Pitch a Tent in the Hoosier Heartland – The 10 Best Camping Spots in Indiana

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Exploring Indiana Camping

Before you pitch your tent and embark on a camping adventure in Indiana, it’s important to do some research on the best camping spots in the Hoosier State. Fortunately, Indiana is home to numerous beautiful camping sites that offer a range of landscapes and experiences. Whether you’re a fan of lakeside camping, dense forests, or open meadows, Indiana has something for everyone. To kickstart your camping journey, check out this list of 10 glorious Indiana camp sites to pitch a tent as recommended by the IndyStar.

When exploring camping in Indiana, it’s crucial to be prepared for the unpredictable weather patterns that can range from hot and humid summers to cold and snowy winters. Additionally, Indiana’s diverse wildlife includes venomous snakes, ticks, and mosquitoes, so be sure to bring appropriate protection against these potential hazards. On the positive side, Indiana’s camping areas are incredibly scenic, offering breathtaking views of lush forests, pristine lakes, and rolling hills.

Overall, camping in Indiana provides the opportunity for unforgettable outdoor experiences, but it’s important to be well-informed and well-prepared before setting off on your adventure.

Brown County State Park

A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Brown County State Park is the largest state park in Indiana, spanning over 15,000 acres of rolling hills and scenic beauty. With its diverse landscape and numerous recreational activities, it’s no wonder that this park is a favorite among campers.

Scenic Hiking Trails

Park visitors can explore over 28 miles of hiking trails that wind through the park’s rugged terrain, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The well-maintained trails cater to hikers of all skill levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes. One of the most popular trails is the Strahl Lake Trail, which meanders through dense forests and around the serene Strahl Lake, providing a tranquil experience for nature lovers. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful solo hike or an adventurous expedition with the family, Brown County State Park has a trail for everyone.

Family Campgrounds

Family camping at Brown County State Park is a wonderful way to experience the great outdoors with loved ones. The spacious campgrounds offer a range of amenities, including electric hookups, modern restrooms, and convenient access to hiking trails. Families can enjoy traditional tent camping or opt for modern RV camping with all the comforts of home. The campgrounds are designed to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for families, making it an ideal destination for a memorable outdoor getaway.

With its scenic hiking trails and family-friendly campgrounds, Brown County State Park is the perfect destination for outdoor adventure and quality time with loved ones. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in nature or an action-packed excursion, this park has something for everyone.

Indiana Dunes State Park

Obviously, a must-visit for any camping enthusiast in Indiana, Indiana Dunes State Park offers a unique and diverse camping experience. Located along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, this state park is renowned for its stunning landscapes, diverse ecosystems, and of course, its beautiful beaches.

Lake Michigan Beaches

State Park is home to more than three miles of pristine beaches along the shores of Lake Michigan. These stunning beaches are not only perfect for sunbathing and swimming, but also offer opportunities for fishing, boating, and birdwatching. The clear waters and soft sands make these beaches perfect for a relaxing and scenic camping experience.

Diverse Ecosystem

One of the most remarkable aspects of Indiana Dunes State Park is its diverse ecosystem. The park is home to a variety of habitats, including dunes, wetlands, prairies, and forests. This diversity of landscapes provides a rich environment for an array of plant and animal species, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.

A visit to Indiana Dunes State Park offers the opportunity to explore a unique blend of natural wonders, from towering sand dunes to lush forests, providing a truly immersive experience in the heart of the Hoosier Heartland. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a birdwatching enthusiast, or simply looking for a scenic and tranquil camping spot, this park has something for everyone.

Turkey Run State Park

If you’re looking for a camping spot that offers beautiful landscapes and outdoor adventures, look no further than Turkey Run State Park. Nestled in the heart of Parke County, Indiana, this state park is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its rugged canyons, scenic trails, and iconic suspension bridge, Turkey Run State Park is the perfect destination for a memorable camping experience.

Rugged Canyons

Rugged and picturesque, the canyons at Turkey Run State Park are a sight to behold. The sandstone cliffs, deep ravines, and moss-covered boulders make for a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience. The park offers several trails that wind through the canyons, providing ample opportunities for exploration and adventure. Be prepared for steep ascents, narrow passages, and breathtaking views that will leave you in awe of the park’s natural beauty.

Suspension Bridge

With its iconic 200-foot suspension bridge spanning across Sugar Creek, Turkey Run State Park offers a unique and thrilling experience for visitors. The bridge provides access to several trails and is a popular spot for photography and birdwatching. For instance, hikers can traverse the bridge to reach popular destinations such as the Lusk Home and the Turkey Run Inn. The bridge offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and is a highlight of any visit to the park.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the suspension bridge at Turkey Run State Park is a must-see attraction that adds an element of excitement to your camping adventure.

