Stop two on our tour of all three Great Ohio Lodges was Shawnee Lodge & Conference Center and very different from Hueston Woods Lodge & Conference Center. The Kid and I learned all about relaxing and unplugging- and even what it’s like to swim in the middle of a 63,000 acre forest!
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by Shawnee Lodge & Conference Center to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes it so much fun for families. I was not asked to state a particular point of view and all opinions my own!
Sitting on Top of the World!
Ok, definitely stretching it a bit, but Shawnee Lodge does sit inside of Shawnee State Forest and on the top of a small mountain. Driving up to the property was so scenic and pretty and we passed the Nature Center, two lakes (Roosevelt and Turkey Creek) and finally to the lovely Shawnee Lodge. Once we checked in (super easy, by the way) we were ready to relax in the giant lobby area. Themed out with American Indian style and decor, we spent a ton of time in the lobby during our visit either logging The Kid into cyber school in the mornings or hanging out on the large porch that overlooks the outdoor pool and valley.
There were plenty of rocking chairs just begging for folks to sit and take it easy for a few moments. Here’s my take on the lodge: there’s so much beauty surrounding it that it became The Kid and my favorite feature. There’s nothing like checking out the outdoors- while still surrounded by creature comforts.
Our guest room on the first floor had two super comfy full-size beds and plenty of room to move about. The pillows were soft and the room’s decor warm and rustic. I loved the Native American Iconic paintings above the beds, too. And, while it took some time to get used to there not being a headboard, I didn’t miss it at all.
While there are plenty of guest room layouts, we loved the two bunk beds on the opposite wall from our beds. Great for larger families, our room could easily sleep six. We used the extra space to keep our bags and packages on, though. A large flatscreen television, coffee maker, mini fridge, bathroom with shower and tub, extra vanity area with a sink and mirror, and our favorite feature, a private outdoor patio completed the room areas.
Our patio and guest room faced the one of the wooded areas that surround the Lodge and we loved walking out any time during the day to watch birds and other woodland animals (we befriended a couple of squirrels. Ok, it was more like I tried to befriend them but they knew better and kept their distance. It didn’t stop me from chatting with them, though.)
On-Property Activities and Amenities
We hit perfect weather during our visit so as soon as we could get settled in our room we headed to the outdoor pool. The fenced in area has both a giant swimming pool and a smaller kiddie pool for families with wee ones. It was midweek and the beginning of school for many families in the area but, honestly, we loved the space to swim about. The Kid even took a couple of trips off the diving board in the deep end. When we weren’t swimming, I sat on a lounge chair and looked at the gorgeous view of the valley below.
If you’re not into outdoor pools or you want to visit during the off-season and it’s closed, the property offers an indoor pool as well with a massive hot tub- another fun reason to visit during lower crowd times!
Along with the indoor pool, the property has an indoor game room (think rainy or cold day activities!) where The Kid and I spent more than a few minutes shooting zombies. It’s on the way to both the guest room area and the pool so it made for a fun pit stop.
Shawnee Lodge does offer its guests free wifi, but during our visit they were having a ton of trouble with it in the guest room area so for cyber school we had to head to the lobby where the signal was better. It’s definitely not a deal breaker because we were there to relax and unwind, but wifi is one of those things my family takes for granted when traveling now (i.e., streaming movies on Netflix at night before bed, checking emails, etc.). Our cell phone signal was pretty low as well so look up the Lodge’s phone number ahead of time and give it to family that may need to get in touch with you.
There’s also plenty of lake activities, a Nature Center and several nearby activities including horseback riding and a Serpent Mound State Memorial. Oh, and if you love geocaching, there’s plenty of it in and around the park and Lodge.
If you love hiking and walking, Shawnee Lodge has plenty of trails around the property to keep you fit. We tried the Lampblack Trail and the easy hour or so walk was lovely and cool.
I’m sure we could have accomplished the trail in a much quicker time, but it was fun to mosey.
A Trip to The Smokehouse
I loved the breakfast options at Shawnee Lodge. Yogurt and granola and traditional dishes like breakfast sandwiches and fried potatoes were great for increasing our energy and to get us through to lunch. Shawnee does open its restaurant, The Smokehouse, for all three meals every day, but for dinner we decided to order from the room service menu, pick up our meals, and head to our patio or to the pretty lobby to eat. We had delicious hamburgers and fries each night (if you have small children the Kids Menu is really fun and super affordable!) and hung out and chatted.
One afternoon we took a day trip into Portsmouth, Ohio. Maybe 15 minutes away from Shawnee Lodge, the quaint town sits directly on the Ohio River. Two big draws to the town are the massive amount of antique shops to browse through and the flood wall painted murals.
Sitting on the banks of the Ohio River can make for some flooding so the town instilled giant flood walls to keep its buildings and roads safe. But Portsmouth didn’t stop there; they’ve added paintings to the flood walls depicting the town’s timeline and historical events. So beautiful and worthy of checking out if you head there.