Cabins at Shawnee State Park

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Readers of this column know that I prefer the more rustic side of outdoor adventure. I mean, if you're trying to get away, there's no sense bringing your normal life along for the ride.

But enjoying the outdoors doesn't always mean you have to torture yourself.

Those looking for the best of both worlds -- rustic adventure alongside creature comforts -- should head immediately to Shawnee State Park, a southern Ohio getaway home to some of the state’s cushiest lodgings and most rugged terrain.

Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center 4404B State Route 125 West Portsmouth, Ohio 45663 740-858-6621 Homepage

A group of friends and I stayed at one of Shawnee's cabins last weekend, and it was a blast. We hiked the tough, 7.2-mile day loop, then got to warm up in front of a warm fireplace.

“[The cabins] are out there where it’s peaceful, but we have all the luxuries of a conference center,” said Dianna Rom, regional director of sales and marketing for the Ohio State Lodges and Conference Centers. “They’re not rustic, but they give you that rustic feeling.”

Each of Shawnee’s clean, comfy cabins has two bedrooms that sleep six, a full kitchen, living room with natural-gas fireplace, satellite TV and screened porch. A nearby lodge nestled into the hills offers a restaurant, video arcade, weight room, sauna, hot tub and indoor and outdoor pools.

Starting at around $145 a night (that includes tax and fees), the cabins are a steal. They might cost a bit more than a room at the local motel, but your morning view isn’t onto a crumbling strip mall. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has made a push to revitalize their more upscale offerings, and those efforts shine at Shawnee.

During March, guests at Shawnee can get a $25 discount on lodge rooms and cabins with a losing Ohio Lottery ticket. Also look for regular specials that offer a free third night when you pay for two.

(Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center photos)