Ohio Campground Guide And Camping Resources
Filled with enough lakes, trails, rivers, nature centers and more to keep you busy indefinitely, Ohio is the perfect spot for your next camping trip. Whether your idea of a vacation is tent camping on the lake or a relaxing weekend in a cozy cabin, Ohio State Parks have something to offer you. Check out our list of some of the top camping locations in Ohio.
Best Ohio Campground For Cave Explorers: Logan/hocking Hills Koa
The Hocking Hills area draws thousands of people every year because of its rich resources and beautiful natural assets, so it would be reasonable to assume that the atmosphere is laid back and peaceful. That is true, but the region offers so much more than a little R& R.
Adventure is the name of the game here whether you are interested in zip lining, canoeing or hiking out to see waterfalls or caves. Thats right, we said waterfalls and caves. There are seven different hiking areas of Hocking Hills State Park: Ash Cave, Rock House, Conkles Hollow, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, Hemlock Bridge Trail that leads to Whispering Cave and the popular Old Mans Cave.
Located in southeastern Ohio, each trail is unique and offers a variety of experiences. Ash Cave, for example, is paved, making it ideal for wheelchairs and strollers. Cantwell Cliffs is features deep valleys, high cliffs and rock shelter.
Old Mans Cave takes about an hour to hike. Along the way, youll discover scenic bridges and breathtaking views. At one point the trail turns into a single passage through a recess cave. These caves have long been attracting visitors since 1870 and they continue to captivate the publics attention today.
Where to stay after your cave adventures
Free Camping In Ohio State Forests
Moving to the east-central side of the state in the Harrison State Forest and Fernwood State Forest are a trio of campsites sites worthy of a visit. Hidden Hollow Campground in Fernwood SF gets consistent 4-5 star ratings due to its peaceful setting, and with over 20 free paved sites, something is almost always available.
There are two campgrounds in Harrison State Forest, both in very picturesque settings. Ronsheim Campground with 7 sites is set near a small dam and pond. Trailriders Campground has 20 sites that are set up for families or horse campers. All sites are first-come, first-served, and set up for self-registration. Sites are paved but in a hilly area. Both campgrounds have access to 20 miles of hiking/bridle trails.
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Best Campgrounds In Ohio For Rvers
After living in Ohio for nearly 20 years, I can tell you its a great state to live in and visit. There are destinations for every kind of camper, from those looking to camp near the major cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, or along the shoreline of Lake Erie. Keep reading and check out some of the best campgrounds in Ohio.
The 10 Best State Parks In Ohio For Camping
Some people dismiss Ohio as flyover country, but the Buckeye State has a lot to offer. Between three big cities, miles of shoreline on Lake Erie, and the quiet, peaceful countryside, there is plenty to see and do here in the heart of America. If you find yourself traveling through this gorgeous part of the Midwest, check out some of these state parks for the best tent and RV camping.
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Amazing Ohio Campgrounds For Loads Of Family Fun
Last Updated on June 22, 2021 by Christina
From thrilling amusement parks to awe-inspiring geological formations, Ohio is filled with opportunities for the whole family to get out and have fun. And lucky for us, there are plenty of Ohio campgrounds for families who prefer to vacation in an RV.
Whether youre looking for a quiet place to relax and take in the scenery or a site with plenty of outdoor recreation activities and things to do, Ohio campgrounds provide many different types of fun for RVers of all ages. So lets check out some of the best campgrounds in Ohio!
What People Are Saying About Wa
Very small RV area comparatively to other campgrounds and not fancy but hugely affordable. Owned by one of the oldest families in Sheffield. The property has been in their family since the early 1800s. J.F.C., Google Reviews
This quaint little campground near Cleveland, Ohio, is home to many permanent residents as well as vacationers. There are events, like clam night at the bar, that bring out a lively crowd. They also have a general store where you can pick up supplies.
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Ohios National Parks & National Forests
While Ohio is home to one of the few proper National Parks in the Northeast, Cuyahoga Valley doesnt offer much in the way of camping for RVers . Along the states western border, though, Wayne National Forest provides a handful of locations to camp, from primitive, dispersed camping like Lane Farm to water and electric sites such as Oak Hill.
Best Free Camping Inohio
Ohio has very few free campsites that dont involve a parking lot however, where it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Mostly situated on the eastern and southern sides of the state, these campsites get you into the great outdoors within 2-4 hours of Cleveland, Toledo, Dayton, and Cincinnati.
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Camping Guide: Top Parks In Ohio
Its no secret that Ohioans love to camp: More than 2 million visitors spent a night in state park campgrounds in 2018. The number of nights that campsites were used was 638,801. In other words, thats a lot of smores around campfires.
