Campground
KThe Dyrt PRO User
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2021

Little Smokies in Ohio

In the short videos I posted you will notice that I did not add a transcript.  Please turn on your Google Accessibility for Live Captions to access the spoken information within the video clips. 

Shawnee State Park (Little Smokies of Ohio)

Has a great ranger/naturalist (Jenny) she made the days go by in a memorable way as we were able to do a creek crawl with her one day, kayaked for free with her on the lake, and had several other activities that we enjoyed.  ODNR has a gem in Jenny as she was able to tailor the events to a wide range of abilities, interests, and ages. 

Cell Phone service is weak at the park.  We didn't always have a signal at the camp grounds but if you go over to the lodge you will have a signal.  You can also access Wi-Fi while at the lodge if needed.  The lodge has a restaurant that you can eat at if you wish.  They also have an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, and an indoor hot tub. If you camp at the state park campsites you can pay for a day pass.  This is a great thing to do when you need a change of pace or if it is rainy and you want to swim indoors. They even have a game room (old school arcade). 

Near the Shawnee State Park is a dairy bar that my family has gone to for many years. It is a part of the tradition to get Turtle Sundaes. https://www.facebook.com/Buckeye-Dairy-Bar-Miniature-Golf-166451746787194/

In the Shawnee lodge if you look closely at the main mural you will notice Raven Rock. We totally overlooked this while we were growing up.  Thanks to the internet we now know this is a nature preserve. https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/go-and-do/plan-a-visit/find-a-property/raven-rock-state-nature-preserve

Our first campsite was number 12.  We arrived at 5:55 PM and the camp office closes at 6:00 PM. The gal waited for us to check out the site and we promptly came back as she did indicate it was a rough site.  This site and 13, 14 is what I would expect for a backpacking campsite.  Not for a traditional car camping non-electric campsite.  If we had any older or younger family members with us it would have been inaccessible.  We didn't like the walk up to the site and the big draw back was the table in the poison ivy. We promptly for the 1st time in my camping career paid a fee to switch to a new site. Luckily the park was not super busy as it was a weekday.  

Bathroom access such as the stairs, bathroom stalls ADA, and other access points will need to continue to be improved for those with mobility issues. This would have greatly impacted my friends and family had they been with me on this trip.  

The showers in the bathhouse are motion sensor based. That means if you get too far from the sensor the shower will turn off.  Also, make sure you take your shampoo items etc. out with you before you get dressed as if you reach back in to grab your items you will promptly get sprayed. 

Another favorite spot is the fire tower https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/go-and-do/plan-a-visit/find-a-property/copperhead-fire-tower  Please make sure to respect the fire tower as it is one of the few fire towers that you can still go up in and look at the beautiful view.  You will not have a signal here so make sure you also ask about how to get back as we didn't have a GPS signal for the way back and just explored our way back to civilization. 

The park was not super busy while we were there in June.  It is a well kept secret as I found this to be one of the most charming parks that I have been to in a long time.  I suspect the cell phone signal and location has impacted folks coming to this park compared to others. It isn't super close to a major city but for me that is part of the charm. 

For those of you who like to mountain bike do check out the new mountain bike trails. I cannot report on those as I am not talented enough to go out on those trails;)

