10 Best State Parks in Ohio

Ohio is scattered with amazing places to experience the great outdoors. State forests, memorials, nature preserves, wildlife areas and more than 70 incredible parks. No two parks are alike and each is distinctive in its natural beauty. Here are our favorite state parks in Ohio! 

Salt Fork State Park, Lore City, OH

The state’s largest park is teeming with things to do. Hiking, horseback riding, fishing, camping and swimming and boating at the Salt Fork Reservoir make this a favorite for nature-lovers. In any season, visitors are treated to a diversity of spectacular wildflowers, as well as animals from wild turkeys to songbirds, like the scarlet tanager. Trails are accessible throughout the year, by snowmobile in winter.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ohio State Parks (@ohstateparks) on

John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs, OH

The Little Miami River, which runs through this park, has, throughout the centuries, carved an impressive limestone gorge that can be admired from several vista points. This 752-acre park has a warren of hiking trails that meander past waterfalls and cascading streams. Other activities include canoeing, disc golf, fishing, picnicking, rock climbing and mountain biking. In spring, the more than 300 species of wildflowers cover the park in color.

Malabar Farm State Park, Lucas, OH

This farm pays homage to Louis Bromfield, conservationist, farmer and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Guided tours of the 32-room Big House, outbuildings and surrounding pastures, still home to goats, beef cattle and chickens, are offered year-round. There’s an education center with information on agriculture, wildlife, energy, conservation and recycling. Best time to visit: during the Maple Syrup Festival in spring or for the change-of-season fall colors.

Kelleys Island State Park, Kelleys Island, OH

Get your sea legs under you, because the only way to get to this park is by ferry. This island park is completely surround by Lake Erie. Once there, hiking and biking trails are easily accessible. There’s a popular summertime public beach, a place for swimming, kayaking or casual sunbathing. Spend the night in one of the campgrounds, both electric and non, or in one of the several large yurts. Ice fishing, ice skating and cross-country skiing for the hearty winter visitors.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ohio Dept of Natural Resources (@ohiodnr) on

Deer Creek State Park, Mt. Sterling, OH

A walk through the woodlands at this 2,300-acre park takes hikers along a dozen or so miles of hiking-only trails. Equestrians have 17 miles of bridal trails to ride along. Other amenities are a campground, golf course, swimming beach, boating activities and a modern lodge with cottages. Park goers can fish, hunt seasonally, picnic and kayak and paddleboard on the reservoir. Plenty of accommodations for large groups, too.

Tar Hollow State Park, Laurelville, OH

If you want to see a slice of Ohio the way it was when the first settlers came to the state, take a trip to this park where the surrounding wilderness is reminiscent of that time. A walk through the dense woodlands takes you past dogwoods and pitch pines, once a source of pine tar, thus the Park’s name. The trails, which range in difficulty, have a little something for everyone. Bridle trails wind through the park for 25 miles. The Logan Backpacking Trail, a serious 21-mile trek for avid hikers, overlaps with the Ohio Buckeye Trail.

Shawnee State Park, Portsmouth, OH

This is known as Ohio’s “Little Smokies” because of the soft, blue haze that blankets the Park’s rolling hills. Numerous hiking trails traverse the park, as do many bridle trails. Fish at Roosevelt and Turkey Creek lakes and you might catch largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and trout. Stop by the Nature Center, visit with a naturalist and pick-up info about local wildlife and plants.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ramos(t) Famous Photography (@ramostfamous) on

Hueston Woods State Park, College Corner, OH

Natural history abounds at this park. Hundreds of acres of native Beech-Maple forest, dubbed the Big Woods, is protected. You can do a little fossil hunting, remnants of an ancient shallow sea that once covered the area. Birders will be glued to their binoculars, looking for one of the 150 species of birds that live in the park. Activities for mountain bikers, horseback riders, hunters and fishermen also available. Dog owners will love the three-acre dog park with lake access.

