My Kind of Camping Mini-Vacation!
Portsmouth Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
For a couple of summers, my husband and I have vacationed with our son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughters. The idea is for "Papa and Nana" to enjoy time together with them, visits places, and help with the granddaughters. Summer of 2006, we all drove to Washington DC and on to Virginia Beach, VA. Last year, we didn't go anywhere - twins arrived! So, summer of 2008 was to be something less "touristy" and something all would enjoy. A "camping" trip was decided upon, the destination was chosen, and dates were set.
The State Parks in Ohio are wonderful destinations for families! Each park offers a variety of accommodations and activities. Our little group of 4 adults, 4 children, and 1 dog were looking for camper cabins, and we were able to reserve a cabin at Shawnee State Park in Portsmouth, Ohio.
Now, you have to understand my idea of camping is at the Hilton, so camping of any sort isn't usually my style of vacation. Convinced by my son I would have running water and flush toilets, I agreed to this adventure. A bonus was the cabin included air conditioning! Then, I knew I could handle 4 days of "camping." I have stayed in another state park lodge before so I knew the accommodations would be very well kept.
Another part of this whole vacation adventure included babysitting the granddaughters - aged 7, 5, and twins 16 months - a day before arrival. Our son and his wife were taking "some time off" to celebrate their 10th anniversary in Cincinnati, Ohio, following a Jimmy Buffett concert, and we were packing the 4 granddaughters, 1 dog, and the remaining gear into the minivan. Sounded pretty easy! OK - we were only 45 minutes behind schedule!
We thought cabin check-in was sometime just after noon. We thought wrong - 4:30 pm. Our arrival in Portsmouth was 3 1/2 hours prior to check-in time. After we met our son and daughter-in-law, we enjoyed a fast food lunch in a picnic area located next to the campground and traveled down scenic State Route 125 to the entrance of Shawnee State Park Lodge and Cabins.
For dinner the first evening, we ate in the dining room of the lodge (Sunday night was all you can eat spaghetti). The dining room was floor to ceiling glass at one end overlooking the outdoor swimming pool and valley area beyond. The food was very good, and the scenery was beautiful even though a thunderstorm was going on outside.
Shawnee State Park offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, access to several hiking trails within the state park and state forest, fishing in Turkey Creek and Roosevelt Lakes (only electric motors were allowed on the boats), canoe, rowboat, and paddleboat rentals, beaches, sand volleyball, horseshoe, shuffleboard, playground equipment, tennis courts, basketball courts, marina, and an 18 hole championship golf course.
The cabin location proved to be in a perfect area with the fire ring just outside our cabin.
There are several things to do in the surrounding area if you don't care to spend the entire time at the park.
The camping experience was wonderful! I highly recommend this Ohio State Park and the accommodations offered. While there, I noticed that all new bed frames and mattresses were being installed in the lodge rooms. The camper cabins fill up early, so once you decide to make reservations, do it soon! Many state parks have been booked for over 6 months! Yes! to Shawnee State Park - "The Little Smokies.