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30 Best Ohio State Parks Everyone Should Visit

State parks are areas protected by the state government. The idea is to ensure that the area keeps offering its beauty or historical evidence without any undue interference. Ohio is one of the states in the country that has a lot to offer when it comes to state parks. The state has over 75 areas designated as Ohio state parks. These parks offer some of the best views and opportunities for all kinds of outdoor activities.

Any nature lover, hiker, angler, golf enthusiast etc. would enjoy spending time in these parks. The state has done a wonderful job in not only preserving these areas but also adding necessary features and facilities that ensure that visitors have a nice and comfortable stay while enjoying all that the park naturally has to offer. 

The Ohio State Parks are just gorgeous. They offer so much to the visitors. Some of the parks have lush green scenery and wooded mountains while others offer beautiful and deep lakes, winding rivers, gorges, cliffs, and waterfalls. You can go camping with your family and friends. Most parks have campsites that allow pets.

So, you can often bring your dog along. There are camps that have lodges and cabins as well. You can make a reservation at a lodge and enjoy a nice private room with scenic views or book a nice cabin that ensures that you stay surrounded by nature while having all the facilities to stay safe and comfortable.

Best State Parks in Ohio:

Geneva State Park

Geneva State Park

Geneva State Park is one of the Ohio State Parks that is filled with greenery. The park encompasses an area of 698 acres. It has a beautiful lake, Lake Erie, that adds to the park’s beauty. If you enjoy fishing, swimming or boating, this is the park for you.

You can get your fix for those activities in Lake Erie. If you are looking for Ohio State Parks with cabins or want to visit Ohio State Parks with lodges this is one of the best options as the lodge and the cabins are located at nice spots and have all the necessary facilities.

Area: 2.8 km²
Contact: +1 440-466-8400
Location: 4499 Padanarum Rd, Geneva, OH 44041, US (Get Directions)

Hocking Hills State Park (Waterfall)

Hocking Hills State Park

One of the most popular Ohio State Parks is the Hocking Hills State Park. It is one of the parks that have received not only national but international acclaim as people all over come to visit this park. It is located in southeastern Ohio.

Doesn’t matter which season it is, the Hocking Hills State Park is always ready for a visit. It has beautiful cliffs and waterfalls. Hikers and nature lovers can enjoy the hemlock-shaded gorges. The abundance of wildflowers and other amazing flora makes it a must-visit state park.

Area: 9.53 km2
Timings:
 7 AM–8 PM
Contact: +1 740-385-6842
Location: 19852 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138, US (Get Directions)

Caesar Creek State Park

Caesar Creek State Park

If you like being outdoors and enjoy spending time in natural settings then Caesar Creek State Park is one of the best state parks out there. It has a large lake, a spectacular wooded ravine and a somber meadow. This is a great park to bring your family and have a nice and enjoyable experience camping.

Besides camping and other lake-related activities like boating, swimming and fishing, you can also indulge in archery, hiking, picnicking, mountain biking and much more. It is a beautiful state park that you will have a great time visiting.

Area: 11.45 km²
Timings:
 8 AM–8 PM
Contact: +1 513-897-3055
Location: 8570 OH-73, Waynesville, OH 45068, US (Get Directions)

John Bryan State Park (River)

John Bryan State Park

John Bryan State Park offers some of the most scenic views among the Ohio State Parks. This is an all-season state park where you can visit it round the year and still have a lot of fun. It is known for its spectacular limestone gorge which was formed by the Little Miami River.

This gorge is a great place for hiking. It is a National Natural Landmark. Besides hiking, you can also partake in boating and fishing in the River. If you are looking for campgrounds in Ohio you will find designated campsites in this park.

Area: 3.043 km²
Timings:
8 AM–8:30 PM
Contact: +1 937-767-1274
Location: 3790 OH-370, Yellow Springs, OH 45387, US (Get Directions)

East Harbor State Park

East Harbor State Park

Another State Park that lies near Lake Erie is East Harbor State Park. It is one of the best State Parks in Ohio. It is a peninsula surrounded by the waters of Lake Erie. Another interesting feature of this park is that it lies close to the prairie marsh zone of Ohio.

