Park It

According to the National Association of State Park Directors, there are over 6000 state parks across the country. Too many to choose from? Nature’s Waterpark Showdown, has championed eight state parks. This list, created by the Facebook fans of Take Me Fishing, is a great place to start.

Each park is very accessible, not only for boats with ramps or rentals, but also for dining alfresco. A classic family outdoor activity features the great American picnic table where the great American cooler is raided between park activities. Each of the voted-upon Elite Eight also has restrooms to wash up after opening that soda that was shaken too much during travel.

Up for camping? Nature’s Waterpark Showdown recommends checking out Cave Lake in Nevada or Blue Spring in Florida. Or how about Lake Murray in OK, Itasca in MN, and Presque Isle of PA for pier fishing. And hiking trails abound.

Although I have yet to have the opportunity to fish there, I skirt the edge of El Dorado State Park several times a year enroute to visiting relatives in Kansas. While on the highway, I have trained myself not to “rubberneck” at roadside emergency vehicles to prevent contributing to any accident. However, I still have a problem turning my head to the road while marveling at El Dorado Lake’s massive expanse of standing timber. Not only can I imagine all of the bass, crappie, sunfish, and catfish around each, but the chance viewing of bald eagles or osprey can be a distraction for any driving fisherman.

Have you visited the winning Nature Waterpark winner in your region?

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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.