Oklahoma’s Grand Lake is one of the premier boating lakes in all of the United States. With deep water and wide open spaces, there is a place on the water for everyone – from cruisers to runabouts and sailboats to pwcs.
How you get on the water is totally up to you…just make sure you do it to truly take in the majesty that is Grand Lake.
So, what type of boat is best for your Grand Lake experience?
Whether you are new to boating or are an experienced Grand Lake boater, the first thing to do is understand what you are looking for in your boating experience.
It doesn’t matter if you are buying or renting, you want to think about how you are going to use the boat.
One of the many great things about Grand Lake is it’s massive size. And with that, you can see all shapes, sizes and types of boats out on the water.
Naturally, you can check out, test drive and yes, even buy, boats of all shapes and sizes from any of the many boat dealers at Grand Lake.
Here is a quick rundown of the most popular boat types on Grand Lake…
Pontoon Boats provide lots of space for family and friends with plenty of comfortable seating and, with the right horsepower, can even provide fun in the form of skiing, tubing and such.
Bowriders are another popular boat among families at Grand Lake with the open bow seating that provides plenty of room for a day on the water. Bowriders are typically quick and maneuverable. Many bowriders today are also equipped with ‘towers’ for added wakeboarding and tubing fun.
Deck Boats are kind of a cross between pontoons and bowriders. With a wide deck that provides plenty of room combined with the more powerful engines typically found in bowriders, deck boats provide the perfect mix of fun and function. Many are also equipped with features that encourage fishing while on the water.
Wake Boats are the evolution of bowriders into boats designed for maximum fun behind the boat. These boats are at the cutting edge of technology with adjustable wake sizes for hours of wakeboarding, wakeskating, and wakesurfing fun on Grand Lake and always include a tower that elevates the pulling position of the boat making it easier for bigger and longer air.
Performance Boats can be found flying up and down Grand Lake all summer long. Combining high speeds and performance with sleek and sporty design, performance boats certainly get everyones attention.
Cabin Cruisers are very popular at Grand Lake, combining the fun of recreational boating with extra comforts depending on the size of the boat. Smaller cruisers (cuddy cabins) might just include a berth (sleeping quarters) and a head (toilet) while the larger cruisers likely include a galley (kitchen), power systems, heat and air and a shore power system. One of the reasons these boats are so popular at Grand Lake is the weekend user can arrive on Friday night and basically just stay on their boat for the weekend…whether that be in a marina or in the quiet of a Grand Lake cove. Basically, it eliminates the need of owning real estate at Grand Lake.
Yachts and larger cruisers are typically over 40′ long and offer all the comforts of home for your days and nights on the water including multiple berths, indoor seating areas and more. These just take the comforts of cabin cruisers to a whole new level for your Grand Lake boating.
Houseboats can also be found all over Grand Lake. With spacious living quarters and modern amenities, these typically flat bottomed boats are perfect for large groups or multi-day outings on Grand Lake.
Sailboats are seen on Grand Lake all year long. Coming in all shapes and sizes, sailboats are perfect for your Grand Lake getaway if you’re not interested in getting ‘in’ Grand Lake…just ‘on’ Grand Lake. As anyone in Oklahoma can tell you, the wind blows year round, so why not enjoy it year round?
Fishing boats are likely the most popular boat at Grand Lake, but often you won’t see them when everyone else is out in their boats on the busy summertime weekends. With the popularity of fishing at Grand Lake, you will find all sorts of fishing boats out on the water, from bass boats to deep V fishing boats and now, more and more, center console boats.
Personal Watercraft are naturally all over Grand Lake through the warmer months. PWCs make boating accessible to just about everyone and provide hours and days of fun on Grand Lake.
That gives you an idea on the types of boats you can find at Grand Lake. With that, there are some key considerations when you are trying to decide what boat is best for you.
If your boating will be done typically during the busy summer months on weekends and holidays, keep in mind that Grand Lake is busy.
And that means the lake gets stirred up…not just choppy from wind but stirred up from all the boats.
So if you are looking to be on the water during these busy times, keep in mind that the deeper V in the hull of your boat, the more stable it will be when performing in rougher Grand Lake waters.
Pontoons, deck boats, houseboats and other boats that are typically more flat on the bottom will be bounced around during these busy days.
But, they are STILL FUN! Trust me on that. But if you want a bit smoother ride on those crowded days, a bow rider or cruiser may be a bit more up your alley.
Another consideration is where on Grand Lake you will be doing the majority of your boating.
The lake gets more shallow, generally, the farther northeast you go from Pensacola Dam.
What that means is most of the larger cruisers and bigger boats stay at the ‘deep’ end, typically from Monkey Island south to the dam.
And, north of Monkey Island to Sailboat Bridge and beyond will usually be where you can find smaller, runabout type boats.
Again these aren’t hard and fast rules…just some things to think about.
What it boils down to is this…as long as you are out boating on Grand Lake, you are doing it right!