2019 List of Best Camping Spots in Ohio
Our Top 7 Picks for Spending a Night (or Two) in the Great Outdoors of Ohio
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The beauty of Ohio’s great outdoors will never fail to amaze you! Whether you’re going with the family, your partner, or solo—these campgrounds are sure to help you get your camping fix.
Just keep reading to find out our 2019 picks for the best campgrounds in the state!
And if you’re on the market for the perfect tent—oops, we mean house—then be sure to connect with us at HER, REALTORS® for the largest and most accurate selection of real estate in Ohio.
South Bass Island State Park, Put-in-Bay, OH
Address: 1523 Catawba Ave, Put-in-Bay, OH 43456
Phone: (419) 285-2112
You don’t even have to leave the state to have a gorgeous island adventure! Visit the South Bass Island State Park in Put-in-Bay, a small town on the island surrounded by the amazing Lake Erie, and discover this beautiful camping experience.
At South Bass Island State Park, you’ll camp atop the white cliffs of the island—a gorgeous view you won’t want to miss out on. The park stretches 33 acres and also features access to Lake Erie—the perfect quiet retreat from the bustle of Put-in-Bay.
Activities and amenities at the park include but are not limited to: beach swimming, boating, skiing, fishing, hiking, hunting, showers, and more.
The island is accessible via ferry from Port Clinton or Catawba Island (must contact ferry service directly to make transportation arrangements). Campsites are available by reservation only (no walk-ins!). A maximum of two vehicles and two (leashed) pets are permitted per campsite.
“Couldn't have picked a better place to camp. View of the water, clean bathrooms and showers, and pleasant staff (the two times I interacted with them). Perfect getaway spot! I will definitely be camping here again!” —Chandra Jeanelle via Facebook
Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, OH
Address: 19852 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138
Hocking Hills State Park has received national and international acclaim as a top park to visit—and for good reason! This 9000-acre park shows campers a glimpse of the past—the geology of the sandstone cliffs tells us about a time 300 million years ago when rivers flowed into a swallow sea, located where present-day Ohio now stands.
The park is stunning in every season, from its springtime wildflowers to its bright fall leaves. Towering cliffs, waterfalls, and gorges serve as the dazzling backdrop to the park’s amenities.
At Hocking Hills, you can reserve a shelterhouse, cabin, or camp classic tent-style.
Activities include but are not limited to: archery, boating, disc golf, fishing, hunting, picnicking, hiking, rock climbing and rappelling, horse riding, and winter recreation such as ice fishing.
You can find hiking and rock climbing maps on the Hocking Hills website.
“Beautiful place...This is a good trip for people who want to get away from everything and get in touch with nature.” —WanderingSchoolGirl via TripAdvisor.
Geneva State Park, Geneva, OH
Address: 4499 Padanarum Rd, Geneva, OH 44041
Phone: (440) 466-8400
If you want the perfect mix of the beach and camping, look no further than Geneva State Park. This 698-acre park sits on Ohio’s northeastern shoreline and offers the perfect Lake Erie experience.
In addition to its famous beach, Geneva has several areas of freshwater marsh and mature woodlots.
Lodging includes classic camping as well as “glamping” options—cabins and cottages—and a local resort, the Lodge at Geneva.
Geneva is known for drawing in visitors with water activities such as beach lounging and swimming, boating, and fishing, but also offers others such as archery, hunting, picnicking, trails, winter recreation (i.e. snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing), and a zipline and challenge course.
“We fell in love with this park during our brief camping trip! The location is wonderful—right on the lake and easy to get to! The camp sites were spacious and laid out nicely, the park was well kept, beautiful, clean, and quiet...We certainly recommend this park and can’t wait to come back for another visit.” —Ibmit73 via TripAdvisor.
A.W. Marion State Park, Circleville, OH
Address: 7317 Warner-Huffer Rd, Circleville, OH 43113
Phone: (740) 869-3124
A.W. Marion State Park is located in central Ohio near Circleville. With its rolling hills and quiet waters, this quiet park makes a fantastic weekend escape. A.W. Marion is on the smaller side of this list—only 309 acres—but still offers an amazing outdoor experience!
