Fresh air, wide-open spaces to run, marshmallows melting over a 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 right here in Indiana. Here are five of our favorites that offer a little something for everyone.
The scenic getaway: McCormick’s Creek State Park
250 McCormick Creek Park Rd., Spencer, IN
Magnificent limestone canyons, a flowing creek and scenic waterfalls are just a few of the highlights at McCormick’s Creek – Indiana’s first state park. Numerous hiking trails take visitors through diverse terrain, while Canyon Inn (open to all park visitors) offers a place to kick back, relax and watch birds from the dining room porch. Numerous on-site activities and a range of accommodations make this a great spot for both first-time and seasoned campers.
Activities:Nature center, hiking trails, trail rides, tennis courts, recreation center, swimming pool (seasonal)
Accommodations:Electric and primitive campsites, on site Inn, cabins
The aquatic playground: Shakamak State Park
6265 W. State Rd. 48, Jasonville, IN
Shakamak is home to three man-made lakes offering 400 acres of water perfect for fishing, boating and swimming. Kids will love the onsite aquatic center that features a large pool complete with water slide. Wooded campsites offer ample shade in the summer months and scenic beauty in the fall.
Activities:Nature center, boat launch, fishing, hiking trails, paddleboat and rowboat rental, tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pool + water slide (seasonal)
Accommodations:Full hook-up sites, electric and non-electric campsites, cabins
The laid-back nature lover’s dream: Shades State Park
7751 S 890 W., Waveland, IN
Beautiful sandstone cliffs and shady ravines set the stage at this nature lover’s dream. Shades overlooks Sugar Creek and is within easy reach of a number of local outfitters that offer canoeing, kayaking and tubing excursions. PineHills Nature Preserve located within the campground is perfect for longer hikes that cover a range of topography. Many campers flock to nearby Turkey Run State Park; however, Shades offers a peaceful alternative perfect for a relaxing family weekend.
Activities:Hiking trails, fishing, interpretive naturalist services
Accommodations:Non-electric, backpack and canoe campsites
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 our relatively flat state). Highlights include Devonian fossil outcrops and karst 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.
Activities:Hiking trails, fishing, playground equipment
Accommodations:Full hook-up sites, electric campsites
The active family getaway: Yogi Bear’s Jellystone™ Park
9396 S. Strain Ridge Rd.,Bloomington, IN
Those looking for a camping experience with modern-day amenities will find what they are after at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Bloomington. This campground runs the gamut from RV sites to luxury cabins to traditional tent campsites. Amenities range from a swimming pool complete with splashground to a Gaga Pit. Kids will love the variety of activities, including arts and crafts, foam parties, relay races and more. But oneof the best reasons to visit Jellystone Park™ is to hang out with Yogi Bear™, Boo Boo™ and all of their friends.
Activities:Foam parties, daily character visits, pedal carts, gem mining, theme weekends, swimming pool with splashground, jumping pillow, wagon rides, Gaga Ball, basketball court and hiking trails
Amenities:Full hook-up RV sites, luxury cabins, tent campsites