Beaver Creek State Park, East Liverpool, OH

Grab a canoe, and only a canoe or rubber raft, and take a trip on the swift currents of Little Beaver Creek and past awe-inspiring beauty through the Little Beaver Creek gorge. The 2,700 hundred acres are a mix of wilderness, rugged terrain and forested lands, just right for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. The Beaver Creek Wildlife Education Center provides an in-depth look at the area’s natural history. 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Tracy (@hager_bomber) on

Indian Lake State Park, Lakeview, OH

The peacefulness of this park is interrupted only by the honking, quacking, trumpeting and squawking of the hundreds of migratory birds that rest in the waters here as they migrate south. This man-made lake also provides human visitors opportunities to boat, fish, jet-ski, water skiing swim, hike, picnic and camp. Winter brings with it the chance to do some snowmobiling, ice skating, cross-country skiing, ice fishing and ice boating.

Ohio Search
View more Ohio Parks.
Find Parks Near You
Find Parks Near You
15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, OH
The park's mission statement pulls key language from the park purpose set by the law the created the park in 1974: To preserve and protect for publ... Read More
4908 Marietta Road, Chillicothe, OH
Great Seal State Park is dedicated to the wilderness spirit of Ohio. The history of the Shawnee nation and Ohio's early statehood is centered in th... Read More
16062 State Route 104, Chillicothe, OH
History and Culture  The present Hopewell Culture National Historical Park evolved in part from the former Mound City Group National Monument... Read More
144 Lake Road, Chillicothe, OH
A small, quiet park nestled in beautiful 9,000-acre Scioto Trail State Forest, this 218-acre state park is an undisturbed wooded refuge just south ... Read More
3910 Perkins Avenue, Huron, OH
Under the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, the mission of Erie MetroParks is to preserve, conserve, protect, and enhance the natural and unique... Read More
19852 State Route 664 S, Logan, OH
Hocking Hills provides a variety of recreational opportunities in a splendid natural setting. The 2,356-acre park has towering cliffs, waterfalls a... Read More
13190 Patterson St. N.W., North Lawrence, OH
Clay's Park was the vision and dedicated work of our grandfather, Mr. Otis D.Clay. The property for the park was secured in 1945 through the purc... Read More
280 Taylor Road, Bainbridge, OH
Our Mission: Welcome to the Ohio State Parks home page. We are eager to communicate with you directly and bring our beautiful parks to your living... Read More
1291 Conneaut Avenue, Bowling Green, OH
The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Foundation is offering Commemorative Bricks to be placed at the Memorial Walkways in Simpson Garden Park. Br... Read More
1000 Carillon Boulevard, Dayton, OH
Dayton History is Montgomery County's official historical organization.  Consisting of Carillon Historical Park, the Archive Center, Hawthorn Hill... Read More
1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, State Route 128, Hamilton, OH
About The Park: Located in Southwestern Ohio, overlooking the Great Miami River, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is a 265 acre sculpture ... Read More
35 Tommy Been Road, Oak Hill, OH
Although relatively small, 106-acre Jackson Lake State Park boasts acres of some of the most scenic country in Ohio. The park's serene lake is a fo... Read More
9800 North Shore Drive, Hillsboro, OH
Rocky Fork State Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Unlimited horsepower boating allows for excellent skiing on the 2,080-acre lake which ... Read More
10001 W Central Ave, Berkey, OH
Secor is a natural symphony of contrasts featuring tall trees, rolling sands, wet lowlands, meadows and prairies. Read More
185 Clear Creek Road, Rockbridge, OH
About:Clear Creek Metro Park features over 5,300 acres of woodland interspersed with blackhand sandstone cliffs, ravines and creeks and is home to ... Read More
13480 Congress Lake Avenue, Hartville, OH
Quail Hollow is a 701-acre landscape of rolling meadows, marshes, pine and deciduous woods surrounding a 40-room manor. Scenic woodland trails, gar... Read More
5083 Colerain Avenue, Cincinnati, OH
Accessible from Mt. Airy and Westwood, Mt. Airy Forest's 1,459 acres includes miles of hiking trails and bridle trails (located off Diehl Road) for... Read More
65330 Barkcamp Road, Belmont, OH
Belmont County's rugged hills provide the backdrop for picturesque Barkcamp State Park. In addition to fine recreational facilities, visitors will ... Read More
20635 State Park Road 20, Mount Sterling, OH
Located in the heart of Ohio's agricultural country, Deer Creek State Park is central Ohio's vacation showplace. A collage of meadows and woodlands... Read More
5265 Dillon Hills Drive, Nashport, OH
The wooded hills and scenic valleys of the Dillon area offer a picturesque setting for outdoor adventure. Whether boating the quiet coves and inlet... Read More
Show More
Select a Ohio town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you