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Ohio State Park Camping Reservations

How To Make Reservations

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Reservations, which can be made up to six months in advance, are required for camping at all Ohio State Park campsites. The park system currently does not offer walk-in campsites or self-registration at the parks.

To explore all the park campsites or to make reservations, visit www.ohiodnr.gov/go-and-do/plan-a-visit/campgrounds.

Steve Stephens is a freelance travel writer and photographer. Email him at sjstephensjr@gmail.com.

Hocking Hills State Park

A favorite destination for nature-loving day trippers, this beautiful park in Hocking County also offers a campsite with 150 electric and non-electric sites and three small camping cabins.

For true peace and natural beauty, the park also offers a few hike-in campsites, inaccessible by road. Campers must pack their own gear about one-half mile to the sites, which have a water spigot, pit latrines, fire rings and picnic tables and a whole lotta quiet.

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And, while hardly qualifying as camping, the park also has 40 rental two-bedroom cabins with fireplaces, heating and air-conditioning and fully-equipped kitchens.

The campground offers heated showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities and an RV dump station. Campers can use the sites playgrounds, volleyball court and horseshoe pit and fish at adjacent Rose Lake.

And the campground gives campers direct access to trails leading to Old Mans Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls and the other popular natural features that make the park famous. But savvy campers can wake up early and have the trails to themselves before most of the day-trippers have even pulled the Sante Fe or Explorer out of the garage.

Caesar Creek State Park

Campers at this large state park campsite near Waynesville will find plenty of fun activities to fill their stay.

Caesar Creek offers nearly 300 campsites, most with electricity and some with full RV hookups.

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The 2,830-acre Caesar Creek Lake is open to boats of all horsepower and has a marina and five launch ramps around the lake. The lake also features a 1,300-foot public beach.

Among the many activities at the park is mountain biking. Bikers will find two trails: a 3.5-mile easy loop and a difficult 15-mile loop for intermediate and expert riders.

The park also has several large tracts set aside for public hunting in season.

The Caesar Creek Nature Center offers displays about the cultural and natural history of the area. And the parks own Pioneer Village features 15 relocated and restored log buildings including a Quaker meetinghouse, a pioneer schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop and family cabins. The grounds at Pioneer Village are open to self-guided tours, and the village hosts several special events throughout the year.

Caesar Creek is also known for its fossils. Visitors can explore the emergency spillway at the Caesar Creek Lake Dam and see, in the exposed limestone and shale bedrock, the fossils of thousands of creatures that lived in the ancient sea that once covered the area.

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Kelleys Island State Park

920 Division Street, Kelleys Island, OH 43438

Near the Ohio-Michigan border, Kelleys Island is known as the Emerald Isle of Lake Erie. The state park takes up 25 percent of the island and highlights unique geological, ecological, and archaeological features. The park and the island in general are a great family destination, with a limited number of cars and extensive hiking and biking trails covering relatively flat terrain. Many islanders get around by golf cart. A variety of outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, and boating are easily accessible, and the incredible views are endless.The shady lakeside campground has more than 120 electric and nonelectric sites. Some sites are designated for pets check details along with site length when booking. Sites are limited for RVs that are 40 feet or more. Campground facilities include restrooms with showers, a dump station, and a playground. The charming downtown of Kelleys Island is just a few minutes away, with shopping and dining options. Note that the island is accessible only by ferry. Check schedules and prices at kelleysislandferry.com or call 419-798-9763.

Ohio state park campgrounds that accommodate RV camping

Alum Creek State Park

East Harbor State Park

Mosquito Lake State Park Camping : MOSQUITO LAKE STATE PARK

The most popular state park according to occupancy rate is East Harbor, located on the shores of Lake Erie. The park offers opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming and camping. There are trails, disc golf and plenty space for wildlife watching. East Harbor topped the list of most camp nights with 46,621.

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John Glenn Astronomy Park

Admission to the John Glenn Astronomy Park is free.

  • Open: year-round, all day and night . Most events occur from spring thru fall.
  • Location: 20531 State Route 664 in Logan, Ohio

The John Glenn Astronomy Park is for learning and enjoying the day or night skies away from a lot of light pollution, and to create an inviting atmosphere for learning and exploring the cosmos and more. Regular programming occurs mostly from early spring through late fall.

Admission to Lake Hope State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On State Route 278, northeast of McArthur, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-596-4938

Admission to Malabar Farm State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: 4050 Bromfield Rd in Lucas, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-892-2784

Admission to Mary Jane Thurston State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On State Route 65, west of Grand Rapids, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-832-7662

Admission to Maumee Bay State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On North Curtice Road, north of State Route 2 and east of Oregon, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-836-7758

Admission to Mohican State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On State Route 3, west of Loudonville, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-994-5125

Admission to Mt. Gilead State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On State Route 95, east of Mt. Gilead, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-946-1961 or 740-369-2761

Admission to Muskingum River State Park is free.

