This Ohio Park Lets You Stay Overnight in Epic Treehouses

Who needs a hotel when you can sleep amongst the trees?
Sleeping amongst the trees at an Oak Openings treehouse - credit: Keith Langston
Sleeping amongst the trees at an Oak Openings treehouse - credit: Keith Langston /

Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan rarely appear as hotspots in major travel publications, but the reality is that this area is an underrated gem that's unfairly overlooked. Nestled on the western shores of Lake Erie, the region was formed during the glacial recession, leaving behind vast, lowland swamps and marshes. But one area in particular had a vastly different geography – Oak Openings. 

Now protected as a 5,000-acre park, the Oak Openings Preserve is part of the larger Oak Openings Region, which is 23 times bigger than the park itself. Oak Openings got its name from pioneers who were awestruck by the area’s splendid beauty. After traversing miles of swamplands, they came across a region filled with prairies, wildflowers, and oak savannas. The wide open spaces (the "openings") were a much-needed reprieve for the weary travelers.

With 70 miles of trails, the park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for a less-crowded alternative to America’s National Parks. Oak Openings has trails for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. But the park also has something very unique – five treehouses that visitors can stay the night in.

A treehouse at Oak Openings metropark
A treehouse at Oak Openings metropark - credit: Keith Langston /

Spend the night at the Cannaley Treehouse Village

Located in the northwest corner of the park is the Cannaley Treehouse Village. Here, visitors can spend the night in one of five treehouses, or pitch their tent on one of the three elevated tent platforms. Each treehouse is different, with some fitting as many as six people for the night. A few are even wheelchair accessible, with ramps leading up to the treehouse. But all of them are decked out with beds and living spaces, making them feel more like floating cabins.

Inside one of the Oak Openings treehouses
Inside one of the Oak Openings treehouses - credit: Keith Langston /

The coolest part is that every treehouse has its own theme and special feature. One has an indoor climbing rope that takes you up to a lofted bedroom, another has a large net dangling over the side of the deck so you can have a rest floating in the woods. One of the treehouses even has a slide offering a fun (and quick) way down to the forest floor.

A meadow at Oak Openings park
A meadow at Oak Openings park - credit: Keith Langston /

The Treehouses are Great for Anyone Who Loves Nature

Lots of resorts are building little yurts and cabins on their property to attract a more outdoorsy crowd, but none of those actually let you sleep surrounded by protected woodlands like you can at Oak Openings. In fact, this is currently the only public treehouse village in America.

Putting you even closer to nature is the vast number of trails you can access from the treehouse village. You can even hop on a few trails that are just steps away from the treehouses, like the Blue Racer Loop trail for biking and the Reservoir Trail for hiking. Or, you can head out and explore the rest of the park, like Mallard Lake or the Buehner Center, which features a wildlife viewing room. 

Wildlife lovers will especially love Oak Openings. The region is home to a plethora of animals like gray foxes, the American beaver, and the stunningly-colored blue racer snake (don’t worry, they’re not venomous). But nothing compares to the amount of birds who live in and visit the park annually. Oak Openings is home to a vast array of bird species and throughout all four seasons, visitors can find migrating birds resting in the park. From barred owls to peregrine falcons and orchard orioles, Oak Openings is a true birder’s paradise.