Are you a family of happy campers? Or do you shun sleeping bags, bug spray, and dry shampoo? The good news for families who fall somewhere in the middle is that getaways in the great outdoors don't have to involve pitching a tent. Many national and state parks offer an array of lodging options that range from rustic cabins to resort-like lodges.
For example, Ohio has 74 state parks with a variety of accommodations, including resort lodges and private cottages to rustic camper cabins with cots or bunks. The most luxurious options are the Ohio State Park Lodges, which offers an affordable resort-like experience complete with full-service dining rooms, golf courses, and a raft of family-friendly amenities and activities. Most of the lodges overlook a large lake and offer a marina with boat rentals and water sports.
Accommodations in state park lodges are modern and comfortable, with a variety of room configurations, including some with loft areas or kid-friendly bunk beds. Cabins with full kitchens and living rooms provide a convenient gathering space for intimate family cookouts and late-night card games. Lodges also offer satellite TV and high-speed wifi. All lodges also have a variety of pet-friendly rooms or cabins.
Looking for a budget-friendly location for a family reunion? Ohio State Park Lodges give families the opportunity to lay down roots with the "Family Tree" program. Base your reunion at any of the five Ohio State Park Lodges and you can receive a free tree to plant in the state park during your stay. In future years, your family can chart the tree’s growth just as you chart the growth of the youngest child in your family.Families that plan a minimum two-night reunion with at least 15 rooms or cabins qualify for the “Family Tree” program.
Ohio's five state park lodges provide a wide assortment of activities for all ages. During the summer, lodges offer supervised children’s activities including crafts and water games. Families can try group geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunt using hand-held GPS units to search for treasures hidden in the parks. Other possible group activities include paintball, golf, Olympic Challenge Games, scavenger hunts, zip-lining, high ropes courses, and more. Lodges also offer basketball, volleyball, archery, disc golf, shuffleboard, horseshoes, and indoor and outdoor pools.
At the lakes, there are beaches and activities such as fishing, boating, canoeing, and kayaking. Families can arrange for a naturalist to take them mushroom-hunting, bird-watching, fishing or butterfly-hunting in the season. Other kid-friendly nature programs include owl prowls, family fishing, and turtle discussions.
Operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the five Ohio State Park Lodges are located close to major Ohio cities and surrounding states, making it easy for families to gather from a variety of locations.
- Salt Fork State Park Lodge is 12 miles from Cambridge.
- Maumee Bay State Park Lodge is 12 miles east of Toledo.
- Mohican State Park Lodge is about 75 miles from both Columbus and Akron.
- Punderson Manor State Park Lodge is 35 miles east of Cleveland.
- Deer Creek State Park Lodge is 35 miles south of Columbus.
Looking for a bargain? Check for deals and packages at Ohio State Park Lodges. Frequent offers include "kids eat and stay free" promotions and "third night free" offers.