Ohio is full amazing places to go camping. From the Appalachian Plateaus in the south east, the shores of Lake Eerie in the North and the more than 200,000 acres of state forests, there are many beautiful places to go camping in Ohio.
The Best Places To Go Camping in Ohio
A.W. Marion State Park
Located in Circleville, Ohio, the A.W. Marion campground consists of a diverse backdrop, with woods, prairies, plains, lakes, and streams. Guests can enjoy an abundance of recreational activities, including basketball, horseshoes, and volleyball.
Meanwhile, the 145-acre Hargus Lake offers a wide range of seasonal water activities, including fishing, ice skating, and swimming. If you are looking for tent or RV camping across Ohio, this small but eclectic park is a great stop. When camping across Ohio, you’ll find that state parks like A.W. Marion offer an exhausting amount of recreational activities.
Barkcamp State Park
Located in Belmont County, Ohio, Barkcamp State Park campground houses a number of tent and RV sites with electricity, fire pits, and picnic tables. If you are looking for rugged camping in Ohio, the lakeside sites at Barkcamp are worth a look.
The park boasts plenty of outdoor recreational activities, including archery, naturalist programs, and swimming. In fact, there is even a small miniature golf course located within the perimeter of the park. Beyond that, nature-oriented guests can enjoy in-park hiking trails and endless woodland exploration.
Beaver Creek Campground
Beaver Creek offers some of the most thrilling and rugged camping in Ohio. The sprawling 2,722-acre park is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, in East Liverpool, Ohio.
The geography makes it a fun place to visit in the winter when sledding and snow-shoeing adventures abound. In summer, guests can enjoy the cozy amenities of woodland camping, such as evening fires and morning hikes. Meanwhile, a nearby abandoned pioneer village draws the attention of many travelers.
Blue Rock State Park
Blue Rock State Park is located in a rich bedrock region of the state. It boasts an abundance of mineral deposits which the park is named after. The campground is split in two, with a large number of rugged tent sites located throughout.
If you are looking for equestrian camping in Ohio, this park welcomes horses. However, it is also a great place for fishing, hiking, hunting, and more. For individuals who wish to stay within walking distance of their campsite, there is a playground, volleyball court, horseshoe pit, and a basketball court.
Buck Creek State Park
Buck Creek State Park consists of 1,896 acres of diverse Ohio landscapes. Between the dense meadows and wetlands, guests will find a wide range of natural specimens and creatures native to the area.
Campers can unwind in one of the many cabins, tent, or RV sites. Nevertheless, the main attraction here is undoubtedly the pristine 2,120-acre lake. Between fishing, boating, swimming, and more, there’s no shortage of seasonal water-related activities in this campground.
Burr Oak State Park
Burr Oak State Park offers some of the best camping in Ohio, in fact, campers can enjoy an even enjoy a split of nature and urban entertainment. The campground is just a few miles from the sprawling land that makes up Wayne National Forest.
Meanwhile, Burr boasts over 2,500 acres of woods and valleys. Campground amenities include flush toilets, heated showers, laundry facilities and dump stations. Meanwhile, the park boasts plenty of fresh lake swimming and angling opportunities.
Caesar Creek State Park
If your going camping in Ohio, be sure to check out the state’s stunning southwest corner.
In the lovely town of Wilmington, Ohio, you will discover the spacious site of Caesar Creek State Park. In addition to offering some of the best tent camping in Ohio, this park possesses a lovely lake and miles of hiking trails.
A dynamic playground and amphitheater events keep young ones entertained. Meanwhile, anglers will relish the diverse array of fish that navigate the park’s fresh waters. Camping in Ohio can be rather rugged, but the in-park camp store offers convenient access to overnight necessities.
Cowan Lake State Park
Ohio camping doesn’t get much better than Cowan Lake State Park, which is located in Wilmington, Ohio. This moderately sized Ohio camping spot boasts some of the best tent camping in Ohio.
The main attraction here is Cowan Lake, for which the park is named. The sprawling blue lake is an attractive backdrop from water activities, including fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, and photography. Don’t fret if you left your boat at home. A wide variety of boat rentals are available on a first-come-first-serve basis.
