Grand Lake Party Cove

Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees is one of the most beautiful lakes in Oklahoma and commonly known as Grand Lake. There are 46,500 surface acres of water sports fun with 1,300 miles of shoreline. Grand Lake is nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in far northeastern Oklahoma.

Million dollar homes line the shores on Grand Lake’s southern end with tons of huge boats like bay liners and yachts on the water, while the northern end of the lake is where nature comes alive and pontoon boats like to hang.

Grand Lake is great for boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, hunting, jet skiing, parasailing, sailing, swimming, tubing, water skiing, and other water sports. It is known for incredible scenery and a wealth of activities on and off the water. Grand Lake hosts all kinds of fishing tournaments and events like the annual Redneck Raft Out. 

Grand Lake is huge, with hundreds of coves. Its main channel is known to be choppy but its coves provide calm waters for outstanding watersports and swimming fun. Visitors can find quiet serene coves, plus much more lively and boisterous coves.

Where Are the Grand Lake Party Coves?

Just about any cove at Grand Lake can become a party cove. But, there are three well-known coves at Grand Lake where boaters come together, tie up, and have great parties on the water. Grand Lake is home to huge expensive boats and the party coves show them off in grand style.

On Grand Lake, Dripping Springs at Grays Hollow, Party Cove East at Woodward Hollow, and Duck Creek are where the big boats gather with lots of satellite boats hanging around them. From an aerial view, the boats at the Grand Lake party coves look like strings of islands with little atolls all around them.

Grand Lake looks like a long squiggly snake with two tails. It has hundreds of little tributaries and a few big arms sprouting off of it. Grand Lake runs in a line from northeast to southwest in Craig, Delaware, Mayes, and Ottawa Counties, Oklahoma. Its Pensacola Dam is at the very southern tip of Grand Lake. While it is easy to find parks and towns on land from a map, knowing where you are going on the water is different on such an immense lake like Grand Lake.

Dripping Springs

The Dripping Springs area lies around Grays Hollow. Grays Hollow is a small arm off of Grand Lake on the eastern shore about five and half miles northeast of the Pensacola Dam. This hollow is home to Dripping Springs Marina and the Dripping Springs Yacht Club. This marina is located at 642 Park Cove Lane, Eucha, Oklahoma.

This is a well-known popular party cove on Grand Lake. Locals affectionately call it “The Drip”. It is where you will see some of the biggest boats and finest waterfront homes on Grand Lake. The Dripping Springs Marina has fuel and a ship’s store. This party cove is also close to Hi-Lift Marina and Windmill Run Marina. So, if you run out of anything at this party cove, you are not far from supplies.

Party Cove East at Woodward Hollow

Woodward Hollow is located on the eastern shores of Grand Lake about midway up and about 15 miles from the Pensacola Dam. It is directly across from Monkey Island. Monkey Island is not actually an island, but a large peninsula with a resort and a golf course. At the Party Cove East, you will have plenty more to see besides beautiful boats, good-looking people, and the antics of the party cove.

Duck Creek Party Cove

Duck Creek forms one of the large arms off of Grand Lake on the western side of Grand Lake about six miles from the Pensacola Dam. It is directly across from Dripping Springs on the eastern shore. Duck Creek is home to the Arrowhead Yacht Club and Marina, the Cherokee Yacht Club, the Duck Creek Boat Club and Rentals, a couple of restaurants, and resorts. 

Redneck Raft Out

The Redneck Raft Out is a one-of-a-kind, free event that happens every year on Labor Day weekend on Check-In Bay at Grand Lake. Check-In Bay is on the western side of Grand Lake about four miles from the Pensacola Dam in Afton, Oklahoma. On land, the Redneck Raft Out’s address is 449710 E 355 Road, Afton, Oklahoma. 

The Redneck Raft Out is a cosmic event with hundreds of boats in attendance. It features full concert rigging on the water with two days of music. This event features a floating stage with live music. It is two days of show-stopping musical bands only accessible by boat or other watercraft. There is a designated float/swim area in front of the stage.

All you have to do is follow the music if you are on the southern end of Grand Lake. There are usually four bands each day. The bands are well known and come from the southern and Midwestern states. The bands present a mixture of rock and country. There is a merch area off of the stage for the band’s selling their swag.

Of course, with that big of an event, there are rules for boaters and other watercraft so everyone stays safe.

  • In the swim area, do not hang off of or tie a raft/mat to the stage or merchandise area.
  • For the safety of all, boats and PWC's will NOT be allowed to pass-thru between the stage and first row of boats. Fifty (50) feet on either side of the swim area is restricted to authorized personnel and event production staff.
  • Tie-up on a raft-up line. Do not just anchor by yourself or with a couple of boats. Encourage others to tie-up next to you and continue the line.
  • Have your fenders and dock lines ready before you approach to tie-up on a line.
  • Be sure to drop your anchor, it helps maintain the raft line.
  • Don't take up space unnecessarily.
  • You are Captain of your ship and 100% responsible for everything that happens on your boat and for everyone you bring to the event.
  • Read the GRDA Boating Laws before you attend:

A Word of Safety at Grand Lake

Grand Lake lies on the Grand River, which is also called the Neosho River. Grand Lake has a maximum depth of 164 feet and an average depth of 36 feet. For every drowning in U.S. lakes, there are many more near-drowning cases.

Grand Lake has steep drop-offs and its boat ramps have steep declines. It is very easy to step off into deep water from walking off the shore. Near-drowning victims can appear to be playing or swimming, and their friends or family do not realize they are in danger.

When partying at the party coves on Grand Lake, drinking and getting high adds another layer of unawareness. The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) operates Grand Lake, and it has its own laws, rules, and police.

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