  • Buckeye Dairy Bar has plenty of tables to sit and eat at while you are there.  If you wish you can also play putt putt.
  • Portsmouth Flood Walls make sure you check them out while you are there.
  • One of the murals at the Portsmouth Flood Walls. Check out https://portsmouthmurals.com/
  • Campsite 12 no real warning of the haul to this campsite.  No designated parking spots for the 2 cars that you are allowed per site per ODNR.  This was kind of on the road and I was not comfortable parking in the non-spot.
  • At the start of the trip even at the better camp site it was a muddy campsite.
  • Due to the mud below as it was a natural water pathway during the recent rain storms we opted to spend more time up top at our driveway/parking spot.
  • Bathhouse is recently renovated and super clean.
  • Close up video of stairs and bathroom near campsite 89
  • It is always nice to have the contact phone numbers of the specific park.
  • Bathrooms are nice tile surface with shelf for your items when at the mirror/sink.  Just keep in mind no dishes in the bathroom.
  • Just a friendly reminder the bathroom is only for the humans.
  • The sign to the bathroom can be hard to see from the bottom of the steps.  I went up the wrong side the first time.
  • This bathroom did have automatic lights which was nice as they turned on and off when needed.
  • Laundry room is connected to the bathhouse.
  • The dumpsters are not located in the campground but rather at the edge of the campground. We would take the trash with us when we went out for short day trips.
  • Laundry room has 2 washers and dryers
  • Driveway is big enough for 2 cars.
  • Bathhouse has two different sets of stairs.  One side leads to the men's and the other to the women's.  I ran across the grass at the top to get back to the correct side.  If you are a family this can be a little tricky with young boys and girls in the mix.
  • This bathroom was the handicap accessible bathroom as you can see with the parking but inside the access could be improved upon.
  • Bathroom at the other location within the campground that was more HC accessible.
  • ADA Shower
  • Short video of our first campsite showing the lack of parking and non-electric with a short walk.
  • Stairway to our first campsite and we promptly paid the refund fee to be relocated.
  • Gravel pad on camp site 12 similar to the Federal campsites.
  • Campsite 12 table in the weeds and poison ivy.
  • Campsite 12, 13, and 14 (Non-electric) slight walk and carry into the site.
  • Campsite 13 nonelectric you can see the fire ring and camping
  • First campsite number 12
  • Buckeye Dairy Bar near Shawnee State Park
  • Really nice community amphitheater at the campground
  • Very cute community book library at the campground
  • Propane information if you need it.
  • Suggested Activities within the Shawnee region.
  • Campfire wood - This wood was tough to get it going so you may want to have some fire starters handy.
  • Important Local Phone Numbers
  • Always nice to know where the camp host is located.
  • We didn't rent boats as we waited till Thursday to go boating with the ranger (Jenny) which was free.
  • Calendar of the cool activities with Ranger Jenny.
  • Make sure to check out the various programs at the park and also the lodge.
  • Camping Fees and Rental information still posted in 2021.
  • Shawnee Lodge in the State Park
  • More Shawnee Lodge photos so make sure to stop by and check it out.
  • New local kayak rental information
  • Raven Rock information that we didn't remember or pay attention to growing up.  Make sure you get a permit if you go to check it out.   No pets allowed at this location outside of the Shawnee Forest.
  • Mural in the lodge of Raven Rock
  • Indoor Hot tub at the lodge
  • Indoor pool and then outside you can walk over to the outdoor pool.
  • Raven Rock State Nature Preserve sign
  • View of the region from Raven Rock
  • Raven Rock which needs a permit and is outside of Shawnee but very close. https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/go-and-do/plan-a-visit/find-a-property/raven-rock-state-nature-preserve
  • Shawnee State Park campground hours notice the early closure of 6PM as this almost got us on our first day.
  • This was a neat promotion that was happening at the park.
  • Shawnee Fire tower https://ohiodnr.gov/wps/portal/gov/odnr/go-and-do/plan-a-visit/find-a-property/copperhead-fire-tower
  • We didn't ask about this but notice they do not want visitors in the campground.
  • Quiet Hours information
  • Easy trail within the park that had trees marked with information.
  • Example of information found near the trees.
  • This trail was very family friendly and the signs can hold the attention of folks as you walk to the nature center.
  • Nature Center within the park and the old cabin.
  • Color code for the various trails within the park.
  • Nature Center A frame and next to it is a cabin as well.
  • Nature Center Hours
  • You will notice the park has two lakes
  • Shawnee State Forest Backpacking information
  • Shawnee State Forest History information
  • Trail head for the backpacking trail
  • Registration for the backpacking trail
  • Outdoor pool and a toddler pool off to the side.
  • Bathroom only which does have HC access
  • Additional Sites away from the traditional car camping sites so heads up.
  • These sites are far way from the other sites so plan your camping style accordingly.
  • Campsite 111
SiteCampsite 12 nonelectric but switched to another site non-electric 89

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