Legislators over the years have set aside some of Ohio's more scenic areas for public use. The parks are scattered all over the State to give access to all. To the North, the Parks around Lake Erie have some of the best beaches and camping areas. Many have boat launches. Inland, most are in forest areas and offer outstanding amenities to campers, picknickers, boaters and horsemen.
If you are visiting Ohio, visiting any of the Parks may be a great choice at reasonable cost. Fees vary from park to park, but all are very affordable. All are open to the public.
Ohio has approx. 57 State Parks that provide places to sleep, some provide year around camping, showers, swimming, boat rental, bike rental, horse camps, sport fishing and a variety of other activities. Some of those that provide a place to sleep are listed below.
For camping and getaway rental reservations on any of Ohio's Parks tel. 1-866-644-6727.
Beaver Creek State ParkColumbiana County, 12021 Echo Dell Road, East Liverpool. 53 non-electric camp sites, horseman's camp, Little Beaver Creek canoe trips, fishing, sixteen miles of hiking trails and two mountain biking technical trails.
Findley Lake State Park southern Lorain County, 25381 State Route 58, Wellington, 272 non-electric camp sites, fully stocked camp store, sand volleyball, basketball court, two horseshoe pits, 93-acre lake, two launch ramps, canoes, rowboats, paddleboats and ten miles of hiking trails.
Geneva State Park, Ashtabula County, 4499 Padanarum Road, Geneva. A full facility campground with electricity, showers and flush toilets. Deluxe Cedar Cabins on the Lake Erie lakefront, six-lane boat ramp, canteen, concession area, 383 docks, three miles of multi-use trails, 300-foot guarded swimming beach and Geneva Lake Resort Lodge and Conference Center.
Guilford Lake State Park, Columbiana County, 6835 East Lake Road, Lisbon. On the west fork of the Little Beaver Creek, 41 electric camp sites, play area, fishing dock, drinking water, showers, flush toilets, picnic tables, fire-rings, launching ramps, seasonal dock rentals, 600-foot public swimming beach, bathhouse, changing booths, showers, volleyball, basketball courts, horseshoe pits.
Jefferson Lake State ParkJefferson County, 501 Twp. Rd. 261A, Richmond. 97 non-electric camp sites, latrines, water fountains, picnic tables, fire rings, public beach, bathhouse, showers, toilets, fishing, hunting, volleyball, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, eighteen miles of multiple-use trails through the park for hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers, any season.
Mosquito Lake State Park, Trumbull County, 1439 State Route 305, Cortland. 234 campsites, 218 have electrical hookups, boat launching area, unlimited horsepower boating on 7,850-acre lake, fishing, hunting, several hiking trails, ten miles of bridle trails, snowmobilers access to 14 miles of shoreline and 15 miles of wooded trails, mountain biking is permitted on 5 miles of multiple-use trail, basketball, volleyball, horseshoe courts and 600-foot beach.
Portage Lakes State ParkSummit County, 5031 Manchester Rd., Akron. 74 non-electric campsites, 400 horsepower limit on lake, 8 boat launch ramps, boat rentals, fishing, hunting, beach, five miles of hiking trails, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, basketball court, hunting waterfowl in designated areas.
Punderson State Park, Geauga County, 11755 Kinsman Rd., Newbury. Natural lake, resort manor house, family cottages, golf course, winter sports park, sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, 196-site campground, showerhouses, flush toilets, electricity, pet camping, twenty-six cottages, manor house features a dining room, meeting rooms, outdoor, indoor swimming pools, championship-rated, 18-hole public golf course, pro shop, boat rentals, fishing, fourteen miles of hiking trails, tennis court, volleyball, basketball courts and cross country ski trails
Pymatuning State Park, Ashtabula County on the north part of the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. 6260 Pymatuning Lake Rd., Andover. Twenty-six family cottages, thirty-two standard cottages, beach, 331 camping sites have electric hookups, 21 sites are non-electric, nature center, basketball, volleyball courts, playgrounds, 14,000 acre lake, five boat-launch ramps, fishing, hunting, two miles of well marked trails, ice skating, ice boating, ice fishing and cross-country skiing.
