Camping Spots - 22 min read

20 Best State Parks in Ohio (With Camping, Hiking, & Waterfalls)

Dennis Howard

Dennis Howard, Updated September 24, 2022

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Ohio is a paradise for individuals who like to camp and RV. The Ohio State Park System has seventy-seven state parks. The parks are, for the most part, open year-round to visitors. There are no reservations required but campsites are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

RV sites may incur a small fee for the services, but most Ohio State Parks do not charge an entry fee. Of the seventy-seven state parks in the system, these are our choices of the best 20 to visit.

Contents

1. Hocking Hills State Park


You can find almost anything you want at Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio. The natural splendor of the park is unrivaled and includes cliffs, waterfalls, and gorges filled with hemlock trees.

Primitive and Tent Camping

This state park has 12 primitive campsites and 156 campsites with electricity. 30 of the campsites are designated as family sites and are equipped with pit latrines. Check for the availability of the group campsites by clicking this link.

RVs and Travel Trailers

RVs and travel trailers are more than welcome at Hocking Hills State Park. A respectable number of the campsites have full hookups including 50 Amp RV service.

Lodges and Cabins

The Dining Lodge in the park has a restaurant, meeting rooms, a TV lounge, game room and snack bar. An outdoor swimming pool is available during the summer months. The park office is located inside the Lodge.

The park has 40 heated family cottages for rent. Each cottage sleeps up to 6 people and has two bedrooms. The cottages are completely furnished and ready for you to come for a visit.

For More Information: Click Here

2. Geneva State Park

Credit: Mark K / Flickr

Geneva State Park sits on the shores of Lake Erie. This 698-acre state park has six miles of trails to explore and enjoy. Vistas of Lake Erie can be found along the paved two-mile path along the shoreline. There is also a marina if you decide to bring your watercraft.

Primitive and Tent Camping

This state park boasts a fully developed campground. Spaces can be found with electricity as well as RV hookups. The campground has shower facilities and flush toilets to make you stay in the wooded forest setting as comfortable as possible.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Many of the campsites have electrical hookups and a few can accommodate RVs and travel trailers with full hookups. A dump station is available in the park. To make reservations for a campsite, use this link.

Lodges and Cabins

You can choose from one of 12 fully furnished cabins to rent in the park. Most cabins sleep up to 6 people and are fully furnished.

An outdoor swimming pool is available during the summer months. Campers can use the pool for free. A swimming beach on the shore of Lake Erie is also open seasonally.

For More Information: Click Here

3. Mohican State Park


More than 1,000 acres of spectacular habitat and geology await you at Mohican State Park. This centrally located park us bear Loudonville and near Pleasant Hill Lake. You can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and sightseeing all within the state park area.

Primitive and Tent Camping

You can pitch your tent on one of the tent-only campsites or opt for a campsite with electricity if you so choose. The campsites at this park are leveled and tent ready. Most include a picnic table and fire ring or grill.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Bring your RV or travel trailer and stay a night or a week. You can find campsites with full hookups to accommodate even the largest RV or travel trailer. We suggest checking the Ohio Park System Reservations Service for space availability by clicking this link.

Lodges and Cabins

You rent one of several cabins if you want a more civilized stay at Mohican State Park. The park also has a Lodge and Conference Center near Pheasant Hill Lake if you need these types of services. The cabins are fully self-contained and furnished for up to 6 people.

For More Information: Click Here

4. Alum Creek State Park


For boating and other water activities, Alum Creek State Park is a favorite destination near Delaware, Ohio. Bring your watercraft of all kinds to enjoy Alum Creek Reservoir. This body of water features the largest inland freshwater swimming beach in Ohio.

Primitive and Tent Camping

There are no primitive campsites in the Alum Creek State Park Campground. All the campsites include electric hookups and water. An equestrian camping area is available away from the regular camping area if you plan on bringing your horse to the park.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Electricity and water-only sites are available. There are a limited number of sites with 30 AMP and 50 AMP electric services and full hookups. Check the Ohio Parks Reservation system at this link for availability.

Lodges and Cabins

The campground at Alum Creek State Park has several cottages to accommodate your family during your visit to the park. The Sherman cabins are more substantial and offer a larger and more comfortable family arrangement.

