Ohio’s amazing attributes like the natural scenery, mountains, lakes and lush forested valleys qualifies it as a prime destination for outdoor adventure.
Camping in Ohio will involve many hours of immersion in the natural scenery. Campgrounds in Ohio are many and varied catering to every camping preference.
There are many ways people enjoy camping. From recreational vehicles (RVs) to campers, trailers, rooftop tents, tarps, hammocks or swags, many will argue that the tent is still the best way to go.
Some of the best camping in Ohio experiences I have heard of were in tents. Tents are versatile and come in many sizes and styles.
Best Places to Camp in Ohio with a Tent
Here is a list of some the best campgrounds in Ohio if your choice of shelter is a tent.
1. Barkcamp State Park
Barkcamp State Park campground has many tent sites that have creature comforts. They have fire pits, electricity and picnic tables. If you want a comfortable but rugged camping experience in a tent, the lakeside sites at Barkcamp are a good choice.
The park offers many outdoor activities, including hiking, swimming, archery and woodland exploration. For amusement, there is a mini-golf course located within the park. The scenic natural landscapes of dense woodland, rolling meadows, a scenic lake, and thriving wildlife await the park visitor.
The sandstone hills of the Barkcamp area are part of the Appalachian highlands that surrounds the southeastern part of Ohio. Barkcamp State Park lies centrally in the coal-mining region of Ohio. Nature-tripping guests can join in-park hiking trails that can last hours.
2. Alum Creek State Park
Alum Creek State Park constitutes 4,630-acres in Delaware County. The landscape has gentle rolling fields and woodlands where many outdoor activities like camping are popular. The Alum Creek Reservoir is a popular destination for fishing, boating, and other aquatic activities.
The park has a generous campground area that features a campers’ beach, a nature center, a boat launch ramp, a dog park, and a fully equipped playground for kids. Pitch your tent in the many campsites that have electricity, water, restrooms with flushing toilets and heated showers.
Campers using larger tents have additional comfort using the best double sleeping bags. I tried one of these sleeping systems with a partner, and they are a great, cozy alternative for camping pairs.
The state park’s 297 family campsites offer both shaded and sunny areas. Many sites overlook the lake, and this cool campground has a boat ramp and beach meant for overnight guests. Other things to do in the park are hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and naturalist programs.
More than forty miles of trail meander with the lakeshore, across ravines and through beech-maple forests.
3. Mohican State Park
The Mohican State Park and the neighboring state forest are known for their stunning beauty. The park offers many opportunities for visitors to soak in one of Ohio’s most distinctive natural areas. The hemlock forest, Clearfork Gorge, and Mohican River provide a wilderness sensory thrill.
The campground at Mohican has 153 family-friendly campsites. Visitors can enjoy amenities like water, electricity, fire rings and picnic tables. Even though you will shelter in a tent, modern comforts like showers, flush toilets, and a dump station are available.
There even is a camp commissary. Another campground in Mohican has 24 sites that have picnic tables, pit latrines and fire rings. For large groups or parties, a group camp of the park can take organized delegations of up to 100 people.
4. Shawnee State Park
Found in the Appalachian foothills close to the Ohio River banks, Shawnee State Park encompasses the 60,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. In the pioneering days, the area was rich hunting grounds for the Shawnee Indians. It is one of the most beautiful areas in Ohio.
It is famous for the wooded hills and erosion-carved valleys. The rustic appeal of the region gives it the nickname “The Little Smokies.” Swimming, boating and fishing activities are available at Turkey and Roosevelt Creek lakes.
The waters here are rich with bluegill, largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and trout.
Happy campers will enjoy picnic areas with tables and grills placed in many hidden and scenic areas of the park. Hikers can explore the diverse animal and plant life of Shawnee’s forested hills. The Shawnee backpack trail leads hiking groups to some of the finest outdoor areas in Ohio. (Find the Most Powerful Cross Bow)
Camping is all family-friendly at the 107 sites suitable for tents. The campgrounds have modern amenities like heated showers, electric hookups, waste disposal, flushing toilets, and laundry machines.
5. John Bryan State Park
Some say this is the most scenic state park in western Ohio, and I might agree. Located a mile from Yellow Springs, this 752-acre park features a unique limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami Scenic River. Campgrounds, mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, fishing, and picnicking await the park visitor.
Camping is a more bare experience in the park. The family campground has 100 non-electric, partly shaded sites, so bring your lanterns. Otherwise, the sites have fire rings, picnic tables, toilets, drinking water, and the all-important dump station.
Pet owners may bring their furry friends to any site. For large delegations, a 100-person camp area is available for organized events on a reservation basis only.
This might also be a great place to try an alternative camping sleep system gaining popularity. Minimalist campers say the best camping hammocks paired with a tarp is a comfortable way to camp. All you need are two trees to tie the hammock ends on, and you drape a tarp for protection and shade.
Aquatic activities like boating and fishing are at The Little Miami River. As the river meanders, tourists will experience gigantic sycamores, steep rock cliffs, and many historical sites along the route. Anglers of all skill levels will find that there is an abundance of rock bass, smallmouth bass, and panfish. (Find the Best Wave Youth Kayak)
Ohio’s Best Camping Sites
Bring your camping shelter system, whatever it is to Ohio for an unforgettable outdoor experience. The state is full of amazing places to go camping.