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aerial photograph of a lake at Shawnee State Park in winter

Nestled at the Appalachian Mountains picturesque foothills, Shawnee State Park is a breathtaking example of some of Mother Nature’s finest work.

Situated less than a two hour drive from Cincinnati, the park provides you with excellent access to the mighty Ohio River, as well as stunning views of the valleys and wooded hills that surround it.

Adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest, which in itself is a wonderful destination to visit, the park provides plenty of opportunities to engage in recreational pursuits like swimming, fishing, hiking, boating and golf.

If you are into native American history, you’ll also lap up the chance to learn about the Shawnee Indians that once called the park home.

Easily a place you could spend a few days enjoying, this Ohio state park has several accommodation options available to visitors.

These include over 100 campsites, most with electrical hookups, as well as a private lodge and group campground.

As the temperatures are pretty pleasant all year round, it is a place you can comfortably visit throughout the year.

Activities

Visitors to Shawnee State Park can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits whilst at the park.

Here is a brief overview of some of the many different activities you can do during your time there.

Boating at Shawnee State Park

With more than 68 surface acres of water at your disposal, Shawnee State Park is a haven for boaters.

Both electric and non-electric vessels can be used on Turkey Creek and Roosevelt Lakes and there are boat ramps that can easily get you into the water.

If you don’t have a watercraft of your own to use you can rent a kayak, canoe, rowboat, SUP or pedal boat from the park’s well-stocked camp store.

Swimming at Shawnee State Park

Within Shawnee State Park you will find designated public swimming beaches at both Turkey Creek Lake and Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake.

Both beaches are sandy, although they are not overly big. However, if you would prefer to sunbathe you will be able to do that on a grassy area that is directly behind them.

As there are no lifeguards present at either of the beaches, you will need to exercise caution when you enter the water.

Fishing at Shawnee State Park

Both of the lakes offer excellent year-round fishing opportunities for those who want to cast a line.

You will have to buy either a one-day or three day fishing license to do so, but once you are there you can expect to catch the likes of crappie, catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill and trout. The latter of which is so prevalent, they even run an annual trout derby.

Hiking at Shawnee State Park

If you are into hiking you will love the opportunities the park provides you with to explore it on foot.

Overall there are 10 separate hiking trails available which take you to all corners of Shawnee State Park. These trails vary in terms of length and degree of difficulty.

One of the shortest is the Park Loop, which showcases a stunning landscape over the course of a half a mile. If you are feeling adventurous, the Shawnee Backpack Trail is more than 40 miles long!

Whilst hitting the trails, be sure to wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen and mosquito spray. Take lots of water with you too.

Pets at Shawnee State Park

If you intend to bring your dog with you to the park, you will be pleased to hear that it is very pet friendly.

You can bring your dog along with you on any of the hiking trails that run through the campground or state forest.

Unfortunately they are not allowed on the specially designated swim beach area, but they can enter the water outside of it.

At all other times pets must be kept on a leash and cleaned up afterwards. They are not permitted inside any buildings unless they are a service dog.

Camping at Shawnee State Park

For those who want to stay overnight at Shawnee State Park there are several options available.

This includes 108 sites that are suitable all year round for tents and RVs. Of these, some 94 are set up with connections for electric hookups. The rest are designed for primitive and self-sufficient campers.

As the roads are a bit on the tight side, most sites are best suited for those with smaller rigs. However, a handful of these sites can accommodate rigs of 45 feet in length. So it is best to make a reservation if you have a vehicle of this size.

All sites come with their own fire rings and picnic tables and are either gravel pads or paved. Amenities include comfort stations with hot showers and flush toilets, a dump station and laundry facilities.

For your entertainment, there are lots of sports activities you can enjoy including volleyball, tennis, miniature golf, basketball and a playground. If you don’t have the equipment available to play these games you can rent them out from the park.

If you would prefer to stay somewhere a bit more upscale the park is one of the few state parks in Ohio that has a lodge. Providing 25 family cabins and 50 guest rooms, you will be able to enjoy all the comforts of home including a private bathroom, kitchen, air conditioning, heating, satellite TV and a balcony.

For those who require it, there are also group camping options available too.

Park Location

Shawnee State Park
4404 OH-125
West Portsmouth, OH 45663
Phone: 740.858.6652

Park Website
Reservations

Map

Video

Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Shawnee State Park: