Deer Creek Lodge Review: Ohio State Park Lover’s Dream

deer creek lodge sunrise on lake

Last month, I took my teen daughter to Deer Creek Lodge & Conference Center for the weekend to check out what it has to offer its guests. Offering both indoor and outdoor activities, dining, and lake activities, I couldn’t wait to dip my proverbial toe into the fun. Here’s my full Deer Creek Lodge review!

deer creek lodge kayaking on the lake

Disclosure: I was hosted by the fine folks at Deer Creek Lodge to give you the scoop on what makes it so fun for guests. All opinions are my own!


Staying in Great Ohio Lodges this summer has become a fun way to see the Ohio State Parks and get a few new stamps in my Ohio Parks Passport, so I was definitely up for a visit to Deer Creek Lodge. It’s also been a fun way to have some mother-daughter time with The Kid, another great reason to visit.

And lastly, I’m simply a curious type that wants to know about my home state and cool places to stay & visit. Here’s my full, honest take on our visit to Deer Creek Lodge. 

Deer Creek Lodge Review- The Basics

deer creek lodge exterior backside

There’s definitely nothing basic about Deer Creek Lodge, but I wanted to give you a quick rundown about the property in case you haven’t researched it. One of nine Great Ohio Lodges, they’re all kept to pretty high standards.

Of course, some are more luxurious than the next and each has its own style and vibe – something I find very refreshing. Just about 40 minutes from Columbus, OH, it’s a fun day trip and an even better one tank trip. 

The property has 110 guest rooms and suites. While that’s not a ton compared to giant resorts, the property itself is quite large. Check-in time begins at 4pm and, on busier days, they definitely hold onto that time.

Check-out time is no later than 11am so rooms can be cleaned for the next guests. And, if you like planning well ahead, reservations can be made up to 12 months in advance. As for pricing, summer and holidays tend to be more expensive off season. But, make sure to look for deals before you book. 

If you’re more of a video review person, here’s our YouTube video featuring Deer Creek Lodge:

Deer Creek Lodge Review- Amenities

deer creek lodge outdoor pool


I love a resort with a ton of on-property amenities and Deer Creek doesn’t fall short. It has both indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and game room with several arcade games. Additionally, it offers the use of board games while you visit. 

As for outdoor amenities, it has tennis and basketball courts, a baseball diamond, and even horseshoe pits. At night, a fire pit is lit for s’mores (bring your own or buy a kit at the gift shop). Walk 60 seconds down to the lake and you can rent kayaks, paddle boards, and peddle boats.

deer creek lodge outdoor activities kayaks

It’s also a cute area for kids to swim – life jackets are provided at the water sports check-in. Make sure to reserve the water sport items at the front desk when you check in – they sell out quickly. 

And if you like to hike, no worries there. All around the lodge are hiking trails. We took the Van Horn Trail for a morning hike and found it just the right amount of time and effort before breakfast. Plus, it let us see both the woodland and water features around the lodge. 


Deer Creek Lodge Restaurants

deer creek lodge dining salad

Of course, things have been scaled back everywhere due to the nature of the world these days, but Deer Creek Lodge did do a good job with what they have to work with. Right now, apart from the gift shop for snacks, the property has two dining options.

Rafter’s, its sit-down restaurant, is casual and laidback. Offering a delish breakfast buffet in the morning, it has a really good lunch & dinner menu selection for being paired back. We loved all of the hearty salads (the Waterloo Chicken Salad was my fave) and you can’t go wrong with the Bavarian Pretzels. 

An even more laidback dining option, Harding’s a bar-style dining. It offers tasty pizza, cocktails, beer, and a pool table. We didn’t dine there but I did peek my head in  several times. 

I can’t talk about dining without mentioning this: right now the property is understaffed. Having written that, our servers did their absolute bast to accommodate everyone. Sure, it took some time to be seated, and a little bit longer than normal time to get our food, but they were hustling like crazy. So, when you do visit, cut them some slack, okay?


Deer Creek Lodge Guest Rooms

We really did love our two-queen guest room. There was plenty of room to move about and I have never once complained about the beds as they’re always super comfy. We stayed in an upper lake view room, so we had an outdoor patio and, man, did we use it a ton. It was refreshing to go outside and see “nature”, aka, wild animals and the gorgeous water no matter what time of day. 

Inside, our room had a flatscreen television, mini fridge, coffee maker, and satellite tv. As for the bathroom, it was super clean and roomy for two ladies getting ready each day. 


Deer Creek Lodge Review: Freebies

deer creek lodge lobby

In addition to the courts, hiking, pools, and horseshoe pit, there are some really good freebies that I always look for:

  • Free parking
  • Free Wifi

Parking – there’s plenty of it. And the wifi never gave us a problem during our entire stay. Additionally, there’s always free coffee in the lobby which I love. 


Deer Creek Lodge Review: In a Nutshell

deer creek lodge kayaking

Would I stay again at Deer Creek Lodge? You betcha! We had a lovely stay and, honestly, I didn’t want to leave. The beds were very comfy, the staff super friendly and accommodating, and the activities plentiful. I absolutely recommend this property for long weekends, holidays, midweek stays – you name it. 

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