For More Information: Click Here

5. Delaware State Park

Credit: Delaware Ohio State Park / Facebook

Imagine 1,686 acres of available wilderness on the shores of a 1,300-acre lake just waiting for you to visit. This is what you will find at Delaware State Park. You can boat, fish, hike, birdwatch, or just sit back and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Primitive and Tent Camping

More than 200 improved campsites with electricity await you at Delaware State Park. Several of these campsites have ADA features and pets are permitted. There are no primitive sites at this campground. Reservations are required and can be made at this link.

RVs and Travel Trailers

The campsites at Delaware State Park are open to RVs and travel trailers. However, only electricity is available at the campsites. There are no other hookups. A dump station is located in the park campground and potable water is available to fill your tanks. Campsite reservations can be made here.

Lodges and Cabins

There are no lodges or cabins located in Delaware State Park. There are numerous private concerns that offer lodging and rentals outside the park. Overnight stays in the park are limited to tent camping, RVs, and travel trailers.

For More Information: Click Here

6. Salt Fork State Park


Bigger is sometimes better. Salt Fork State Park is the largest geographic park in the Ohio State Park System. With over 17.000 acres and encompassing a 3,000-acre lake, this park offers opportunities for almost every kind of outdoor activity you can imagine.

Primitive and Tent Camping

The large Salt Fork Park Campground with a caping site for every taste. You can reserve a 50 AMP full hookup site or a primitive campground featuring walk-in sites for privacy and isolation. You can reserve your space online by clicking this link.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Salt Fork Campground can accommodate even the largest and most lavish RV or travel trailer. From electric only campsites to full hook-ups, this campground is fully improved. The campsites are spread over 4 different areas to allow more privacy.

Lodges and Cabins

The premier facility at Salt Fork State Park is the Salt Fork Lodge and Conference center. The center has 148 guest rooms. Fifty-three cottages are also available through the park for family style vacations. Don’t forget your golf clubs so you can enjoy the top-ranked 18-hole course in the park.

For More Information: Click Here

7. Kelleys Island State Park


The prominent geological features of Kelleys Island State Park were created millions of years ago when glaciers carved the bedrock of this area. The Lake Erie shore is just a few steps from your campsite. You will have to board the ferry at Marblehead, Ohio to access the park but the boat ride is part of the experience.

Primitive and Tent Camping

You can take your pick of campsites from primitive unimproved locations to improved campsites featuring electricity and water. If you are intrepid, visit during the winter for cold weather camping and perhaps a bit of ice fishing on the lake.

RVs and Travel Trailers

The ferry can accommodate your RV or travel trailer with no problem. At the park, you will find RV accommodations including full hook-ups, dump stations and potable water. Reservations are required at this popular campground. Check the availability on the Ohio State Park Reservation website by clicking here.

Lodges and Cabins

Two Sherman Cabins are available for rent in the park. These cabins will accommodate six people and are fully equipped with kitchens, bathrooms and sleeping areas. For a different sort of experience spend a few nights sleeping in one of the two yurts available.

For More Information: Click Here

8. John Bryan State Park


A visit to Ohio would not be complete without a trip to the limestone gorge in John Bryan State Park. This remarkable geologic feature is the work of the Little Miami State and National Scenic Rivers. Designated as a National Natural Landmark, this one feature makes a visit to this park worth the trip.

Primitive and Tent Camping

The campground at John Bryan State Park features approximately 60 campsites. Some of these areas feature electricity while others are drive-up primitive sites. If you need a site with electricity, it is best to reserve your choice well in advance of your arrival. Make your campsite reservations by following this link.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Many of the campsites with electricity are setup for RVs and travel trailers. Electricity and water are available but no other hookups. There may be restrictions on generator use in the park so check at the park office for local rules. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance at this link.

Lodges and Cabins

There are no lodges or cabins at John Bryan State Park. There is a day use facility with a kitchen banquet tables, restrooms, and a screened in porch. This is a perfect venue for family reunions or group get-togethers.

For More Information: Click Here

9. Scioto Trail State Park


The Scioto Trail State Park lies inside the much larger Scioto Trail Forest. The park is only 218-acres but included two 15-acre lakes perfect for canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boards. Hikers and bikers won’t feel left out with the wealth of trails to explore.

