20 Ohio State Parks

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Bordered by Lake Erie in the north and surrounded by six other states, Ohio has 75 state parks in its system. With so many parks, knowing where to start is a bit of a tricky task. From island parks to Lake Erie shoreline parks and ones close to the capital Columbus there’s something for everyone on this list. Visit these 20 Ohio state parks and you’ll want to come back for more. What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to the Buckeye State!

Ohio State Parks

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History Along the Maumee: A Self Guided Driving Tour in Ohio
Follow the Maumee River and visit Maumee Bay State Park in Ohio.

20 State Parks In Ohio 

1-  Maumee Bay State Park

In northwest Ohio, close to the banks of Lake Eerie, you will find Maumee Bay State Park.

This state park is a wonderful spot for nature lovers, with more than 300 bird species, marches, woodlands, meadows and of course Lake Eerie.

It’s a fantastic place to explore, relax or both!

This state park has many amenities including a resort lodge with a beautiful heart shaped swimming pool that has views looking out over the lake.

If the lodge isn’t quite your style, then you can also rent one of the cabins or stay at the campground.

There’s a fun inland lake that you can walk around as well as a nature center and a boardwalk trail.

Popular activities at the park include archery, boating, fishing, golf, swimming (there are two sand beaches) and hiking.

Maumee Bay State Park is at 1400 State Park Rd, Oregon, OH 43616.

2- Wolf Run State Park

Wolf Run State Park is around 1 hour 45 minutes east of Columbus and just shy of two hours from Pittsburgh across the border in Pennsylvania.

This 1,000 acre (405 ha) park is on the banks of Wolf Run Lake covered in quiet woodlands and is in the heart of Appalachia.

If you are looking for a peaceful Ohio retreat then this is an excellent spot.

Activities at Wolf Run State Park include hiking, fishing, hunting and boating.

There’s also a 200-foot (61 m) swimming beach on the south of the river.

There are a couple of trails solely within the park, the longest of which is one mile, but the Buckeye Trail that is partially in the park is 3.5 miles (5.6 km).

Wolf Run State Park is at 16170 Wolf Run Rd, Caldwell, OH 43724.

3- Alum Creek State Park

If you are searching for a state park that is just outside of Columbus then Alum Creek State Park is a fantastic option just a 25-minute drive from downtown Columbus.

Set on the southwest side of Alum Creek Lake this park is where locals and visitors come for boating and camping.

Some of the best activities on the lake include jet skiing, fishing, swimming, boating and paddle boarding.

There’s also an 18-hole disk golf course at the New Galena Launch Ramp.

If you’ve never tried disc golf then you must give it a go as it’s super fun.

There are also a number of hiking trails to enjoy, the longest of which is the Rocks to Roots Trial which is 4.1 miles.

Alum Creek State Park is at 3400 Lewis Center Rd, Lewis Center, OH 43035.

4- John Bryan State Park

John Bryan State Park is just 30 minutes east of Dayton and under an hour from Columbus.

One of the biggest reasons why people visit John Bryan state park is because of the Little Miami River gorge which is a National Natural Landmark.

There are a series of hiking trails throughout the park that allow you to explore the gorge and the waterfall.

Whether you visit in summer or winter this park offers a fun space to enjoy nature.

You can go boating on the Little Miami River or fish for smallmouth bass and rock bass.

There are also a number of short hiking trails as well as nearly 10 miles of mountain biking pathways.

John Bryan State Park is at 3790 OH-370, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.

5- Catawba Island State Park

Catawba Island State Park is right on one of Ohio’s Great Lakes, Lake Erie, and is technically an island state park.

With Lake Erie as the focus many of the state parks activities revolve around the water.

From boating to kayaking, fishing and swimming this is an excellent state park for the whole family.

The parks’ open green spaces and beautiful views across Lake Erie make this a lovely outdoor spot.

This is not just the park for the warmer months in winter you can even go ice skating and ice fishing if the conditions are right.

Catawba Island State Park is at 4049 E Moores Dock Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452.

6- Delaware State Park

Delaware State Park is another recreation area just outside of the city of Columbus.

In fact, Delaware State Park is only around 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Columbus.

Being so close to the big city it’s amazing the feeling of peace that is evoked at Delaware State Park.

This state park consists of Woodlands Meadows and 1300-acre (526 ha) reservoir.

You can rent out kayaks and canoes and pick up fishing supplies at the tackle shop.

The park even has a 800 foot (244 m) swimming beach that’s perfect for splashing around or relaxing.

The park offers several short trails, the longest of which is 1.6 miles (2.5 km).

In winter these trails turn into excellent cross-country skiing trails and sledding hills.

The reservoir has its own marina where you can launch boats from, either your own or rented ones.

Delware State Park is at 5202 US-23, Delaware, OH 43015.

7- Salt Fork State Park

East of Ohio around 10 minutes’ drive from Cambridge, Salt Fork State Park is the largest state park in Ohio.

At 17,000 acres (6880 ha), owing to its size and location this state park has everything you will need for a fun weekend away.

From hiking to swimming and snowmobiling in the winter there’s no end to the fun.

