Quick family summer vacation recap: Swimming for hours, sharing a piping-hot pizza at an outdoor table overlooking the water, watching the sunset from a poolside balcony and taking afternoon naps necessitated by fun-induced exhaustion.
It wasn’t a cruise or beachside getaway — just an hour’s drive to Deer Creek State Park, which turned out to be our family’s perfect solution to the dilemma of where to take a vacation that would be close to home, fun for the kids and easy on the budget.
We found everything we’d hoped for at Deer Creek.
Located in Mt. Sterling southeast of Columbus, the Deer Creek lodge offers a variety of rooms — including, for example, family-friendly loft rooms that sleep up to eight — in its facility overlooking Deer Creek Lake. Favorite features for our girls were, without question, the indoor and outdoor pools, which were clean and spacious and provided the perfect opportunity for diving for rings and playing; we also enjoyed hiking, exploring the lodge, playing on the playground and just being away from home — together.
Thanks to one of Ohio State Parks’ special discount packages, we were able to get “fun bucks” that we redeemed for a morning of paddleboating and were treated to some granola bars and free souvenir water bottles on a hike along one of the park’s various trails. In the evenings, my husband and I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony while the girls giggled in bed, listening to the sounds of the evening and talking about the day’s events.
Even now, several weeks after our return, our girls ask when we’ll be going back — and we’ve promised it’ll happen.