West Branch State Park, Portage County 5708 Esworthy Road, Ravenna. 29 full service camping sites, 155 camping sites with 50-amp electric hook-ups, 14 non-electric sites, heated showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities, 700-foot sand beach, showerhouse, change booth, snack bar, year-round fishing, hunting, 2,650 acres lake, twelve miles of hiking trails, twenty miles of bridle trails, horse camp, playground and volleyball court
East Harbor State Park, Northeast part of Ottawa County on the north part of Catawba Island, off of Route 63, on the shores of Lake Erie. 365 electric sites, 205 non-electric sites, showers, flush toilets, dump station, launch ramp, camp store, pet camping, two Rent-A-RV units on full-service sites, two deluxe camper cabins, dock rentals, restaurant, marina, fishing, hunting, 7-mile trail, volleyball, basketball, horseshoe courts, playground equipment and a 1,500-foot sand beach.
Harrison Lake State Park, Fulton County, 26246 Harrison Lake Road, Fayette. 175 campsites, 150 have electric hook-ups, showers, flush toilets, two Rent-A-Yurt units, non-powered watercraft, fishing, 3.5-mile hiking trail , volleyball, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, swimming, fishing, and canoeing.
Kelleys Island State Park, Erie County on Kelleys Island. 45 non-electric, 82 electric sites, showers, flush toilets, volleyball court, six miles of hiking trails, North Pond Nature Preserve, North Shore Nature Preserve, picnic areas, a picnic shelter, launch ramps, fishing, 100-foot swimming beach and hunting. Kelleys Island can be reached by ferry from Sandusky or Marblehead Peninsula.
Maumee Bay Lodge
Mary Jane Thurston State Park, Henry County, northeast of McClure at 1-466 State Route 65, on the Maumee River. 35 non-electric campsites, twenty miles of open water for boating, two launch ramps, marina, fishing, hunting, one-mile portion of the Buckeye Trail, six miles of trails in the North Turkeyfoot Area, backpacking, horseback riding or mountain biking.
Maumee Bay State Park and Resort Lodge, Lucas County, east of Toledo, and northeast of Oregon on the shores of Lake Erie, five miles south of the Michigan state line and 20 miles south of the Ontario , Canada border in Lake Erie. Resort lodge with racquetball courts, game room, saunas, whirlpools, indoor, outdoor pools, conference and meeting rooms, dining room,lounge, and a snack bar. Resort cottages. 252 campsites, showerhouses, flush toilets, electricity, playground equipment, fishing, three Rent-A-Camp units, Rent-A-Yurt, five miles of asphalt trails, bird feeding, cross-country skiing, winter nature walks, ice skating, sledding, 32-slip marina, 57-acre inland lake, sailing, canoeing, canoes, paddle boats, row boats, and sailboats are available for rent, two sand beaches, concession area, changing booths, amphitheater, 18-hole "Scottish Links" style golf course, pro-shop, nature center, butterfly gardens, bike rental, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, bike rental, basketball and volleyball courts.
Malabar Farm State Park, Ashland County, 4050 Bromfield Road, Lucas.  15 Primitive campsites and over 12 miles of back-country trails.The original Bromfield home is now a 19-bed hostel.
Mohican State Park and Lodge, southern Ashland County. Lodge: 96 air-conditioned rooms, private balcony, color television. The lodge has private meeting, banquet rooms, dining room, sauna, gift shop, lounge, olympic-size indoor and outdoor pools. Cabins: Twenty-five two-bedroom family cottages, heated, utensils, towels, bed linens and blankets Camping: 120 campsites, electricity, fire rings, picnic tables, full service hookups available at 33 campsites. The main campground has showers, flush toilets, dump station. Hemlock Grove campground has 24 non-electric sites, pit latrines, tables and fire rings. Two camper cabins, equipped with bunk, double beds, a mini refrigerator and fan, can be rented. Other aminities: 13 miles of trails, forest, two waterfalls, scenic wooden bridge and lake.
Van Buren State Park, northern Hancock County, north of Findlay, east of Van Buren at 12259 Township Rd. 218. 27 non-electric sites, tables, fire rings, pit latrines, drinking water, playground, outdoor amphitheater, horseshoe pit, hiking, multi-purpose trail, nature center, lake, pet camping, horseman’s camp with 33 non-electric campsites, fishing, hunting, fishing, hunting, volleyball courts and horseshoe pits.
Alum Creek State Park, Delaware County, 3615 S. Old State Road, Delaware, 289 family campsites acres of water, 289 campsites, volleyball courts, beach, basketball, horseshoe courts, and playground equipment. Four acre dog park with water access, forty miles of horse/hiking trails along the lakeshore, primitive camping for horsepeople, two mountain bike trails, 3,387 acre lake with unlimited horsepower, hunting, fishing, picnic areas, tables, grills, restrooms, 3,000-foot beach, changing area and concession stand.
