You must be signed in to save park lists.
Your Park Lists
add New List
Add Photo
You must be signed in to add photos.
state route ranger badge

Ohio State Parks

responsive menu icon
USA Parks
Northwest Ohio Region
Van Buren Lake State Park
start slideshow
Van Buren Lake State Park © Gene Shirk
Van Buren Lake State Park © Gene Shirk
Van Buren Lake State Park © Gene Shirk
Van Buren Lake State Park © Gene Shirk
Van Buren Lake State Park © Gene Shirk
Availability Search
12259 Township Rd 218
Van Buren, Ohio   45889
(lat:41.133 lon:-83.6312) map location

Phone: (419) 832-7662
Reservations: 866-644-6727
Van Buren State Park offers a quiet retreat with fishing and picnicking opportunities. The woodlands are a small but valued refuge in the rich agricultural land of northwestern Ohio.
Nature of the Area
Van Buren State Park lies in the rich agricultural plains of northwest Ohio. The plains, referred to as till plains, receive their name from the glacial debris, or till, which covers preglacial hills and valleys. The till plains are the result of the deposition and smoothing action of the glaciers. Most hills in these areas are mounds of boulders and soil left by the retreating Wisconsinan glacier. Beneath the almost continuous cover of glacial deposits lies sedimentary bedrock which, in this region, is mostly limestone with a little shale. Much of this limestone is the magnesium-bearing form called dolomite.

The original vegetation of the area, before settlement, was mostly woodland. Today, much of the vegetation consists of farm crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat. Locally, a small but valuable remnant of the original woodland remains. Beech and sugar maple occupy a large portion of the wooded area in Van Buren State Park. Mammals found in the area include red fox, red squirrel, white-tailed deer, raccoon, skunk and opossum. Other animals found are the eastern garter snake, spring peeper, eastern bluebird, eastern meadowlark, cowbird, woodcock and short-eared owl. Wildflowers abound in the fields and woodlands of the area. Dutchman's breeches, spring beauty, thimbleweed, daisy fleabane and chicory are commonly found around the park.
History of the Area
The Van Buren State Park region was originally inhabited by the Shawnee Indians. Banished from their homeland in south-central Ohio, this was the last stronghold of the tribe before they eventually departed for lands west of the Mississippi River. Indian artifacts and relics can still be found on what used to be Indian Island, located in the northwest section of the lake.

Van Buren is located just north of the town of Findlay which was founded in 1821. The development of the town was quite slow until the discovery of natural gas in the 1880s. A German physician named Charles Osterlen became convinced that an enormous reservoir of natural gas lay beneath the town of Findlay. He told of his belief and was scoffed at and regarded as a vain dreamer. But his patience and perseverance prevailed as he succeeded in organizing a stock company to drill for gas. The well was successful and spawned the growth of a great industry in Findlay. At one time, Findlay claimed the largest gas well in the world, with an output of 20 million cubic feet daily.

The land comprising Van Buren State Park was originally set aside as a wildlife preserve. In 1939, a dam was constructed over Rocky Ford Creek to provide additional fish and wildlife resources. In 1950, the area was turned over to the newly created Division of Parks and Recreation. It has been maintained as a state park ever since. The park was named for Martin Van Buren--eighth President of the United States.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
GeneralLand, acres251
 Water, acres45
 Hiking Trail, miles10
 Picnic Shelters, #4
 Bridle Trails, miles6
 Nature Centeryes
 Nature Programsyes
BoatingBoating Limits-1
CampingPrimitive, #19
 Electric Sites, #10
 Pets Permittedyes
 Group Camp, capacity200
 Horsemen Campsites, #31
WinterCross-Country Skiingyes
 Ice Skatingyes
 Ice Fishingyes
Van Buren offers a campground with 40 non-electric sites. Tables, pit latrines and a dump station are provided. A primitive, walk-in, youth-group camping area is located in the southeast section of the park and is available by reservation. Pet camping is permitted on designated sites.
Van Buren Lake provides excellent boating opportunities for rowboats, canoes and boats with electric motors only.
Good fishing is available at Van Buren Lake. Catches of largemouth bass, channel catfish, crappie, bullhead, bluegill and carp await the skilled angler. Park property east of TR 229 is designated for hunting in accordance with state laws. A valid Ohio fishing and/or hunting license is required.

Van Buren Lake State Park is located near Findlay, Fostoria and Findlay

Three picnic areas are situated in scenic locations throughout the park. Three shelterhouses are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Several hiking trails are provided on the south side of the lake. A scenic two-mile trail traverses the perimeter of the lake.
Area Attractions
Springville Marsh, a state nature preserve, is located east of Van Buren in Seneca County on Township Road 24. The preserve is one of the largest interior wetlands in the till plains of western Ohio.

The Old Mill Stream Parkway off State Route 37 stretches 23 miles from Riverbend Recreation Area to the restored Blanchard River Village in Gilboa. Canoe access, heritage trail, boat livery and bikeways are offered along this scenic route. The North Country Bikeway passes through the park. Picnic areas, restrooms and parking are provided along the bikeway.

The Hancock County Courthouse located in Findlay is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in 1833 and restored in 1976, the building now serves as headquarters for the Hancock County Park District.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 17 Family Reunion by Dianna Allen
park review stars; one to five Thank you for mowing for our croquet game, having the electric running in the shelter, with no problems, and cleaning the portable pot! We will back next year and maybe more. Sincerely, The Quisenberry Family.
October 29 Trails by BB
park review stars; one to five i love running the trails here.
December 10 Quiet and Peaceful!
park review stars; one to five This park is very quiet and offers lots of hiking and varied terrain options for such a small park in NW Ohio. Lots of small improvements can be seen each year by staff and volunteers. Electric sites are now available in the campgrounds and new restrooms are also suppose to be built in the campgrounds too. A beautiful butterfly garden and interp. trail were also added within the last year adding to this parks appeal and committment to conservation! The boat/fishing dock needs replaced!
write a review read more reviews
Share On

Area Campgrounds
Fire Lake Campground
13630 Kramer Road
Bowling Green, OH
Heritage Springs Campground
13891 Twp Rd 199
Vanlue, OH
Area Cabins and Lodges
Hancock Park District: Park Info
819 Park St
Findlay, OH
(419) 425-7275
Riverside Landing Boat Rentals
819 Park St
Findlay, OH
(419) 424-7275
Lodge at Riverbend The
9250 Township Road 208
Findlay, OH
(419) 425-7275
Raccoon Run X-C Ski Rentals
16618 Township Road 208
Findlay, OH
(419) 425-7275
Raccoon Run X-C Ski Rentals: Ski Rental Riverbend Park
Riverbend Park
Findlay, OH
(419) 424-1555
Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
businesss listing main photo
Camp Patmos - Kelleys Island, OH
Conference Center
Week long youth camps. Located on the shores of Kelleys Island. Guests will learn to sail, wakeboard, waterski while enjoying the beauty of the Lake Erie island.
58.1 miles from park*
businesss listing main photo
Enjoy Southeast Michigan's Best Family Camping experience at our clean, quiet, friendly campground. Jumping Pillow, WiFi, Paddle Boats, Minigolf, Swimming, Bicycling and more
62.7 miles from park*
Nearby Hotels

state route ranger badge

Ohio State Parks