By Amanda McCarty
Driving north into Oklahoma, the broad, flat landscape gives way to modest peaks and valleys. As the highway stumbles over rocks, deftly winding through the crevices of the foothills, soon enough you’ll find yourself in Carlton Landing — a lakeside haven for families in search of a magical getaway. Where the memories created become souvenirs to last a lifetime.
You’ll find no shortage of places to stay, but you won’t be roomed in a typical hotel. There are a multitude of charming houses from which to choose—beautiful homes with deep-set porches strung with fairy lights and pillowed porch swings. You’ll have a comfortable view of the surrounding parks, where the air is filled with the music of children’s laughter and the dull cadence of their feet as they run across the pavement.
The focus here is to unplug and get outside, and with plenty of local pools, playgrounds and nature trails, it’s a pursuit that comes as easily as breathing. You’ll even find making your way around town is better accomplished by walking. Many of the locals use golf carts, but bicycles can be rented at the Bike Shack if you prefer a quicker method of transportation. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the Kayak Shack offers daily rentals for kayaks and paddle boards. Or you can join the local Boat Club and spend the day skimming across Lake Eufaula with the gentle pull of wind in your hair and the intoxicating warmth of the sun caressing your skin.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, slip into the screened-in porch of Mama Tig‘s to share a few dreamy slices of wood-fired pizza with the family. Or take the 15-minute drive to downtown Eufaula and indulge in the exquisite Southern cuisine at E’s Hideaway. Owned and operated by Chef Eric Sutherland and his wife Amanda, E’s offers an intimate dining experience surrounded by exposed brick and coppered ceilings.
If you’re looking for a venue that meets all your needs, The Meeting House has everything from your morning cup of joe to handcrafted cocktails and every meal that falls in between. Evenings can be spent next to the soft glow of the outdoor fireplace, and you’re welcome to throw on another log as you sit and sip under the tangle of tree branches and Edison lights. When the night finally comes to an end, it’s also the perfect place to rest, with three cozy rooms upstairs available for rent and the only place in town that offers single-night stays.
As if there weren’t already enough options for entertainment, the local events bring even more variety to the table of fun. The warmer months are filled with festivities, including the annual Easter egg hunt, movies under the stars and live music, bringing with them amazing food from local vendors and one-of-a-kind finds at the pop-up shops.
If you long for an escape from the buzz of the city and a leisurely return to slow living where you can reconnect with the people who matter most, Carlton Landing has all of this to offer and more. It’s a place of community, where every family—and everyone—is welcome. When it’s time to say “Goodbye,” you’ll find yourself promising, “See you soon.”