If you are looking for Ohio State Parks camping options then East Harbor State Park is one of the parks you can set up camp in. You can also indulge in hiking, boating and fishing here. If you are a bird-watcher then you will enjoy the hundreds of birds that come here.

Area: 7.409 km²
Timings:
Open 24 hours
Contact: +1 419-734-4424
Location: 1169 N Buck Rd, Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440, US (Get Directions)


“Also Check: 20 Best Indiana State Parks Should be in Your Bucket List


Hueston Woods State Park

Hueston Woods State Park

Hueston Woods State Park has a bedrock of limestone and shale. This is one piece of evidence that Ohio was once covered by a shallow sea. Many collectors visit this park to collect fossilized remains of ancient marine animals. If you are looking for Ohio State Parks with lodges and cabins then you will enjoy the Hueston Woods State Park.

It has beautiful lodges and campsites that visitors can use. It has all the facilities. You can go boating, fishing, horseback riding and much more. As mentioned before you can try your luck at collecting fossils.

Area: 11.88 km²
Timings:
Open 24 hours
Contact: +1 513-523-6347
Location: 6301 Park Office Rd, College Corner, OH 45003, US (Get Directions)

Salt Fork State Park

Salt Fork State Park

If you want to see stunning landscapes of meadows, forested hills, valleys and beautiful winding streams then Salt Fork State Park is one of the perfect choices. It is located in eastern Ohio and encompasses thousands of acres of land and water. It is one of the perfect spots for any outdoor enthusiast.

There are many trails in the park. Any hiker will appreciate the surrounding landscape while hiking miles of trails. There is an 18-hole golf course. It is one of the state parks Ohio offers that have lodges, cabins and designated campsites. So, if you are looking for Ohio State Parks with cabins or lodges then this is a good choice.

Area: 69.723 km²
Timings:
 Open 24 hours
Contact: +1 740-432-1508
Location: 14755 Cadiz Rd, Lore City, OH 43755, US (Get Directions)

Maumee Bay State Park

Maumee Bay State Park

Maumee Bay State Park is a nice little place for people to relax during the weekends or when they want some outdoors fun. The landscape here is unique. It is also located near lake Erie which means wet woods and lush marshes. You can rest in the scenic meadows at this state park as well.

There is a nice resort lodge where you can book rooms. Guest rooms here have private balconies giving guests a beautiful view. If you are looking for Ohio State Parks Reservations for lodges and cabins you can book one for yourself at Maumee Bay State Park.

Area: 5.406 km²
Timings:
9 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 419-836-7758
Location: 1400 State Park Rd, Oregon, OH 43616, United States (Get Directions)

Punderson State Park

Punderson State Park

Punderson Lake is one of the largest and deepest lakes in Ohio. The State Park surrounding the lake has beautiful landscapes. This type of landscape is peculiar to places that have been eroded by large glaciers. This points to the fact that there was a large glacier that scraped across Ohio.

You can do all lake-related activities like fishing, boating, paddling, relaxing on the shoreline etc. Camping and hiking are allowed as well. There is a golf course for traditional golf and provisions for disc golf as well. Sledding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are also allowed.

Area: 2.998 km²
Timings:
8:30 AM–10 PM
Contact: +1 440-564-2279
Location: 11755 Kinsman Rd, Newbury Township, OH 44065, US (Get Directions)

Buck Creek State Park

Buck Creek State Park

The area that the Buck Creek State Park now stands on used to be the home to Native Americans and the early American settlers. The land here is fertile and was used for agriculture. There is a large reservoir in the park. If you are a fan of horsepower boating you will enjoy sailing on the waters here.

There is a pier near the reservoir making it a perfect spot for fishing enthusiasts. There are cabins here as well as modern campgrounds. So, you can bring your family to spend some nice time hunting, camping, boating, hiking, swimming etc.

