Avoid the Crowds at These Five Ohio Campgrounds

Can't find a site at Ohio's most popular campgrounds? Here are alternatives with similar amenities.

Emma Frankart Henterly
Columbus Monthly
Alum Creek has Ohio's largest inland beach, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Five state parks consistently rank among the most popular for camping in Ohio: East Harbor near Sandusky, Mohican in Loudonville, Alum Creek in Delaware, Indian Lake near Bellefontaine and of course Hocking Hills in Logan. Campsite reservations are required; they open six months out (12 months for cabins) and often book up quickly, says ODNR communications manager Heidi Hetzel-Evans. Below are her recommendations for alternate campgrounds with similar amenities to check out if you’re unable to reserve a site at any of the big five mentioned above.

More:Get Comfortable at One of Nine Park Lodges

Cowan Lake, Wilmington

Alternate to: East Harbor

Pets allowed: yes

Full hookups: yes

Electric hookups and non-electric sites: yes

Camp store/Commissary: yes

Cabins: yes

Lodge: no

Bathrooms: yes

Showers: yes

Activities & Amenities: Boating/paddling, swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking, rentable bikes and kayaks, archery, basketball, reservable shelters, nature center, snack bar with grill items and hand-dipped ice cream, ADA campsites and restrooms

Guide to Ohio State Parks:Discover Ohio's Vast and Diverse State Parks and Nature Preserves

Tar Hollow, Laurelville

Alternate to: Hocking Hills

More:Everyone Loves the Hocking Hills. Maybe too Much.

Pets allowed: yes

Full hookups: no

Electric hookups and non-electric sites: yes

Camp store/Commissary: yes

Cabins: yes (camper cabins)

Lodge: no

Bathrooms: yes

Showers: yes

Activities & Amenities: Electric-motor boating/paddling, swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking, rentable watercraft and sports equipment, archery, reservable shelters, ADA cabin

Beaver Creek, East Liverpool

Alternate to: Mohican

More:Discover Mohican State Park and Malabar Farm

Pets allowed: yes

Full hookups: no

Electric hookups and non-electric sites: yes

Camp store/Commissary: no

Cabins: yes (camper cabins)

Lodge: no

Bathrooms: yes (pit toilets)

Showers: no

Activities & Amenities: Paddling, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, archery, nature center, pioneer village, ADA cabin

Deer Creek, Mount Sterling

Alternate to: Alum Creek

Pets allowed: yes

Full hookups: no

Electric hookups and non-electric sites: yes

Camp store/Commissary: yes

Cabins: yes (camper cabins)

Lodge: yes

Bathrooms: yes

Showers: yes

Activities & Amenities: Boating/paddling, swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, rentable bicycles, basketball, pickleball, gaga ball, volleyball, golf, disc golf, mini golf, picnic shelter, dog park, nature center, ADA campsite and showers

Salt Fork, Lore City

Alternate to: Indian Lake

Pets allowed: yes

Full hookups: yes

Electric hookups and non-electric sites: yes

Camp store/Commissary: yes

Cabins: yes

Lodge: yes

Bathrooms: yes

Showers: yes

Activities & Amenities: Boating/paddling, swimming, fishing, hunting, hiking, horseback riding, archery, golf, mini golf, reservable shelters, dog park, gem mining, nature center, restaurant, ADA campsites and restrooms

This story is from the June 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.