4404 State Route 125
Portsmouth, Ohio 45663
Reservations: (866) 644-6727
Shawnee State Park is located on 1,095-acres near the banks of the Ohio River, and part of the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. It roughly a 15 minute drive to Portsmouth, the nearest place with groceries and wifi/cell phone service. There is a small camp store in the campground that has firewood, novelty snacks, souvenirs, hiking sticks and limited camping supplies. There are laundry facilities in the shower houses (coin operated.) No wifi or cable.
The campground has 30 amp water/elec. sites, 30 amp full service, 50 amp full-service, back in and pull-throughs, and tent sites. There are a few basic cabins in the campground. Deluxe/pet friendly cabins are located near the lodge which is in a separate location a couple of miles from the campground. Open year round.
The camp hosts were very friendly and came up to introduce themselves within an hour of us setting up and were very helpful with information.
Notice: work is being done on the Roosevelt Lake Dam which significantly lowered the lake levels. The spillway near the front of the campground was almost completely dry. Swimming/boating activities were limited. The work is expected to be completed by the end of October 2014.
The roads and sites were paved and in decent condition. Many of the sites were sloped near the front, with more level sites located toward the back. There are a number of trails within the campground, some which were moderately challenging.
We stayed in the spring before many of the trees were fully bloomed, but it seems like the park is well-shaded with mature trees. One significant downside for us was the limited trash containers. There is only one dumpster in the front of the campground. There weren’t even trash cans in the bathroom!
Rating: (1-5 lanterns with 5 being the highest)
There is no enclosed dog park which was disappointing to us. The trails are dog friendly, however and the trail next to the river was nice for taking dogs for a walk as it was wide and flat with access to the water. There are no dog waste bags or trash cans along any of the trails. As mentioned before there are pet-friendly cabins located near the lodge.
There is a nice basketball court, swings, playground, and horseshoes. There is a swimming beach and swimming pool located near the lodge (driving distance) Cornhole is available for rent at the camp store. There are also planned activities throughout the year. We were there for Mushroom Mania with guided hikes for families, and informational sessions.
This campground is located in a scenic location away from large cities. The city of Portsmouth is not far however, and has nice art murals in the downtown area. You are also within 30 miles from Indian burial mounds (Serpent Mound, etc.). You are also located along the Ohio River, with ample fishing opportunities.
There are two main shower houses and additional bath houses in the campground. The facilities were kept clean and typical of many state park facilities. The water was hot in the showers, although the stream was extremely high pressure and was fixed toward the wall and couldn’t be moved. The shower stalls had dressing areas with curtain dividers. The water faucets in the restrooms are push button, only hand dryers – no towels or trash cans provided.
Overall Rating: Shawnee is a pretty park with great hiking. We hope that the $88 million upgrades to Ohio State Parks will make this an even nicer place to stay in the future.