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A Guide to Indiana State Parks Camping

The Hoosier state is a beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts, boasting breathtaking natural beauty and captivating evidence of glaciers in its lakes, low hills, and boulders. The state parks are home to some of the best camping sites in the Midwest.

Indiana, being a four-season state, offers state parks that remain open all year, providing plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy regardless of the weather. You can plan your Indiana state parks camping trip in any season.

Keep reading to learn about camping in Indiana state parks. We’ll also share with you the most popular activities, which parks to go to enjoy them, and what to bring with you!

View of a waterfall in Indiana. Indiana state parks camping.

What to Expect When Camping in Indiana State Parks

Since Indiana is located in the Midwest, you can expect abrupt weather changes on your Indiana State Parks camping trip. Dramatic temperature changes can occur within days (or even hours!).

Northeast Indiana is where you’ll see the evidence of glaciers, which helped shape Indiana’s landscape. You can find the effects of glaciers in Chain O’Lakes State Park and Pokagon State Park.

If you last visited Indiana state parks before 2020, you can expect massive updates to the parks’ camping areas. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) launched a 5-year strategic plan focused on campground improvements in 2019.

Indiana has 32 state parks with more than 2,000 buildings, 700 miles of trails, 636 lodge rooms, 17 marinas, 75 launching ramps, 17 swimming pools, 15 beaches, 7,701 campsites, over 200 shelters, around 160 playgrounds, and 150 cabins.

View of historic buildings in Lincoln State Park.
Lincoln State Park.

Visitors to Indiana state parks can expect to have fun-filled days in nature. Indiana state parks are perfect locations for photography shoots or big events like wedding receptions.

Packing for Your Indiana State Parks Camping Trip

Since the state is known for abrupt temperature changes, we recommend packing layers for your Indiana state parks camping trip. If you are planning to camp in the winter, these posts on winter camping will be helpful.

Be sure to check out all of our gear reviews when planning your Indiana state parks camping trip and refer to our ultimate camping checklist.

Mosquitos are also a huge concern in Indiana, with the West Nile virus being the most commonly-reported mosquito-borne disease in the state. It’s important to protect yourself with mosquito repellant on your Indiana state parks camping trip. Check out our post on our favorite mosquito repellants.

Activities and Amenities

View of road in Brown County State Park.


Bring your bike with you on your Indiana state parks camping trip because many Indiana state parks offer bike trails.

Some Indiana state parks also have mountain bike trails. Bikers planning to use mountain biking trails more difficult than the Beginner levels must have an Off-Road Cycling Permit. Go online to see the full list of Indiana state parks with mountain bike trails.

These are the best Indiana state parks to enjoy easy leisure bike riding:


If you’d rather hike than bike, Indiana state parks offer stunning hiking trails full of natural beauty. These state parks offer some of the most unique hiking trails in the state:


If your Indiana state park camping trip takes place in the summertime, you might be looking for the best place to park your boat (or rent a boat). Privately-owned boats must have a Lake Permit in most Indiana state parks.

The following Indiana state parks offer boat ramps for private boats:

These Indiana state parks offer boat rentals:

  • Pokagon State Park
  • Spring Mill State Park
  • Versailles State Park
  • Lincoln State Park
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park
  • Trine State Recreation Area
  • Ouabache State Park


Turn your Indiana state park camping trip into a fishing trip. You must obtain a fishing license before fishing in Indiana. Visit the state’s Department of Natural Resources website for licensing options and fees.

A Guide to Indiana State Parks Camping 1

These are the best Indiana state parks to reel in fish:

  • Shakamak State Park
  • Potato Creek State Park
  • Chain O’Lakes State Park
  • Ouabache State Park
  • Pokagon State Park
  • Summit Lake State Park


Splashing in the water is the perfect way to cool off during hot, humid summers you may experience during your Indiana state park camping trip. Indiana state parks have many indoor and outdoor swimming options.

These are the best Indiana state parks for lake swimming:

These are the best pools at Indiana state parks:

These are the best indoor pools located on the properties of Indiana state parks:

  • Brown County State Park (aquatic center inside Abe Martin Lodge)
  • Spring Mill State Park (inside Spring Mill Inn) *Closed for renovations until 2024
  • Turkey Run State Park (inside Turkey Run Inn)


Bring your golf clubs with you if you’re staying at Fort Harrison State Park because the Fort Golf Resort is a favorite of golfers in Indiana.

Horseback Riding

If you love horseback riding but don’t own a horse, some Indiana state parks have horse stables where you can enjoy a ride. Check out these parks with horse stables:

Comfort Stations (aka restrooms)

Heated restrooms with showers are referred to as comfort stations at Indiana state parks. Several of these comfort stations are open all year round, including the following:

Types of Campsites

how to set up a campsite

You can check site availability and view a full list of campsites in each category on the Indiana State Parks website.


