The Buckeye State has some beautiful areas for camping where you can enjoy fishing, hunting, biking, bird watching or just laying back and enjoying nature. Planning a camping trip in Ohio starts with learning about the different regions.
The Camping Regions of Ohio
Ohio can be broken up into five basic regions for camping. Each of these regions offers unique opportunities for the camper.
- Northwest which includes the cities of Bowling Green, Findlay, Fremont, Sandusky, and Toledo
- Northeast which includes the cities of Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Mansfield, Steubenville and Youngstown
- Central which includes the cities of Columbus, Gambier, Granville, Marion, Lancaster and Marysville
- Southwest which includes the cities of Cincinnati, Dayton, Oxford, Springfield and Yellow Springs
- Southeast which includes the cities of Athens, Cambridge, Chillicothe, Logan, Marietta and Zanesville
The Northeastern Ohio Region
Northeastern Ohio offers lots of fun attractions including the famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. There’s also 21 wineries in the vicinity and both Geneva State Park Marina and the historic Ashtabula Harbor are located on the shores of Lake Erie. The area is also full of some picturesque covered bridges.
Indian Creek RV & Camping Resort is open from May 1 to October 15th. You can choose to stay in your RV or a vacation rental cottage. The resort amenities include catch and release fishing, bike trails, a miniature golf course, swimming pool and even a dog park. There’s also an on-site store, restaurant, gas station, fitness center, and four playgrounds for the kids. The resort also provides planned events for the whole family like movie nights, karaoke and potluck dinners.
Kool Lakes has a lovely woodland setting by three spring-fed lakes. The lakes are swimmable and you can enjoy other water sports like fishing, boating or renting a canoe or paddleboat. There are also three children’s playgrounds, a clubhouse with pool and other games and an activity center for small children. The campground also has its own store and weekend events for the family. RV campsites and rental cabins are available and the resort is pet friendly, except for the cabins. Kool Lakes is open from May 1 through October 15th and has some limited sites open in the winter.
Mosquito Lake State Park
This 4,000 acre park is one of the most visited in the Ohio State Park system with one of Ohio’s biggest lakes. There are five ramps for water access and you can rent pontoon, fishing and paddle boats as well as jet skis. There’s also a 600-foot beach. For the hiker enjoy 18 miles of hiking trails and there’s a 10 mile bridle trail for equestrians. There’s a dog park area that includes water access too! The park has 232 campsites and 2 yurts available for rent. Amenities include showers, flush toilets, free wifi access, and basketball, volleyball and horseshoe courts.
The Northwestern Ohio Region
Things to do in the Northwestern region of Ohio include Sauder Farm and Village, Ohio’s oldest living history attraction, the award-winning Toledo Zoo and the famous Cedar Point Amusement Park which is known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. It’s also home to the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, a 2,200 acre wetlands area that is a bird-watcher’s paradise. You can also hike or take a boat ride along the 40 mile Miami-Erie Canal path which is both historic and incredibly scenic.
East Harbor State Park
This 1,831 state park, the largest in the Ohio State Park system, is situated off of Lake Erie and is the perfect spot for water sports and nature activities. Fishing, swimming, boating, and bicycle rentals are available. The wetlands boast a large variety of birds and wildlife for nature lovers. The campground has 340 electric sites of which 51 have full hookup and 160 are non-electric. There is also a yurt available for rent that sleeps 5 people. East Harbor State Park also has a store for campers and is pet friendly.
Sauder Village Campground
Located next to the Historic Village, campers here will have access to all the shops, bakery and restaurant at Sauder Village. The campground has 77 RV sites, 10 tent sites and amenities include a splash pad, indoor pool, hot tub, fishing, playground, bathhouse, shuffleboard, volleyball, basketball and a bike path. The campground is open from mid-April through late October of each year.
Maumee Bay State Park
This park is a standout for its natural beauty, with a setting by Lake Erie and surrounded by meadows, marshes and pounds. Amenities include heated shower houses, flush toilets, a playground, basketball court, horseshoe pits and a full-service restaurant. There’s also a nearby golf course and five miles of paved bike trails. Bikes and boats can be rented on site. There are 252 campsites and 24 cabins available for rent. The park is also pet friendly for some cabins and campsites.
The Central Ohio Region
Central Ohio has numerous places for outdoor activities like fishing, canoeing, hiking, biking and more. The area is also home to several wineries and breweries, including a “Celtic Cocktail Trail” featuring stops with Irish cuisine and craft cocktails. You can also enjoy visiting the stunning grounds of the Dawes Arboretum and visit the renowned Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Alum Creek State Park Campground
This park has a 3,387 acre reservoir and is the perfect spot for people who love water sports. There are RV and cabin rental available and some areas are pet friendly. The resort also has a miniature golf course, playground, 3,000 foot beach, boat ramp, fishing pond and a dog park. It’s also near many biking and horseback riding trails.