Area: 15.03 km²
Timings:
6 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 937-322-5284
Location: 1976 Buck Creek Ln, Springfield, OH 45502, US (Get Directions)

Delaware State Park

Delaware State Park

Dense woodlands, expansive meadows, and a shimmering 1,300-acre reservoir blend to create an unforgettable outdoor adventure. The lake has a marina where there are ramps for launching paddle crafts as well as power crafts. This park is one of the state parks Ohio has to offer for nature lovers.

That’s because there’s an abundance of birds in the area which can provide decent opportunities for bird watchers. There’s an abundance of flora in the park as well. You can go to this park for picnics, swimming, boating, biking, playing disc golf and much more.

Area: 6.822 km²
Timings:
8 AM–8 PM
Contact: +1 740-548-4631
Location: 5202 U.S. Highway 23 North, Delaware, OH 43015, US (Get Directions)

Rocky Fork State Park

Rocky Fork State Park

Rocky Fork State Park exists in southwest Ohio. It is one of the state parks Ohio has that has some of the most naturally beautiful landscapes. If you love spending time outdoors during the weekends or during your vacation you will enjoy an excursion here. There’s a scenic gorge in the park premises along with multiple dolomite caves.

The beautiful lake that covers over 2,080 acres provides ample opportunities for water activities like boating and fishing. There are multiple fishing piers in the park. There are options to stay overnight as there are designated campsites, cabins etc.

Area: 14.01 km²
Timings:
9 AM–5 PM
Contact: +1 937-393-4284
Location: 9800 N Shore Dr, Hillsboro, OH 45133, US (Get Directions)

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park (waterfall)

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park

Doesn’t matter how old you are, the Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is going to provide an amazing experience whenever you visit it. There are waterfalls, rugged cliffs and scenic landscapes in the park. Thus, you have plenty of options to just let go and enjoy nature at its best.

There are some spectacular rock formations that can be amazing backdrops for photographs. There are some popular hiking trails in the park leading to the Old Maid’s Kitchen, Indian Pass and other popular spots. The authorities urge the visitors to always stay on the trail while hiking.

Contact: +1 330-235-0030
Location: 12440 OH-282, Garrettsville, OH 44231, US (Get Directions)

Deer Creek State Park

Deer Creek State Park

One of the best state parks in Ohio that can be used as a nice vacation destination is Deer Creek State Park. The stay options at the park are a mix of rustic and modern facilities to ensure that visitors can experience the wilderness while always being safe.

There is a nice resort in the park where you can reserve rooms for vacation. If you enjoy golf then you will have a nice experience golfing on the 18-hole course. There is a large campground for camping. You can also hike on the trails and go fishing.

Timings: 7 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 740-869-3124
Location: 20635 State Park Road 20, Mt Sterling, OH 43143, US (Get Directions)

West Branch State Park (Reservoir)

West Branch State Park

West Branch State Park offers a great experience to campers and hikers. The combination of woods and meadows can be traveled via bike, on horses or simply on foot. There are multiple scenic trails in the park that offer amazing experiences for hikers.

There’s even a trail that leads to the Buckeye Trail which is a 1,444-mile trail that loops around the state of Ohio. There’s a large reservoir in the park viz. Michael J. Kirwan Reservoir. It offers visitors all water-related fun activities like boating, swimming, and fishing. There are campgrounds and a seasonal marina as well.

Contact: +1 330-235-0030
Location: 5570 Esworthy Rd, Ravenna, OH 44266, US (Get Directions)

Findley State Park

Findley State Park

The Findley State Park in northeastern Ohio spreads across 838 acres. It has a dense wood mainly consisting of various hardwood trees and stately pines. No doubt, it used to be a state forest at some point. This park is popular with mountain bikers and hikers as there’s a nice trail system in the park that even has a link to the famous Buckeye Trail we mentioned before.

These trails offer amazing experiences to hikers and bikers in all seasons. The campground in the park has all the necessities and there are cabins that are available seasonally.

Timings: 6 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 440-647-4490
Location: 25381 OH-58, Wellington, OH 44090, US (Get Directions)


“Also Check: 55+ Best National Parks in the U.S. (Explore Nature)


Stonelick State Park

Stonelick State Park

If all you want from your outdoors excursion is a quiet and relaxing trip then STonelick State Park is perfect for it. It offers a quiet environment to visitors who would just like to sit beside the lake and enjoy its still waters. The woods in the park also offer a nice experience for nature lovers.

