Buckeye Lake, Ohio, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide for history, statistics, local fun facts and the best things to do at Buckeye Lake.

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Buckeye Lake visitor and community guide

Lake Locations: USA - Midwest - Ohio - Central -

Once used for canal transportation, now a year round adventure land, Buckeye Lake in Ohio is a destination worthy of investigation. Located just a short 30 miles east of Columbus and in the Central Ohio Tourism Region, this lake is enjoyed by locals, tourists, and those who call the area their second home.

Thousands of years ago, the land was carved by glaciers traveling across Ohio that formed the base of the lake. In the early 1800’s as white man began to settle in the area, a need for transporting goods to the area initiated the idea for a canal system. In 1926 work began to build a dike blocking drainage into the South Fork of the Licking River and was completed in 1830. Originally named the Licking Summit Reservoir, the name was officially changed to Buckeye Lake in 1894 when the canal system was closed and proclaimed outdated by the growing railway system. That same year the area was named as a public park. By 1900, numerous homes, summer cottages, and amusement parks were built around the lake as the popularity of “lake living” grew. With the invention of power boats in the early 1900’s, the fascination with water sports drew more visitors. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, night life drew more pleasure seekers as performances by big-band stars at the local amusement parks lured people out to enjoy music, dancing, and picnicking under the stars. In 1949, an area was officially set aside as Buckeye State Park when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was created. Today, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) still maintains the park and regulates the water in Buckeye Lake.

Buckeye Lake Village is located on the northern shore of the lake and continues the tradition and excitement of “lake living.” Here you will find a chance to purchase real estate with residential housing ranging from waterfront homes, non-waterfront homes, condominiums, apartments, and even a retirement housing community. Vacation rentals are also available here and nearby for your visit. The local Yacht Club has an unusual distinction of being the only Yacht Club in America headquartered since 1912 on an island, Watkins Island that is reached by its own bridge. This group sponsors several sail contests during the year, as well as an antique wood boat parade.

Buckeye Lake is located in the counties of Fairfield, Licking, and Perry with several communities lining the shores with residences, marinas, businesses, plus beaches, launch ramps, and parks. No matter where you choose to stay or which season, Buckeye Lake is sure to please. During the spring, delight in the beauty as the lake begins to thaw, birds return to nest, and spring flowers burst with color. The summer is a bustling time as the water warms and beckons you to swim and lie on the beaches. Boating of all kinds can be witnessed on the lake including sailboats, bass boats, pleasure boats, pontoons, kayaks, canoes, wind surfers and paddle boats along with skiing and tubing. During the fall as the brilliant colors of the leaves appear, the lake is still busy with boaters trying to get in every moment of water time before the freeze and those just meandering around the shores enjoying the beauty reflected in the water as the birds fly overhead on the migratory routes. As Old Man Winter arrives, the lake takes on a new look as it gradually freezes and the activity lessens until the lake is deemed frozen. At that time, bundle up and enjoy the fun of ice skating, cross country skiing, ice boating, and ice fishing.

Fishing is indeed a year round adventure at Buckeye Lake. Anglers drop their line teasing the large populations of largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, flathead catfish, channel catfish, white bass, saugeye, perch, hybrid striped bass and muskellunge. The ODNR lowers the water level about 2.5 feet during late fall to help the docks withstand the ice over in the winter and for spring time flood control. But no matter what the water level, the fishing is always great as evidenced by those hardy enough to weather the cold for the excitement of ice fishing.

Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve is an island that was created when it floated to the top of the water when the dike was first created. It is accessible only by boat and special permit from the ODNR but nature lovers and bird watchers are enthralled by the variety of unique plants and birds that live on the island. It has been noted that over 250 species of birds have been viewed here including the many migratory birds that stop here for food and rest.

Winter, spring, summer or fall, Buckeye Lake has it all. Come visit today.

Custom Buckeye Lake house decor

Read our full review of these personalized lake house signs.

Things to do at Buckeye Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tubing
  • Picnicking
  • Ice Skating
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Birding
  • State Park
  • Amusement Park
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Buckeye Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Flathead Catfish
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Saugeye Perch
  • Striped Bass
  • Sunfish
  • White Bass

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Buckeye Lake

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Buckeye Lake photo gallery

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Buckeye Lake statistics & helpful links


Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

Water Level Control: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Surface Area: 3,173 acres

Shoreline Length: 32 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 892 feet

Average Depth: 6 feet

Maximum Depth: 14 feet

Completion Year: 1830

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