Summer is in full swing, and it's the perfect time to embrace the great outdoors and embark on a camping adventure. Ohio, with its picturesque landscapes and diverse camping destinations, offers countless opportunities to reconnect with nature. Whether you're seeking a tranquil retreat or an action-packed family getaway, the Buckeye State has it all. In this guide, we'll explore the top 10 camping destinations in Ohio, essential gear to pack, and some helpful tips to ensure you a memorable camping experience. So, grab your tents, pack your ingredients—it's time to immerse yourself in a weekend under the stars.
Top 10 Places to Camp in Ohio
1. Baylor Beach Park
Discover Ohio's hidden gem, Baylor Beach Park in Navarre. It offers a 2-acre swimming lake with sandy beaches, thrilling slides, small kiddie slides, diving boards, and various water activities for all ages. Campers can enjoy boating in the designated area and rent paddleboats, "funyaks," and aqua bikes. The campground provides easy access for large RV units with level sites and various hook-up options. Free WiFi and Honeywagon Services available. In addition to water fun, there are mini golf, corn hole, sand volleyball, and playgrounds. RV camping season is May 1 - October 15. Pets are allowed and reservations are highly recommended.
Location: 8777 Manchester Ave SW, Navarre, OH 44662
Camping Sites: 85
2. Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp Resort
Jellystone Park is nestled on 220 scenic acres in Holmes County, offering breathtaking views of Amish Country. Choose from 200+ RV sites, 13 full-service cabins, 3 yurts, and 6 rustic cabins to find the perfect accommodations for your family. Guests can enjoy the heated outdoor pool, a giant jumping pad, camp store, concession stand, golf cart rentals, mini-golf, outdoor movie theater, dog park, and even a gem mine. Relax and indulge in a memorable camping experience surrounded by picturesque landscapes and abundant facilities.
Location: 8181 OH-514, Big Prairie, OH 44611
Camping Sites: 250
3. Sunbury / Columbus North KOA
The pristine campground sets on 100 acres of natural beauty, including 40 acres of woods and a serene 5-acre fishing pond. It boasts breathtaking scenery and easy access to Columbus, just 30 minutes away. Campers can explore the Columbus Zoo or cool off at Zoombezi Bay water park. The top-rated family campground offers deluxe pull-thru sites, back-ins, tents, and cabins. Kids will love the endless activities available, including themed weekends, a heated pool, splash pad, gem mining, petting zoo, playgrounds, and more. Additional amenities include an onsite cafe, homemade fudge, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking trails, and a rustic barn-style pavilion. It is open from April 12th to October 20th for unforgettable family getaways, reunions, weddings, and special events.
Location: 8644 Porter Central Rd Sunbury, OH 43074
4. Kelleys Island State Park Campground
In Kelleys Island State Park, the largest U.S. island in Lake Erie, you will discover hiking trails, fascinating geological formations, and remnants of a quarry. Many campers also enjoy fishing, boating, and floating in Lake Erie. The lakeside campground offers a variety of sites, including full-hookup, electric, and non-electric options. Amenities include showers, a dump station, volleyball court, playground, and picnic shelter. Winter camping is available. If you're looking for a unique camping experience, you can rent a canvas roofed site or a yurt. In addition to the park's natural beauty, Kelleys Island also offers exciting upcoming events such as festivals, concerts & live music, sporting events, or other local events. With delicious dining options from Port Clinton to Put-in-Bay to Sandusky, there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Location: 920 Division Street Kelley's Island, OH 43438
Camping Sites: 129
5. Alum Creek State Park Campground
The Alum Creek Reservoir is just 15 minutes from downtown Delaware. With over 3,000 feet of sandy beachfront, you can enjoy swimming, sailing, and waterskiing. Quiet coves offer the perfect spot for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Maple forests provide a backdrop for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The campground offers a variety of campsites to accommodate tents, RVs, and horses. Some sites have lake views, and an equestrian camp has 30 primitive sites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Full-service sites offer electric, sewer, and water hookups. Amenities include heated showers, beach access, and recreational facilities.
Location: 3305 S Old State Rd Delaware, OH 43015
Camping Sites: 286
6. East Fork State Park Campground
East Fork State Park offers a variety of recreational and natural history opportunities, including camping, swimming, boating, and hiking. From dry-forested hills and rocky cascades to marshy grasslands and swamp forests, this park showcases a stunning tapestry of habitats. Immerse yourself in the beauty of beech, sugar maple, and oak trees, while encountering a thriving ecosystem of wildlife, including red foxes, deer, and a variety of bird species. The park has 376 campsites with electric hookups, and 23 full-hookup sites. Pets are permitted in all areas. The campground also has a 1,200-foot swimming beach with changing booths, showers, restrooms, and a vending area. Unlimited boating is allowed on Harsha Lake, and fishing is excellent. There are also 46 miles of backcountry trails, including the 16-mile Backpack Trail and the 32-mile Perimeter Trail.
