Where to Camp in the Hoosier State
Indiana is known as the “crossroads of America.” In the early 1800s, the Ohio river and its tributaries were major means of transportation before the automobile came along. Today, Indiana boasts more miles of interstate and more major highway intersections than any other state.
The topography of Indiana consists of rolling farmland that slowly turns into graceful hills and forests in the southern part of the state. And as one of the Great Lakes states, it’s not lacking in beautiful scenery and great fishing. All of this combines to make Indiana a perfect destination for a weekend camping getaway.
Here are our picks for the best places to camp in Indiana.
1. Clifty Falls State Park – Madison
Clifty Falls State Park is located near Madison with entrances on state roads 56 and 62. The park’s waterfalls change moods with the weather and the seasons and can range from roaring plunges to delicate bridal-veil mists to gleaming frozen titans. Winter and spring visits reveal them at their best. The rugged splendor of Clifty Canyon offers exciting year-round hiking and scenery. Learn more.
2. McCormick’s Creek – Spencer
You can explore the park by 10+ miles of well-marked hiking trails, taking you past unique features like Wolf Cave, Twin Bridges, and the Falls on McCormick’s Creek. If you enjoy horseback riding you can take guided trail rides or pony rides at the Saddle Barn. Learn more.
3. Shades State Park – Crawfordsville
The beautiful sandstone cliffs overlooking Sugar Creek and numerous shady ravines provide the backdrop for your journey through this nature lover’s paradise. Also on the property is Pine Hills Nature Preserve, which affords spectacular topography for those willing to take a fairly long hike. Learn more.
4. Turkey Run State Park – Marshall
Turkey Run State Park has what you’ve been needing. Explore it and see how Indiana was shaped by ancient forces. You’ll discover ancient Indiana’s remains. Many old growth trees exist in the park. A walk into one of the ravines takes you on a trip through time, for the sandstone gorges represent 600 to 300 million years of nature’s handiwork. Learn more.
5. Hardin Ridge Recreation Area – Heltonville
On the shores of Lake Monroe, Indiana’s largest lake, Hardin Ridge Campground and Recreation Area offers many activities within the Hoosier National Forest. Enjoy swimming, boating and fishing at our day use area, or hike one of several trails within the national forest. The campground boasts 200 spacious campsites that accommodate anyone looking to spend a little time in the shade. Learn more.
6. Pokagon State Park – Angola
Being one of the state’s original parks, Pokagon features the unique work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, whose members lived and worked at Pokagon from 1934 to 1942. The “boys of the CCC” built the beautiful stone and log structures that dot the park landscape and provide accent to the rolling wooded hills, wetlands and open meadows. Learn more.
7. O’Bannon Woods State Park – Corydon
O’Bannon Woods State Park (formerly Wyandotte Woods State Recreation Area) lies in the central and extreme southern part of the state, bordering the Ohio River. It is nestled inside 26,000-acre Harrison Crawford State Forest, but is managed separately, along with Wyandotte Caves State Recreation Area. The area offers electrical campsites, non-electric and electric equestrian campsites, as well as primitive and youth camping at Stagestop Campground. Learn more.
8. Shirley Creek Horse Camp – Orleans
Shirley Creek Horsecamp is a primitive campground with pit toilets, hitching racks, and water for livestock. The campground is designed for horse camping, however, any National Forest visitor is welcome to camp. There is no use fee at this site. Day use parking is also available free at the campground. Learn more.
9. Indiana Dunes State Park – Chesterton
Indiana Dunes consists of 2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful, historic and unique Hoosier landscape. It lies at the north end of State Road 49 in Porter County, and includes more than three miles of beautiful beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore. Learn more.
10. Monroe Lake Campground – Bloomington
Located 6 miles south of Bloomington and the IU campus, Monroe Lake is the largest in Indiana. Fourwinds Resort is located on the southwest side of the lake and offers a marina, hotel, restaurant, and bar. Activities at Monroe include fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, picnicking, water recreation, bird/eagle viewing, and many others. Learn more.
Do you have a favorite camping spot in Indiana that wasn’t included on this list? Let us know in the comments!
And be sure to check out the rest of our Best Campgrounds in the US series.
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