Admission to Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park is free.

Find Ohio State Parks With Pools Lodges Cabins Campgrounds And Other Amenities From The Popular To The Hidden Theres An Escape Waiting

CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARKExcerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler eMagazine

Mother Nature carved a niche of artistry when the last ice age retreated, leaving us with Ohios only national park Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Native Americans pronounced its name Ka-ih-ogh-ha. Its meaning crooked river. An aerial view of it looks like God created a 100-mile smile in the landscape. Its headwater or origin is east of Cleveland. Its waters run south and then north emptying its mouth into Lake Erie.

Certainly, this pleasant view from above can sometimes seem like heaven on Earth. So it was preserved as Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Although there are national historic sites, national historic parks, and memorials in Ohio, this is the only site recognized with the status of the national park, according to the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

The parks valley spans 33,000 acres along a 22-mile section of the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland. It offers forests, prairies, wetlands, gorges, historic towns, a canal way, and a scenic railway. Hiking opportunities abound. It is a biking paradise.

Admission to Alum Creek State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: Southeast of Delaware, Ohio off U.S. Route 23
  • Phone: 740-548-4631

Admission to A.W. Marion State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On Warner-Huffer Road, just north of U.S. Route 22, east of Circleville, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-869-3124

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South Bass Island State Park

Located just a mile from the touristy hubbub of Put-In-Bay, this campground is on the quieter side of South Bass Island and offers a great place for a peaceful getaway after a day of island fun.

About half the campsites are for tents only, with many of those sites perched on the edge of a bluff with magnificent views of Lake Erie.

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Conveniently located nearby are bath houses with flush toilets and showers.

Other campsites are available with electricity or full RV hookups, and the park offers an RV dump station. Although the island is reachable only by boat, Miller Ferries, , can haul any size vehicle on the short trip from the mainland.

The park also has a small beach and a boat ramp, where Put-In-Bay Watercraft Rentals rents kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, personal watercraft and powerboats.

The park also features four cabents, a kind of cabin/tent hybrid that sleeps six, plus one cabin that sleeps eight and has a full kitchen.

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What Is Not Allowed At An Ohio State Park

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Here is what is prohibited at an Ohio State Park:

  • Collecting firewood and use of chainsaws Also: Don’t bring your own firewood*
  • Rafts, pool toys at swim areas

*According to the site: “Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Agriculture are trying to stop the spread of invasive species and would prefer you get your firewood locally. Firewood is offered for sale at most Ohio State Parks or otherwise available from local private vendors near each park.”

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The 2022 Guide To State Park Camping Reservations In All 50 States

Making reservations at state parks, especially when planning a trip that crosses multiple states, can be both complex and frustrating. Each state, and in some cases, individual parks, make their own rules for when and how theyll take reservations for a night under the stars.

While we cant completely streamline the process for you, we can give you the information you need to snag the right reservation at exactly the right timeheres your guide to state park camping reservations.

Can I Bring My Dog To An Ohio State Park

Yes. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website, which runs the parks, pets are allow but must be on a leash that doesn’t exceed 6-feet in length. Proof of rabies shots and physical descriptions are required upon request.

Some parks have designated areas for dogs that also include swimming spots for your pet.

Check with your state park lodging resort location for their “pet friendly” status.

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How To Make Ohio State Park Reservations

Visit reserveohio.com.

You’ll be prompted to make an account and then you’ll be able to filter the park, the dates and what type of reservation you are seeking, which could be lodging, boating, camping or others depending on the park.

If the park you’re trying to reserve is unavailable, the system will show you options of the next nearest park.

Ohio State Parks Allows Hunting

Ohio State Parks Camping Reservations

Here’s what the website says:

Many state parks allow hunting for upland game, as well as trapping and waterfowl hunting in designated hunting areas during the legal hunting seasons. Many parks are adjacent to state forests or state wildlife areas, which also allow hunting. A valid Ohio hunting license, along with any relevant permits or stamps, is required. Hunting maps are posted at each park.

