Plan a camping-paddling-fishing extravaganza at Pymatuning Reservoir, a 17,088-acre lake with campsites for every taste. The two campgrounds—Linesville on the north shore and Jamestown on the south—are both a short walk to the water’s edge. Additionally, Ohio operates its own state park on the eastern shore of the reservoir, and there are private campgrounds all around the lake, so there’s always something available.
The Civilian Conservation Corps built much of the original park infrastructure in the 1930s. Before that, the area was a giant swamp that was unsuitable for farming. So the reservoir was created to serve as flood control for the Beaver and Shenango Rivers and to establish wildlife habitat.
The latter goal has a unique legacy here. While a “No Feeding Wildlife” rule applies everywhere else in the state, there’s an exception for the northern spillway at Pymatuning. Feeding the fish and birds that gather there is a tradition that dates back to the earliest days of the park, and continues as a nod to the history and culture that surrounds it. Families with young children: Don’t miss the chance to get some up close views of the local fauna.
For anyone, getting out on or in the water is a must. There are a few beaches to choose from and plenty of places to launch canoes and kayaks, and the 20-horsepower limit on motorboats keeps the waters calm. Paddle out to the two islands near Jamestown, or drive north with a canoe or kayak to explore Black Jack Swamp.