Buckeye Lake is an exciting destination to spend the day out on the water, enjoy live music, experience delicious cuisine and tasty drinks, and admire stunning sunsets. However, there’s much more to discover beyond the shoreline. Dive into these 25 Things You Might Not Know About Buckeye Lake including its history, neighboring towns, and more!
25 Things You Might Not Know About Buckeye Lake
1. Buckeye Lake is Ohio’s oldest State Park.
2. The lake is home to 21 islands.
3. The lake offers 3,100 acres of water.
4. The lake extends into 3 different Ohio counties – Fairfield, Licking, and Perry.
5. Multiple villages and neighborhoods surrounding the lake make up the Buckeye Lake Region: Buckeye Lake Village, Fairfield Beach, Harbor Hills, Millersport, Thornport, and Thornville.
6. Buckeye Lake State Park is located 30 minutes east of Ohio’s capital, Columbus.
7. Buckeye Lake has 35 miles of shoreline.
8. A 4-mile shoreline walking & biking path connects the North Shore in Buckeye Lake Village to Liebs Island in Millersport.
9. The deepest part of Buckeye Lake is 14 feet.
10. Formed by a retreating glacier more than 14,000 years ago, Buckeye Lake first existed as a shallow, swampy pond, named “Great Buffalo Swamp” by Ohio Company explorer Christopher Gist in 1751.
11. The lake first served as a feeder lake for Ohio’s canal system during the 1800s.
12. From 1826 to 1830, the construction of the Licking Summit Reservoir was completed and would eventually become Buckeye Lake, a man-made lake.
13. When the lake was impounded in 1826, Cranberry Bog broke loose from the bottom and became a floating island that may conceivably be the only one of its kind in the world. Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve, which is also a National Natural Landmark, is a small and shrinking remnant of this bog.
14. In 1894, Buckeye Lake was officially named a public park.
15. With the creation of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Buckeye Lake was officially designated as an Ohio State Park in 1949.
16. Buckeye Lake once held an amusement park with a ferris wheel, roller coaster, dance pavilions, and arcade, and was known as the Playground of Ohio.
17. During the 1940s, the dance halls hosted big Hollywood names such as Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and more.
18. Today, the amusement park’s final remnant is the fountain that originally served as the centerpiece of the midway, which was restored in the summer of 2023.
19. Outdoor recreation at Buckeye Lake includes boating, birding, fishing, kayaking, jet-skiing, hiking/walking, hunting, picnicking, and swimming. During the winter months under proper conditions, park visitors can enjoy ice skating, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice boating.
20. Buckeye Lake is home to the only inland sternwheeler in the state, the Queen of the Lake III.
21. Every January, the businesses that surround Buckeye Lake participate in an annual festival, Winterfest. Join Benny the Bass as he predicts a long winter or an early spring and celebrate with fireworks, activities, live music, art shows, food and drink specials, food trucks, and more! Stick around for the annual Polar Plunge at the Buckeye Lake Winery, as participants jump into the freezing cold water of the lake to help raise money for charity.
22. Buckeye Lake’s food scene is continuously growing, now home to multiple cafes and casual upscale dining including the Blue Heron Kitchen & Pub, Buckeye Lake Winery, Hereinafter Cocktail Tavern, Horvath’s Harbor, and more.
23. The Dawes Arboretum, founded in 1929, is a 2,000-acre tree museum located 10-20 minutes north of the lake, offering 12 miles of hiking trails, 17,000 labeled collection plants, and more.
24. Situated immediately east of Buckeye Lake is Legend Valley, a 230-acre live music venue and campground that has hosted concerts, music festivals, and athletic events since the 1970s.
25. Popular annual festivals that take place in the Buckeye Lake region include the Thornville Backwoods Fest, Millersport Sweetcorn Festival, Tour de Buckeye Lake, and more.
Bonus Fact: Buckeye Lake has an app! Explore what the lake region has to offer, including lodging, popular restaurants, activities, shopping, and much more. View it all at once or search by categories like Outdoor Recreation, Arts & Culture, and Shopping.
Plan your escape today. With multiple short-term rentals all around the lake, you’ll find the best stay for your getaway! Find lakefront cottages and photo-worthy homes with beautiful waterfront views to make your trip as memorable as possible. Plus, check out events happening around the lake including live music, entertainment, and more!