Summer in Ohio is the perfect time to gather the family and head out for a camping trip. As we all know, a major piece of the camping puzzle is a crackling fire to keep things cozy. Here are a few bonfire locales to consider for your next family falliday!
My family roasting marshmallows in Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills State Park
Camping in Ohio is done best in the most scenic of the state parks: Hocking Hills. My family and I booked a weekend getaway here this fall, where we stayed at one of the many gorgeous cabins tucked away in the forest. We hiked the rugged terrain of Old Man’s Cave, Rock House, and several other trails, then treated ourselves to a giant feast of s’mores when we got back to the cabin that afternoon! My nieces and nephews loved stuffing their faces with the sugary sandwiches, and the dogs looked on in envy! Our cabin provided a rather nice fire pit and plenty of firewood for us, so all we had to do was get the flames going and start roasting. There are plenty of campsite choices for you in Hocking Hills, all in close proximity to miles of hiking trails and landmarks!
Perfecting my marshmallow skills with my nephew in Hocking Hills
Twin Creek MetroPark
Just 20 miles west of Dayton is the Twin Creek MetroPark, a place rich in sites to set up their tents and firepits. The park sits right on the Twin Valley Trail, which spans 43 miles and links together other parks within the Five Rivers MetroParks system. The trail offers plenty of additional campsites tucked away in the lush greenery of Southwest Ohio. The best part here is that camping is free (with accompanying camp permit). These sites are so primitive (no cabns here, folks), but make it so you can have a truly intimate camping experience.
Each year, Atwood Lake in Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties holds its annual Fall Festival, a popular weekend-long celebration of everything autumn: pumpkins, leaves, corn, scarecrows, and of course s’mores. There’s a bevy of booths full of crafts and food, all surrounded by dozens of campsites. The campsites are generally more primitive than others, but are also full of lively neighbors, all ready for fun. If you can’t wait until the first weekend in October (when Fall Fest traditionally takes place), you can most certainly come throughout the summer. Speaking from experience, Fall Fest brings out the best of Atwood Lake. We would go pontooning during the day, and build a roaring fire at night for chili, hot dogs, and – you guessed it – s’mores!
As a teenager, I attended summer camp on Kelley’s Island, so I know just how great a spot it is for a crackling campfire. Measuring more than 4 square miles, Kelley’s Island is the largest American island located in Lake Erie (just 10 miles north of Sandusky). Securing a spot here will ensure that you and your friends will have an extremely picturesque view while munching on your s’mores! And, the next day, you can rent a bicycle built for two, or a kayak to help work off all the calories consumed!
For more trip ideas, Find It Here at Ohio.org.