Barkcamp State Park, Belmont County, south of I-70, exit 208, off of SR 147 at Belmont Lake, about 20 miles west of the West Virginia/Ohio State lines. 125 electrified campsites, hot showers, tables, firerings, two wheelchair accessible sites, 25-site horseman's camp, horse washing station, accessible mounting ramp, pet camping, two deluxe Camper Cabins, boats with electric motors only, boat tie-ups, launch ramp, boat rentals, fishing, hunting, 700-foot beach, seven picnic areas, tables, grills, water, latrines, picnic shelterhouses, miles of hiking trails and a barn with naturalist activities and historical displays.
Blue Rock State Park southeastern Muskingum County, southeast of Zanesville off of Route 60. 94 non-electric campsites, pet camping, latrines, picnic tables, water, dump station, fire rings, showers, beach, bathhouse, three camper cabins, camp store, 15-acre lake, fishing, hunting, several miles of hiking trails, horsemen - 26 miles of bridle trails, volleyball, basketball courts, horseshoe pit, playground, all adjacent to the 4,573 acres, Blue Rock State Forest.
Delaware State Park, Delaware County, 5202 U.S. 23 North, Delaware, PH:740-369-2761, . 211 electric sites suitable for tents or trailers. Flush toilets, showers, laundry facilities and a dump station. Boat launch, beach, fishing. About 20 miles North of Columbus of SR 23.
Dillon State Park, northwest Muskingum County, northwest of Zanesville on Route 146. Cottages 29 family cottages, air conditioning, cable television, gas heat, two bedrooms, bath, living room, all-electric kitchen, dining area, screened porch, linens, towels, kitchen utensils furnished. Camping: 195 campsites, 183 have electric, flush toilets, showers, dump station, commissary, laundromat. Boating, unlimited horsepower, two boat ramps, one hundred 20 and 24 foot docks for rent, nightly docks, 1,360-foot swimming beach, fishing, hunting, lighted trap and skeet fields with high, low, and combination houses, 100-yard rifle range, 25-yard pistol range with firing line shelter, restrooms and meeting space and 15 miles of wooded bridle trails.
Indian Lake State ParkLogan County, 12774 State Route 235 N, Lakeview. 441 campsites suitable for tents/trailers. Beach, boat ramp, boat docks, 5,800-acre lake, unlimited horsepower boating, seasonal naturalist program, playgrounds, miniature golf, basketball, volleyball, bicycle and boat rental.
Lake Loramie State Park, Shelby County, 4401 Ft. Loramie Swanders Rd., Minster. 161 campsites with electrical hookups, may are staded waterfront sites, showers, flush toilets, boat tie-ups, unlimited horsepower boat motors, dock rentals, launch ramps, fishing, hunting, eight miles of trail and a 600-foot sandy beach.
Mt. Gilead State Park, Morrow County, 4119 State Route 95, Mount Gilead. 59 year around camp sites with electrical hookups, two small lakes, double volleyball court, horseshoe pits and playground.
Salt Fork State Park and Resort Lodge, northern Guernsey County, southeast of Cambridge. Exit 47 off of I-77 to Route 22 East. to Route 285 North. Lodge: 148 guest rooms, dining room, coffee shop, snack bar, gift shop, lounge and lobby areas, indoor game area, meeting rooms, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, sauna, tennis, volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard courts, 400-foot swimming beach, boat launching and docking facilities. Cottages: Thirty-seven two-bedroom cottages, fully furnished living and dining areas, kitchen, cooking and eating utensils, bath, shower, screened porch. Seventeen chalet cottages, gas log fireplaces and hot tubs, available year-round. Camping: 192 sites with electricity, twenty full-service campsites offer sewer and water hookups, heated shower houses, flush toilets, dump station, a separate beach, boat launching and docking facilities for campers. Pet camping. Other amenities: 18-hole golf course,golf shop, snack bar, driving range and putting green. Fishing, hunting, 2,500-foot beach, bathhouse, showers, lockers, toilets and snack bar, two marinas, 469 rental docks, comfort stations, gasoline fuel stations, parking facilities, concession areas, variety of rental boats.
Burr Oak State Park and Resort Lodge, Athens County, north of Glouster and east/adjacent to the Wayne National Forest off of Route 13. A variety of overnight accommodations, lodge, cottages and campground. Lodge: Sixty guest rooms, five meeting rooms, a dining room, full-service lounge, gift shop, swimming beach, tennis courts, playground equipment, boat launch ramp and indoor pool. Cottages: 30 family cottages, air conditioning, cable tv, sleeps six people, bath/shower, living room, complete kitchen, dining area, screened porch. Linens, towels, cooking, eating utensils are furnished. Camping: 100 non-electric campsites, showers, flush toilets, twenty one primitive sites, pet camping. Fishing, hunting, swimming, beach, bathhouse, showers, changing booths, snack bar, twenty-eight miles of hiking trails, Burr Oak Backpack Trail, horseshoe court and playground.
