Celebrate Christmas in the Ohio State Park Lodges - Ohio State Park Lodges

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Celebrate Christmas at the Ohio State Park Lodges

Christmas Buffets. Breakfast with Santa. Winter Sports. And Parties Galore.

Ohio is within a one-day drive of nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population, which is why is it such a preferred destination for families to reconnect during the holidays.

The Ohio State Park Lodges operated by Xanterra, which include Maumee Bay, Deer Creek, Salt Fork, Mohican, and Punderson Manor, have helped families bring back the nostalgia of  holidays past for generations. From Christmas buffets and breakfasts with Santa to curling up by the fire and watching the snowfall from a wall of windows, holiday memories made at these lodges are unforgettable.


While the Lake Erie backdrop of Maumee Bay Lodge is popular in the summer, winter brings a quiet tranquility. The beautifully decorated lodge has plenty of space for larger families who meet to reconnect and open their gifts.

Get into the holiday spirit with the Maumee Bay Lodge annual Winter Carnival, held the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The resort is transformed into a winter wonderland with indoor playgrounds, games, and family activities.

On Christmas Day, gather your family in the Water’s Edge restaurant for Christmas Brunch from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (reservations required) for a spread of holiday staples. Guests who stay at the lodge on New Year’s Eve can take part in a night hike on the boardwalk.

Winter activities at the lodge mean hiking one of the many trails at Maumee Bay State Park, sledding excursions, cross-country skiing (equipment rental available), and ice-skating.

Connecting lodge rooms and loft rooms offer plenty of space while cabins provide the ultimate privacy for families who want to set up a home away from home.


The stunning English Tudor estate at Punderson Manor creates a holiday ambiance unlike any other.

A popular holiday tradition at Punderson is Breakfast with Santa (Dec. 4, 11 & 18, 2016) when children make memories with a special Sunday meal. Special holiday buffets are also offered on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.

In addition to the Winter Solstice Candlelight Walk (Dec. 21, 2016) that starts at the nature center, other favorite activities within the 741-acre park include  cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, and rushing down the lighted sledding hill, complete with tow rope.

If the chill is too much outside, you can stay inside and enjoy complimentary board games in front of the fireplace, indoor swimming, and the library .

The cozy Manor house rooms are perfect for quiet getaways. For larger families, the hotel-style rooms in the newer section of the lodge are ideal. Cabins that accommodate up to six people provide the ultimate privacy and family environment. Even pet-friendly accommodations are available.


Staying at the lakeside Mohican Lodge is a peaceful way to bring in the holidays. Private room balconies give you a front row seat to the winter snowfall and the wildlife that surround the lodge.

The lodge is also a perfect home base for outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy winter hikes on one of the 13 trails on site or spend a day cross-country skiing. Nearby Malabar Farm offers several Candlelight Holiday Tours (Dec. 2-4 and 9-11, 2016) through the Louis Bromfield house that is beautifully decorated for the holidays.

If a low-key holiday is more your pace, you never have to leave the lodge. The heated indoor pool and sauna provide the perfect way to relax, while the game room and many gathering spots give you options for interacting with family.

Ring in the New Year with Mohican’s annual adults-only New Year’s Eve celebration. You and your guest can enjoy lodging, dinner, party admission, welcome gifts, News Year’s Day brunch — and never have to leave the lodge.


With so many lodging options at Deer Creek Lodge, guests find the perfect balance of private time and family togetherness during the holidays. Enjoy your family gift exchanges in comfortable and spacious lodge rooms or in a private cabin, some of which accommodate pets.

Snowfall on the 3,100-acre property makes for peaceful winter hikes on the marked trails, and then you can warm up by the lodge fireplace or spend time in the heated indoor pool and hot tub.  

Be sure to enjoy the Deer Creek Festival of Trees from the first week of December through New Year’s Day where local garden clubs decorate trees with more than 20,000 lights. Your family can also take part in the annual holiday open house with activities, music, and visits from Santa on Dec. 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.


The Salt Fork Lodge is as memorable for its indoor comfort as it is for its endless outdoor activities, even in the winter.

Family traditions are easy to create when you spend an afternoon at the sledding hill or take up new activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

A wall of windows and rocking chairs is the perfect spot to catch up with family members as you enjoy watching the snow fall outside. Families also like the indoor activities at the heated pool and game room.

Celebrate a family-friendly New Year’s Eve at Salt Fork with a three-day event that includes crafts, scavenger hunts, family photos, movies, talent show, and of course, a New Year’s Eve party.

To create a special holiday memory, spend an evening in nearby historic downtown Cambridge to experience Dickens’ Victorian Village. The display of old English holiday scenes throughout downtown is unforgettable with more than 186 life-size figures. This is an Ohio holiday tradition for families.

For more information on Ohio State Park Lodges, visit ohiostateparklodges.com or call 800-282-7275.

For more travel experiences available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

Written by: Anietra Hamper

Ohio resident Anietra Hamper is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in covering outdoor activities.