Free Camping on Lake Eufaula, OK
Located in the southern section of Lake Eufaula, about five miles northeast of McAlester, OK, lies a little-known recreation area called “Highway 31 Landing”. It’s one of a dozen recreation areas created by the Army Corps of Engineers. It’s also one of a few that is completely free to camp at. Because of its fee-free status, the Corps doesn’t spend a lot of funds maintaining it. You may find overgrown brush, more trash, and a lot more wildlife. But, you will also find more seclusion, more peace, more freedom.
Highway 31 Landing, McAlester, OK
Oklahoma is not well known for boondocking or free camping. However, there are many places where one can camp for free; it’s just difficult to find these places. Locals know about them but tend to keep them a secret.
Highway 31 Landing is one of those places. Well, not anymore now that we’ve published this.
While it’s part of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Corps doesn’t actively maintain it. Maintenance is actually contracted out to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. However, when we a DOT employee drove by our camp, we stopped them to talk. It turns out the State no longer budgets any money for maintenance. Instead, they send this guy through the campground just to keep watch on it.
Otherwise, Highway 31 Landing is totally free to get into and camp. Most of the campsites are too overgrown that you cannot even get into them. You can see concrete picnic tables hiding underneath vines and brush, but obviously they are no longer accessible. But, there are still some campsites that you can get into. Our recommendation is to park your trailer or motorhome at the boat ramp parking lot, and then drive your pickup truck or toad through the campground to find something suitable.
If not, you can still set up camp at the boat ramp parking lot.
Yes, there is quite a bit of trash scattered about. It’s evidence that Highway 31 Landing is still a well-used campground by locals. But, if your brain manages to tune out the trash, you’ll instead see the shoreline beauty of Lake Eufaula and its forests of White Oak and Cedar. Deer are numerous here, as are raccoons, armadillos, and coyotes.
The roads are all paved throughout, but because the trees and brush are overgrown, all of the smaller spur roads have branches that will drag across your RV or van.
The drive into McAlester is only a 10-minute drive. You’ll find everything you need there… grocery stores, hardware, hunting & fishing gear, restaurants…
Pros and Cons
Pros: Free camping, relative seclusion, very few other campers, excellent Verizon 4G signal, lots of wildlife, paved throughout.
Cons: Lots of trash, overgrown campsites and roads
The boat ramp is the only real amenity. Some campsites still have picnic tables.
Cellphone Signal Strength
Verizon 4G comes in strong here. We routinely saw 4 to 5 bars of strength.
Insects, Pests, & Wildlife
We camped here in November 2020. We saw no flying insects of any kind, but we imagine during the Spring and Summer it could be teaming with gnats and mosquitoes. Armadillo are everywhere here, as are deer and raccoons. We often heard coyotes singing in the distance.
Very quiet here, even during the weekends and at night. Now and then we heard someone driving a quad or side-by-side through here.
Safe or Sketchy?
Overall, we encountered no issues. What few people did come through here seemed to be either a weekend fisherman launching his boat, or teenage couples looking for intimacy.
How Crowded Is It?
Not very crowded. During the weekend, we did see at least one other camper, but was located well away and well hidden from view. There are a handful of fisherman who launch their boats. During the week, it’s nearly empty here.
Army Corps of Engineers
Tulsa District Lakes
Tulsa District Lakes:
Tel: (918) 799-5843