Forked Run State Park, east Meigs County, south of the Bellville Dam on the Ohio River and north of Long Bottom on Route 124. 80 campsites with 50-amp electric, 71 non-electric sites, showers, pet camping, three camper cabins, ten horsepower limit on boat motors, three launch ramps, Ohio River Access, access launch ramps, boat tie-ups, restrooms, 400-foot sand beach, three hiking trails, disc golf course, miniature golf course, volleyball, horseshoes, tetherball, and playgrounds.
Great Seal State Park, Ross County, 635 Rocky Rd., Chillicothe. 15-site campground, pressurized water, vault latrines, playground, shelterhouse, pet camping, shelterhouse, horse camp, twenty-two miles of trails, hunting, playground equipment, disc golf course, volleyball, basketball, horseshoe court.
Hocking Hills State Park, Hocking County, south of Gibsonville on Route 374. Cottages: 40 gas-heated, air-conditioned cottages, two bedrooms, bath, shower, living room, gas-burning fireplace, microwave, complete kitchen, dining area and screened porch. Camping: 159 electric sites, with electric, 13 non-electric sites, heated showers, flush toilets, laundry facility, camp store, swimming pool, playgrounds, volleyball court, horse shoe pit. Dining Lodge (Seasonal): restaurant, meeting rooms, TV lounge, game room, snack bar, outside swimming pool, there are no sleeping facilities at the lodge. Other amenities: miles of trail, picnicking, recess caves, Old Man's Cave and Ash Cave.
Jackson Lake State Park, southern Jackson County, west of Oak Hill on Route 93. 34 electric campsites, beach, pet camping, ten-horsepower limit, launch ramps, boat rentals, fishing, volleyball courts, playground equipment, horseshoe pits, and shelter houses.
Lake Alma State Park, southeastern tip of Vinton County, northeast of Wellston on Route 93, adjacent to part of the Wayne National Forest. 72 wooded campsites with electrical hookups, eleven non-electric sites, pet camping, pit latrines, tables, fire rings, drinking water, boat launch ramp for non-powered boats, fishing, 3.5 miles of trail, 1-mile paved walkway/bicycle path, three picnic shelters, two public beaches, change booths, beach, concession, boat and bicycle rentals, volleyball, basketball courts, and a playground.
Lake Hope State Park, eastern Vinton County, qpprox. 20 miles west of Athens. Lake Hope State Park is entirely within the 26,824-acre Zaleski State Forest and adjacent to part of the Wayne National Forest. Dining lodge: destroyed by fire 2006. Being rebuilt. Cottages: 72 cottages, all cottages have linens, towels, complete kitchens, microwave ovens, heat, air conditioning, outdoor grills and fire rings. Camping: 219-site campground, heated showerhouses, pit latrines, waste disposal, laundry facilities, picnic tables, fire rings, forty-six sites have electric hookups, pet camping, three Rent-A-Camp units, one camper-cabin, one Rent-A-Tepee. Boats with electric motors only, 120 acre lake, canoes, kayaks, and rowboats, available for rent. Swimming beach, beachhouse, sun deck, restrooms, concession building, fishing, hunting, seventeen miles of hiking trails, 21-mile backpack trail with primitive campsites, thirty-three miles of bridle trail and 23-mile singletrack bike trail.
Muskingum River State Park, Muskingum County, near Zanesville, at Ellis Campground, 1390 Ellis Dam Road. At Lock 11, there are 20 campsites off State Route 60 and County Road 49, water, picnic tables, fire rings, pet camping, there are eight boaters-only, primitive campsites at Lock #5. Boats with unlimited horsepower motors, house boats, pontoon boats, canoes and rowboats travel the river. Public launch ramps, at Locks 4, 5, 6 and 11, private ramps located near Locks 2, 7 and 10. Picnic tables, grills, latrines, drinking water and ten locks on the river.
