A fun, family vacation destination
Families have long enjoyed vacationing at beautiful Grand Lake St. Marys. Ohio’s largest inland lake has been a destination for boating, swimming, fishing and picnicking for many generations.
Appreciate The History
Constructed by man, without power equipment, Grand Lake St. Marys served as a feeder lake for the Miami-Erie Canal. At its completion in 1845, it was the largest man made lake in the world and is still the largest hand dug lake. Workers received 30 cents a day and a jigger of whiskey for their labors. In the early 1890’s the lake became the site of the first off-shore oil drilling platform. By 1915 there were more than 150 oil wells in the lake. Other past business ventures on the lake include ice harvesting and commercial fisheries. It was also the location of a large amusement park, dance halls and church camps.
When Visiting Grand Lake St. Marys, Don’t Miss:
- The 3 lighthouses on the lake
- The many lakeside festivals, concerts, races and other fun events
- The great local cuisine and lakeside dining available at a number of local restaurants
Stay For Awhile
From primitive campsites to lakeside, Jacuzzi hotel suites to homey cottages, you will find a wide variety of lodging options for your visit including two hotels with lake views, two hotels with docks available for guests, over 1,600 camp sites along the lake and many cottages and overnight facilities.
In the early 1800’s It took an army of men to construct Grand Lake St. Marys and now, more than 160 years later, an army of citizens is hard at work to improve the water quality of this grand body of water.
With a mostly rural, agricultural watershed, over the many decades a major algae growth developed on the lake. Concerned citizens and groups in the area formed the Lake Restoration Commission (LRC). They are working with state and federal agencies and legislators to find solutions to the algae issues that have plagued the lake in the past. They have completed a strategic action plan which identifies solutions to the problem including sediment removal, chemical treatments, aeration, decreased rough fish, water level management and restored wetlands. Some of these action items have already been implemented or are currently being tested on the lake.
The Lake Restoration Commission wants to bring the lake into ecological balance. The key to solving the lake’s algae issue is to approach it as a large puzzle and to realize it will take many pieces to complete the task. The good news is many of those pieces are currently in play and the work continues.
Enjoy The Great Outdoors
Today Grand Lake St. Marys State Park consists of nearly 600 acres of prime lakeside parkland. You will find trails and walkways, great access to fishing, swimming beaches, picnic amenities, excellent bird watching opportunities, public boat launch areas and a large, well maintained state campground.
You’ll also find:
- Year round fishing, with many tournaments held on the lake each year
- Sport fishing species include bass, crappie, perch, bluegill, catfish & walleye
- Two pair of nesting American bald eagles
- Over 10 miles of local nature hiking & biking trails
- Excellent goose and duck hunting
- A state fish hatchery
- Waterfowl refuge and wetlands nature observation decks
- Handicap access fishing piers and boat docks
- Kayaking clubs
- Ice Fishing
- Four bait & tackle shops around the lake
- Great for Bird Watching—with a wide variety of waterfowl and migratory birds
Bring Your Boat, You’ll Find:
- 13,500 acres of water and 52 miles of shoreline
- Four boater’s beaches
- Unlimited horsepower
- Boat rentals available
- 35 boat launch ramps—including seven free public launch sites
- 11 restaurants and bars with lake access offering a wide variety of food and beverage
- Both Moose and Eagles Lodges with their own marinas and a large number of courtesy docks
- Open skiing
- Excellent sailing lake
- Three full service marinas
- Fun boating events such as the LIA Barstool Open and Boat Decorating Contest, the Lake Festival Boat Poker Run and the Lake Festival Boat Parade
- St. Marys Boat Club and their twice monthly sailboat races
- Watching fireworks, hydroplane boat races and Lakeshore Park concerts are even more enjoyable from the deck of your boat.