Camping options are plentiful in Ohio. You can pitch a tent on federal land in Southeast Ohios rugged, 241,000-acre Wayne National Forest or the more accessible Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Cleveland and Akron . Other Ohio camping spots include the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District at lakes in eastern Ohio and a handful of local park districts and private campgrounds.
But Ohio camping is dominated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The state agency features 9,700 campsites at 59 parks, with the most popular campgrounds at Hocking Hills, Indian Lake, Mohican, East Harbor and Lake Hope, all within easy driving of Columbus. Overnight camping fees range from $17 to $39 per site.
Ohios 252,000-acre park system offers a broad range of experiences, amenities and accommodations. There are even special equestrian, boat and group camping options, as well as nine resort lodges and 515 state-operated cabins with bathrooms, TVs and fully equipped kitchens. Ohio has 66 state parks that offer boating or paddling on lakes and local streams. Paddling is one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in Ohio, and many park visitors are combining camping and paddling, says ODNR spokeswoman Heidi Hetzel-Evans.
The Super Seven
Kelleys Island State Park
A sprawling 677-acre park, which covers an impressive 25% of Kelleys Island itself. Situated in Lake Erie near the Ohio-Michigan border, this island getaway is just an hour from Sandusky and just about two hours from both Toledo and Cleveland.
If youre looking for a relaxing and unique excursion, this may be your best bet. Kelleys Island state park is home to Inscription Rock, which is where visitors will find mysterious petroglyphs carved into a limestone boulder. The carvings are estimated to have originated around the 1600s.
This is a great spot for families, with a relatively flat landscape that is littered with hiking trails, walking paths and even some fun mountain biking terrain. Youll have easy access to a variety of outdoor activities like swimming, picnicking, fishing and boating. And thanks to the downtown area being just minutes from the park, youll also have all the modern conveniences your heart desires.
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Strouds Run State Park
Image from The Dyrt Camper Ruby W.
This is a park for people who are looking for some untouched natural beauty. The scenic landscape of Strouds Run State Park is best known for its exaggerated rolling hills with deep valleys, high peaks and dense, tranquil forests covering it all.
The forest and hills create some stunning scenery that can be enjoyed from any of the numerous trails found all over the state park. There are multi-use trails as well as dedicated trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Water activities are another mainstay for Strouds Run fishermen, boaters, and swimmers will not be disappointed.
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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Overlooked Ohio State Parks To Camp With The Whole Family
This article was brought to you by Wenzel, whose fleece sleeping bag will keep your whole family feeling cozy on even the chilliest of autumn nights in any of these Ohio state parks.
With more than 70 state parks scattered across The Buckeye State, there are plenty of great options for outdoor exploring and camping in Ohio. But if youre looking to avoid the crowds and set course for the road less traveled, weve gathered together an awesome list of the most overlooked and underrated state parks in Ohio.
Well kick things off with a few state parks that are indeed lesser-known, but still have a bit of a reputation around Ohio. Then well steadily move into the truly hidden gems that eagerly await more visitors.
Best Ohio Campsite For Island Hoppers: Kelleys Island State Park
Next on our list, is a campground thats perfect for small campers and trailers up to 26 feet in length. If an island in the middle of Lake Erie sounds like paradise to you, then you are going to love the campground at Kelleys Island State Park. Being on an island and camping along the lakeshore is definitely a little slice of heaven.
Bring your RV over via the Kelleys Island Ferry in Marblehead. Its about a 25 minute ferry ride, but once you reach your destination, most everything is fairly easy to get to. By day you can swim at the shallow beach, kayak, hike, boat and fish from a long walkout pier. The area is a great place to catch yellow perch, walleye and smallmouth bass.
At night you can visit the islands brewery and winery, watch the sunset, talk around the campfire and fall asleep to the sounds of the lake waves crashing up on shore. Campers love that Kelleys Island is a quiet island, which makes it ideal for rest and relaxation. There are several small shops in town, including restaurants and places to enjoy fudge and ice cream. There is also mini golfing available.
If you bring bicycles, you can get around the island easily,but there are also golf carts available to rent if you need transportation.Exploring the island is great fun. Kelleys Island is known for its naturalattributes, with six miles of hiking trails and two nature preserves. Its theperfect place to spot wildlife or watch migrating songbirds.
Geological marvels abound at Kelleys Island Campground
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Ohio State Park Campgrounds
With more than 50 locations scattered throughout the state, your next weekend adventure is a short drive away.
