Fresh air, wide-open spaces to run, marshmallows melting over an open fire and freedom from those mind-numbing electronic devices — these are just a few things to love about camping. Camping puts us back in touch with nature and offers the perfect opportunity to reconnect as a family. Thankfully, there are plenty of family-friendly campgrounds just a short drive away.
The scenic getaway: Hocking Hills State Park
19852 OH-664, Logan, OH
The campground at Hocking Hills has been named No. 1 in the U.S. by Trailblazer.com — and for good reason. Towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep, hemlock-shaded gorges serve as the backdrop for this campground that is packed with family-friendly amenities. Accommodations ranging from to camper cabins to primitive campsites make this the perfect spot for both beginner and seasoned campers.
Related Article: Family Fun in Hocking Hills, Ohio
The aquatic playground: Brookville Lake
3056 Quakertown Ramp Rd., Liberty, IN
Brookville Lake lies in the historic east fork of the Whitewater River Valley and is home to traces of prehistoric Native American mounds and 450-million-year-old fossils. If ancient relics are not your cup of tea, no worries. The park is also home to two State Recreation Areas: Mounds SRA and Quakertown SRA, boasting more than 25 miles of hiking trails and wide-open waterways for boating and nationally recognized recreational and sport fishing. Two beaches and more than 400 campsites round out the family-friendly fun.
The hiker’s paradise: Charlestown State Park
12500 Indiana 62, Charlestown, IN
Overlooking Fourteen Mile Creek Valley and the Ohio River, this relatively new state park boasts trails with rugged hills, deep ravines and elevation changes of over 200 feet (a rarity in Indiana). Highlights include Devonian fossil outcrops and stunning sinkholes. Bird watchers will enjoy the 72 species of birds, including an occasional bald eagle. Campers can also take a walk across the historic Portersville Bridge that was restored and relocated to Charlestown State Park in 2011.
The active family getaway: Hocking Hills KOA
29150 Pattor Rd., Logan, OH
Those looking for a camping experience with modern-day amenities will find what they are after at Hocking Hills KOA. This campground runs the gamut from RV sites with patios to traditional campsites. Activities range from a heated swimming pool to a gem mine. Amenities like on-site ice cream and pizza shops and an activity room offer the comforts of a resort while maintaining the feel of the great outdoors. Even Fido can get in on the fun at the on-site dog park.
The history lover’s dream: Big Bone Lick State Park
3380 Beaver Rd., Union, KY
Take a step back in time at this 813-acre park. A visitor’s center/museum features paleontological and archaeological exhibits that tell the rich history of the land. The highlight is the herd of bison that calls the park home (and, coincidentally, is found on Bison Trail). The on-site campground offers 62 campsites with utility hookups, grills, swimming pool and playground areas, making it ideal for family camping.