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Deer Creek State Park - Ohio

Updated on February 16, 2015

A Wealth of Things to Enjoy at Deer Creek State Park

An easy 45 minute drive south from downtown Columbus, Ohio will put you a world away in the jewel that is Deer Creek State Park (also known as Deer Creek State Park Resort). It's one of the largest jewels in Ohio's crown of state parks.

Do you want to beat the heat and humidity of a typical central Ohio Summer or simply enjoy the warm colors of fall? Then Deer Creek is just the hot spot to do either and to have a great time. My family loves it, as there really is something there for everyone!

Please join me as I take you on a brief tour of one of our favorite local places to hang out, from Spring through Fall.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps, 2012

Official Deer Creek Promotional Video

Canoeing at Deer Creek
Canoeing at Deer Creek

The Most "Active" Ohio State Park

In most people's eyes, Deer Creek State Park isn't the most "beautiful" of all of the Ohio State Parks. That honor typically goes to parks in the Hocking Hills region for the incredible glacial carve outs, caves, nooks, waterfalls and streams. Deer Creek has something though that none of those parks in the Southeastern corner of the state have; a sheer variety of available activities: If you like to do any of these things, Deer Creek can accommodate you in style and, often, with several options:

*Baseball/Softball/Kick Ball (diamond available)

*Beach - with bath house, snack bar (Summer season) and picnic table areas with grills on an adjacent grassy hillside

*Backpacking

*Biking

*Bird Watching

*Boating (Marina and boat ramps available) - Unlimited power

*Camping (primitive and electric sites available plus camper cottages) - Playgrounds, Volleyball, Basketball, a miniature golf course and Horseshoe pits are open to campers - Dog Friendly!

*Canoeing

*Children's Activities

*Cottage Rentals

*Dog Beach!

*Fine Dining

*Fishing

*Gift Shop with park merchandise, local and regional items

*Golfing - 18 hole course

*Ice Fishing and Ice Skating - Winter months, conditions permitting

*Hiking

*History - the historic Harding Cabin, retreat of form U.S. President, Warren G. Harding

*Horseback Riding

*Lounge

*Meeting Spaces and Services

*Nature and Conservation talks, walks and other activities

*Picnics - 7 shelters available, 2 are first come, first served

*Resort Accommodations and Services (Indoor and Outdoor Pools, Sauna, Whirlpool, Exercise Room, Tennis Courts)

*Sledding - winter months

*Snowmobiling - on the 17 mile bridle trail in the winter months

*Summer Camp for Kids

*Swimming

*Water Sports - skiing, tubing, jet skis

*Waterfowl Hunting (In the fall, via an ODNR lottery permit)

*Wildlife Watching

The park offers both wooded and wide open spaces. You can go on a forested hike or, if you prefer, you can find plenty of room to do things like fly a kite, toss a ball or Frisbee around, set up a game of badminton or just about any other outdoor activity you can think of without bothering another soul! At 2,337 total acres, there's plenty of room for everyone!

Dogs Allowed!

Dogs Are Welcome Here!

Alaska - Our Black Lab
Alaska - Our Black Lab

We're "dog people". Columbus and it's surrounding suburbs can certainly relate because central Ohio is full of dog lovers. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources welcomes our four legged friends at Deer Creek and that's one of the main things we love about it.

Dogs are welcome in all "day use" areas of the park including all trails. The only exception is on the public beach. That's okay because, right next to the public beach, Deer Creek has a beach just for dogs that includes a large, grassy, gently sloped hillside and a long wide, sandy strip. Fencing extends far out into the water to keep the hounds in and the traditional beach tranquil and "clean" for other beach goers.

We lost our black lab, Alaska (pictured above), in the fall of 2011, but not before she got to enjoy a couple of last trips to "dog paradise" at Deer Creek. We also enjoyed taking Hayes, our "new to us" (he was ten when we got him) American Bulldog - they're the long legged bulldogs - there in 2012 and 2013. Sadly, he too has now passed on but he enjoyed walking the dog beach and playing with other dogs. Our pug doesn't care to go into the water there at all but he's happy to sniff the entire beach and hillside!

Dogs are also welcome at all 227 campsites and certain designated cottages in the park. Service dogs are, of course, allowed anywhere in the park in the company of the dog owner.