McCormick’s Creek State Park

Your journey through the Hoosier Heartland would be incomplete without a visit to McCormick’s Creek State Park. Located in Owen County, this picturesque park is the oldest state park in Indiana and offers a wide range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, McCormick’s Creek State Park has something for everyone.

Waterfall Hikes

One of the highlights of McCormick’s Creek State Park is the variety of breathtaking waterfall hikes that are sure to leave you in awe. The park is home to the stunning Wolf Cave Falls and the McCormick’s Creek Falls, both of which provide a serene and tranquil setting for hikers to explore. The trails leading to these majestic waterfalls offer a mix of scenic views, diverse wildlife, and an invigorating outdoor experience that’s not to be missed.

Full-Facility Campsites

Hikers and nature enthusiasts can take advantage of the park’s full-facility campsites that provide a convenient and comfortable stay amidst the beauty of the Hoosier Heartland. The campsites are equipped with modern amenities, including electric hookups, showers, and restrooms, ensuring a pleasant and hassle-free camping experience. With the option for both tent and RV camping, visitors can easily immerse themselves in the natural surroundings without sacrificing comfort.

To fully experience the wonders of McCormick’s Creek State Park, be sure to take advantage of the full-facility campsites that offer a convenient and comfortable stay amidst the natural beauty. Whether you’re seeking a secluded camping spot or a family-friendly environment, these campsites cater to a variety of preferences and provide the perfect base for exploring the park’s outdoor offerings. With modern amenities and easy access to hiking trails and scenic attractions, the full-facility campsites ensure a memorable and enjoyable camping experience.

Pokagon State Park

After exploring the options for camping in Indiana, one of the top locations to consider is Pokagon State Park. Situated in the northern part of the state, this park offers a range of outdoor activities surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. With its diverse landscape, including rolling hills, forests, and the pristine Lake James, Pokagon State Park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike. The park is an ideal spot for camping, offering various options from primitive to modern campsites.

Toboggan Run

The standout attraction at Pokagon State Park is undeniably the toboggan run – a thrilling adventure for visitors of all ages. With a total vertical drop of 90 feet, it’s the perfect place to experience the rush of speeding down a frozen track at exhilarating speeds. Visitors can expect an adrenaline-pumping experience, and the toboggan run is open during the winter months, weather permitting.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is another popular activity at Pokagon State Park, allowing visitors to explore the beautiful scenery in a unique and serene way. Trails wind through the park, offering riders the opportunity to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature while atop a majestic horse. Whether visitors are experienced equestrians or first-timers, the park offers guided horseback riding tours for a safe and enjoyable experience.

A highlight of horseback riding at the park is the chance to witness the local wildlife in their natural habitat, from deer to a variety of bird species. Exploring the trails on horseback provides a memorable and peaceful way to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

Charlestown State Park

Keep the natural beauty of Indiana close at hand by pitching your tent at Charlestown State Park. At this picturesque location, you can enjoy a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and birdwatching. The park offers a variety of camping options, from primitive tent sites to RV hookups, ensuring that there’s something for every type of outdoor enthusiast.

Ohio River Views

To truly immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings, be sure to take advantage of the opportunities to take in the breathtaking Ohio River views. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely hike or simply taking in the scenery from your campsite, the majestic river provides a stunning backdrop for your outdoor adventure.

Historic Sites

Views aren’t the only thing to marvel at during your visit to Charlestown State Park. The area is also rich in historical sites, allowing you to step back in time and explore the cultural heritage of the region. Be sure to take the time to visit the Rose Island amusement park ruins and the historic Pioneer Village, where you can gain a deeper appreciation for the area’s past.

Historic sites at Charlestown State Park provide a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past, offering a mix of natural beauty and cultural significance that make it a truly unique camping destination. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a camping experience that offers more than just great views, Charlestown State Park has something to offer.

Prophetstown State Park

For outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience the natural beauty of Indiana, Prophetstown State Park offers a spectacular setting for camping and outdoor activities. Located just north of Lafayette, this state park is nestled in the heart of the Hoosier Heartland and is a popular destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Native Prairielands

To truly immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of Prophetstown State Park, be sure to explore the native prairielands that make up a significant portion of the park. With over 2,000 acres of tallgrass prairie, visitors can experience the unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife that call this area home. Whether you’re a birdwatcher, hiker, or simply enjoy breathtaking panoramic views, the native prairielands are a must-see during your camping trip.

