Jackson Lake State Park, located in an area called the Appalachian Highlands region, is a heavily wooded lakeside getaway for RV campers. The park, located on Jackson Lake in Oak Hill, Ohio, is a small but impressive place to stay and play. Campers will enjoy the lush oak, maple, hickory, and tulip trees, and find peace both in the campground as well as on the water.
This area of Ohio is called the unglaciated hill country of southeastern Ohio, and it is known for its rolling sandstone hills and dense forest. Although the area is picturesque, what makes this part of the state even more beautiful is the diverse, rich history. Before pioneers and settlers inhabited the area, this section of Ohio was home to many Native American tribes, like the Shawnees, the Mingos, and the Delawares, and even before these tribes occupied the lands, ancient tribes dwelled in the same region. These tribes left behind ceremonial mounds and relics, such as sandstone carvings. These carvings, called petroglyphs, still stand today. The Leo Petroglyph, located near Jackson Lake State Park, is just one of the relics that visitors can see to get a glimpse of the earliest inhabitants of Ohio.
A camping vacation to Jackson Lake State Park is truly an escape into the past where days are long and slow and meant to be savored. Relax on sandy beaches, take a nap with a fishing pole in your lap, or stretch out under a leafy maple tree for an afternoon picnic. During the winter months, you'll find the perfect place for ice fishing, sledding, and even ice skating. No matter what time of year you come, Jackson Lake State Park is the place for a restful RV vacation.
Jackson Lake State Park is about an hour and a half southeast of Columbus off US-23 and two and a half hours east of Cincinnati in Oak Hill, Ohio. Jackson Lake State Park is also close to many cities outside of Ohio, making it a convenient location to visit. From Huntington, West Virginia, it is a 52-mile drive north, and from Lexington, Kentucky, drive 159 miles northeast. Contact the park for the exact park hours, as these times change depending on the season.
Once in the park, you'll find paved roads and won't have any trouble parking a small RV or fishing boat.
Although this is a small state park, the campground provides visitors with many amenities that make RV camping comfortable and enjoyable. This seasonally-operated campground welcomes pets and offers 34 RV sites with 50-amp electrical hookups. These sites can accommodate rigs up to 35 feet in length. The campground has a hydrant, a bathhouse with showers and toilets, a dump station, and even a playground for the kids.
Registered campground guests should visit the camp office to rent horseshoes and other playground equipment free of charge, as well as take advantage of the free Wi-Fi access inside of the facility. Please quiet your generators and other loud noise between the hours of 10:00 PM until 7:00 AM.
If there are any sites not reserved when you arrive, you may rent one on a first-come, first-served basis. However, with only 34 sites in the campground, you may want to call ahead before you make the trip.
When the weather turns cold and snowy, it doesn't mean you have to stay cooped up inside. Thankfully, Jackson Lake State Park has fun snow-day solutions for families. Bring your sleds and tubes and head to one of the park’s many sledding hills, where the dips and turns on the rolling hills are perfect for a day of winter fun. The park doesn’t supply any safety or warm weather gear, so ensure you're prepared for a cold day outside, and as always, be aware of adverse weather conditions. You'll be ready to head into town to enjoy a cup of hot cocoa after a day on the snow-covered hills.
The fish in Jackson Lake don’t just wait around for summer fishing! Once the lake is frozen over, experienced ice anglers can try catching some of the resident largemouth bass and crappie. Pack your auger and portable ice shanty and head to the lake, but make sure the ice is thick enough to support fishing from the surface. You can check the weather online and contact the park office for ice thickness reports. If you are inexperienced, but still want to try ice fishing, hire an ice fishing guide to teach you the proper safety techniques for fun, safe day on the frozen water. Remember, even in the winter, a valid fishing license is required for all people over the age of 16.
While hunting isn’t allowed inside of the park’s boundaries, hunters can use the park as a staging point. Park your RV inside the park and have access to the many amenities, and then head 12 miles north to the Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area. The wildlife area, covered in wild crabapple, Virginia pine, and oak-hickory creates a haven for squirrel, raccoon, ruffed grouse, deer, and wild turkey. Contact the ODNR Department of Wildlife for information on hunting licenses and hunter safety courses.
Pack a lunch and head outside! The park has five lake view picnic areas where families can enjoy spending quality time together while taking in the beautiful wooded, natural environment. If you want a covered picnic spot, reserve one of the three sheltered picnic areas ahead of time. The park also has a playground, a horseshoe pit, and other outdoor sporting areas. Bring a ball or rent one from the campground office if you are a registered camper.
Anglers will enjoy fishing the 11 miles of accessible shoreline on Jackson Lake. Bring your fishing gear and your valid Ohio fishing license to access the waters from the shore, pier, or boat. Jackson Lake is a great place to fish because the waters are calm and quiet. You can launch your motorized fishing boat from the large launch site, but you'll have to run the idle on low so as not to disturb the fishing as the entire area is a no-wake zone.
As a result, you're sure to catch your limit of largemouth bass and bluegill in spring and fall and for channel catfish beginning in mid-June. The lake is also stocked with crappie and sunfish, so pack up your favorite lures or live bait and head to Jackson Lake. State law requires that all anglers over the age of 16 have a valid fishing license, so be sure to keep that with you at all times, and check local regulations on bag limits and lengths.
When the days get long and hot, it's time to get wet. You'll want to pack your swimsuit in the RV for this trip as Jackson Lake has a beautiful designated swimming area, complete with a warm sandy beach to sink your toes in. The water is calm and cool in the heat of the summer, and you won't have to worry about dodging speed boats as this is a protected no-wake zone. There won't be any lifeguards on duty though, so make sure not to swim alone. Pack your suntan lotion, beach towel, and a picnic lunch while you're at it. You'll find picnic tables in the shade perfect for your day at the beach.