Situated at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Shawnee State Park is a stunning RV destination that any outdoor adventurist will love to visit. Located in Scioto County in Ohio, Shawnee State Park features great access to the Ohio River, fantastic views of the surrounding valleys carved out by erosion, and vast amounts of wooded hills waiting for you to explore. Before its incarnation as a state park, the area was once hunting grounds for the local Shawnee Indian population. After being regenerated from land clearing, the park began to take shape in 1922 when it was opened as a game preserve before it officially became a State Park during the Great Depression era.
Located next to the Shawnee National Forest, there are plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy during their stay. Golfing, fishing, swimming, hiking, and boating are some of the adventures that await you at Shawnee State Park. There are also sweeping views of the Ohio River, and many visitors have claimed it to be one of the most picturesque places in all of Ohio. History enthusiasts can also enjoy learning about the Shawnee Indians and the local wildlife at the cute A-frame Nature Center that is staffed during the busy months of the year.
You really are spoilt for choice with accommodation options at Shawnee State Park. There is one campground that contains 108 pet-friendly campsites (some of which feature electrical hookups), two camping cabins, a group campground, and a private lodge that has 50 guest rooms and 25 cabins. Shawnee State Park is a wonderful RV destination no matter when you visit. Due to the pleasant temperatures, the peak season is April through October, but the park is open all year round.
Shawnee State Park is easy to find since it is located directly off State Route 125 and only seven miles north of Friendship, Ohio. Local roads take you where you need to go to the park, including the park office, lodge, golf course, and marina. There are no driving restrictions for RVs or trailers within the park, so getting around is easy, whether you are in your rig or any other vehicle.
If you need to get any supplies before your getaway there are many places that you can stop at along the Ohio Scenic River Byway. These including Friendship (around seven miles away), Portsmouth (around 13 miles away), and South Shore (around 16 miles away). During the winter months, it can be a little tricky to drive to the park if there has been a large snowstorm, so make sure that you call ahead to the park office to check on the conditions before you start driving. With over 3,983 acres to explore you can also traverse around the park on foot or via bicycle.
Options for parking RVs and trailers are plentiful. You'll be able to find spots at the park office, golf course, the Nature Center, Lake Roosevelt, the lodge and near the trailheads. Of course, parking at the campground is ideal if you are staying overnight.
For visitors interested in some alternate accommodation, Shawnee State Park has two camper cabins to choose from. The camper cabins can sleep up to five people thanks to the two sets of bunk beds and an additional adult full bed.
The camper cabins have electric service, lights, heat, tables with chairs, and mini-refrigerators. Other amenities outside the cabin include a campfire ring, charcoal grill, covered porch, porch light, porch swing, a picnic table, water collection points and a laundry facility open during the peak season. Please note that pets are not allowed.
If you want to stay in one of the cabins you will need to bring your own bed linens and cooking utensils. The cabins are open for reservations during the peak season but they cannot be reserved during the winter months.
Shawnee State Park features 108 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents year-round, with limited availability in the winter months. The campground features both electric and non-electric sites, with 94 of the 108 sites featuring 30-amp electric hookups. The roads in the campground are known for being quite tight, and the sites are mostly suited to smaller rigs. The maximum RV and trailer length is 45 feet, and if you have a rig that is around that size it is important to make sure you choose one of the larger sites.
Each site has a paved or gravel pad and includes a picnic table and fire ring. You will also be able to access drinking water easily thanks to the multiple drinking water stations that are located throughout the campground. Other campground amenities include heated shower houses, laundry facilities, and a dump station. The campground is also close to a playground, miniature golf course, tennis court, volleyball court, and a basketball court. You can even rent sporting equipment and games.
Pets are allowed in the campground, and you should be able to get cell phone reception. There is a minimum stay of two nights on the regular weekend and three nights on holiday weekends. Reservations can be made from three days to 11 months in advance.
