Grand Lake St. Marys State Park’s four shelter houses are beautiful locations for hosting family reunions and other social events; they feature picnic tables, fireplaces, and restroom access, abundant open space, and dazzling scenery. Still, many are reluctant to take advantage of such outstanding gathering spaces for one simple reason: the State Park does not allow beer consumption.

At least, that’s a common myth shared by many. The truth, however, is that anyone who rents a shelter house can apply for a permit that allows adults 21 and over to consume beer and liquor on shelter house premises. Permits have been issued since 2010.

There are some rules and restrictions, of course:

  • the permit must be approved and formally issued
  • only adults of legal drinking age can consume alcoholic beverages
  • alcoholic beverages may not be sold at gatherings; essentially, each person must bring their own beer
  • alcoholic beverages may only be consumed in the rental/reservation area defined in the permit
  • drunken or otherwise raucous behavior will not be tolerated and public intoxication laws and other alcohol-related laws are in force; the State Park reserves the right to refuse and revoke permits at any time and will not tolerate disruptive and irresponsible behavior

These rules are in place to ensure everyone can peacefully enjoy Grand Lake St. Marys State Park. If the “no beer” rule has kept you from reserving a shelter house, it’s time to reconsider. Now, you can responsibly enjoy alcoholic beverages while gathering at the most scenic location in western Ohio.

Shelter house reservations can be made one year in advance. Contact the state for reservations and pricing by calling 1-866-644-6727 or online at  For more information regarding the beer permit contact the Grand Lake St. Marys State Park Office at 419-394-3611.