Ohio’s state parks offer a variety of activities for those looking to relax and cool off this summer
by katemagill, ‘13 and oliviamiltner, ‘13
Alum Creek State Park
Offers: swimming, volleyball, hiking, camping, fishing
Located only half an hour from Upper Arlington, Alum Creek has a 3,000-foot
beach, which while it does not include typical sandy shores, is the largest inland beach in Ohio. The beach is open during daylight hours, and boasts a sand volleyball court.
Alum Creek was ranked in the top 5 catches in 2011 for carp, saugeye and muskie, and also is a good destination for bass, bluegill and crappie. It also provides various trails for biking and hiking, as well as one 7-mile-long multi purpose trail. The park also has 286 electric camping sites and a wifi hotspot at the camp store.
Offers: sailing, scuba diving, hiking, fishing
A bit of a longer trek than some of the other parks, Kiser Lake is about an hour drive from UA but is worth the distance. As one of the quieter parks and beaches in the area, Kiser Lake is known for its clean, clear waters, perfect for a peaceful, relaxing afternoon. Unlike other state parks, boats with motors are not permitted at Kiser Lake and instead sailing is popular with visitors. Swimming is also a must at the 600 beachfront lake, and scuba diving is also allowed in the water. Fishing includes largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie and s
augey. There are also five hiking trails as well as one Bridle trail, and within the park is located the Kiser Lake Wetlands Nature Preserve-the remaining 51 acres of Mosquito Lake Bog. Although one of the lesser known parks, Kiser Lake offers both unique and relaxing activities for a day in the water.
Delaware State Park
While not as expansive a lakefront, this 800-foot beach is the closest state park featuring swimming and boating areas, situated only 20 minutes from UA. The reservoir allows for boating with unlimited horsepower and also offers boat and dock rentals. The lake itself includes two beach areas, with crappie, muskie and largemouth and smallmouth bass with a smaller pond that offers fishing for children 15 and under.
There are 211 electric camping sites with pets allowed at designated sites. It also offers 5 easy hiking trails and an 18-hole frisbee golf course, all of which make this park a prime destination for students looking for a fun day trip.
Lake Logan State Park
Located in scenic Hocking Hills, Lake Logan is one of the smallest, but most beautiful areas to enjoy a local beach. The 400 acre lake is perfect for swimming and slower speed boating, but is most well known for its fishing. As one of the best fishing lakes in Ohio, fishermen can work to catch northern pike, bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish and saugeye. Two hiking trails are available, including a one half-mile loop and part of the Buckeye Trail. The Pine Vista Hiking Trail is also located across Lake Logan Road. The 527-foot shoreline for swimming is set against a backdrop of sloping hills and treelines, and is one of the most scenic state parks in central Ohio.
Deer Creek State Park
Offers: swimming, biking, golfing, camping, fishing
Less than an hour from UA, Deer Creek offers plenty of overnight accommodations for those looking for a longer trip this summer. Boasting a 110 guest room lodge that has a restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools and a tennis court as well as 25 fully equipped cottages.
The park also includes a 1700 foot beach that has its own boat-swim area. For those wishing to enjoy some time out of the water, the park offers an 18-hole golf course that includes 10 ponds on the course. Finally, the park includes walking and mountain biking trails throughout its grounds.