Pack up the RV and head out to Indiana state parks. These are the best state parks for camping in your RV with electricity and full hookups.

Cabins or Cottages

These are the best state parks for renting a cabin or cottage:

  • Potato Creek State Park (17 cabins)
  • Lincoln State Park (10 cabins and 16 cottages)
  • Shakamak State Park (22 cabins and 12 cottages)
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park (20 cabins)
  • Harmonie State Park (11 cabins)

Lodges and Inns

Indiana state parks are home to some of the nicest inns and lodges, allowing you to enjoy the parks all year round while sleeping indoors and experiencing amenities like game rooms, indoor pools, and space for weddings and conferences.

These are the Indiana state parks with inns and lodges on site:

  • Brown County State Park (Abe Martin Lodge & Cabins)
  • Clifty Falls State Park (Clifty Inn)
  • Fort Harrison State Park (Fort Harrison Inn, Golf Resort & Conference Center)
  • McCormick’s Creek State Park (Canyon Inn)
  • Pokagon State Park (Potawatomi Inn & Cabins)
  • Spring Mill State Park (Spring Mill Inn) *Closed for renovations until 2024
  • Turkey Run State Park (Turkey Run Inn & Cabins)

Group Sites

Six Indiana state parks offer campsites for organized groups. These are the best Indiana state parks for group camping:

  • Lincoln State Park
  • McCormicks Creek State Park
  • O’Bannon Woods State Park
  • Pokagon State Park
  • Shakamak State Park
  • Versailles State Park

Horse Sites

Eight Indiana state parks offer equestrian sites, so you can camp with your horse. Some of these are primitive spaces while others offer electric hookups. These are the state parks offering horse sites:

  • Brown County State Park (114 electric and 86 primitive)
  • Deam Lake State Recreation Area (97 electric)
  • O’Bannon Woods State Park (33 electric and 45 primitive)
  • Potato Creek State Park (67 electric)
  • Tippecanoe River State Park (54 primitive)
  • Versailles State Park (9 electric)
  • Whitewater Memorial State Park (10 electric and 27 primitive)


Snowmobiling is a favorite activity of visitors to Indiana state parks in the wintertime. These state parks have snowmobiling trails nearby:

ADA-Compliant Campsites

Accessibility is a priority at many Indiana state parks’ camping areas. These state parks offer the most accessible campsites, allowing easy access for those of all abilities:

  • Patoka Lake State Park (23 ADA-compliant sites)
  • Brown County State Park (24 ADA-compliant sites)
  • Potato Creek State Park (34 ADA-compliant sites)
  • Mississinewa Lake State Park (48 ADA-compliant sites)
  • Prophetstown State Park (109 ADA-compliant sites)

How to Make Reservations

You can reserve most Indiana state parks camping spots, cabins, and primitive spaces on the Indiana State Parks Reserve America page up to one year in advance.

The following inns, lodges, and cabins can be reserved through TripAdvisor up to one year in advance:

Tips and Tricks for Your Indiana State Parks Camping Trip

Punch Bowl Falls.

Meal Planning

Your Indiana state parks camping trip is the perfect opportunity to try crockpot meals if you’re staying in an RV, cabin, or lodge. Crockpot meals allow you to spend more time enjoying the outdoors!

Tent campers should try some of our favorite make-ahead recipes, so you don’t have to spend your whole Indiana State Parks camping trip putting together a meal.

Many Indiana state park inns have restaurants that offer dine-in or carry-out, including the following:



Black bear sightings have been confirmed in Indiana in recent years. If you see a black bear on your Indiana state parks camping trip, keep your distance and do not approach it. Never attempt to feed a black bear.

The Indiana DNR recommends advertising your presence by shouting, waving your arms, and slowly backing away. Those who spot black bears are advised to report their sighting to the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Always clean and put away camp grills and stoves immediately after use. Store all food (including pet food) in bear-proof containers. We recommend a durable tote that latches and locks.

Burn Bans

Burn bans sometimes are instated in counties where Indiana state parks are located due to drought conditions. Always check the Indiana statewide burn ban list before starting a campfire on your Indiana state parks camping trip.

Winter Camping

If you’re planning on an Indiana State Parks camping trip in the winter, make sure to read our Winter Camping Checklist to ensure you’re prepared.

Wrapping up Indiana State Parks Camping

A tent campsite with a portable wood stove fire.

Indiana state parks are fun places to explore, relax, and enjoy all year round. The hardest part of your trip will be narrowing down which Indiana state park to set up camp at first. Hopefully, this guide has helped you determine which parks to visit during your next Indiana state parks camping trip.

Check out other State Camping Guides for more ideas of where to visit and what to do!