Beat a quick retreat from the city to one of Ohio's state park lodges this winter.
Beat a quick retreat from the city to one of Ohio's state park lodges this winter. Insider tip: If you sign up for this season's Bed and Breakfast Package (pricing varies)-which includes a minimum two-night stay in any of the lodges' cozy cabins-you'll save 15 percent on your bill. And, in the morning, you'll be greeted with a hearty American-style breakfast. ohiostateparklodges.com
Salt Fork is Ohio's largest state park, sprawling more than 17,000 wooded acres across eastern Ohio. Reserve one of the lodge's lakeside cabins, complete with a kitchen so you can cook in on those cold nights. (Alternatively, head to rustic, on-site Timber Restaurant.) Spend an afternoon sledding on the 18-hole golf course. Or drive into nearby Cambridge, where the historic downtown will be alive with the Dickens Victorian Village exhibition during the first week of the month.
Maumee Bay, nestled on the shores of southwestern Lake Erie, is a perfect destination for groups, with fully furnished cottages that can sleep up to 11. After the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Columbus, indulge with a massage at the lodge (make an appointment beforehand). History buffs and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a trip to the park's Trautman Nature Center to learn about the park's storied past. And don't forget: Maumee Bay is just 30 minutes east of downtown Toledo.
Situated 40 minutes southwest of Columbus, Deer Creek Lodge is just far enough away from home to feel like an escape. Bundle up and rent a snowmobile, or hit the seasonal skiing hills. Afterward, wind down at on-site Harding's Lounge, where you can enjoy a cocktail while you wait on one of the kitchen's made-to-order pizzas.
Immerse yourself in Ashland County by way of the Mohican State Park's outdoor programs, such as guided hikes and animal observation outings (call ahead for program schedules). Take advantage of the park's 22 miles of bridle trails by renting horses from Triple M Riding Rescue Ranch in nearby Loudonville (weather permitting). And don't miss a dinner of smoked brisket or Blackened Panga Creole at bright and airy Bromfields Dining Room.