If you’re not sure about hitting the waters in a flotation device, the park’s free seasonal canoe lessons are a great place to fend off anxiety. Meanwhile, landlubbers can enjoy archery, basketball, volleyball, hiking, and much more.
Deer Creek State Park
Deer Creek State Park is just southwest of Columbus and boasts thousands of acres of woods and meadows. With its
Dillon State Park
Dillon State Park is a large pleasant campground located in a hilly area in the middle of the state. It offers a large number of tent and RV campsites.
Amenities include flush toilets, dump stations, handicap accessible sites, laundry, and much more.
Meanwhile, there are
Crystal Rock Campground
Crystal Rock Campground is located in a sleepy area of Sandusky, Ohio. The Crystal Rock camping experience is one that includes tons of recreational activities, including camping mainstays, such as volleyball, tetherball, and corn hole.
Crystal Rock Campground even has its very own gem rock mine, where children and adults can pan for colorful minerals. Crystal Rock camping is most-certainly a one-of-a-kind experience. However, it’s not without classics like picnic tables and fire pits. In fact, one of the can’t-miss aspects of the Crystal Rock camping experience are the community bonfires.
Best Free Camping in Ohio
Sometimes camping can get a little bit expensive. If you’re looking to save some money, check out these free camping sites in Ohio. Also, make sure to check out our guide on Free Camping in the US.
Hidden Hollow Campground
Ohio’s Fernwood State Forest is home to some of the most secretive and free camping in Ohio. This 3,000-acre protected wildlife preserve boasts 22 primitive tent sites that cost nothing of adventurous visitors.
Campgrounds in Ohio are a popular overnight pit stop for hunters. This one just happens to boast a total of three nearby shooting ranges.
The bicentennial campsites offer free camping in Ohio that are provided by American Electric Power.
Located within Caldwell, Ohio, the sites are secluded and well-cared for. Amenities include picnic tables, vault toilets, trash receptacles, and water. An access road permits RV and tent campers to enter this quiet getaway. If you are an avid outdoors-man or hiker, this is a great place to pitch a tent and get an early morning start. Sites are shaded and bug spray is recommended.
Much of the free camping in Ohio is owned and managed by the Ohio Division of Forestry. The Trailrider’s campground, located in rural Harrison County, is yet another amazing free campsite.
It offers over 1,000 acres of unspoiled forest lined with miles of hiking and bridle trails. There are a total of seven family campsites and 20 horse camps within the campground.
One of the main attractions is the 100-yard shooting range, which is a popular spot for hunters. There is no camping fee, but campers should still register to confirm their stay. RVs and tents are welcome. Camping across Ohio with horses can be difficult, but free pit stops like this make it well worth it.
East Fork State Park
Some of the best tent camping in Ohio is up for grabs at East Fork State Park. This stunning 4,870-acre campground is located just a half hour or so from the city of Cincinnati. However, it’s almost hard to believe its so close to an urban area, considering how wild the land is.
Campers can pick up last minute supplies at the in-park store, leaving them more time to enjoy the long list of recreational activities the park has to offer. Equestrians can even rent a horse from a nearby stable and take it along a stretch of one of the park’s bridle trails. Amenities include a dump station, flush toilets, hot showers, and so much more.
Wayne National Forest
Wayne National Forest offers some of the most surprising and enjoyable free camping in Ohio. Hikers are welcome to pitch a tent along one of the forest’s many trails, allowing them to make headway into this rich wilderness. The forest offers an abundance of natural sites and sounds that any camper is sure to enjoy.
One can swim, fish, hunt, or simply observe the wildlife here. There are hundreds of miles to explore, but proper preparation is essential when delving deep into this Ohio wonderland. Camping across Ohio doesn’t have to be expensive with free campsites like this padding the way.
American Electric Power’s Sand Hollow is an excellent spot for free camping in Ohio. You do need a permit to stay overnight at this recreational area which can be acquired at one of the nearby gas stations and convenience stores.
Campers will find a wide range of manicured campsites to choose from. One of the best things about this free campground is the close location to nearby lakes. As such, this is a popular overnight spot for early morning anglers and avid hikers. Its remote, but RVs are welcome to access the campground via a rugged access road. There are portable toilets on site, but you will not find any showers or electrical hookups.
The Ronsheim Campground is a free campground located in Harrison State Forest and is protected by the Ohio Division of Forestry.
