Austin Lake Park – There’s So Much To Do Here!
In a world that now primarily focuses on technology, in a time where everyone always seems to be in a hurry, there is still one special place where one can take a few moments to simply relax and get back to nature. A place where family is their focus. And it can be found right here in the Ohio Valley!
One of America’s top-rated RV Park and Campgrounds, Austin Lake, has always focused on being a family-oriented environment since its opening in 1946. Throughout the years, so much progress has been made and so many additions have been added to enhance the site that third and fourth generations of families are returning to create their own special memories.
And with each passing year, it just keeps getting better.
Contrary to what many might believe, Austin Lake is not just an amazing place to spend the week or month camping. Throughout the years, several amenities have been added to the 1,300 acre RV Park and 80 acre lake, that families are coming out to simply spend the day together. Why? Because there’s so much to do.
According to President William Cable and his wife, Marsha, one of the most popular activities for guests at Austin Lake has been the addition of large water inflatables, made by the company, Wit. These German inflatables, which can be velcroed together in order to change their configuration and turn them into a water obstacle course, provide a great deal of interactive exercise. They have been so successful among adults and teenagers, that the Cables add additional pieces to there collection every year. This year, a trampoline has been incorporated to the Wibit collection.
Visitors can also continue to enjoy and utilize a downhill summer snow tube designed in Italy, as well as the Berg Buster pedal karts from Holland. Additional karts have been purchased to allow both adults and children to ride throughout the entire park at their leisure. These karts can be converted according to height and size so that either an adult or 4-year-old child can drive them. Booster seats can also be attached for riding toddlers.
Paddle boards from France and “bumper boats” which are intertube boats with built-in watergun squirters, are also available for renting.
Special arm band passes allow for visitors to enjoy the use of kayaks – of which another has been added this year, paddle boats, the Wibit Action Tower, the obstacle course, the tube slide and the pedal karts for just one price. Age and height limits do apply.
Pontoon boats are once again available for rent and can be used for fishing, cruising or tubing. There are three 9.9 horsepower pontoons and two 25 horsepower pontoons which seat between five to eight people and are equipped to pull a ski tube.
This year, four custom-created rope net climbers have been added to the park, two for younger children and two specifically for older children.
And if that isn’t enough… there’s still more to do.
Austin Lake also houses nine energy-efficient pine cabins that can be rented, with the newest addition being the Swan House, an 1850 original farmhouse which has been updated and converted into a rental cabin. Aspen log furniture completes the three-bedroom cabin.
Three of the cabins are pet friendly and all are air-conditioned, and well insulated. The cabins house between five to 11 people, with most having cook-top ranges, full-size refrigerators and microwave ovens. Each has a flat-screen television with DVD player and a dining table and chairs. The Train Cabin is pet friendly and the Great Blue Cabin is pet and ADA friendly. There are playgrounds and “gaga” ballpits near the cabins for smaller children.
And still, there’s so much to do.
Hiking trails have been expanded over the last several years, according to the Cables, who explained that because of the large acreage and popularity of the activity, there are now more trails to choose from, including the Bigfoot Trail, Walkabout Trail, Keyhole Trail and Rookery Trail.
Visitors can also use the trails to mountain bike. Both steep and easier trails in the valley of the park can be accessed for further adventure at Austin Lake.
When not hiking, one can enjoy swimming in the lake, complete with a sandy beach and high jumping.
Cable stated the beach will include major differences this year and upgrades have been made to the concession stand area, which will now be known as the Spillway Café. There is also an area separate from the beach specifically for dog swimming.
Group picnics are also a lake favorite, according to Cable. Family reunions, class reunions, company picnics, youth organizations and church organizations find the park to be the perfect setting for a fun-filled get-together.
Artwork is also prevalent throughout the campground, as the Prehistoric Era has been brought to Jefferson County by those in the junior welding program at the Jefferson County Vocational School under the direction of instructor Todd Parker. Full-sized dinosaurs, a dragon and an alligator were created through the use of plasma arc-cutting equipment and are spaced throughout the area. They have not only been incorporated as art, but as an educational tool as well.
And still, there’s so much to do.
In addition to hayrides, Euchre, pancake breakfasts and Bingo, some of this year’s activities for campers’ and their children entail: an Easter Egg Hunt at Jack’s Walnut Lodge on May 19; a night hike on June 2; kid’s fishing, June 2; a bunny petting zoo, June 9; a foam beach dance and swim on June 16; goat petting, June 16; a snipehunt family affair, June 23 and July 14;golf cart/bicycle parade, July 4; a paleontology dig for fossils featuring Ohio archeologist John Boilegh, July 14, Aug. 4; Christmas in July which features decorating RV/golf carts/bicycles, and a light-up Christmas Parade and Santa, July 21; a Yellow Crick Kayak Lake Tour, sponsored by Roger Goddard of Yellowcreek Crick Adventure, July 28; a DJ Youth Dance at Spillway Café, July 28; a Spooktacular Weekend consisting of decorating for Halloween weekend, a parade, trick or treating, Aug. 11; a Team Spirit bonfire at the camper pavilion on Sept. 2; and a camper Thanksgiving and Chinese Auction on Sept. 15. Many more activities are slated for the park and campground and can be found on the website.
Austin Lake has received yet another amazing rating this year from officials at the Trailer Life Directory, the official directory of the Good Sam Club – who rate each privately-owned campground, tourist attraction and RV service center within the United States.
These inspectors provide feedback on three aspects of a campground: The completeness and quality of the facilities; the cleanliness and physical characteristics of the campground; and visual appearance.
Trailer Life officials noted less than one percent of parks or campgrounds across America actually receive a rating of 10. In addition, a park must receive a minimum rating of 5/7.5/5 and meet specific minimum requirements within each category in order to qualify for Good Sam Park membership. Austin Lake received an 8.5/10/10 rating.
The campground can accommodate any size camper and encourages guests to bring their children and pets.
The Cables, who are always mindful of preserving their natural environment, were the recipients of the Herald-Star’s Readers Choice Award for top campground and are members of the Farm Bureau and American Association of Tree Farmers; graduates of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, which is sponsored by the ARVC; members of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce; and active in the Ohio Campground Owners Association.
As members of the OCOA, the Cables are able to use the knowledge they have gained over the years to help younger campground owners who are starting out. This allows them to be active in the Ohio and National conventions and attend workshops and keep updated on campground operations.
Major upgrades have been done to the lake’s dam this year in order to comply with federal safety standards, Cable stated, adding that the work is almost complete and was done by local contractors Grae-Con from Steubenville and James White Construction of Weirton. Built by Cable’s grandfather in 1946, the dam is getting rehabilitation in order to meet these new standards.
For more information, a listing of additional activites or to make reservations, visit austinlakepark.com or call (740) 544-5253. Austin Lake RV Park and Cabins is located at 1002 twp. Road 285A, Toronto.