The park’s very own Hargus Lake is a part of the Paddle Ohio program, which features different navigable rivers for visitors to canoe and kayak. Boating is also welcome in the Hargus—boaters may swim from their boats in designated “Boat Swim” areas, and boats are also available seasonally at the marina.
Other activities include dog swimming, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming, trails, and winter recreation (i.e. sledding, ice skating, and ice fishing). Playground and sports equipment is available.
“Truly a gem...Nice small park with a lake. Good fishing, nice views, bbq grills and a very peaceful setting. We particularly enjoy the 5 mile trail that circles the lake which [goes] into the wooded area of the park as well as follows the shoreline. Perfect setting for viewing fall colors.” —donphillipsiree via TripAdvisor.
Kelleys Island State Park, Kelleys Island, OH
Address: 920 Division St, Kelleys Island, OH 43438
Phone: (419) 746-2546
Kelleys Island State Park is a 676-acre park that makes up the northern third of Kelleys Island—also known as Lake Erie’s “Emerald Isle” for its beautiful nature.
The park features two unique state nature preserves, the North Shore Alvar and the North Pond. The former features unique landscapes from years of being battered by waves and wind, and the latter features precious and stunning fauna. Be sure to check out the amazing birding at North Pond—you’ll find hundreds of songbirds and dozens of waterfowl,as well as reptiles and amphibians!
You can also check out the nearby Marblehead Lighthouse, another state park and one of Lake Erie’s most photographed landmarks, open for tours during summer and fall.
In terms of lodging, the park offers both camping and unique yurt getaways.
Privately operated ferries can take pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, and RVs to Kelleys Island. Golf carts and bicycles are available for rent from private vendors once you arrive. For more information, visit the Lake Erie Shores & Islands website or call (800) 255-3743.
“Great visit...Rustic but perfect. Waterfront cabin, quiet, nature trails, and plenty of local fun. Put this on your calendar for next year!” —islandpj19746 via TripAdvisor.
Burr Oak State Park, Glouster, OH
Address: 10220 Burr Oak Lodge Rd, Glouster, OH 45732
Phone: (740) 767-2112
The quiet and remote Burr Oak State Park stretches a vast 2,593 acres across southeast Ohio near the Burr Oak Lake. It is known for its wooded scenery, valley farms, and lakeside views.
Burr Oak offers a wide variety of lodging accommodations, such as camping, cottages, and feature hotel—the Burr Oak Lodge. As a resort park, “Burr Oak blends modern conveniences with the wilderness spirit of Ohio.”
Activities at the park include boating, disc golf, fishing, hunting, picnicking, swimming, trails, and winter recreation (i.e. sledding, ice skating, and ice fishing).
“A nice, quiet, primitive campground that [has the basics] but [is] a great place that is well-maintained and lets you get away from it all with a short hike or car drive from the lake.” —TJ Bowen on Burr Oak Cove Campground via Google Reviews.
Mary Jane Thurston State Park, Wood / Henry County, OH
Address: 1466 State Rte 65, McClure, OH 43534
Mary Jane Thurston State Park is a 591-acre park in Wood and Henry Counties. It is named after the lovely Mary Jane Thurston, a Grand Rapids school teacher who, in 1928, bequeathed 14 acres of land to the state to be used as a park. 40 years later, in 1968, the Mary Jane Thurston Park was dedicated.
This park features 39 different campsites as well as day lodges that can be reserved for reunions and meetings for a nominal fee.
Mary Jane Thurston park is a certified “Clean Marina” area by the Ohio State Parks & Watercraft’s Clean Boating programs. “The goal is environmental stewardship—” says the Clean Boating web page, “—making marinas and boaters more aware of environmental laws, rules, and jurisdictions, and to get as many marinas and boaters as possible to practice clean boating in order to help keep Ohio’s waterways, land, and air clean.”
In addition to boating, activities include fishing, hunting, picnicking, trails, winter recreation (i.e. ice fishing, sledding, cross-country skiing), and paddling (kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards are available for rent at the park office).
“Beautiful day here, and beautiful place. Very peaceful, our campsite is perfect.” —Sulema Pollick via Google Reviews.
Ready to go back home?
Once you’re done rolling up your sleeping bag and taking down your tent, you may be eager to have a restorative sleep in the comfort of your own home.