The park encompasses 1,345 acres of Harrison County. It is a popular spot for horseback riders and fishermen. There is a total of seven paved campsites. Amenities include vault toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables. It’s rust but clean. Of course, you can’t beat free when visiting Harrison County, Ohio.
Best Tent Camping In Ohio
Tent camping is many people’s first foray into camping. It is the cheapest way to get started and puts right in the middle of nature.
If you plan on getting started tent camping, make sure to check out some of our resources such as our family camping checklist, tent buyer’s guide and sleeping bag buyer’s guide.
Alum Creek Camping
Alum Creek Camping is located in an expansive protected woodland that is minutes from the state’s capital. There is a beach, boat ramp, nature center, and much more for campers to explore.
Alum Creek Camping isn’t for those who are looking for a resort experience, but it does promise plenty of up-close and personal encounters with Ohio wildlife.
Park amenities include toilets, showers, and year-round sites. However, the best thing about Alum Creek camping may be the never-ending array of nearby attractions. Alum Creek offers some of the best tent camping in Ohio, so be sure to check it out sometime soon.
East Harbor State Park
East Harbor State Park is located on the shores of Lake Erie. As such, it happens to be a great place for water-related recreation, like boating, swimming, and fishing.
Many guests also visit to go bird watching, capture nature photography, or simply enjoy the great outdoors.
Camp amenities include a camp store, comfort station, and convenience store. There is also a disc golf course, boat ramp, beach, and hiking trails. Parents of little ones will enjoy the on-site playground and seasonal sledding hills. There RVs and tents are welcome, but there are no hookups at the sites.
Findley State Park
Findley Park is a small Ohio camping spot located in Wellington. Its just under 1,000 acres, but boasts over 200 tent sites. The 93-acre Lake Findley sits in the middle of the park and offers an abundance of water activities. There are also host campers and a park service area to help you get better acquainted with the park and ensure that rules are obeyed.
Electric, water, flush toilets, and a dump station are just a few of the parks many amenities. Hiking trails, a basketball court, and disc golf course offer extra entertainment during the day.
Salt Fork State Park
Salt Fork State Park is a humongous natural area located in Guernsey County. The park encompasses over 17,00 acres of recreational facilities, forest, and fields.
Adult campers can take their turn at the 18-hole golf course or while little ones play on the miniature golf course. There is also ample opportunities or hunting, hiking, fishing, and more. Budding naturalists can learn a bit about nature’s splendors at the on-site nature center and trails.
Many of the sites boast electric hookups, but you can’t go wrong with tent camping at Salt Fork State Park. This campground is located in Ohio’s largest state park, making it an essential stop on any comprehensive Ohio road trip.
Hocking Hills Camping
Hocking Hills State Park is a stunning campground located just south of Lancaster. Hocking Hills camping encompasses over 2,00 acres of pristine wilderness with lots of up-to-date recreational facilities built-in.
At Hocking Hills camping, guests can enjoy fishing, hiking, mount biking, and much more. There is even an outdoor swimming pool, game room, and playground for those looking for more of a resort feel.
The sites are shady, tree-lined, and feature smooth dirt access roads. Meanwhile, the flush toilets and heated showers help make campers feel more at home.
Punderson State Park
With over 700 acres, Punderson State Park charming park located southeast of Cleveland. With camping available year round, the main highlight of Punderson State Park is the Swiss chalet resort housing and hills made for winter sports.
The tent camping here is excellent, with large well-groomed sites. Punderson State Park camping amenities include picnic tables, fire pits, and scenic surroundings make it even better.
Meanwhile, there are loads of recreational amenities to entertain yourself with when enjoying all that Punderson State Park camping has to offer. These include a volleyball court, tennis courts, sports chalet, driving range, and disc golf course. Campers can also get their fishing or hiking fix at this stunning facility.
Mohican State Park
Mohican State Park is located off Route 3 in Loudonville, Ohio. It is a moderately sized park that is right next door to a sprawling forest. Popular nearby attractions to Mohican State Park include the Clear Fork Gorge and Mohican River.