The park is situated around Salt Fork Lake and offers water and land activities.

There are two marinas with eight launch ramps.

All horsepower boats are allowed on the lake but there are designated speed boat and water-skiing zones.

Other water activities include the swimming beach which is one of the biggest in inland Ohio.

Golfers will enjoy the 18-hole golf course complete with a practice putting green.

Head to the main beach area and you can visit the Salt Fork Nature Center which has a number of animal displays and interactive exhibits.

Salt Fork State Park is at 14755 Cadiz Rd, Lore City, OH 43755.

8- East Harbor State Park

East Harbor State Park is on the shores of Lake Erie less than 10 minutes from Lakeside Marblehead.

This lovely state park has you feeling like you are by the sea, not an inland lake.

This park is on the edge of the prairie marsh zone which are the last wetlands of the Great Black Swamp which used to cover a distance of 120 miles (193 km) and is 35 miles (56 km) wide.

The wetlands have attracted a variety of species to the lake including waterfowl and shorebirds.

Fun activities at this Ohio state park include disc golf, boating on Lake Erie, fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, and wildlife watching.

Head there in winter and you can snowmobile, ice skate, ice fish and cross-country ski.

East Harbor State Park is at 1169 N Buck Rd, Lakeside Marblehead, OH 43440.

9- Middle Bass Island State Park

Close to East Harbor State Park is Middle Bass Island State Park, which is the middle of three Lake Erie islands that are north of Catawba Island.

From Catawba you can take a scenic 40-minute ferry ride and there are several services each day during the summer months.

Though the ferry can transport boats you must reserve ahead of time if you want to bring your vehicle.

In the 1850s, the island was used for grape production alongside the other islands and were nicknamed the “wine islands”.

After the closure of the Lonz Winery on Middle Bass, the state purchased the area and turned it into a state park.

The park’s landscape is quite unique with wetlands, woodlands, glacial grooves and the lake shoreline.

If you are a keen bike rider then definitely bring your wheels as there are a number of trails on the island.

If you fancy making the most of your trip to the island you can camp between early May and mid-October but reservations must be made.

Middle Bass Island State Park is at 1719 Fox, Middle Bass, OH 43446.

10- Oak Point State Park

Another island state park is Oak Point on South Bass Island, situated between Squaw Harbor and Fishery Bay.

To reach the island you have to take a privately operated ferry from Catabwa.

As an island state park this recreational area offers boating, fishing and wildlife viewing from the lake.

The park may be small but there are other plenty of nearby island attractions to keep you entertained.

There’s the Butterfly House, the International Peace Memorial and the Put-In-Bay Winery.

Oak Point State Park is at Bayview Ave, Put-In-Bay, OH 43456.

11- Grand Lake St. Marys State Park

If you’re looking for state parks in western Ohio, check out Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

The park is an hour’s drive north of Dayton.

At the time of its construction Grand Lake St. Marys was the world’s largest reservoir.

The St. Marys River played a critical role connecting the Great Lakes and the Ohio River.

The park sits along 52 miles of shoreline and offers boating, fishing and swimming.

In winter you can also try snowmobiling, ice fishing and cross-country skiing.

Or how about staying at the park overnight? The park is home to Cedar Cabins and Camper Cabins as well as full hook-up camping.

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park is at St Marys Township, OH 45885.

12- Headlands Beach State Park

ohio state parks headland beach
Headland Beach State Park in Ohio is great if you crave sand and water.

Headlands Beach State Park is just 35 minutes’ drive outside of Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie.

As the name rightfully suggests, this state park is home to a Lake Erie beach.

Sunbathing and swimming might be your top priorities but you can also search for beach glass and watch a spectacular sunset if the weather is nice.

You can take a stroll or a ride along the paved trail that runs behind the dunes that back the beach.

These dune habitats create fantastic opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Some animals to look out for include, bald eagles, red fox, and the impressive monarch butterfly migration.

Headlands Beach State Park is at 9601 Headlands Rd, Mentor, OH 44060.

13- Guilford Lake State Park

In eastern Ohio, 10 minutes outside of Lisbon is Guilford Lake State Park.

Guilford Lake is a manmade lake which was originally constructed in 1830 as a canal feeder.

Today the lake and park offer incredible sunset views, amazing fishing and a place to hang out for a picnic with friends and family.

There’s a boat launch and you can rent paddle boats as well.

If swimming is more your thing, then head to the designated swim beach which is next to a playground that will keep the kids entertained.

Guilford Lake State Park is at 6835 East Lake Road, Lisbon, OH 44432.

14- Beaver Creek State Park

If you’re looking for an adventure with the family then head out to Beaver Creek State Park in eastern Ohio close to the border with Pennsylvania.

The park is less than two hours from Cleveland and 1 hour 20 minutes from Pittsburgh.

Unlike other state parks the landscape at Beaver Creek feels far wilder and like the real outdoors.

The park includes a variety of geographical landscapes from the Little Beaver Creek to the sandstone hills of the Appalachians.

Stay at the Beaver Creek Campground on Leslie Road and during the day enjoy fishing, picnicking, hiking and exploring the Pioneer Village.