Primitive and Tent Camping

You can find both improved campsite with electricity and primitive hike-in campsites at Scioto Trail State Park. The electric equipped campsites are located at the Caldwell Lake campground while the hike-in primitive sites are at the Stewart Lake Campground.

RVs and Travel Trailers

The electric campsites at the Caldwell Lake camping area are suitable for RVs and travel trailers. The campsites have electricity and water but no sewer hookups. A dump station is located in the camping area. Reservations are required at this state park campground. Check here for availability.

Lodges and Cabins

There are no improved cabins nor is there a lodge at this park. A campground store is available during the summer season where games and sporting equipment may be borrowed or rented. Fishing tackle may be available at the store as are fishing licenses.

For More Information: Click Here

10. Maumee Bay State Park


Just east of Toledo, Ohio, Maumee Bay State Park is on the shores of Lake Erie. This park encompasses 1,336 acres and has a 57-acre inland lake as well as shoreline access to Lake Erie. The inland lake is perfect for non-motorized watercraft such as canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.

Primitive and Tent Camping

While there are plenty of opportunities for tent camping at Maumee Bay State Park, you won’t find much in the way of primitive camping. All of the campsites are improved with most of them having water and electricity.

RVs and Travel Trailer

In all, Maumee State Park campground has 256 sites. Many of these offer full hook-ups for RVs and Travel trailers. This park is close to Toledo and is a favorite for those who like to boat so reservations are suggested. Click here to access the reservation site.

Lodges and Cabins

A beautiful guest lodge with access to the marina gives visitors a private balcony with views of the Maumee Bay on Lake Erie. Individual cabins that provide views of the golf course and wetlands are also available.

For More Information: Click Here

11. Rocky Fork State Park

Credit: MrX Dev / Flickr

Rocky Fork State Park is just minutes away from Hillsboro, Ohio in the western portion of the state. You can find an abundance of attractions here including a magnificent gorge to explore, dolomite caves and wetlands. The 2,080-acre lake offers unlimited boating and water sports.

Primitive and Tent Camping

There are no primitive campsites at Rocky Fork State Park. The campground is fully developed and offer tent camping on prepared sites with and without electricity. There are showers, flush toilets, a laundry, and campground store for your convenience

RVs and Travel Trailers

This campground has electric and water campsites as well as full-hookup sites for RVs and travel trailers. A dump station is available if you choose a site without sewer connections. Reservations are required at this campground and can be made online by clicking on this link.

Lodges and Cabins

Rocky Fork State Park does not have a lodge or cabins. There are group activity shelters for rent that provide some services such as electricity, but these are day use facilities only. No overnight stays are permitted in the shelters. Reservations must be made in advance for the use of groups shelters.

For More Information: Click Here

12. Indian Lake State Park


This is a rather remote state park which sits on the shores of Indian Lake. Once a feeder lake for the Miami & Erie Canal, the lake has grown into a popular water sport destination.

Of course, you can just enjoy the beautiful scenery and relax. In winter, ice fishing and snowmobiling are popular activities in this area.

Primitive and Tent Camping

Primitive camping is limited at Indian Lake State Park. Most campsites are fully improved and include electricity and water. Some campsites have full hook-ups for RVs. You can reserve one of the premium lake side campsites by visiting this link to the reservation system.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Full hookups for RVs and travel trailers are available in the campground. There is also a dump station and potable water available. A camp store is open during the summer and early fall months. Reservations can be made six months in advance at this link.

Lodges and Cabins

Indian Lake State Park does not have a lodge or any cabins for rent. There are nearby communities with some lodging available.

You can rent a day-use shelter if you have a larger group. The shelters provide some amenities like electricity, grills, picnic tables, and fishing piers.

For More Information: Click Here

13. Independence Dam State Park

Credit: AI / Flickr

Independence Dam State Park is relatively small as Ohio State Parks go. However, if you are a history buff or love seasonal fall outdoor adventures, this is a place to put on your bucket list.

The route of the old Miami and Erie Canal provide a glimpse into yesteryear. In the fall, the wide variety of trees turn magnificent colors for a visual treat.

