The Thunderbird Casio is located 15 miles east of Lake Stanley Draper, while the Riverwind Casino in Norman is the largest casino in Oklahoma. And, although there is no designated wildlife area at Lake Draper, there are two areas in close proximity where you can hike and view wildlife in their natural habitat: the 1000-acre Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge on the north end of Lake Overholser and the Acadia Lake Wildlife Nature trails, northeast of Oklahoma City near Edmond.
If you've never thought that visiting a "city lake" for a vacation would be great experience, Lake Stanley Draper will change your mind. Look through available vacation rentals in the area, hitch up the boat trailer and pack the mountain bikes. You're about to experience a unique blend of city and rural activities all within the boundaries of Oklahoma City. Come and enjoy yourself.
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