River Bend Family Campground
Located in Caledonia, this campground is open from April 15 to October 15. Activities available include fishing, swimming pool, bingo, a nine-hold disc golf course, tennis and volleyball courts and an on-site store. You can also rent paddleboats, kayaks and canoes. The site has RV hookups with water, electric or primitive camping options.
Sunbury/Columbus North KOA
This popular campground is located in a wooded setting with a stocked fishing lake. The site has a general store for campers, pool and splash pad, a petting zoo, fitness room, basketball court, and lots of other fun extras for the family including games, playgrounds and bike and boat rentals. There’s also a dog park as the site is pet friendly. Weekend activities include movie nights and other family oriented entertainment. The park has RV and tent sites and cabin rentals and an on-site restaurant that will even deliver to your campsite.
The Southwestern Ohio Region
Southwestern Ohio has some beautiful countryside with rolling hills, deep forests and limestone gorges. It’s a well known area for hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Other attractions in the region include the King’s Island Amusement Park, the award-winning Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, and the Serpent Mound, a designated world heritage site.
East Fork State Park
East Fork State Park covers 4,870 acres making it one of the biggest Ohio state parks. The park has 376 campsites located by a large lake and rivers. The entire park is pet friendly and 17 sites are also horse-friendly. Amenities include showers, flush toilets, a boat ramp, 1,200-foot beach, unlimited boating and fishing. The park is also located near 46 miles of trail and has access to the popular Backpack and Perimeter Trails.
John Bryan State Park
This beautiful park is known for its scenic limestone gorge along the Little Miami River. The park has 61 campsites along a wooded area with 9 having electric hookups. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, latrines, drinking water and it’s pet friendly. The park is close to some stunning hiking and mountain biking trails and is also a popular area for mountain climbers. It’s also a perfect spot for stream fishing in a lovely natural setting.
A unique feature of Piatt Park is a cave and gorge area that is wonderful for exploring and scenic photography. The park is also full of wildlife including black bears, deer and wild turkey. This is a smaller park with ten camping sites and amenities include water and electrical hookups, restrooms and a big sheltered picnic area. Although this is a smaller park than some other options, the incredible beauty of the hiking trails and the gorge are not to be missed.
The Southeastern Ohio Region
Southeastern Ohio is full of activities including historic places like the Underground Railroad Museum, Historic Roscoe Village, and the Lorena Sternwheeler available for cruising trips on the river. There are also some beautiful bikeways including the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, Moonville Tunnel Trail and the National Road Bikeway.
Hocking Hills Adventures
Hocking Hills Adventures runs three campgrounds at The Riverside, Canoe Livery and Fun Center. All are by the Hocking River and have a picnic table and fire ring at their sites. The company offers several river adventures to campers and others including kayaking, canoeing, rafting and tubing. All campgrounds are also pet friendly except for the beach area.
- The Riverside campground has 80 primitive camping sites. Amenities available nearby are a driving range and arcade and showers and flushing toilets are about a quarter of a mile from most campsites.
- The Canoe Livery campground is close to Logan where restaurants and shopping are available. There is a shower house available on site.
- The Fun Center has 10 electric hookup sites with grills and volleyball located close by. There are also go-kart rides, a game room and a miniature golf course.
- There are also rustic cabin rentals available for people who prefer less primitive camping conditions.
Hocking Hills State Park
This state park is a favorite destination not only for local but also international visitors. The scenery includes some dramatic cliffs, forests and lovely waterfalls. There are electric and full RV hookup sites available and campers can make use of a heated shower house, flush toilets, and laundry. There are also some primitive camping sites and cabin rentals available. The campground also has a store, swimming pool and trials for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Salt Fork State Park Campground
This campground is Ohio’s largest state park, covering 17,229 acres overall including the 2,900 acre Salt Fork Lake. The park has 172 campsites and amenities include showers flush toilets and the park is pet friendly all over. There are also 37 cabins available for rent. Users of the campsites and cabins have access to their own boat launch and dock and a private beach. There’s also a lodge with a coffee shop and snack bar, gift shop, indoor game area, indoor and outdoor pools, sauna, and courts for tennis, volleyball, basketball and shuffleboard.
Camping in Ohio
Ohio is home to some extremely beautiful country, including massive lakes, deep green forests, wetlands and natural gorges. There’s a plethora of campgrounds available with amenities to please almost every type of outdoor interest so do your research and make your reservations early!