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State Offers Night Of Free Camping At Ohio Parks

COLUMBUS, Ohio The state is offering campers a free nights stay at Ohios state parks for one day this month.TheOhio Department of Natural Resources says visitors can camp for free at54 campgrounds on April 18.The agencys director says the free staygives people a chance to explore new parts of the state and discoverOhios parks.Interested campers can make a reservation for thenight by calling the parks reservation center at 1-866-644-6727.Thestate says walk-ins also are welcome, but space is limited.Thepromotion isnt available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds RunState Park because they are concession-operated campgrounds___Online:Ohio State Parks: Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.COLUMBUS, Ohio The state is offering campers a free nights stay at Ohios state parks for one day this month.TheOhio Department of Natural Resources says visitors can camp for free at54 campgrounds on April 18.The agencys director says the free staygives people a chance to explore new parts of the state and discoverOhios parks.Interested campers can make a reservation for thenight by calling the parks reservation center at 1-866-644-6727.Thestate says walk-ins also are welcome, but space is limited.Thepromotion isnt available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds RunState Park because they are concession-operated campgrounds___Online:Ohio State Parks: Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Accepted Forms Of Payment

When making a reservation online or through the call center, you can pay by credit card, gift card, or gift certificate. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

If you need to pay by check, you will need to make your reservation over the phone through the call center.

  • If it is more than 28 days prior to arrival and you want to pay by check, the call center can make the reservation for you, then you will have 7 days to send in the check to cover the appropriate fees. If the check is not received within 7 days, your reservation will be cancelled.
  • If it is less than 28 days prior to arrival, you will not be able to pay by check.

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Gift Card Terms And Conditions:

  • The Gift Card may be used to make reservations at all Ohio State Park Campgrounds and Getaway Rentals and for cabins at Buck Creek, Cowan Lake, Dillon, Lake Hope, Hocking Hills, Mohican, Pike Lake and Pymatuning State Parks.
  • Card may be used at all state-operated Ohio State Park retail facilities, including golf courses, for merchandise purchases, rentals and other fees.
  • Card is also accepted at select Ohio State Park concession-operated facilities including resort lodges, golf courses and cabins. Visit the Ohio State Parks website or call to inquire about the acceptance of gift cards at specific facilities.
  • Card is not redeemable for cash.
  • Ohio State Parks is not responsible for replacing lost or stolen card. Card has no expiration date.
  • There is a $3.50 Shipping and Handling Fee for each card ordered. This fee will be added to your total purchase.
  • Cards are shipped via UPS Ground. Please understand that we cannot ship to PO Boxes using UPS.

What Permits Are Needed For An Ohio State Park Visit

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A permit is required for a Geocache, a popular GPS activity. But you need a permit that can be purchased on the Ohio DNR site.

Events like weddings and marathons need a permit as do activities that require research like specimen collecting.

If you want to hold a fishing tournament at an Ohio State park, you need a permit.

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Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Welcome to the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

  • Hours: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11:00 AM 5:00 PM. Open extended hours in the Spring and Fall. Please call for times.
  • Location: The Nature Center and parking are at 14000 W. State Route 2 in Oak Harbor, Ohio
  • Phone: 419-898-0014

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge in Oak Harbor, Ohio features a nature center and walking trails for bird-watching opportunities spanning 7,000 acres of wetland and woodland areas. It is one of the best places in North America to see a large variety of migratory and songbirds, especially during the spring, and also fall, migrations.

Admission to Punderson State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On State Route 87, just east of Newbury, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-564-2279

Admission to Salt Fork State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On U.S. Route 22, just northeast of Cambridge, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-439-3521

Admission to Shawnee State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On State Route 125, west of Portsmouth, Ohio
  • Phone: 740-858-6652

Admission to South Bass Island State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: In Lake Erie, on South Bass Island, off Port Clinton, Ohio shore
  • Phone:419-797-4530

Admission to Tinkers Creek State Park is free.

  • Open daily dawn to dusk
  • Location: On Aurora-Hudson Road, north of Interstate 480 at Streetsboro, Ohio
  • Phone: 440-564-2279

Admission to West Branch State Park is free.

Admission to Wolf Run State Park is free.

A Brief Introduction To Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the United States, held in Columbus, Ohio during late July through early August. As estimated in a 2011 economic impact study conducted by Saperstein & Associates the State Fair contributes approximately 68.5 million dollars to the state’s economy. In 2015, attendance was 982,305, the Fair’s highest 12-day attendance on record.From the first three-day Fair in 1850 in Cincinnati to the 12-day exposition of today , the Ohio State Fair has celebrated Ohio’s products, its people, and their accomplishments. The Fair’s vast programme offers concerts, sports competitions, exhibitions, a horse show, rides, and food stalls. The concert series lineup is usually announced in late February or early March. The fair has been held at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds since 1886.Patrollers include security guards, the Columbus Division of Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

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Yes You Can Bring Your Boat To An Ohio State Park

Boating is permitted on Ohio State Park lakes, rivers and streams. Some parks have restrictions on motors but kayaks and canoes or any other craft that is paddle powered are allowed at all parks.

According to the Ohio DNR website:

Boats must be legally registered. If you are visiting from another state with your boat, the boat needs to be legally registered according to your state’s laws. If your state does not require a registration then you need to have proof of out-of-state residency.

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