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shawnee state park lodge in west portsmouth ohio decorated for the holidays with christmas trees and wreaths

Holidays at Ohio State Parks

These State Park Lodges are decked out with holiday cheer!

Shawnee Lodge & Conference Center in West Portsmouth

Holidays at Ohio State Parks

By Ohio.org Staff

Posted On: Nov 15, 2022

It's always a fun time when you visit Ohio State Parks and lodges during the year, but the holiday season makes these close-to-home getaways even more exciting. So, get your cameras ready, because these lodges are decked with holiday cheer!  

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.

christmas tree next to chair with merry christmas pillow at burr oak lodge in glouster ohio

Burr Oak Lodge in Glouster 

Nestled in the foothills of Ohio's Inviting Region of Appalachia, Burr Oak Lodge - and Burr Oak State Park - offer scenic views and amazing hiking trails. This holiday season, the lodge hosts a Breakfast with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 25 from 8-11AM. The dining room will also be open for a special Christmas Eve and Day Dinner (Dec. 24 from 5-7PM and Dec. 25 12-4PM & 5-8PM). 

Note: Reservations are required, call 740-767-1210 to book.  

Deer Creek Lodge in Mt. Sterling 

Surrounded by the woodlands of Deer Creek State Park, the lodge offers fun for the whole family - even during the chillier months of the year. Whether you're taking a dip in the indoor pool , scoring big in the game room, or checking out board games from the front desk, there's never a dull moment when staying here. 

The Lodge hosts several events all year. On Dec. 2, the lodge plays a round of 'whodunnit' with their Murder Mystery Event: 'Twas the Murder Before Christmas. While this year's event is sold off, you can still enjoy plenty of seasonal fun when you book a getaway. 

The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake 

There's so much to do this holiday season when you stay at The Lodge at Geneva. The lodge has several holiday-themed events happening throughout December. Find the cure for what "ales" you with their Holiday Ale Tasting Dinner on Dec. 2 from 7-9PM. The private dinner features a pre fixe menu that includes Christmas Ale pairings from different breweries and a presentation by Double Wing Brewing Co. A breakfast the following day is also included in this package. 

The festivities continue with Light Up the Lodge Weekend from Dec. 3-4. There will be several events, but highlights are photos with Santa and a Gingerbread House decorating competition. The holidays round out with a special Christmas Eve and Day Candlelight Dinner (Dec. 24 &. 25 from 4-8PM). 

Enjoy time away at the lodge and partake in all the season's sparkle - like their big outdoor Christmas Tree! 

Hueston Woods Lodge in College Corner Ohio decorated for christmas

Hueston Woods Lodge in College Corner 

Hueston Woods Lodge is the perfect getaway spot for the holidays this season. During your stay, be sure to check out the Nature Center, where you'll learn about serval native species. Or snap a scenic pic at the Hueston Woods Covered Bridge, which overlooks Four Mile Creek. 

If you're looking for more holiday fun, then you've found it here. The lodge hosts two Murder Mystery Dinners this December. "Holly Jolly Homicide" on Dec. 16 invites you to figure solve who 'took out Santa' during the chaos at Bloomingdale's Department Store. Then on Dec. 17, "Silent Night, Deadly Night" looks into the sudden murder of the resort owner after an avalanche strands guests at a luxury ski resort. 

Excitement is around every corner at Hueston Woods. Explore the nearby trails of Hueston Woods State Park, learn about animals, or solve cunning mysteries when you visit this scenic spot. 

Maumee Bay Lodge in Oregon

Maumee Bay Lodge in Northern Ohio transforms into the perfect holiday getaway. Explore Maumee Bay State Park's winter recreational opportunities like cross-country skiing the Mouse Trail, sledding, or ice-skating on frozen Lake Erie. Then head inside and warm up with one the lodge's Winter Drinks. This year's menu includes a Christmas Cookie Martini, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Jack Frost Slush, and Christmas Ales from Ohio breweries. 

Let the kids get into the holiday spirit at the Cookies with Santa event on Dec. 9-10 from  4-7PM. There will be hot chocolate, letter writing, photo ops, and of course - cookies available. 

Bundle up for a festive season of fun the whole family can enjoy when you head to Maumee Bay Lodge. 

Punderson Manor in Newbury

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 Breakfast with Santa. Children love the time they get to spend with Santa over a great meal and surrounded by the meticulously decorated lodge. Pull up a seat on Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, 11 & 18 from 8AM - 12PM. 

Note: Reservations for Breakfast with Santa are required. Call 440-564-9144 to book. 

christmas tres in front of fireplace at Salt Fork State Lodge in Lore City Ohio

Salt Fork State Lodge in Lore City

Salt Fork 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. This year, find the perfect gift during the Salt Fork Holiday Craft Show on Nov. 25 from 9AM - 6PM. 

Then spend the rest of the season relaxing at the indoor pool (and hot tub) or checking our board games from the front desk. It's the perfect place to disconnect for a quiet and chill - not chilly - holiday. 

Shawnee Lodge in West Portsmouth

While making memories with friends, family, or loved ones this holiday at Shawnee Lodge, don't miss out on Breakfast with Santa (Dec. 3 from 9-11AM). Afterwards, you can decorate cookies when you bring a non-perishable donation. All donations will help those around the Portsmouth area for the holidays. The following day, on Dec. 4 from 12-3PM, enjoy the Christmas Open House Holiday Buffet. Miss the buffet, don't fret! All day the lodge displays over 50 thousand Christmas lights on more than 40 Christmas trees. 

Still needing more holiday happenings? On Dec. 15 at 7PM, the lodge asks guests to solve the mystery of "The Case for Marital Bliss." If you'd rather have quieter holiday getaway, check out the "Home for the Holidays Package," which includes a one night in a lodge guestroom, $20 breakfast coupon to enjoy in the Smokehouse Restaurant. souvenir Christmas ornament, and (four) freshly baked cookies.

Note: The "Home for the Holidays Package" is available Nov. 13 - Jan. 7. 

More Ohio State Park lodges to visit out this holiday season: 

Find more holiday cheer at other Ohio State Parks: 

Caesar Creek State Park in Waynesville 

As the winter weather rolls in, enjoy cross-country skiing at ice fishing at this State Park. On Dec. 10, head to the Nature Center from 10AM - 3PM for a Holiday Traditions Workshop. Learn how to incorporate nature into your holidays this year, plus make unique ornaments from natural materials - perfect to adorn any tree this season. 

Note: Limited space available. 

christmas tree at decorations inside the Big House at malabar state park farm in ohio

Malabar Farm State Park in Lucas

Malabar Farm State Park is holding Candlelight Holiday Tours of the Louis Bromfield Big House (Dec. 2-3 & 9-10 from 5-9PM and Dec. 44 & 11 from 12-4PM). The house is beautifully decorated for the season. Tours are family-friendly and are followed by homemade cookies and warm refreshments.

Note: Admission is $6 (adults) and $4 (youth). Tickets are available for purchase at the Visitor Gift Shop.

Mt. Gilead State Park 

Find fun for everyone this holiday season at Mt. Gilead State Park. At the Nature Center on Dec. 3 (from 2-4PM), learn how to make Holiday Crafts. You have the choice of creating pinecone owls or cotton ball snowmen. Stick around and explore the rest of the State Park, which offers ice-skating, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing in the winter. 

For more things to do this #HolidaysinOhio season, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org

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