Known for its network of rivers, its deep roots in automobile culture, and being a gem of the Midwest, there's no better place to vacation than Indiana. If you have a passion for the great outdoors, then you're probably interested in learning about all of the different campgrounds across the Hoosier state. Since there's far too many to easily compile together, here's a smattering of the best ones that'll offer you an adventure of a lifetime.
Camping in Indiana
With an extensive state park system and a well-established private campground industry, Indiana isn't hurting for available campgrounds. Whether you're excited to explore some limestone caves or find some of the rare yellowwood trees in Indiana's protected forest, Indiana has campgrounds to suit every type of camper. Ranging from the backcountry to cabin-style camping and everywhere in-between, here are some of Indiana's greatest campgrounds to visit.
One of Indiana's most popular campgrounds, Dunewood Campground is nestled inside Indiana's Dunes National Park at just a stone's throw away from Lake Michigan. There are two loops of camping sites in this campground, totaling 53 conventional, drive-in sites and 13 walk-in sites, with four sites being wheelchair accessible. Costing $25 a night and a limited 14 day stay per month on the grounds, Dunewood is pretty affordable. While visiting, take some time to explore the rolling sandy hills that the park got its name from.
Yellowwood Campground is situated inside the Yellowwood State Forest, a protected ecological region established in 1940. While the Brown County campground doesn't accept reservations, there are 80 campsites and 10 horsemen campsites for serious campers which only cost $15. While the prospect of finding the small section of rare yellowwood trees with their bright, joyous leaves would bring anyone to the Yellowwood campgrounds, it's important to be advised that Yellowwood's camping sites are considered primitive. Meaning there's no running water or electric hookups at these camp sites; therefore, they're best enjoyed by seasoned campers.
Chain O'Lakes Campground
Another one of Indiana's great campgrounds that're located inside one of their state parks is the Chain O'Lakes campground. Named after the literal chain of lakes that reside in the state parks grounds, this campground has 151 camping sites with a variety of Class A and B campgrounds at $25 and $12 a night, respectively. As with other state campgrounds, there's a 14 nights per month maximum. You'll probably find it difficult to limit your stay to two weeks once you get a chance to explore the grounds and use their archery range, fishing ponds, horse rentals, and ice fishing in the winter. For all you hunters out there, hunting is permitted on the grounds so long as you follow proper guidelines. Chain O'Lakes has just enough opportunities for the whole family to enjoy themselves.
Summit Lake State Park Campground
Located in New Castle, Indiana, Summit Lake State Park boasts over 2,500 acres of natural landscape and 120 electric campsites for the taking. With two large shelters for you to host picnics and other events, Summit Lake is a great place to take the family for a holiday or birthday weekend. What makes Summit Lake a particularly special camping opportunity is how important the area is to waterfowl migration. Take some time to visit the pet friendly campgrounds and you'll become an amateur birdwatcher pointing out cranes, bitterns, and ospreys in no time at all.
Brown County State Park Campground
Brown County State Park, nicknamed 'the little smokies' after its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains to the east, is a little ways south of Indianapolis and becomes a hot spot for leafers - people who enjoy looking at the leaves changing colors in the fall - during the autumn months. However, with over 16,000 acres of land and 10+ hiking trails, you can enjoy Brown County State Park throughout the whole year. Even if you're not a huge fan of conventional camping, this state park's Abe Marin Lodge on the property has cabins and motel rooms where you can stay and still enjoy all the park has to offer. Look around for the Yellowwood trees or climb up the 90' tower to get a spectacular view of the tree cover below. Given its variety of attractions, camping in Brown County costs between $20-$30 a night.
Hardin Ridge Recreation Area/Hoosier National Forest Campground
Located inside the state's famous Hoosier National Forest, Hardin Ridge Recreation Area has over 197 campsites, with most areas equipped with electric hookups. Just beside Indiana's largest lake, Lake Monroe, campers can take a dip in the lake, run around the beaches, trek through the park's hiking trails, host a picnic, and go boating or fishing. And if you're looking for a free alternative to camping in Indiana, Hoosier National Forest offers free boondocking (camping outside of the campgrounds on public land) so long as you stay within a certain distance of the road. So, there's truly nothing stopping you from heading on up to Hoosier yourself.
Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts
Yogi Bear is a popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon whose likeness gave some branding inspiration for this national chain of recreational resorts. The best of these parks in Indiana is located in Knightstown, just a little while outside of Indianapolis, meaning you have great access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Knightstown & Shirley Railroad. Campsites here come in various monetary tiers, with the most expensive non-RV campsites costing a little over $80. However, there are pedal karts, paddle boats, and even chances for gold panning in the Bonnieville Gold Camp which you and your family can participate in, making the costs feel worthwhile.
Hop on Down to the Hoosier State
If you've never experienced the unique charm of the American Midwest, an unconventional way to do so is camping in Indiana. With hundreds of campsites to choose from across the entire state, the heart of the Indiana wilderness is at your fingertips if you just reach out and grab it.