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Deer Creek State Park - Ohio
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
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
*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!
*Gift Shop with park merchandise, local and regional items
*Golfing - 18 hole course
*Ice Fishing and Ice Skating - Winter months, conditions permitting
*History - the historic Harding Cabin, retreat of form U.S. President, Warren G. Harding
*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
*Water Sports - skiing, tubing, jet skis
*Waterfowl Hunting (In the fall, via an ODNR lottery permit)
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 Are Welcome Here!
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.
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.
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.
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?