Hayes, June 2012 at Deer Creek Dog Beach.
Hayes, June 2012 at Deer Creek Dog Beach.

Dogs in the Park Update

To the right is our American Bulldog, Hayes. Hayes is standing on the dog beach at Deer Creek State Park on June 7th, 2012. He did a lot of standing that day!

There were two dogs with their owner on the grassy hillside that joins the beach. He had a lot of interest in them. We didn't let him off leash on this first time out since we knew he would do nothing but go and torment them. They were with an older gentleman who had a very nice set-up that our massive dog would have just trampled all over.

Hayes wasn't too upset about being on the leash because he was a bit afraid of the water. There were some boats on the lake and, since it's unlimited power, they were creating some waves. Though we were told he likes to be in the water, he didn't seem to care for the waves. He'd wade in about 6 inches, and then he'd hop out. He liked running down the beach though! He was also very happy to give absolutely everything the sniff test.

Halloween (Fall) Camping at Deer Creek State Park
Halloween (Fall) Camping at Deer Creek State Park

Deer Creek Park Events

Deer Creek is well known for some of it's "bigger" park sponsored events. Many are unique to the park and, many center around the large campground area and its enthusiastic inhabitants who look forward to the events each year. Most events are open to the public.

Events include:

Bazaar in the Park - Vendors can rent booths (late July) - public welcome

Camp out's for Easter weekend to kick off the summer season and Halloween camp outs on October weekends to close out the year

Christmas in July - Campground - Santa, crafts and decorated campsites

Dam Jam - Concerts atop the dam that creates the park's lake (Summer) - public welcome

Market in the Park - Campers throw a yard sale - public welcome to buy, must be camping to sell

Summer Fun Day - A day for kids of all ages including a bike parade (August) - public welcome

There are many smaller events that include daily/weekly scheduled talks, nature walks, conservancy opportunities and much more.

Private organizations often sponsor free and low cost events at the park that are open to the public. We've taken in kit car shows, sailboat races and much more.

We've visited state parks all over the country. Even though we have a special fondness for a few in Ohio, we've found something to love about many state parks in our travels all over the country. Which parks do you like and why?

Tell Us What You Love About State Parks

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    • madoc profile image

      madoc 5 years ago

      I used to live 10 mins from Deer Creek, it was a great restaurant to take guests, or sometimes we would just go ourselves. We used to enjoy watching the deer and other wildlife grazing just outside the restaurant window. The hotel rooms are a bit pricey, but the cabins are a great bargain, and the hotel has good indoor/outdoor pools. The lake is motorboats, jetskis, fishermen. If you would prefer a wind-sailing lake there is one not far south near Waynesville (Ceasar Creek State Park). There's also great antiquing in Waynesville - just one of many great trips you can base on Deer Creek.

    • PNWtravels profile image

      Vicki Green 5 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

      Deer Creek State Park looks like a wonderful place - so many things to do and dog-friendly too!

    • JenaleeMortensen profile image

      JenaleeMortensen 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing about Deer Creek Park. State Parks have a lot of beauty and can be a fun place to go. Sometimes we just need to learn more about the parks so we know what to expect there.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Looks like a lovely place - it's always nice to have a state park nearby to be able to enjoy nature. :)

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 5 years ago from USA

      I love the state parks in this part of the country, especially. Cool forests, streams and lakes in the summer!

    • MJsConsignments profile image
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      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @julescorriere: Thank you so much for visiting and for the blessing. We really do enjoy the park.

    • MJsConsignments profile image
      Author

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      @julieannbrady: Quite honestly, we lived here nearly 4 years before we ventured down there to visit. We're going on our 16th year in the area though so we've made up for lost time!

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      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      Gosh, I am from Ohio -- originally the Cleveland area and lived in Columbus for a few years. Didn't know about Deer Creek State Park! And, then, here in Jacksonville, FL, I used to live in DeerCreek Country Club. Small world.

    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      What a terrific place you have for family and friends to meet and play together in your community. Congratulations on making the Monster Board for local hot spots. Blessed!

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      Your park is similar to the park in my city, but I think we have a few things and our Waterpark area that are not available to you. But I am not sure dogs are allowed inside our Monon Center which is part of the park area. Nice lens.