Primitive and Tent Camping

The camping opportunities at Independence Dam State Park are limited to 25 non-electric tent campsites. The campground does have latrine toilets. Each campsite has a fire ring and picnic table. You must make reservations by clicking here to visit the reservation website.

RVs and Travel Trailers

This campground prohibits RVs and travel trailers. All of the camping in this park is tent only. There are some RV facilities outside the park.

Lodges and Cabins

Independence Dam State Park doesn’t have a lodge or other cabin facilities for rent. Several day use only structures may be reserved for your group or large family gathering. For more information visit the campground reservation site by clicking here.

For More Information: Click Here

14. Lake Hope State Park

Credit: Robt007 / Flickr

Situated within Zaleski State Forest, Lake Hope State Park encompasses 2,983 acres of some of the most spectacular geography in Ohio. Deep gorges, steep slopes and sharp ridges abound in this area. A 120-acre lake offers fishing, paddling, and canoeing opportunities.

Primitive and Tent Camping

Tent camping is a huge activity are Lake Hope State Park. 143 improved primitive tent only campsites are available year-round. If you are tent camping, there are heated showers houses, flush toilets, pit latrines, and laundry facilities to make your stay more comfortable.

RVs and Travel Trailers

46 campsites in the park are equipped with electricity and are available for RVs and travel trailers. There are no sewer hook-ups in the campsites, but a dump station is available. Reservations for all campsites should be made early by checking availability at this link.

Lodges and Cabins

You can reserve Laurel Lodge in the park for your large gathering. Laurel Lodge will sleep up to 24 guests in 8 bedrooms. Five bathrooms, a kitchen, living area and dining room complete the package. Several smaller cabins are located throughout the park which accommodate between 4 and 8 visitors.

For More Information: Click Here

15. Lake Loramie State Park

Credit: Darke County Parks / Flickr

Another state park along the route of the old Miami & Erie Canal, this small state park facility is a popular destination for fishing and paddling activities. You can swim in the lake during the summer months. In winter, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and sledding are the predominate activities.

Primitive and Tent Camping

Lake Loramie State Park Campground is a fully developed camping area. The campground features 15 primitive campsites, 120 electric only campsites, and 42 sites with full hookups. Several of the full hook-up campsites are lakeside. ADA compliant campsites are also available. Make your reservations by clicking here.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Bring your RV or travel trailer to Lake Loramie for a day or a week. There are full hookup sites available with reservations. If you need the services, a sump station is located in the camping area. The campground also features a small park store as well as a wide variety of sports and recreational opportunities.

Lodges and Cabins

Three cedar cabins are available for rent. Each cabin sleeps up to 6 persons. There is one bedroom and a large family area with sofa beds. The cabins are air conditioned and have a microwave refrigerator, toaster, and coffee maker. You must bring your own cookware, dishes, and linens.

For More Information: Click Here

16. Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park

Credit: Roam Your Home / Flickr

If you enjoy unique and captivating landscapes, a visit to Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park is in order. The rugged cliffs, waterfalls, and spectacular sandstone formations make this park an explorer’s paradise.

The features require some walking to really appreciate so bring your hiking shoes along. You can enjoy trails with colorful names such as Devil’s Icebox, Indian Pass, and Old Maids Kitchen. Some of these trails are rather strenuous so take care and go prepared.

Primitive and Tent Camping

This park is a day use area only and no overnight stays are allowed in the park. However, there are areas with picnic tables and grills for you use. You should be aware that there is no trash service in the park, and you must take out anything you bring into the park.

RV’s and Travel Trailers

Since there is no overnighting inside the park, RVs and travel trailers are restricted in the park. Parking is also limited inside the park and bringing an RV or travel trailer is discouraged.

Lodging and Cabins

No overnight accommodations are available in this park. There are nearby communities where lodging, eating and other services are available for park visitors.

For More Information: Click Here

17. Pymatuning State Park

Credit: Beth Klacik / Flickr

Pymatuning State Park is a large park area that sits long the shores of Pymatuning Lake. This large man-made lake sits on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Part of the park is a wildlife sanctuary where thousands of migratory waterfowl overwinter each year. Fishing and other watersports are the main attractions at this park.

