Holidays at Ohio State Parks
By Anietra Hamper

You never need a good excuse to visit Ohio State Parks and lodges during the year, but the holiday season makes these close-to-home getaways even more exciting. Beyond the beautifully decorated lodges, the unique ambiance and tranquil winter view outside the windows, each location offers a special warmth when visiting with family during the holidays. Here are a few of the activities planned at Ohio State Parks to add just a little more magic to the season.

Little Miami State Park (Oregonia, Ohio)

Winter Solstice Sunrise (December 20)

Enjoy a peaceful sunrise on the shortest day of the year in one of the most picturesque spots in Ohio at Fort Ancient at Little Miami State Park. The winter solstice sunrise in view of the 2,000-year-old earthen walls at Fort Ancient is a moment to appreciate how people in ancient times experienced this ceremonial morning. The event is free.

Maumee Bay Lodge (Oregon, Ohio)

Winter Carnival (December 27 – 30)

Maumee Bay Lodge in Northern Ohio transforms into an unforgettable indoor winter carnival. This is a family-fun event with dozens of indoor activities like Jacob’s Ladder, inflatables, jousting and other activities. You can win prizes from games and when you are tired from playing at the Winter Carnival, you can enjoy the heated pool or relax by the fireplace in the decorated lodge.

Punderson Manor (Newbury, Ohio)

Breakfast with Santa (December 6, 13 & 20, 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.)

Punderson Manor is one of the most historic and most scenic Ohio State Park lodges and it really comes alive during the holidays. One of the most popular and beloved holiday traditions at Punderson Manor is the breakfast with Santa event. Children love the time they get to spend with Santa over a great meal and surrounded by the meticulously decorated lodge.

Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk (December 21)

In the nearby Geauga Park District enjoy the longest night of the year by taking part in a candlelight walk honoring a traditional holiday celebration. This outdoor program will get you into the holiday spirit before you retreat back to Punderson Manor for a restful night’s sleep.

Malabar Farm State Park (Lucas, Ohio)

Candlelight Tours (December 4, 5, 11, 12 – 5p.m., December 6, 13 – noon)

Malabar Farm State Park is holding Candlelight Holiday Tours of the Louis Bromfield Big House that is beautifully decorated for the season. Tours are family-friendly and are followed by homemade cookies and hot cider. Admission is $5 (adults) and $3 (children).

Salt Fork State Park (near Cambridge, Ohio)

Thanksgiving Buffet and Craft Show

Salt Fork State Park Lodge is the perfect way to enjoy winter from inside nestled in the over-sized leather chairs next to the fireplace or in a rocking chair by one of the lodge’s towering glass windows. The lodge is gearing up for its annual Thanksgiving Buffet on November 26 (11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. reservations required (740) 435-9000) followed by a craft show (November 27 & 28) at the lodge. Ohio artisans will showcase more than 80 tables of crafts for sale.

For more holiday events, check out the Ohio State Parks calendar and Ohio State Park lodges



About the Author

For Anietra Hamper, writing is a passion. Anietra spent nearly 20 years as a top-rated television news Anchor telling thousands of stories that impact people's lives. Now, away from the spotlight, Anietra is a published travel writer. In fall 2013, Anietra was honored to be selected as a member of the prestigious Society of American Travel Writers. Anietra's zest for exploration and photography has taken her to untouched regions of Vietnam and tribal territories of the Philippines, sharing those journeys along the way through articles and blogs. Anietra is also a correspondent for Child Fund International; one of the largest non-Government Organizations in the world. Anietra graduated Cum Laude from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio and studied journalism at American University in Washington D.C. She enjoys fishing, photography, fitness and playing with her rescued dog Sunny. You can follow Anietra online at