There is not much around to spoil the rich splendors of nature at your disposal within Mohican State Park. Mohican State Park has non-electric, electric, and full hookup campsites are available. The campground even boasts a swimming pool. Mohican State Park camping also includes laundry facilities, a camp store, and plenty of guided naturalist programs. Mohican State Park camping truly offers something for every member of the family. But the best part about Mohican State Park camping has to be its close proximity to the 4,525-acre Mohican-Memorial State Forest.
Delaware State Park
Don’t let the name of this popular Ohio park lead you astray, it offers highly desirable tent camping in Ohio. The name is actually derived from the local indigenous people, who call themselves the Delaware Tribe.
The moderately sized grounds of this campground offer one of the finest glimpses at Ohio’s wildlife. Meanwhile, an in-park lake beach provides a pleasant backdrop for sunbathers and young children. Swimming, boating, and fishing are encouraged.
Finally, Ohio camping wouldn’t be complete without a meal cooked in one of the campsite’s rustic fire pits. Some of the best camping in Ohio is found in this misleadingly named state park.
Geneva State Park
If you are planning on camping in Ohio, Geneva State Park is a great place to visit. This tent-friendly campground is located on the shores of Lake Erie, just northeast of Cleveland.
Campers can enjoy typical waterside adventures, including swimming, fishing, and boating. There
However, warming seasons call for tent camping,
Van Buren State Park
Van Buren State Park is located south of Toledo in McClure and offers some of the best camping in Ohio. The park is nestled in the heart of a thriving agricultural area of the state.
In-park amenities include a dump station, comfort station, basketball court, and volleyball court. The ranger is available to make your stay safer and more comfortable. This intimate and well-cared for park gives the private campgrounds in Ohio a run for their money. In fact, we only wish that all Ohio camping spots were this well-cared for.
Best RV Camping In Ohio
RV Camping to many is a form of glamping and a great way to get out and enjoy nature and keeping the comforts of home.
You can still go RV camping in Ohio even if you don’t have an RV of your own. We’ve put together great guides on renting your first RV or even purchasing your first RV.
Alum Creek Camping
The Alum Creek camping area is located in an expansive protected woodland that is minutes from the state’s capital city, Columbus.
The park boasts a beach, nature center, boat launch, boat rentals, and much more. There is a total of 24 full-service campsites located with the park, each in close proximity to flush toilets, showers, dump stations, electric hookups, and water hookups. Alum Creek Camping is one the most diverse camping spots in Ohio, as it gives guests quick access to remote wilderness as well as urban amenities.
Lake Hope State Park
Lake Hope State Park is an expansive campground located inside of the Zaleski State Forest, where some of the best camping in Ohio is available. It boasts must-see gorges and breath-taking ridges. There is even an abandoned mining community to explore.
The campground has a mix of tent and RV sites. The RV sites boast nicely manicured grass pads for parking. There is also drinking water, a dump station, as well as a laundromat. There are nearly 200 sites with electric hookups too. If you’re an RV camper looking for accommodating campgrounds in Ohio, this park provides five-star camping in Ohio. We highly recommend you stop here when camping across Ohio with an RV.
Tar Hollow State Park
Tar Hollow is a relatively small park located in Londonderry, but it still has the potential for some of the best camping in Ohio state.
It offers several wide sites with electrical hookups. Drinking and washing water is available at water spigots scattered between sets of campsites. While Tar Hollow is a popular year-round destination for RV and tent camping in Ohio, it is especially spectacular in late fall, when the area is shrouded in bright
Great Seal State Park
Great Seal State Park is located just south of Columbus, where it offers some legit world-class Ohio camping. It is an expansive campground located in the one-time home of the Shawnee nation. It is a great place to explore Ohio’s famous rolling hills and rich wildlife.
Unlike other campgrounds in Ohio, this one boasts several back-in RV sites to choose from. While electric hookups are not available, drinking water and latrine toilets are located within walking distance. If you are looking for a safe and comfortable place to go RV camping in Ohio, Great Seal is a guaranteed success. You can’t go wrong settling in among 1,862 acres of unspoiled hills and valleys. This large park offers some the best camping in Ohio state.
Kiser Lake State Park
Kiser Lake State Park offers a large number of RV sites with and without electric hookups. The Park is located just north of Springfield, in a rural area scattered with forests and wetlands.
