When it comes to planning summer vacations many times we immediately think of places far from home. Places that take hours of driving and way too many gallons of gas to reach or maybe even plane tickets. But what you might not realize is that there are some pretty spectacular vacation spots very close to home. I admit I’m at fault with this because I tend to have the mindset that there is nothing fun to do in my home state of Ohio, but the truth is Ohio is full of so many hidden gems. I plan to share a few of those with you beginning with the Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center located in southeastern Ohio just a short drive from Cambridge nestled in Ohio’s largest state park.
The lodge houses 148 spacious guestrooms including doubles, kings, and bunk beds with private balconies. The view from our room was absolutely beautiful. However, if you prefer to get a little closer to nature there are also 53 fully-furnished chalet, lakeside, and hillside cabins to meet your needs.
The great thing about Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center is that there is literally something for everyone in your group to enjoy no matter their age.
Of course the gorgeous 2,952 acre unlimited horsepower Salt Fork Lake could keep you busy all day. There are two marinas, Sugartree Marina and Salt Fork Marina, which are both located inside the park and offer a range of services including boat rental, dock rental, and fishing necessities. At Sugartree Marina there are many different boats to choose from and are available by the hour, the day, or the week. There are designated water skiing zones as well as designated areas where you can swim from your boat. Boaters can camp in all no-wake zones within fifty feet of shore. Cast a line and you might find a catfish, large or small mouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, walleye, sunfish, or muskellunge on your hook. Please remember that anyone over the age of 16 must have a fishing license.
If you’d like to enjoy the lake from the shore be sure to check out the 2,500 foot beach which is the largest inland beach in Ohio complete with a modern bathhouse and snack bar. And if you’re more of a pool person Salt Fork also has a beautiful outdoor and indoor pool as well as an indoor hot tub.
There are also approximately 14 miles of hiking trails including several wheelchair accessible hard-topped trails. Ever been geocaching? Salt Fork is the perfect place to give it a try because there are quite a few within the park and navigational units can be rented at the front desk. The lodge also features an outdoor, lighted tennis and basketball court, volleyball court, shuffleboard, and horeshoes. All the equipment needed to enjoy these amenities is available for guest use at the front desk and activity room. If it’s rainy visit the indoor game room which contains video games, pinball, air hockey, table tennis, and a jukebox. Or stop by the front desk to borrow a board game to enjoy around the fireplace. In the evening gather around the bonfire to roast marshmallows and tell stories about Bigfoot. If you listen closely you might even hear him stomping through the woods…
Be sure to check out the Salt Fork Nature Center which is open Memorial Day through Labor Day with events and programs throughout the week and on weekends for both children and adults. There are many live animals native to the area, as well as taxidermy specimens, to view.
If you’re up for a challenge bring along your clubs to experience the Salt Fork Lodge Golf Course. The 18 holes are situated on rolling fairways and expansive greens yet are surrounded by forested hills making this championship course a challenge for even the most experienced golfer. Dustin enjoyed the challenge and I enjoyed watching him from the golf cart, hehe.
To add a little history lesson to your trip stop by the Kennedy Stone House which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The stone blocks that make up the home were actually quarried on the property. It truly feels like stepping back in time.
So are you ready for a vacation at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center? Be sure to check out the awesome deals and packages offered to make the most of your trip in addition to year-round discounts for AAA, AARP members, military, Ohio hunting and fishing licensees, and more.
Thank you to Xanterra Parks & Resorts for hosting us at Salt Fork. All opinions are my own.