Pike Lake State Park, Pike County, southwest of Chillicothe on Route 41. Camping: 80 sites with electricity, latrines, tables, fire rings, camp commissary, pet camping. Cottages: 12 standard cottages, 12 family cottages, heated, air-conditioned, two bedrooms, bath with shower, living room, with hide-a-bed, gas log fireplace, kitchen/dining area, screened porch, dishes, kitchen utensils, linens, a group lodge offers kitchen facilities, two baths, sleeping accommodations for 16 people. 13-acre lake, sand beach, changing areas, showers, vending machines, boating, non-powered watercraft and boats with electric motors only, rowboats, canoes and pedal boats are available for rent, playgrounds, basketball courts, horseshoes, disc golf, six miles of hiking trails, the Lake White State Park and Paint Creek State Park are adjacent and have several miles of bridle trails.
Scioto Trail State Park, Ross County, south of Chillicothe, east of Route 23 on CR 372. 55 campsites, 40 with electricity, latrines, water, fire rings, picnic tables are provided. A secluded hike-in camp near Stewart Lake has 18 non-electric sites. Two rustic camper cabins are available. Fishing, hunting, twelve miles of hiking trails, 17 miles of bridle trails, nature center, basketball, horseshoe courts, playground, games and sporting equipment to registered campers, basketball, horseshoe courts and volleyball court.
Shawnee State Park and Resort Lodge, Scioto County, west of Portsmouth on Route 125. Shawnee State Park is located in the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. Lodge: fifty guest rooms, elegant dining room, meeting rooms, indoor, outdoor pools, game room, sauna, jacuzzi, tennis, basketball and shuffleboard courts. Cottages: 25 family, two bedrooms, bath, shower, living room, double-wide rollaway bed, complete kitchen, microwave, telephone, dining area, screened porch, charcoal grill. Two premium cottages offer Jacuzzis. Lodge facilities are open to cottage guests. Camping: 107 campsites, electric hookups, waste disposal, heated shower houses, flush toilets, laundry facilities, pet camping, 38 campsite horsemen's campground with latrines, near Bear Lake. 75 miles of bridle trails, several nature trails, one to two miles in length. Swimming, golf and much more.
Stouds Run State Park, Athens County, east of Athens, on Route 690 , inside of Wayne National Forest on Dow Lake. 75 non-electric campsites, picnic tables and fire rings, pet camping, three Rent-A-Camp sites, boating, fishing, hunting, fifteen miles of hiking trails, birdwatching, nature study, 8-1/2 mile bridle trail, 900-foot sand beach, change booths, drinking water, restrooms, scuba diving with proper equipment, picnic tables, cooking grates, three shelterhouses, basketball court, playground equipment, boat rentals, volleyball court and another playground.
Tar Hollow State Park, east part of Ross County, east of Chillicothe, at 16396 Tar Hollow Road, Laurelville, 71 sites with electrical hookups, 11 non-electric sites, 12 walk-in sites, and 5 primitive sites along a backpack trail. Equipped with showers, laundry facilities, pit latrines and a dump station. The beach is close by. Boating with electric motors only, permitted on the 15-acre Pine Lake. Perfect for canoes and rowboats.
Wolf Run State Park, Noble County, south of Cambridge east of I-77 exit 28. 71 electric and 67 non-electric campsites located on the south shore of the lake. Showers, laundry facilities, fire rings. A 20-site primitive fly-in camping area on north side of the lake, within walking distance of the 4,700-foot runway at Noble County Airport. Hunting, fishing, a 3-mile section of the Buckeye Trail, half-mile loop trail at the nature center, 1.5-mile Lakeview Trail, swimming beach, basketball hoop, playground equipment, games, sporting equipment for registered campers.
A.W. Marion State Park, Pickaway County, 7317 Warner-Huffer Road, Circleville. 58 wooded camp sites, tent and trailer camping, 145 acres of water restocked with largemouth bass, muskellunge, bluegill and channel catfish., boat launch ramps and public docks, excellent squirrel hunting.
Buck Creek State Park
Caeser Creek State Park
Cowan Lake State Park
Deer Creek Resort and Conference Center, southwest Pickaway County, east of Circleville, 20635 Waterloo Road, Mt. Sterling. 3,100 acre retreat with lodge, rooms, cottages or historic Harding Cabin. Dining in a lakeview restaurant, marina, lake and golf course.
East Fork State Park
Hueston Woods State Park
John Bryant State Park
Kiser Lake State Park
Paint Creek State Park
Rocky Fork State Park
Stonelick State Park
During hunting season, wear brightly-colored clothing if you go into the woods.
If you are backpacking, biking or any off-road adventure, register with the Park Office. Make sure you call or visit on the way out. It only makes sense, you may get lost, or break something. Cell phones may not work in these areas.
This is a usable article. It touches on all the major areas of the topic. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!