Dianna Rom, regional director of sales and marketing for Xanterra Parks & Resorts, operator of five Ohio State Park Lodges, offers these suggestions for cool summertime activities:
Make a splash. Maumee Bay State Park Lodge features kid-friendly water features inside and outdoors. Kids line up to slide down a giant waterslide on a sandy beach, and kids of all ages enjoy using the lodge’s jet skis, paddle boats and pontoons. The indoor pool has seven splash features on a non-skid pad as well as a waterfall.
Watch the birdies. Ohio State Parks offer opportunities to see birds such as bald eagles, osprey, warblers, orioles, hawks and owls. It’s best to go early in the morning when birds are active, and the air is cool. Mohican State Park Lodge’s Ohio Bird Sanctuary regularly stages birds of prey demonstrations in the air-conditioned lobby. Nature Centers at Maumee Bay and other locations include numerous bird exhibits that focus on the state’s many winged creatures.
Early worms catch the fish. Go fishing at the crack of dawn. Several lodges are open dawn to dusk in the summertime.
Dine al fresco. Find a shady tree and have an old-fashioned picnic. All parks feature picnic tables and grills for picnickers with a penchant for outdoor dining. Staff at most lodges will also pack picnic baskets for guests.
Take an evening stroll. Salt Fork features 14 miles of hiking trails that wind through the park, including wheelchair-accessible trails.
Build a sandcastle. The inland lake at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge includes a sandy beach, where kids can discover their inner architect – and then rinse off in the always-cool lake.
Tee it up in the late afternoon – and don’t forget the kids. The lodges at Maumee Bay and Salt Fork offer free golf on Saturdays and Sundays after 3 p.m. for children under 17 who are playing with an adult.
Hunt for treasure. Geocaching enthusiasts have found Ohio’s state parks to be a treasure-trove for their hobby. Salt Fork State Park Lodge rents geocaching units and offers a geocaching package that includes accommodations, a hand-held GPS, map and more.