Nothing says summer like a couple of lazy days at the lake.
Which lake? Oh, I’m not picky. If it’s got a nice view and a place to hop in a kayak, I’m pretty happy. We may not be Minnesota, but we do have some decent lakes throughout the state that are just begging for a weekend getaway.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, there are approximately 50,000 lakes and small ponds in the state of Ohio, with a total surface area of about 200,000 acres. The vast majority of these lakes and ponds are under 5 acres, but we do have some fantastic larger, public lakes that you can visit.
Want to spend the weekend on a boat? You can do that. Looking for the perfect fishing spot? You can find those too. These gorgeous lakes are waiting for you to have a fun-filled adventure. Now you just need to get planning.
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Also known as East Fork, William H. Harsha Lake is located in Clermont County. In the late 1800s, the area was home to two active gold mines. One of them was located near Elk Lick and the other, located near Twin Bridges, even had a tunnel mine! East Fork State Park is a great place to spend the weekend, hiking the 85 miles of trails, horseback riding, or taking in the 2,160-acre lake!
Location: 3294 Elklick Rd, Bethel, OH 45106
Website: William H. Harsha Lake
You’ll find Caesar Creek nestled in a 3,731-acre state park in southwest Ohio. The area is a series of lakes, wildlife areas, meadows, and ravines. There are 105 leased docks on the lake and 17 transient docks where you can stay overnight on the water.
Location: 8570 OH-73, Waynesville, OH 45068
Website: Caesar Creek
Salt Fork Lake dates back to 1956 when the planning on the reservoir began. It was originally intended to act as a water source to the nearby city of Cambridge, but the demand was so great for a recreational lake that in 1960, it transitioned to becoming a state park. The lake has become one of the most popular water destinations in the hills of southeastern Ohio.
Location: 14755 Cadiz Rd, Lore City, OH 43755
Website: Salt Fork Lake
Although it’s officially known as Hocking Hills Reservoir, locals know it as Rose Lake. It’s part of Hocking Hills State Park, so there’s plenty to do around the lake if you get bored with the water. The lake has no direct road access, so you’ll need to be prepared to walk a bit. There’s a trail that you can take back near Old Man’s Cave gorge that lasts about 3 miles. The lake marks the halfway point between Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls on the Upper Gorge Trail, so it’s a great place for a midday break in your hike!
Location: Click here for hiking directions.
Website: Rose Lake
Lake Erie is obviously the most famous lake in Ohio, and for good reason. It’s a Great Lake and it’s incredibly important for the stability of our entire state! It’s also got some beautiful spots to chill out on a hot summers day. There are too many beaches, islands, and perfect places to set up the hammock at Lake Erie to mention here. Just know that it’s a great place and now it even has legal rights, so be sure to treat it well!
If a relaxing day is what you’re looking for, look no further than Kiser Lake State Park. The lake may be on the smaller side at 396 acres, but it’s known for its clear and clean water and boasts 5.3 miles of shoreline. The lake was a dream of John W. Kiser. His idea was to make a lake in the Mosquito Valle area, a swampy region with springs throughout. In 1932, his family offered the state of Ohio the property for the park and in 1939 a dam was constructed to create the lake.
Location: 4370 Kiser Lake Rd, St. Paris, Ohio 43072
Website: Lake Erie
Tappan Lake is a beautiful reservoir with 2,131 acres of lakes and 47 miles of shoreline. The lake attracts a lot of fishermen, as well as recreational boaters. Tappan lake has more accessible shoreline fishing than any other lake in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District!
Location: 84000 Mallarnee Rd, Deersville, OH 44693
Website: Tappan Lake
Also located in the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, Seneca Lake is the largest in the region, with 3,509 surface acres of water. Although it does have fewer miles of shoreline than Tappan Lake at 45 miles. You can boat, camp, swim, and picnic at Seneca Lake, so I hope you’re ready for a super fun weekend!
Location: 22172 Park Rd, Senecaville, OH 43780
Website: Seneca Lake
Lake Hope can be described with two words: natural paradise. The 120-acre lake is part of a state park that lies in the Zaleski State Forrest. Accessible from S.R. 278, the park is just a short drive from Athens, Ohio. It’s a rugged, heavily forested region full of steep gorges and narrow ridges, but it’s absolutely stunning and totally worth it! They offer stand-up paddleboard lessons at the lake, so if you are looking for a new skill and a beautiful view, this is the lake for you!
Location: 27331 OH-278, McArthur, OH 45651
Website: Lake Hope