In total, the park encompasses over 1,058 acres of land and water. If you enjoy swimming, fishing or boating you can do that on the lake. The park offers a disc-golf course and also has decent camping grounds. So, if you are looking for campgrounds in Ohio you can visit this park.

Area: 5.090 km²
Contact: +1 866-644-6727
Location: 2895 Lake Dr, Pleasant Plain, OH 45162, US (Get Directions)

South Bass Island State Park

South Bass Island State Park - ohio state parks

South Bass Island State Park is one of the Ohio State Parks that sits next to Lake Erie. Lake Erie is one of the largest lakes and you can enjoy a nice view of it from this park.

Since there’s a lake on the park grounds all lake-related fun activities are allowed and the park has the necessary equipment and facilities for it. If you want to stay overnight in the park then you can either use the campground or book a camper cabin.

Timings: 10 AM–10 PM
Contact: +1 419-285-2112
Location: 1523 Catawba Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456, US (Get Directions)

East Fork State Park

East Fork State Park

The East Fork State Park is one of the largest Ohio State Parks. It covers over 4,870 acres of landscape, rivers, a lake, woods and much more. Due to its natural beauty which includes a large lake, winding rivers and rolling hills it offers the perfect getaway for people looking for some outdoor fun in a nice, calm and scenic location.

The park also offers different opportunities for recreational and natural history. You can go swimming, fishing or paddling in the lake. There are picnic shelters, a campground and a nature center. The park also has a large trail system.

Area: 19.70 km²
Contact: +1 513-734-4323
Location: 3294 Elklick Rd, Bethel, OH 45106, US (Get Directions)

Harrison Lake State Park

Harrison Lake State Park - ohio state parks

The Harrison Lake State Park is not as large as some of the other state parks Ohio has to offer. It covers around 142 acres and has a nice lake called Harrison Lake. This lake is very popular with swimmers and anglers. You can also go paddling in the lake.

There are overnight stay options in the park. You can go camping on designated campgrounds. There are electric campsites as well as non-electric ones. Pets are allowed on the campsites. You can relax in the park and enjoy watching birds as well.

Timings: 8 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 419-237-2593
Location: 26246 Harrison Lake Rd, Fayette, OH 43521, US (Get Directions)

Guilford Lake State Park

Guilford Lake State Park - ohio state parks

Guilford Lake State Park is a beautiful park with lush green landscapes and a large lake that was originally constructed as a canal feeder. The park offers a nice view of a serene lake with its calm waters. If you enjoy fishing then you can test your skills here.

There are many picnic areas near the lake. You can gather your friends and families for a nice excursion here. On the north side of the lake, you will find a nice campground. Next to the campground, there’s a playground and a swimming beach. 

Contact: +1 330-222-1712
Location: 6835 E Lake Rd, Lisbon, OH 44432, US (Get Directions)

Lake Loramie State Park

Lake Loramie State Park - ohio state parks

Lake Loramie State Park received the status of a state park in 1949. The construction of Lake Loramie took place sometime in the early 1820s. It was constructed as a reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal. The land surrounding the lake has campgrounds for guests.

You can easily camp here or rent a cabin. So, if you have been looking at options for Ohio State Parks camping then this is a nice one. At one point, this area used to be covered by a dense forest which was cut down for agriculture and other activities.

Area: 8.344 km²
Timings:
Open 24 hours
Contact: +1 937-295-2011
Location: 4401 Fort Loramie-Swanders Rd, Minster, OH 45865, US (Get Directions)

Cowan Lake State Park

Cowan Lake State Park - ohio state parks

Cowan Lake is a nice serene lake that offers scenic views to guests visiting the Cowan Lake State Park. The wooded shoreline is perfect for any nature lover to explore the flora of the area and check out various birds and insects. If you are interested in having some water-related fun like boating, swimming or fishing then you can do that as well.

There are some decent trails offering nice views as you hike through the Woodlands. For visitors planning to stay overnight, there are cozy campgrounds as well as deluxe family cabins.

