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In the heart of southwestern Ohio lies Cowan Lake State Park, an excellent state park offering the perfect weekend escape for a motorhome camping trip. Located in the city of Wilmington, the park is known for its serene lake setting with scenic creeks and a forested shore. An abundance of American Lotus adds to the overall charm of the lake. This state park is also popular with swimmers, kayakers and anglers. As you are finalizing your destination, book an RV in Clinton County so that you may explore the park and the nearby cities of Lebanon and Cincinnati.
Initially inhabited by the Miami and Shawnee Native American tribes, the area was turned into a settlement in later years after a battle that resulted in the defeat of the tribes. A creek flowed through the area, which came to be called Cowan Creek, after John Cowan, the first surveyor of the area. A dam was constructed across the creek, and in 1968 the state park came into being and was aptly named Cowan Lake State Park. Today, the park is open year-round for outdoor enthusiasts, making it an ideal location for a state park RV camping trip.
Keep plenty of time in hand for the many activities available for visitors camping at Cowan Lake State Park. There is an accessible fishing pier near the Pine Tree picnic area, and with a valid Ohio fishing license, you can fish for largemouth bass, crappie, muskie, catfish and bluegill, available in plenty in the lake. If you prefer fishing from a boat, head out from one of the three boat ramps located around the lake for easy access. Seasonal docks are available for rent. Keep in mind that the lake has a ten horsepower limit for motorized boats. There are kayaks, canoes, and boats available for rent at the South Shore Marina. Fishing supplies are available too in case you forget to pack them into your RV rental. You’ll see a number of sailing boats out on the lake, as it’s a popular activity here. For boat swimming, head to the northern part of the lake.
For beach swimming, the park has a 1000-foot public beach located on the south lakeshore. Swimming is permitted only during daylight hours, in designated areas only, but do remember to check water quality advisories before going in for a swim. Changing rooms and bathhouses are available at the beach.
Hikers have quite a few trail options to consider at Cowan Lake State Park. With over four miles of trails leading to scenic parts of the park, hiking is great fun. Hike the Lotus Cove Trail to view the stunning American Lotus colony on the lake. Winter recreation at the park includes sledding and cross-country skiing, subject to weather conditions.
Cowan Lake State Park camping areas come equipped with big rig access, 30 and 50 AMP electric service, fire rings, and picnic tables. With over 200 sites available, all the sites are pet-friendly provided they are on a leash. Four of the sites are ADA accessible. Amenities include restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and a dump station. There is a separate camper’s beach, boat launch ramp, and a basketball court for recreation at the campground. In case you forget to pack supplies, there’s a camp store with camping essentials and rental equipment. Cabins are also available for rent.
If you’re looking for a place to camp in an RV near Cowan Lake State Park, consider the Wilmington RV Resort, located a little over eight miles from the park. With 169 sites, there are pull-thru sites, full hookups, big rig access, 30 and 50 AMP electric service, dump station, water, and sewers. Facilities include restrooms and showers, laundry, availability of propane and firewood, a camp store and picnic shelter. Your furry pals can make use of the pet area. There are plenty of recreational activities for kids and adults, including swimming pool access, a playground, mini-golf, and outdoor courts.
Renting an RV is one of the best ways to explore the area, and you can continue your Midwestern road trip and head towards Hamilton County to the city of Cincinnati, about an hour’s drive from the park. Known as the "Pearl of the West" and ‘Queen City," Cincinnati is every traveler’s dream city. Stroll through the iconic Fountain Square, the heart of this city. Museum-lovers can make a beeline for the Cincinnati Museum Center that was initially the Cincinnati Union Terminal, an Art Deco railway station. It is now a group of three museums, the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy’s Children Museum and the Museum of Natural History and Science. You could comfortably spend a whole day here!
Don’t miss the Music Hall, one of the city’s finest buildings in terms of architecture, and if you’re lucky you’ll be able to catch a performance by the Cincinnati Symphony or the Pop Orchestra. The kids will love a visit to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, renowned for its gorillas and white tigers. Catch a game of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark in downtown. And if you’re not in time for a game, you could check out the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum that’s open through the year.
If you enjoy art, don’t miss the Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park. It features some terrific artworks, sculptures, paintings, textiles and photographs dating back five millenniums! The Taft Museum of Art is also worth visiting, both for the 1820 building it is housed in and the exhibits it displays.
When it comes to food, you’re spoilt for choice. You’ll find a range of international cuisines here, and if its just comfort food you crave for, you’re never too far from that either. Try and catch a meal at a sports bar when a match is on. That’s quite an experience.