6 Great State Parks in Ohio
Ohio’s natural beauty is waiting to be seen
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If you’re looking for a peaceful, end of summer getaway with your loved ones or an easy, fun way to enjoy your Labor Day weekend, look no further than Ohio’s state parks. Each one on this list offers a variety of amenities and lodgings, and a lake to help with that end of summer heat!
Mohican State Park
Located in Ashland County, Ohio, Mohican State Park is 1,110 acres and adjacent to a 4,525-acre forest. Gaze upon the Clear Fork Gorge and the Mohican River. Coupled with outstanding amenities and natural beauty, this park is a great weekend away no matter your style of camping. The park offers campsites with electricity, showers, and flushing toilets. If you’re more of a glam camper, there are 25 two bedroom cabins, each sleeping 6. There are also camper cabins that sleep four and are allowed one tent outside.
All campers can use the swimming pool located on the campground, along with the playground and volleyball and basketball courts, and rent games from the camp store. There are 7 trails weaved throughout the state park, each about a mile long. Kayak or canoe on the the Mohican River, or motorboat on the Pleasant Hill Lake. In the past, the famous Johnny Appleseed frequented the area, and an attraction for many years was his name carved into the rock at Big Lyons Falls, pictured. Unfortunately, the carvings have not stood the test of time, but the falls still offer incredible beauty.
Lake Hope State Park
Lake Hope State Park is located in southeastern Ohio. Its 2,983 acre site is located within the larger 28,614 acre Zaleski State Forest. This areas more rugged terrain offers great opportunities for photographers. This park also offers different options for each style of camper. Just like the last park, there are electric sites including heated shower houses and flushing toilets. There are also several options for cabins including many that sleep 4, 5, and up to 8 people. The cabins are ideal with heat, air conditioning, wood-burning fireplaces, and full kitchens.
For the glammest of campers among us, Lake Hope State Park also offers the Laurel Lodge (pictured), a rustic two-story lodge with a stone fireplace. Perfect for larger groups, there are 8 bedrooms that sleep 24 people, and 5 full bathrooms. The living area has couches, chairs, and a large TV in case you’re one in the group whose thing just isn’t camping.
Lake Hope State Park offers great activities for kids like hummingbird feeding and archery. There is a swimming beach located near the dam, and an option for dining if you do not bring your own picnic gear. The kitchens at Lake Hope Lodge focus on real pit barbecue, and food made from scratch with Ohio products.
Caesar Creek State Park
Caesar Creek State Park is located in Southwestern Ohio, whose 3,741 acre park specializes in boating recreation. In spring 2016 a new facility was opened on Caesar Creek Lake including over 100 leased docks, a retail area with concessions and public restrooms. There are showers and laundry rooms available for leaseholders. The beach along the lake is 1,300 feet and open to the public.
There are no glamorous cabins at Caesar Creek, but there are several hundred campsites that include electric and flush toilets. Feel free to bring your dog, pets are allowed on all sites! There is the Hopewell Day Lodge, perfect for gatherings like reunions and other celebrations. It accommodates 60 people, with a full kitchen, grills and picnic tables outside, and hiking trails nearby.
If you want to see how the pioneers lived, check out the Caesar Creek pioneer village. The village is a collection of early nineteenth century cabins original to the region. They are beautiful and quaint, with personal cabins as well as a general store and several shops like the blacksmith and candlemaker to see how pioneers crafted their wares.
Barkcamp State Park
Barkcamp State Park’s 1,005 acre site is located in the hills of Belmont County in eastern Ohio, surrounding Belmont lake. Enjoy the public beach and camp at one of over 100 electric campsites, including two wheelchair accessible sites. There are pet-camping sites, as well as 27 electric equestrian sites if you plan on riding and camping with your horse. Don’t worry glampers, there are cabins here too, complete with heat and air conditioning, a mini fridge, and microwave. Outside you’ll find the deck, grill, and fire pit!
The 4 trails that wind through the park are all of easy or moderate difficulty. The Belmont county area is one of the most heavily forested regions in Ohio. Campers and hikers can enjoy trails surrounded by mature growth. One paved trail winds through a pioneer village, leading to the Antique Barn constructed in the 1800s that now houses activities and historical information. The area was first settled by the Quakers, who founded an anti-slavery society in 1815. The county was once the location of over a hundred miles of the Underground Railroad.
Maumee Bay State Park
Do you live in Northeastern Ohio? Maumee Bay State Park’s 1300 acres are situated right on Lake Erie near Toledo. The unique environment of wet forests, marshlands, and coastline give campers a unique experience. There is a marina on Lake Erie with 24 overnight slips and 7 day slips. The inland lake at Maumee Bay is great for sailing and canoeing. With beaches both on the inland lake and Lake Erie, there are so many ways to enjoy the water!
Attention glampers and vacationers alike! Every single one of the rooms at the Maumee Bay Resort & Conference Center overlook the lake. This is probably way beyond glamping, but the 2 and 4 bedroom cottages are a little closer to nature. Coming with all the amenities like a fully equipped kitchen and television, enjoy cool nights on the screened-in porch.
Delaware State Park
Located less than an hour north of Columbus, Delaware State Park features dense woodlands for camping and like all of the great state parks on this list, a lake for swimming, boating, and fishing. The 200 camping sites are complete with electricity and flushing toilets. There are no cabins for our glampers out there, but if you’re looking for a unique experience, you may rent a yurt May through October. The yurts have futon beds, seating areas, coolers, and ceiling fans.
The public beach has a bathhouse with showers and a concession stand in case you get hungry while you enjoy the water. If walking or hiking is more your thing, there are 5 easy trails throughout the park, each about a mile and a half long. They cover a variety of terrain such as forests and wetlands, connecting to the lakeshore and campsites.
Now that you’ve got the list, what are you waiting for? Make reservations or plan a day trip to one of these beautiful lakeside state parks and forests, perfect for people of all ages who enjoy the outdoors.