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Your Guide to Camping in Ohio's State Parks

Travel | By Cullen Fischel | Updated July 10, 2023

Cullen Fischel's Guide to Camping in Ohio's State Parks

Key Takeaways

  1. Ohio's state parks offer diverse camping experiences that cater to everyone from seasoned campers to novices.

  2. Top picks for camping include Hocking Hills State Park, John Bryan State Park, and Mohican State Park.

  3. Most state parks in Ohio offer modern amenities, including electricity and shower facilities.

  4. Reservations can often be made online and are recommended during peak season.

  5. Always adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace to respect nature and other campers.

Experience Ohio's Camping Gems

top Ohio camping recommendations by Cullen Fischel of Cleveland

As any seasoned camper will tell you, Ohio is a haven of outdoor splendor waiting to be explored. Its state parks offer a wide range of camping experiences, all unique, all breathtaking. Whether you prefer to sleep under the stars, in a yurt, or in your RV, Ohio's state parks have something for every camping style.

Hocking Hills State Park, Logan

Hocking Hills State Park, located in southeastern Ohio, is one of the state's most popular camping destinations. Its stunning geological formations, waterfalls, and hiking trails make it a camper's dream. The park offers both electric and non-electric campsites, as well as cabins for those seeking a more comfortable stay.

John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs

Situated in western Ohio near Yellow Springs, John Bryan State Park is a hidden gem. Renowned for its limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River, the park offers a truly tranquil experience for campers. The park has a campground with electric sites and also allows primitive camping for a more rugged experience.

Mohican State Park, Loudonville

Nestled in north-central Ohio, Mohican State Park is a favorite among adventure-seekers. With canoeing, zip-lining, mountain biking, and more, the activities here are endless. The park's campground is well-equipped with modern amenities, including electricity, shower facilities, and even a swimming pool.

Punderson State Park, Newbury

If you're after a unique camping experience, Punderson State Park has it. Home to a historic manor and Ohio's only resort-style campground, this park provides a luxurious camping option for those who prefer a bit more comfort. The park's 150-acre natural lake offers opportunities for boating and fishing, while hiking trails allow you to explore the area's diverse flora and fauna.

Findley State Park, Wellington

For those who enjoy a true camping experience, Findley State Park offers both electric and non-electric camping sites amidst a dense forest. Known for its beautiful wildflowers in the spring and vibrant foliage in the fall, this park offers natural beauty year-round. It also boasts a variety of recreational opportunities, from hiking and biking to disc golf and fishing.

Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon

Situated along the shores of Lake Erie, Maumee Bay State Park is a top recommendation for water lovers. This park offers a mix of electric and non-electric sites and cabin rentals. The park's two sandy beaches are perfect for swimming and sunbathing, while the park's marshlands offer a prime location for bird watching.

Planning Your Camping Trip

campground tips by Cullen Fischel of Cleveland

Camping in Ohio's state parks requires some planning, especially if you want to secure a spot during the busy summer months. Here's what you need to know before you pack your tent:


Most state parks in Ohio allow campers to make reservations online, which is recommended during peak season. Both Hocking Hills and Mohican State Park can get busy during the summer, so booking in advance can ensure you have a spot when you arrive.


Knowing what amenities are available at each campground can help you pack and plan your trip. While most state parks offer modern amenities like electricity and shower facilities, if you're planning on primitive camping, you'll need to be self-sufficient.

Park Rules

Before setting off, familiarize yourself with the park rules. These can include regulations about fire safety, waste disposal, and quiet hours. Adhering to these rules helps protect the park and makes the experience more enjoyable for everyone.

Respecting Nature and Other Campers

It's crucial to adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace when camping. These principles ensure that nature is left undisturbed for future generations to enjoy and include:

  • Plan ahead and prepare: Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.

  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces: Stick to established trails and campsites.

  • Dispose of waste properly: Pack out all trash and leftover food.

  • Leave what you find: Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you found them.

  • Minimize campfire impact: Use a camp stove for cooking and only build fires where permitted.

  • Respect wildlife: Observe wildlife from a distance and never feed animals.

  • Be considerate of other visitors: Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.

Cullen Fischel's Tips for the Best Camping Experience

From my extensive camping experience, here are my tips to make the most of your time in Ohio's state parks:

  • Arrive Early: Arriving early gives you ample time to set up your campsite and familiarize yourself with the area.

  • Pack Light, But Right: Pack only what you need, but ensure you have all the essentials, such as a first-aid kit, navigation tools, and adequate food and water.

  • Check the Weather: Always check the weather before heading out and pack accordingly.

  • Plan Activities: Each park offers unique activities. Plan in advance to make the most of what each park has to offer.

  • Take Your Time: Don't rush. Take your time to soak in the natural beauty that Ohio's state parks have to offer.

Ohio's state parks offer a stunning backdrop for camping experiences that are truly unique. Whether you're an experienced camper or a beginner, these parks offer something for everyone. With the right planning and respect for nature, your camping trip can be an unforgettable adventure. Happy camping!

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