Posted on: February 26, 2021
Whether your neighborhood is urban, suburban, or rural, your next outdoor getaway is just a short drive away. From the shores of Lake Erie to the rugged terrain of the Mohican region, Ohio’s state park system offers a variety of scenery and activities.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend, an adrenaline-pumping adventure, or something in between, Ohio State Parks has something for everyone. Once you start exploring, you might not want to leave, but there’s good news: affordable cabins and lodges make it easy to turn an afternoon excursion into a weekend getaway.
plan ahead: It’s never too early to start planning. ODNR recommends booking cabin reservations several months in advance, especially for summer or fall visits. Depending on the time of year, lodge reservations allow for more spontaneity; For last-minute plans, consider a mid-week stay. To make lodge and cabin reservations, visit greatohiolodges.com or call 800-At-A-Park. For camping and other cabin reservations, visit reserveohio.com.
East Harbor State Park
Luxury at the lake
Beach days aren’t just for Southern trips. Plan a day of freshwater fun in Northwest Ohio.
Located on the shores of Lake Erie just 20 minutes from Toledo, Maumee Bay State Park lures visitors with carefree outdoor pursuits. Book a night in a private cabin or stay in the lodge with rooms overlooking the lake and access to indoor and outdoor pools.
On sunny weekends, pack a bathing suit and a good book for a day at the park’s swimming beaches. Take to the water in a rented boat, or stay on land and bike the paved trails.
Weave your way through swamps teeming with wildlife by following a boardwalk. The trail brings you closer to nature and is fully accessible to new hikers, families with strollers, and visitors with mobility equipment. For an interactive experience, walk the Storybook Trail, where creative stories unfold as you explore.
According to Maumee Bay naturalist Lauren Broddrick, you’re likely to see deer, foxes, and even turtles along the trails. To see Broddrick’s favorite creatures, look up at the sky. Colorful birds flock to the park in spring and autumn.
Lake Erie Birding Trail: The scenery of Maumee Bay, particularly the wetlands, provides a stopover during spring and fall migrations. More than 300 bird species have been documented in the state park. Colorful neotropical species can be seen in spring and a variety of shorebirds and waterfowl in autumn. Learn more.
“It’s quite amazing,” says Maumee Bay naturalist Lauren Broddrick, “the birds are so focused on fueling up for migration that they don’t care that people are watching.” She adds that You don’t need any experience or equipment to enjoy this connection with nature.
More to see: Continue east along Lake Erie and visit the island parks. Learn about coastal history at Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. Experience a different view of Lake Erie by staying on the far eastern shore at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake in the heart of Ohio’s wine country.
Relax and rejuvenate
Immersing yourself in nature doesn’t have to mean battling the elements. When you visit Punderson State Park in Newbury, Ohio, you can stay in a cozy English Tudor-style mansion and still have access to beautiful hiking trails and a 150-acre glacial lake. The lodge, with its charming period decor, will quickly feel like a home away from home. Some rooms offer distinctive features that give the lodge a quaint bed and breakfast feel. Furnished two-bedroom cabins, including pet-friendly units, are also available for a comfortable getaway to nature.
Enjoy a peaceful stroll on the promenade or take a moderate hike through the rolling countryside. There is a lot to see, but you should put Punderson Lake at the top of your list. Enjoy the view or partake in swimming, fishing and boating. The outdoor fun continues with disc golf and matches on the championship golf course – notorious for its challenging but beautiful terrain.
Even as the seasons change, Punderson remains a perfect spot for a relaxing weekend away. Bundle up and enjoy the fresh snow as hiking trails become trails for cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling. Then warm up by the cozy fireplace in the lodge.
Bring Fido with you: When your furry friends are on a leash, they are welcome in Ohio State Park areas such as campgrounds, hiking trails, and picnic areas. Some of our deluxe cabins also offer pet-friendly accommodations. Remember that pets are not welcome on swimming beaches, nature reserves or in buildings.
Know before you go: Trying a park for the first time? Find out more about the park’s facilities at ohiostateparks.gov or on the park’s Facebook page. Watch videos on the ODNR YouTube channel. Do you have anymore questions? Call the park office – the staff at ODNR will help you plan a great getaway!
More to see: For more lake activities, visit Pymatuning State Park in Ashtabula County and Mosquito Lake State Park in Cortland. Explore the trails on foot, horseback or bike in Ravenna’s West Branch State Park. Pack a picnic and eat near the scenic quarry or hike the natural rock formations at Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park in Garrettsville.
Mohican State Park
Follow winding roads through a forest of towering hemlocks, past sandstone bluffs and the 300-foot-deep Clearfork Gorge, and you’ll quickly discover why adventurous souls flock to Mohican State Park in Loudonville. There is no shortage of exciting opportunities to explore this unique landscape.
“The Mohican region offers both recreational and rugged outdoor activities,” said Josh Gardner, ODNR’s Central District Manager. “Boating, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and biking are all within a short drive (or walk) from Mohicans Lodge or Cabins.”
Grab a canoe and paddle down the Mohican River, fun for beginners and paddlers alike. Explore the area on two wheels by trying out the 25-mile Mohican Mountain Bike Trail—the only attraction in Ohio rated “epic” by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Trot across the trails on horseback on one of the many bridle paths. Standing on your own feet is also an adventure in this terrain. The Hogwash Trail takes you to the 125-foot Fire Tower for a bird’s-eye view of the park. The Little Lyons Falls Trail takes you to natural waterfalls that are as beautifully frozen in winter as they flow in spring.
Stay the weekend and try everything. For a more down-to-earth experience, reserve a private cabin in wooded seclusion on the banks of the Mohican State Scenic River. Book a room at Mohican Lodge for access to indoor and outdoor pools, games and a lounge.
Leave no trace: Visitors are encouraged to minimize their impact on Ohio’s natural landscapes. Please put rubbish in its place or practice “carry in, carry out” if rubbish bins are not available.
More to see: Take a short drive to nearby Malabar Farm State Park. Learn about the park’s history from Hollywood visitors in the 1930s and about sustainable farming at the former home of writer Louis Bromfield. Visit in early spring to witness maple syrup production and greet baby animals on the working farm.
To make lodge and cabin reservations, visit greatohiolodges.com or call 800-At-A-Park. For camping and other cabin reservations, visit reserveohio.com.