Location: 3294 Elklick Rd, Bethel, OH 45106
Camping Sites: 416
7. Wolfie's Campground
Tucked away from the bustling city life, Wolfie’s Campground ensures a tranquil experience where the only sounds you'll hear are the melodic chirping of birds, rhythmic tapping of woodpeckers, and the distant honking of geese. It offers an array of amenities, including a refreshing heated saltwater pool, a well-equipped game room, and a spacious playground for the little ones. Live entertainment adds a special touch to the evenings, while adventurous children can enjoy tractor-pulled hayrides. Conveniently located just two miles from I-70, Wolfies Campground welcomes both big rigs and pets, catering to all types of campers. Its proximity to Zanesville allows guests to explore the fascinating attractions nearby, such as the Lorena Sternwheeler and the Wilds Wildlife Safari.
Location: 101 Buckeye Dr, Zanesville, OH 43701-6816
Camping Sites: 58
8. Barkcamp State Park
Barkcamp State Park is a 1,000-acre park in eastern Ohio with mature woodlands, rolling hills, a scenic lake, and abundant wildlife. Visitors can camp, hike, bike, swim, boat, fish, or simply relax in the park's serene setting. The park has 150 campsites, a group camp, a horseman's camp, and five Rent-A-Camp units. The park also has a 700-foot beach, a boat launch, seven picnic areas, miles of hiking trails, a 6-mile mountain bike trail, a bridle trail, and a paved trail that leads to the Antique Barn. The Antique Barn was built in the 1800s and is now home to summer naturalist activities and historical displays.
Location: 65330 Barkcamp Park Rd Belmont, OH 43718
9. Burr Oak State Park
Burr Oak State Park is a rustic park in southeast Ohio that offers a variety of overnight accommodations with its lodge, cottages and campground. The park is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and it is surrounded by mature woodlands, rolling hills, and a scenic lake. Guests have access to a boat launch, tennis court, basketball court, miniature golf, playground, exercise room, and indoor swimming pool. The park’s campground has electric and non-electric campsites. Some sites are tent-only. There are also Sherman cabins, an equestrian camp, and a group camp. Primitive sites are located at some dock areas around the lake.
Location: 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Rd, Glouster, OH 45732
Camping Sites: 123
10. Caesar Creek State Park
Located in southwest Ohio, the 3,741-acre Caesar Creek State Park offers some of the finest outdoor recreation in Ohio amidst the park’s sprawling lakes, wildlife areas, meadows and ravines. Visitors can camp, boat, fish, hike, bike, and visit the nature center. There is also a Pioneer Village with historic buildings. The campground has 287 electric sites with showers, flush toilets, playground equipment, and a basketball court. Pets are permitted on all sites. The lake has a harbormaster facility with leased and transient docks, a retail area, concessions, public restrooms, seating area, and water fountain.
Location: 4006 Pioneer Village Road Waynesville, Ohio 45068
Camping Sites: 287
Camping in Ohio Essentials
When camping in Ohio, there are several essentials you should consider bringing along. The following is the list of essentials:
- Tent: Provide a protective structure to sleep in.
- Sleeping bags/sleeping pads: Offer insulation and cushioning for a good night's sleep.
- Pillows: Add extra comfort.
- Ground tarp: Help protect the tent floor.
- Tent repair kit (duct tape): Come in handy for quick fixes and patching up any damages.
- Stove and fuel source: Crucial for cooking food.
- Pots and pans: Used for boiling, frying, or simmering ingredients.
- Utensils: Includ spoons, forks, and knives.
- Enough food and water: For the duration of your camping trip.
- Hiking boots: Provid sturdy support and grip for traversing various terrains.
- Rain gear: Includ waterproof jackets and pants to keep you dry in wet conditions.
- Warm layers: Bring jackets, sweaters and thermal underwear to protect against chilly weather.
- Sunscreen: Help prevent sunburn.
- Toilet paper: Necessary for bathroom needs.
- Hand sanitizer: Provid a quick and convenient way to clean your hands.
- Soap and shampoo: Bring biodegradable soap and shampoo for bathing and washing dishes.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: Maintain your oral hygiene. Opt for travel-sized options for convenience.
- Insect repellent: Keep pesky bugs at bay.
- Flashlights and headlamps: Ensure visibility in low-light conditions.
- First aid: Crucial for addressing minor injuries and ailments that may occur during camping.
- Portable power station: A portable power station is a versatile and useful tool that can make your camping experience more comfortable and convenient. It can be used to keep your devices charged, power small appliances, and even charge your car battery. One highly recommended option is the Anker SOLIX F2000 power station, known for its reliability and performance. Whether you're camping in a remote wilderness or at a park with limited electrical access, this power station provides a robust power source to keep your devices charged and ready.
Camping in Ohio Tips
- Research and Choose a Suitable Campground: Consider amenities and facilities offered by different campgrounds to align with your preferences and needs.
- Check the Weather Forecast: Stay informed about Ohio's unpredictable weather and pack accordingly.
- Leave No Trace: Preserve the environment by packing out all trash and leaving the campsite as you found it.
- Respect Wildlife: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding them to ensure the safety of both humans and animals.
Camping in Ohio offers an opportunity to connect with the natural beauty of the Buckeye State. From hidden gems like Baylor Beach Park to popular destinations like Alum Creek State Park, there's a camping spot for everyone. As you prepare for your trip, don't forget to pack essentials such as a portable power station to ensure a convenient camping experience. Additionally, remember to embrace the principles of Leave No Trace, respecting and preserving the pristine landscapes that Ohio offers. So get ready to create lasting memories and embrace the wonders of nature as you embark on your camping journey in Ohio's breathtaking surroundings!