45. Hocking Hills State Park Fishing, Swimming, Showers46. Jackson Lake State ParkFishing, Swimming, Boat Rentals47. Lake Alma State Park Fishing, Swimming, Boat Rentals, ShowersState Park Acreage: 29248. Lake Hope State Park Fishing, Swimming, Boat Rentals, ShowersState Park Acreage: 2,98349. Muskingum River State Park Fishing50. Pike Lake State Park Fishing, Swimming, Boat Rentals, ShowersState Park Acreage: 58751. Salt Fork State Park Fishing, Swimming, Restaurant, Boat Rentals, ShowersState Park Acreage: 17,22952. Scioto Trail State Park Fishing, SwimmingFishing, Swimming, Restaurant, Boat Rental, ShowersState Park Acreage: 1,09554. Strouds Run State Park Fishing, Swimming, Boat Rentals55. Tar Hollow State Park Fishing, Swimming, Boat Rentals, ShowersState Park Acreage: 60456. Wolf Run State ParkFishing, Swimming, Showers
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Free Camping In Wayne National Forest
At almost 250,000 acres, Wayne National Forest has 9 developed campgrounds and 300 miles of trails for hikers, mountain bikers, horses, and OHVs. Spread across the 3 units , free camping is found at the trailhead of many of these trails during the riding season, usually April – December.
There are over a dozen of these dispersed camping areas throughout the Forest, even more if you are one of those hardy backpacking types. Backcountry camping is allowed along most of the trails, including the North Country Trail, that wind through the Forest.
Here are the highlights of the trailhead camping areas:
The Kinderhook Trail System is the newest trail in Wayne National forest just north of Newport. With a 12 mile scenic multi-use trail, there is ample parking at the trailhead where trailers and RVs can set up.
The Wildcat Hollow Trail is a dedicated hiking trail comprising two loops, the longer 17 miles and the shorter 5 miles for day use. Free camping is allowed at the trailhead. This map provides a good lay of the land. This trail connects to the Monroe Overlook trial, where one can enjoy panoramic views of the countryside.
In the southern section of this unit, the Hanging Rock Trail System has 26 miles of multi-use trails. Primitive camping is allowed at the trailhead.
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National Forests In Ohio
Wayne National Forest camping opportunities are in southeastern Ohio, among the Appalachian foothills.
Free tent camping is allowed in national forests, provided that you pitch your tent in an undeveloped area at least 150 feet from water sources or developed campgrounds.
If your Ohio camping adventure involves your RV, youll want to check out one of these locations within Wayne National Forest:
What People Are Saying About Kenisee Grand River Campground
Great place. Friendly with lots of fun things to do. Good, roomy, level sites with good electrical and water pressure. Dave, RV Park Reviews
This quiet campground is located outside of Akron about 45 miles away from downtown Cleveland. It offers a peaceful and relaxing camping experience with lots of scenic beauty and bodies of water to play on. This campground is great to use as a home base while you check out other Ohio attractions.
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What People Are Saying About Clays Park Resort
I loved this place so much and I would go back again and again, theres so many things you can do as far as being at the waterpark. I loved the obstacle course, it was very challenging. The Zip Line was my favorite. Even though I can swim I the liked the fact that they care about our safety and made us wear life jackets. I also loved the canoes and kayaks that you were able to use. I will definitely be making another visit! Killin It Adri, Google Review
Why Youll Love Countryside Campground
This park has lovely and spacious campsites with tree cover from the sun that youll appreciate on hot sunny days. There are lots of games and a heated pool to swim in. There are stores on-site in case you forgot some burgers to grill up, and RV storage is available for when you want to come back and visit.
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Best Ohio Campground For Canoeing: Mohican State Park Campground
If youre a paddler, Mohican State Park is where you want to be. The Mohican-Loudonville area is widely known as the Canoe Capital of Ohio and for good reason. Clear Fork River, which runs through Mohican State Park, provides ample opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and other paddle sports. The 27-mile river supplies plenty of flowing waters for paddlers, excellent fishing opportunities for anglers and an unlimited number of scenic views for all.
For campers, the 1,110-acre park has 100 electric campsites, 51 full hook-up sites and 35 non-electric sites. Campers have access to a ton of amenities, including the pool and splash pad, playground and volleyball and basketball courts. If youre looking for even more to do, gem mining is available for an additional fee. Also, the campground store loans out board games and sporting equipment.
Campers enjoy all the activities, including the mountain bike trail system and the miles upon miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. In the winter, downhill skiing is available at nearby Clear Fork and Snow Trails ski resorts.