Camping in the Fall is often underrated but think about it – less crowds and the temperature is just right. Not to mention, you’re surrounded by lush colorful canopies and beautiful views. We love camping in Ohio, but we love it most in the Fall.
Read on for some of our lesser-known favorite camping locations around the state that are great for every type of camper, from the family-oriented to the weathered-hiking-boots type.
Hocking Hills State Park – Ohio’s outdoor crown jewel, this 2,000-acre park offers a variety of sandstone cliffs, gorges and waterfalls. Take a hike out to Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, the longest natural bridge in Ohio, shimmy down Whispering Cave, a recently opened attraction within Hocking Hills, or enjoy the valley vista on a cliff in Conkle’s Hollow.
Lake Hope State Park – A favorite for local photographers, these rugged forest-covered hills are a sight to see in the Fall. Because the area was historically known to produce iron and other industrial metals, the parks honor the history with iron-furnace legacy cabins. While you can also find perfect hideaways for rugged camping and renovated glamping cabins, our favorite part of this park is the Lake Hope Dining Lodge where food is sourced locally and made from scratch with an emphasis on real put barbecue!
Punderson State Park – 740 acres resting on a lake edged with a massive boardwalk – this park is perfect camping, fishing even weddings! Why? This beautiful park is crowned by Punderson Manor, open for tours and especially attractive in the Fall as it is reportedly haunted.
This place is also a great location for birding as you can easily spot great blue herons, Canada geese, wood ducks and great horned owls.
Beaver Creek State Park – because of the park’s diverse habitats, you’ll easily find wildlife like foxes, white-tailed deer, and wild turkey, as well as a variety of native flora. Characterized by steep walls and high rock cliffs, travelers can find space for camper cabins, cabins, and equestrian camping. We recommend checking out the rustic Pioneer Village at the park and nearby Gilford Lake for some of the most photographed scenic views in the state.
Clays Park Resort – For an action-packed weekend, there’s no better campground. Think of your favorite resort, and then turn that into an outdoors adventure and you’ve got Clay’s Park. Featuring a water park, live entertainment, a full-service restaurant, mini golf, kayaking, 30 acres of swimming and fishing and more things to do than we could ever count, Clay’s park is the perfect getaway for families!
Maumee Bay Campground – Positioned right by Lake Erie, the sandy bluffs here offer tall grass planes, lake-side activities, and yurt and cottage camping. Maumee Bay is particularly beautiful in the Fall due to the canopy of trees that surround the campgrounds and lake. We recommend setting up a bonfire near the lake to enjoy the autumn breeze and a couple of smores.
Harrison Lake State Park – This state park is hidden away in Northwest Ohio and more of a hidden gem for the outdoor buff that knows where to look. Though it’s a smaller park, the grounds offer space for camper cabins, a 3.5-mile hiking trail and a 150-ft swimming beach.
John Bryan State Park – Our winner for most scenic park in the Southwest corner of Ohio, John Bryan is remarkable due to the limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River, portions of which are designated as a national natural landmark. Hikers will find Springs feeding small waterfalls and cascades, and campers will be delighted to find plots underneath canopies of yew and mountain maples.
Cowan Lake State Park – Known for its numerous inlets, Cowen Lake is the perfect place for paddling, kayaking and boating. It’s meandering trails also make for hikes through the hills that encircle the lake. Great for swimming, campers can also find shower houses here and even a camp store for bait, bike and kayak rentals, and even hand-dipped ice cream. Yum!
Long’s Retreat Family Resort – Another great family resort with cabins, rental units and RV camp sites, we love Long’s for their Fall Halloween campout! Families can enjoy a costume contest, trick-or-treat and Haunted Trail.