History of Grand Lake


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.


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
  • 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 resort condo.

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, 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

Stay For Awhile

From primitive campsites to lakeside, hotel suites to 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 campsites along the lake and many
cottages and overnight facilities.


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
  • Snowmobiling
  • 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
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