The campground is home to Kiser Lake and Kiser Lake Marina. As such, its a popular Ohio camping destination among anglers and boaters. Many come here to enjoy the peace and quiet of lakeside living. If you’re camping across Ohio this summer, this a great place to introduce little ones to the flora and fauna of Ohio’s hill country. In fact, many fishermen believe that it offers the best camping in Ohio.
Mosquito Lake State Park
Don’t let the name of this lovely park deter you from visiting. Sure, Mosquito Lake is a rich wetland area and bugs are present, but there are loads of RV campsites to choose from.
Most sites are back-in with the maximum unit length ranging between 35 and 40 feet. The park amenities include a playground, which is centered between a large number of RV sites. There is also a boat launch ramp, dog park (did we mention pets are welcome,) and a disc golf course.
Popular water recreation options include swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Guests also gain access to laundry facilities, flush toilets, and heated showers. Overall, if you are looking for entertaining RV camping in Ohio, Mosquito Lake is a surprisingly satisfying spot.
Speaking of mosquitos, make sure to check out our review of the Thermacell, which in our opinion, is one of the best mosquito repellants on the market.
Kelly’s Island State Park
Camping in Ohio doesn’t get much more unique than Kelly’s Island State Park. This lovely campground is located in the middle of Lake Erie on Emerald Island.
It’s a large park with plenty of shorelines to enjoy. While campers need to take a ferry to access the island, RVs are always welcome.
At the park, campers will discover a mix of electric and non-electric sites with a nearby dump station. Camp amenities also include showers, picnic tables, fire pits, and a fish cleaning station. While many don’t see island getaways as a viable option when camping in Ohio, Kelly’s Island makes it possible. A look at Kelly’s Island just goes to show that campgrounds in Ohio state are extremely diverse.
Lake Loramie State Park
When exploring campgrounds in Ohio, we found that Lake Loramie’s lovely facilities blow most private campgrounds in Ohio out of the water.
This lakeside campground has a 9-hole miniature golf course, disc golf course, basketball court, camp store, dog park, and so much more. They also have a large number of spacious RV sites with optional electric hookups.
Guests can take a swim in Lake Laramie or take their turn fishing. Free recreational supplies and boat rentals are available to campers too. Camping in Ohio doesn’t have to be boring. This facility offers endless entertainment for the whole family.
Malabar State Park
Malabar State Park is a fully functioning farm located in the heart of one of Ohio’s agricultural regions. The site offers non-electric equestrian sites for RV and tent campers.
The partially shaded campsites are a short walk away from the lively livestock barns and wheat fields that line the property. Overnight guests can take their time meandering the many bridle trails located within the park.
There are also ample opportunities for fishing, hiking, petting animals, and more. You can even pick up produce at the farm market and have a farm-to-table picnic.
Mary Jane Thurston Park
When exploring campgrounds in Ohio, we discovered that Mary Jane Thurston Park is a popular place for day trips as well as overnight camping. The Maumee River flows throughout the property, making it a popular spot for fly fishing and the likes.
There are ample amounts of electric RV sites located throughout the campgrounds loops. With a max unit length of 50 feet, most vehicles can enjoy a stay at this accommodating park. With handicap accessibility, hunting opportunities, and naturalist programs galore, this is one of the best camping spots in Ohio.
If you don’t make it during camping season, don’t let that deter you from sledding the hills in the winter.
Muskingum River State Park
Compared to other campgrounds in Ohio, Muskin River State Park offers a rich historical perspective of southeastern Ohio. The sprawling park encompasses a historic lock and dam system.
RV sites boast electric, water, and flat packed pads. There are horseshoes, basketball, and volleyball for the children too. Park amenities include a boat launch, picnic tables, fire rings, and so much more. This Nashport, Ohio, state park offers a timeless look into this pivotal part of our country. When camping across Ohio, be sure to check out this waterside wonderland.
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to check out our other picks for the best places to go camping in these states:
Tuesday 22nd of June 2021
LAKE ERIE IS SPELLED WRONG.
Monday 24th of August 2020
Hi Ryan, Thanks for your article! I live just north of Columbus and have a small pop up tent. I am planning my first ever solo camping trip. I’m taking my dog and looking to camp on or near a river or lake. Hoping to hike daily, ideally near water, and swim a little. Plenty trees and space between campsites are pluses. Thanks!! Cherie