Primitive and Tent Camping

The Pymatuning State Park Campground features non-electric and electric service at many campsites. Heated shower houses and laundry facilities are available as is a campground store. Reservations should be made ahead of your arrival to ensure a camping spot. You can check availability using this link.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Full hookup campsites are available for those brining an RV or travel trailer. If you elect to stay in one of the electric only campsites, a dump station is located in the park for your convenience. Reservations can be made up to six months in advance by clicking here.

Lodges and Cabins

You can find a variety of cabins available in Pymatuning State Park. You can rent a basic cabin that sleep six and is air heated and has a fireplace. Preferred cabins also have a wooden deck with a Jacuzzi. Check availability at the reservation website at this link.

For More Information: Click Here

18. South Bass Island State Park

Credit: Hooper / Flickr

The islands of Lake Erie offer some of the most spectacular settings for state parks that you can imagine. South Bass Island is no exception.

South Bass Island State Park sits atop the white cliffs of the island with extraordinary views of Lake Erie. The park offers swimming, picnicking fishing, and camping.

Primitive and Tent Camping

Half of the camping sites in the South Bass Island State Park Campground are designated as tent only sites. In this area you will find flush toilets and showers as well a picnic tables and fire pits. Most of the tent sites are drive up sites that only require a short walk to the camping area.

RVs and Travel Trailers

Electric campsites and full hookup campsites are available at the campground. For those using an electric only campsite, a dump station is available in the park.

Reservations are required and can be made through the Ohio State Park Reservation system by clicking here. This is a seasonal park and is only open from May 1 through Mid -October

Lodges and Cabins

You can enjoy a stay at South Bass Island State Park in one of the cabins or in a cabents. Cabents have solid sturdy walls but a canvas roof like a tent.

Each of these units sleeps 6 and has an efficiency kitchen, bathroom with shower, and a furnished living area. Bring your own linens for your stay.

For More Information: Click Here

19. Strouds Run State Park

Credit: Larry Cunningham / Flickr

Located just outside of Athens, Ohio, Strouds Run State Park is near Ohio University and is a popular destination for university students.

The miles of trails offer hiking and mountain biking at its best in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Dow Lake in the park provides paddling, canoeing and kayaking opportunities as well as trout fishing in season.

Primitive and Tent Camping

Primitive camping is the name of the game at Strouds Run State Park. This seasonal campground is close to the lake and the swimming beach. The campground features latrine toilets but no shower facilities.

Each campsite is equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring. Some group sites are available. For mor information check out the website at this link.

RVs and Travel Trailers

There are no facilities or opportunities for RVs or travel trailers in this park campground. Camping is limited to tents only. There are several private RV parks and campgrounds in the area around the park near Athens, Ohio

Lodges and Cabins

There are no overnight lodges or cabins available at Strouds Run State Park. Two day use only shelters can be reserved for your group or family. To make a reservation for one of the day use shelters, click here to visit the reservation website.

For More Information: Click Here

20. West Branch State Park

Credit: Jim Ward / Flickr

This park is located on a peninsula extending into the Michael J Kirwan Reservoir. Between the 5,352 acres of park area and the 2,650 acres of lake, there are ample opportunities to enjoy every type of outdoor adventure. Miles of hiking trails and bridle trails crisscross the park as do bike and snowmobile trails.

Primitive and Tent Camping

Primitive and tent camping opportunities are very limited at the West Branch State Park Campground. Only one unimproved tent camp site is available.

The campground does offer heated showers, flush toilets, and laundry facilities if you decide to use one of the improved campsites for your tent stay.

RVs and Travel Trailers

This campground caters to RV’ers and those with travel trailers. The campsites at this campground all include 50 Amp electrical hookups, potable water, and sewer connections. A trailer dump station is available in the park as are a swimming beach for campers only and a boat launch.

Lodges and Cabins

West Branch State Park does not have any lodges, cabins, or other improved overnight facilities. Some day-use group shelters are available by reservations. To check the availability of a group shelter for you dates, click here.

For More Information: Click Here

Ohio State Parks – A Collection of Wonders and Opportunities

You can find almost anything that suits your interest at an Ohio state park. From lakes to mountains, deep gorges, and marshes, it is all there to be explored and investigated. All you need to do is make your reservations, plan your trip, and hit the road.

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