Shawnee State Park is one of the rare parks that also features a Lodge. Containing 50 guest rooms and 25 family cabins, the Lodge is by far the most luxurious accommodation option within the park. The rooms are suitable for between five and seven people, depending on the size you need, and they all feature heating, air conditioning, satellite television, and your own balcony.
The cabins are more suited to visitors who still want to experience the creature comforts of home within a forested setting. The cabins can accommodate up to six people, and they all have two bedrooms, a gas fireplace, a fire ring, a screened porch, a bathroom, and a kitchen. Four of the cabins also allow pets for an extra fee.
Both the lodge rooms and the cabins are available all year round, and you can make reservations on the day of your trip if you are planning a last-minute getaway.
Within the Shawnee State Park Campground is one group camping area that can be used all year round. The group campsite is located near the main campground where the other RV sites are, but it is much bigger and can accommodate up to 35 people.
A maximum of two vehicles can be used when occupying this site, and the amenities include five picnic tables. The site is also very close to the other campground amenities so you will be able to shower and use the restroom without having to travel too far. Pets are also allowed at this site. Reservations for the group campsite can be made as little as three days in advance if it is not already booked out.
Shawnee State Park offers twenty campsites, the group camping area, and the two camper cabins from November through March as walk-in only. Reservations are not accepted, however, you are able to use the online reservation website to see where they are located. Amenities during this time are greatly reduced, but you will still be able to use a picnic table, fire ring, and a paved or gravel site.
The dump station and electricity hookup are not available during the off-season, so keep that in mind before you decide to head to the park. Snowfall could also limit the availability of campsites, so call the park office ahead of time to ensure that sites will be accessible.
Shawnee State Park contains two lakes that are the perfect fishing destinations for anglers of all skill levels. Both waterways are stocked with fish throughout the year and Turkey Creek Lake even has an annual trout derby. You will have a large variety of species to target, including largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie, and of course, trout. You'll want to bring your own fishing gear since it may not be available for rent. Remember to purchase either a one-day fishing license or a three-day non-resident tourist fishing license if you don't already own one.
If you want to learn about the local wildlife, trails, local attractions, and Native American history, park your rig at the cozy Shawnee Nature Center and Historic Cabin near the Turkey Creek Boat Ramp. On select days during the summer, spring, and fall seasons, a naturalist is there to answer any questions you may have about the wildlife, scenic areas, or history of the park. While visiting you can also interact with some of the local wildlife since it is the only state government nature center where the public is able to touch or hold wildlife.
Pack those hiking boots before you depart on your RV camping trip since there are at least 10 different hiking trails to explore at Shawnee State Park that vary in difficulty. For an easy trail, try the Park Loop Trail. At only a half-mile in length, you are able to take in beautiful trees and the breathtaking landscape. If it is an adventure you desire, try the Shawnee Backpack Trail, which is over 40 miles long. Don't forget to pick up your mandatory self-registration permit at the trailhead parking area before you hit the trails.
Shawnee State Park has public beaches at Roosevelt Lake and Turkey Creek Lake that are perfect for taking a dip in during your RV road trip. Both of these sandy beaches have designated swimming areas that are great for swimmers of any age to enjoy. Neither of the beaches are huge, but if you want to stretch out to do some sunbathing there are large grassy areas directly behind each of them. There is no lifeguard present at either beach, so swim to your abilities.
Shawnee State Park features 68 acres of boating paradise that is suitable for electric motors or non-powered watercraft. You can go boating at both the Roosevelt and Turkey Creek lakes thanks to the launch ramps that are available. For those RV visitors that do not have a boat, you can rent canoes, kayaks, rowboats, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboards at the camp store. If you are feeling adventurous you can also head out into the Ohio River via the marina located just down U.S. Route 52.
Don't forget to pack those golf clubs in your RV when you visit Shawnee State Park. Located near the marina on the Ohio River, this 18-hole championship course and pro-shop offers incredible views of the Ohio River. It can be a challenging place to play due to several water hazards throughout the par 72 layout. The course opens for the season in April each year, and you can play a round from dawn to dusk six days a week and from noon to dusk on Mondays.