The village includes an operational water powered grist mill, a blacksmith shop, schoolhouse and more.

Beaver Creek State Park is at 12021 Echo Dell Rd, East Liverpool, OH 43920.

15- Geneva State Park

On the northeastern shore of Ohio’s section of Lake Erie is another state park worth visiting.

This is an outdoor haven for water lovers where you can swim at the sand beach, try your hand at fishing and set out on kayaks, canoes and bigger boats.

If you are looking for something fun, set out to Padanarum Road for some archery (you’ll need to bring your own equipment).

There are six miles of multi-use trails which in winter lend themselves to cross-country skiers and snowmobilers.

There are two overnight options at Geneva State Park.

You can stay at The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake right next to the park or at the park’s campgrounds, which has full hook-up, electric and non-electric sites.

Geneva State Park is at 4499 Padanarum Rd, Geneva, OH 44041.

16- Mohican State Park

Mohican State Park is around 83 miles south of Cleveland, just 1 hour 30 minutes’ drive away.

This is a wonderful spot if you are planning to really escape the city and connect with nature.

Visit Mohican State Park and you will be surrounded by thousands of acres of woodland.

While adventuring through the park be sure to head to Clear Fork Gorge, the Mohican State Scenic River and Lyon’s Falls.

There are around nine trails, the longest of which is 2.5 miles (4 km).

If mountain biking is more your thing, then enjoy the 25-mile (40 km) Mohican Mountain Bike Trail.

Other activities include fishing in Mohican’s streams and at Pleasant Hill Lake.

Mohican State Park is at 3116 OH-3, Loudonville, OH 44842.

17- Kelleys Island State Park

Another of Ohio’s islands and also partially a state park is Kelleys Island.

The island is located north east of Catawba Island and can be accessed by privately operated ferries from Marblehead and Sandusky.

As it’s an island, this state park offers stunning views out across Lake Erie.

Boating, fishing and swimming at the beach are popular activities in the park.

Another of the cool things about this state park is you can learn more about Ohio’s glacial past.

On the island there is a large tract of glacial grooves which you can look at.

You can also camp at the park, enjoying full hook-up, electric and non-electric sites.

There are two yurts and two cabins, but be sure to book in advance.

Kelleys Island State Park is at 920 Division St, Kelleys Island, OH 43438.

18- Buckeye Lake State Park

Ohio is often referred to as the Buckeye State, owing to the number of buckeye trees in the state and this state park shares the same name.

Buckeye Lake State Park is just 30 minutes east of Columbus.

This is Ohio’s oldest state park and it’s a fan favourite among locals and visitors.

The 3,100-acre (1254 ha) lake is the park’s main attraction for sail boating, canoeing, rowing and kayaking.

Fishing is also popular with anglers catching perch, bluegill, crappie and more.

There are also two public swimming areas: Crystal Beach (north side) and Fairfield Beach (south side).

Or why not hit the 4.1-mile multi-purpose paved trail for a hike with lake views?

Buckeye Lake State Park is at 2905 Leibs Island Rd NE, Millersport, OH 43046.

19- A.W. Marion State Park

A.W. Marion State Park is on the west side of Hargus Lake around 40 minutes’ drive south of Columbus.

One of the best ways to explore this state park is via the Hargus Lake Trail, a 3.9-mile trail for both walking and biking.

There’s also a longer multi-use trail which is 7.3 miles.

While there’s no swimming beach at the lake you can swim from your boat in designated areas of the lake.

If you fancy making it an overnight trip then head to the A.W. Marion State Park Campground, which is small but has everything you need for an enjoyable stay.

A.W. Marion State Park is at 7317 Warner-Huffer Rd, Circleville, OH 43113.

20- Buck Creek State Park

Buck Creek State Park is on the northern side of Springfield and around 40 minutes’ drive from Dayton.

The forested land and agricultural fields were previously home to Native Americans and early pioneers.

The large reservoir at Buck Creek is ideal for boating and you can launch boats from the marina where there is also a snack bar, fuel and a bait shop for fishing.

There’s a 2,400-foot sand beach where swimming is allowed in certain areas.

If you are up for some land-based activities why not head out on the hiking trail, the longest of which is the 2.9-mile Lakeview Trail.

Buck Creek State Park is at 1976 Buck Creek Ln, Springfield, OH 45502.

21- Hocking Hills State Park

state parks in ohio hocking hills rock cavern
Looking for the best state parks in Ohio to explore? Hocking Hills State Park is one not to be missed.

A breathtaking showcase of deep gorges, cascading waterfalls and forests, Hocking Hills State Park is one of the most popular places for nature lovers in Ohio.

Rock formations, such as Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave, were sculpted by nature and there are inviting trails that wind through the rugged landscape.

After a rainfall, the waterfalls are a breathtaking sight, with lush gorges brimming with local flora and fauna.

The park offers other recreational activities such as rock climbing, rappelling and fishing in the scenic lakes and streams.

If you’re looking for an overnight stay, the park has camping sites, cabins and lodges.

Hocking Hills State Park is in Hocking County, Ohio. 

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harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!