Aquatic Center

The aquatic center at Prophetstown State Park is a refreshing oasis for campers looking to cool off during the hot summer months. With a large swimming pool, water slides, and interactive splash pad, the aquatic center offers a fun and relaxing environment for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the pool deck or make a splash in the water, the aquatic center provides the perfect escape from the summer heat.

It is important to note that while the aquatic center provides a fantastic way to beat the heat, visitors should always follow safety guidelines and supervise children closely when enjoying the amenities. Additionally, the aquatic center may have specific hours of operation, so be sure to check the schedule during your stay.

Hardy Lake State Park

Despite its close proximity to Cooper Corner, Indiana, Hardy Lake State Park offers a tranquil getaway for campers seeking a serene natural setting. The park features 2,100 acres of woodlands, a 740-acre lake, and various recreational activities, making it one of the best camping spots in Indiana.

Quiet Fishing Spots

An abundance of quiet fishing spots can be found throughout Hardy Lake State Park, providing anglers with the opportunity to reel in a variety of fish species in a peaceful environment. Whether casting a line from the shore or taking to the water in a boat, visitors can enjoy the serenity of the lake while trying their luck at catching bass, catfish, and more.

Birdwatching Opportunities

Birdwatching enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of bird species that call Hardy Lake State Park home. With its diverse habitats, including woodlands, wetlands, and open water, the park provides an ideal setting for birdwatching. Visitors may spot bald eagles, osprey, and various migratory birds, making it a prime location for birdwatching in Indiana.

Avid birdwatchers are encouraged to bring their binoculars and field guides to fully enjoy the diverse birdwatching opportunities at Hardy Lake State Park. The park’s unique ecosystems attract a wide variety of bird species, making it a popular destination for birdwatching enthusiasts.

Shakamak State Park

To experience the beauty of Indiana’s natural landscapes, look no further than Shakamak State Park. Located in the Hoosier Heartland, this park offers a variety of outdoor activities and scenic camping spots, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and camping enthusiasts alike.

Canoeing And Kayaking

Park visitors can enjoy the serene waters of Shakamak Lake by embarking on a canoeing or kayaking adventure. With several launch points scattered throughout the park, it’s easy to explore the lake and its surrounding areas. The calm waters and picturesque views make for a relaxing and enjoyable experience for outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Family Cabins

To accommodate those who prefer a more comfortable camping experience, Shakamak State Park offers family cabins for rent. These cabins provide a cozy retreat after a day of outdoor activities, featuring modern amenities and spacious accommodations. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, these cabins are a convenient and comfortable option for overnight stays.

This option is perfect for those who want to enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing the comforts of home. Whether you’re seeking a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, the family cabins at Shakamak State Park provide a secluded and scenic retreat in the heart of Indiana’s natural beauty.

Ouabache State Park

Not many people are aware of the natural beauty and diverse wildlife that can be found in Ouabache State Park. Located in the heartland of Indiana, this hidden gem offers a range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts and camping aficionados alike.

Wildlife Watching

To truly experience the wonders of Ouabache State Park, take some time to engage in wildlife watching. The park is home to a diverse range of species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and numerous bird species. Whether you’re an amateur birdwatcher or an avid wildlife photographer, you’ll be sure to catch glimpses of these creatures in their natural habitat.

Biking Trails

Wildlife enthusiasts can also explore the park’s scenic biking trails. With over 10 miles of well-maintained trails, visitors can pedal through the park’s diverse landscapes, including woodlands, wetlands, and prairies. Be sure to keep an eye out for various flora and fauna along the way, but also stay alert for potential hazards such as uneven terrain and wildlife crossings.

Park officials recommend visitors to bring their own bikes and helmets, but rentals are also available at the park’s office.


So there you have it – the 10 best camping spots in Indiana. Whether you’re looking for a serene lakeside retreat, a rugged adventure in the forests, or a family-friendly campground with all the amenities, Indiana has something for everyone. From the dunes of the Indiana Dunes State Park to the rolling hills of Brown County State Park, the Hoosier Heartland offers a diverse array of camping experiences. So pack up your tent, grab your hiking boots, and head out to one of these top camping spots to enjoy the natural beauty and outdoor adventures that Indiana has to offer.


Q: What are the best camping spots in Indiana?

A: The best camping spots in Indiana include Brown County State Park, Turkey Run State Park, Indiana Dunes State Park, Chain O’Lakes State Park, and Clifty Falls State Park.

Q: What amenities can I expect at these camping spots?

A: Visitors can expect amenities such as campsites with electrical hookups, modern restrooms and showers, playgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, and in some cases, swimming areas and boat rentals.

Q: Can I make reservations for camping at these spots?

A: Yes, reservations can be made for camping at most of these spots. It is recommended to make reservations in advance, especially during peak camping seasons to ensure availability.


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