10 of the Best Places to Camp in Indiana

by Beth Montgomery on May 28, 2013 · 5 comments

in Entertainment & Fun, Indiana

Camping is a frugal way to vacation and Indiana has some great camping spots. Growing up my grandparents would take me for an entire month and we’d camp at different parks around Indiana.

Here’s top 10 favorite places to camp in Indiana and why we love them in no particular order.

Indiana Dunes Camping (1 of 1)-2
Indiana Dunes Country’s Breathtaking Views

1. Indiana Dunes State Park: Indiana Dunes Country is absolutely beautiful! Play in Lake Michigan, climb the dunes, and just enjoy the breathtaking views. Plus you’re surrounded by so much history – make sure to visit the surrounding communities for delicious food, farmer’s markets, museums, and more. Read about our trip to Indiana Dunes completely with photos.

2. McCormick’s Creek State ParkMcCormick’s Creek is another beautiful spot in Indiana with limestone canyons and waterfalls. You can climb the fire tower for a birds eye view of the park, plus explore caves. Don’t forget to checkout the historic Statehouse Quarry while you’re there. If you like a bit of luxury while camping, there is an inn in the park, along with a restaurant.

3. Chain O’ Lakes State ParkChain O’ Lakes is by far our favorite place to take small kids. In fact, my daughter camped there for the first time at the age of 9 months old. It’s has calm lakes with a beach and canoeing that even little ones can enjoy. Plus, the campground seems to be in the center of everything, so it’s not a long walk to venture on trails.

4. Pokagon State ParkPokagon State Park has a rich Native American heritage. It’s surrounded by two lakes that are great for canoeing, swimming, and fishing, plus has some beautiful sunsets if you’re looking for a romantic view. You can enjoy a nature center, horseback riding  and volleyball courts. It also has some great winter-only activities and an inn (so you don’t freeze in your tent!) if you’re into cross country skiing, toboggans, ice fishing, and sledding.

5. Turkey Run State Park: Turkey Run State Park is great for older kids and adults. Sugar Creek flows through the park and has affordable canoe, tube, and kayak rentals. You’ll also find an inn with restaurant, hiking trails, swimming pool, fishing, horseback riding, and nature center. Don’t miss Trail 3 which follows the cliffs of along Sugar Creek. You’ll see the Punch Bowl, climb ladders, and more. It’s rugged, but so fun! It’s also rated one of the best parks for mountain biking.

6. Mounds State Park: Love history? Mounds State Park is close to Indianapolis. It’s home to some beautiful mounds that were gatherings for religious ceremonies built by pre-historic Indians in 160 B.C., including The Great Mound. Read all about it at the Nature Center, plus enjoy wildlife viewing, animal displays, and check their schedule for family games. It’s also rated one of the best parks for running if you’ like to jog.

7. Spring Mill State ParkSpring Mill State Park is a unique experience. You can explore the Twin Caves by boat during a tour – it’s very neat to see. Plus, nearby is a Pioneer Village with over 20 historic buildings. Also enjoy a swimming pool, hayrides, nature center, and more caves to explore.

8. Potato Creek State ParkMost don’t realize that Potato Creek is rated one of the top state parks in Northern Indiana. It includes the huge Worster Lake that is great for fishing, boating, canoeing, and swimming. Plus, if you can’t live without electricity (like me!), Potato Creek State Park has a huge amount of electric campsites. It caters towards those who love to bike (like us!) and ride horses.

9. Clifty Falls State Park: Clifty Falls is another one of those beautiful spots in Indiana. It has waterfalls that change throughout the year from light drizzles and mists to roaring waters. It’s rated the top hiking spot in Indiana, because of the beautiful views complete with a tunnel. While you’re there, keep watch for fossils. They are everywhere along the water and make great FREE souvenirs of your visit.

10. Brown County State Park: Brown County State Park is huge, so there’s tons to do – nature center, horse & hay rides, fishing, swimming pool, tennis courts, and trails. It’s especially nice if you’re not into roughing it, because they have a beautiful inn in the park complete with a restaurant, as well as private cabins and a picturesque town nearby with wineries, antiques, and handmade candy store.

Where is your favorite place to camp in Indiana?

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1 Sara C May 29, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Love this list! I’m not a huge camper, but I have camped a few times. Brown County wins my vote for the most beautiful landscape, especially if you go between now and the end of October. Leiber State Park also has great camping options and a very impressive swimming pool.

2 Beth Montgomery May 29, 2013 at 2:01 PM

We have never been to Leiber State Park, unfortunately, but I’ve heard great things. We’ll have to put that on our list. Brown County is beautiful, but I still can’t get over the views from Indiana Dunes with the beach. From the top of some of the dunes, you can see all the way to Chicago. It’s just beautiful! But, love the wineries and candy shops near Brown County!

3 Sara C May 29, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I need to get back to the dunes. Haven’t been since I was too little to remember it!

4 designhermomma May 30, 2013 at 8:45 AM

I’m dying to take my family camping, yet I don’t know if my little boys (3,1) are ready. My big girls would LOVE it (8,5) so we might have to give it a go…

5 Beth Montgomery May 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Emily, I think it depends on where you go. We’ve taken our kids since they were infants. They slept in a playyard in the tent and hiked trails in their sling. I wouldn’t take little ones to explore the caves, since they have an age restriction on most of the tours, nor would I take them to Turkey Run, since it’s a good hike from the campgrounds to the beginning of the trails, many of the trails are rugged, and even the creek has a pretty strong undertow some days. We always take our kids to Chain O’Lakes when they are young. There’s a beach on a very calm lake and it’s chained off. The furthest you can go out is about to my waist, so it’s not very deep. It’s even safe enough to take them out on paddle boats, assuming they’ll sit still. Chain O’Lakes is calm enough there is no age restriction on the boat rental. Plus, the trails start from the campgrounds, so it’s easy to start and go back if they get tired. Another great one for very young kids is Brown County, since you can drive to the homemade candy store in town, which kids love. Plus, they have a great nature center with tons of activities for kids of all ages.

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