Area: 4.350 km²
Timings:
Open 24 hours
Contact: +1 937-382-1096
Location: 1750 Osborn Rd, Wilmington, OH 45177, US (Get Directions)

Indian Lake State Park

Indian Lake State Park

The 19th century was the Ohio canal era. During this time there were many feeder lakes for different canals. The Indian Lake started off as a feeder lake. It was meant to feed the Miami and Erie Canal. Later, the lake and the area surrounding it became the Indian Lake State Park.

It is now a popular resort park that many visit for swimming, fishing, boating and jet skiing. If you are into watersports you will enjoy skiing in the waters of the lake. Besides these activities, one can also partake in picnicking and camping. 

Area: 3.237 km²
Timings:
6 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 937-843-2717
Location: 13156 OH-235, Lakeview, OH 43331, US (Get Directions)

Buckeye Lake State Park

Buckeye Lake State Park - ohio state parks

The Buckeye Lake State Park is the oldest state park in Ohio. It is also among the most popular state parks. You cannot go camping here or stay overnight. This park is mainly for day use only. Similar to the couple of lakes we saw earlier, Buckeye Lake was the feeder lake for the canal system in Ohio back in the early 19th century.

Though you cannot go camping here you can still have a lot of fun. The main attraction is the large lake that spreads across 3,100 acres. You can go boating and fishing here or just relax and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake.

Area: 13.55 km²
Timings:
Open 24 hours
Contact: +1 740-467-2690
Location: 2905 Leibs Island Rd NE, Millersport, OH 43046, US (Get Directions)

Portage Lakes State Park

Portage Lakes State Park - ohio state parks

The Portage Lakes State Park is not as big as some of the other entries on the list which cover double or triple the area. But regardless it offers a nice experience for people looking to partake in some outdoor recreational activities.

The 8 surrounding lakes provide opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and water skiing. If you don’t want to indulge yourself in those activities you can just relax next to a lake and watch birds. You can also go hunting if you are into that. 

Timings: 8 AM–11 PM
Contact: +1 330-644-2220
Location: 5031 Manchester Rd, Akron, OH 44319, US (Get Directions)

Mosquito Lake State Park

Mosquito Lake State Park

One of the largest lakes in Ohio is Mosquito Lake which has a surface area of more than 7,000 acres. The parkland surrounding the lake spreads across 2,483 acres and consists of expansive marshes and mature woodlands. This environment acts as a safe haven for wildlife.

So, if you are interested in viewing birds and wildlife you will get your fix here. The lake offers opportunities for boating and fishing. In winter, you can indulge yourself in snowmobiling in the park. There are some decent hiking trails as well.

Contact: +1 330-637-2856
Location: 1439 Wilson Sharpsville Rd, Cortland, OH 44410, US (Get Directions)

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park - ohio state parks

The Grand Lake St. Mary’s was originally dug by hand to act as a feeder reservoir for the Miami and Erie Canal in Ohio. It was back then the largest reservoir in the world.

The lake offers scenic views and you can go fishing or boating. Overnight stays are allowed in the park. There are designated campgrounds that you can use.

Location: St Marys Township, OH 45885, USA (Get Directions)

Conclusion:

The State Parks Ohio offers outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers some of the most beautiful and scenic landscapes. We should try our best to ensure that these parks keep providing generations of people the same amazing experience that we have. So, try not to litter the park or do anything dangerous like lighting a fire where you are not supposed to.

Besides that, we suggest you follow all the rules and regulations set by authorities. The state has maintained these parks for years and has a good idea about what can and cannot be safe for visitors. The rules have been drafted to ensure that visitors have a fun and comfortable experience while staying safe. While hiking it is strictly advised to stay on the trail.

The parks are heavily wooded and you might lose your sense of direction and get lost if you venture deep into the forest without following any trail. Ohio is one of the few states in the country that has still kept its park free for visitors. There is no entry or parking fee. You do have to pay for booking a cabin or a room in the park lodge but hiking, boating and fishing are generally free. We wish you a safe and exciting trip to one of the state parks.

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