Description - Although hard to imagine, at one time the Grand Lake St. Marys region was part of a vast forest wilderness that stretched from the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania to the prairies of Illinois. Today, in place of this forest are fields of corn, soybeans and wheat.
Copyright: - Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Grand Lake St. Marys State Park
In addition to forests, pre-settlement Ohio contained large prairies and wetlands. The land which now lies beneath St. Marys reservoir was once a vast wet prairie. Today, the park contains varying habitats including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies in addition to the surrounding croplands.
- Since 1949, Grand Lake St. Marys State Park has served the public offering a wide range of outdoor recreation. The campground contains 216 sites of which 135 are equipped with electricity. Facilities include flush toilets, laundry, showers and a dump station. Pets are permitted. The campground also offers a "camper's only" swimming beach, boat launch and boat docks / tie-ups. Rent-A-Camps and Rent-A-Tepees with camping gear may be rented May-October. Two spacious Cedar Cabins with all the amenities of a fully-equipped RV are also available for daily or weekly rental. A full-service camp store loans games, fishing and sporting equipment to registered campers. Bike rentals are also available at the campground. Campers can also enjoy a miniature golf course, along with basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoe pits and playground equipment. A seasonal naturalist holds scheduled programs, including movies, Thursday through Saturday night. The weekend after Labor Day the campground hosts the annual Grand Fall Festival featuring crafts, food, fireworks, and entertainment.
As Ohio's largest inland lake, Grand Lake St. Marys offers more than 13,5000 acres of recreational waters. Unlimited horsepower is permitted on the lake. Five state operated launch ramps provide access to the lake in addition to several private launch ramps. Fuel, boat rentals and seasonal dock rentals are available. A 300' no wake zone has been established and is enforced around the lake's 52 miles of shoreline. The state wildlife refuge, located on the southwest corner is off limits to boats at all times. Fishing is great year-round and anglers will enjoy excellent catches of crappie, bass and bluegill in the spring as well as record catches of yellow perch in the winter. Bait vending machines are available at the park.
Hunting is permitted in designated areas. There are 90 seasonal duck blinds available by a lottery administered by ODNR Division of Wildlife. A valid Ohio hunting and waterfowl stamp is required.
The park offers four public swimming beaches as well as other swimming areas provided for boaters. Lifeguard coverage is limited to weekends and holidays.
Picnickers will find scenic areas furnished with grills and tables. Picnic shelters are available on a reservation basis. Contact the park office for details.
Recreation - Recreation is concentrated around Grand Lake St. Mary. Waterskiing, boating, fishing, swimming, camping, cabin rental, picnicking, miniature golf, hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing offer the outdoor enthusiast year-round enjoyment.
Climate - This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.
Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.
To reach Grand Lake St. Marys State Park lies in western Ohio several miles from the Indiana state line. Take State Route 33 (SR 33 becomes SR 29 West of St. Marys) to 364 South to 703 East.