10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (2023)

Summer is in full swing, which means the chance to enjoy the great outdoors.

Luckily, Indiana has lots of great campgrounds, with mostunder 100 miles from Indianapolis. At all of these sites there's great hiking, and some feature fishing, boating and other activities for a quickweekend getaway or longer summer vacation.

The campsite descriptions on the reservations website are very detailed, so be sure to read them before booking if you want a good site for tents, need shade, want to be close to the bathroom or drinking water, or are looking for more privacy. Some sites offer electricity, whilefull hookups also include water and sewer service for RVs.

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (1)

Most of the campgrounds include handicap accessible sites, which are designatedon the reservationwebsites.Before heading out, checkfor restrictions such as bans onswimming or building campfires, and the accessibility of certain areas and trails.

Shades State Park

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (2)

Distance: 62 miles west of downtown Indianapolis.

Features: This tree-shrouded park Is 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville. There’s no swimming in the creek but visitors can canoe and fish. The 11 hiking trails range from easy to very rugged andshowcase beech, tulip and oak trees, a pond,Sugar Creek, sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and the Pine Hill Nature Preserve.

Campgrounds: Thereare 105non-electric sites in the main campground.Each site is pet-friendly and allows a maximum of six people and one vehicle, with an overflow parking lot for extra cars. There’s also a youth camping area for organizations, and awalk-up Canoe Camp with 10 sites, and aBackpack Camp with seven sites. The Canoe Camp is 1.8 miles or a 30 to 40-minute float from the parking lot, while the Backpack Camp is 2.5 miles away.Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities: Vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills and a camp store.

Camping fees: $16-$21 per night.

Entrance fees: $7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details: 7751 S. 890 West, Waveland. 765-435-2810,in.gov/dnr/parklake/2970.htm.

Clifty Falls State Park

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (3)

Distance: 100 miles southeast of downtown Indianapolis.

Features: Named for the beautiful seasonal waterfalls, this is a can't-miss park with gorgeous landscapes and great hiking year-round. Clifty Creek’s bed features fossils from the ancient marine ecosystem. Explore 10 hiking trails that range from easy to very rugged with features such as steep staircases and lookout points.

Campground: The campground features 99 electric and 63 non-electric sites. Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and one vehicle, with an overflow parking lot for extra cars.Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities: Vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and firewood, ice and seasonal concessions for sale.

Camping fees: $16-$30 per night.

Entrance fees: $7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

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Details: 2221 Clifty Drive, Madison. 812-273-8885, in.gov/dnr/parklake/2985.htm.

Turkey Run State Park

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (4)

Distance: 70 miles west of downtown Indianapolis.

Features: This popular state park is an outdoor lovers' paradiseoffering fishing, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing and wildlife viewing. Soak in the beauty of the ancient sandstone gorges and ravines, walk across the 200-foot suspension bridge and visit the nature center. The miles of hiking trails feature wooden ladders and views of Sugar Creek.

Campground: The campground has 209 electric campsites. Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and one vehicle, with an overflow parking lot for extra cars.Make reservations onlinehere.

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (5)

Campground amenities: Vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and conveniencestore. There’s also access to ball courts, swimming pool, boat rentals, equestrian and nature centers.

Other lodging: Turkey Run Inn, cabins.

Camping fees: $23-$30 per night.

Entrance fees: $7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details: 8121 E. Park Road, Marshall. 765-597-2635, turkeyrunstatepark.com.

Pokagon State Park

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (6)

Distance: 170 miles northeast of Indianapolis.

Features: Originally called Lake James State Park, the name was later changed to honor Leopold and Simon Pokagon, the father-and-son leaders of the Potawatomi tribe. The park is flanked by Lake James and Snow Lake, offering plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing and swimming. Hiking enthusiasts can find nine trails marked easy to moderate in difficulty.

Campground: The campground offers 188 electric and 72 non-electricsites. Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and one vehicle, with an overflow parking lot for extra cars. Thereare also youth and group camp areas.Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities: Vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills and a convenience store. The park also features boat,bicycle and horse rentals, ball courts, a restaurant, nature center andamphitheater.

Other lodging: Potawatomi Inn.

Camping fees: $16-$30 per night.

Entrance fees: $7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details:450 Lane 100 Lake James, Angola.260-833-2012,in.gov/dnr/parklake/2973.htm.

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Brown County State Park

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (7)

Distance: 61 miles south of Indianapolis.

Features: Nicknamed the "Little Smokies" because of its resemblanceto the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County State Park is best known as a hot spot to see the leaves change in the fall. But it's beautiful to visit the 16,000-acre park year-round, with more than 10 hiking trails that range from easy to ruggedand feature stone bridges, a fishing lake,vistas and the chance to see the rare yellowwood tree. Another highlight is the 90-foot Fire Tower, where visitors can climb more than 120 steps to catch an amazing view of the blanket of trees below.

Campground: Thereare hundreds of campsites at this massive park, divided into four sections that includes youth camping, primitive camping and a campsite for horseback riders.Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and one vehicle, with an overflow parking lot for extra cars. Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities:Vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills and a convenience store.

Other lodging: Abe Martin Lodge, cabins.

Camping fees: $16-$30 per night.

Entrance fees: $7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details:1810 State Road 46 East, Nashville.812-988-6406,in.gov/dnr/parklake/2988.htm.

Indiana Dunes

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (8)

Distance: 165 miles north of Indianapolis.

Features: In February, President Donald Trump signed a bill that officially designated a portion of the Indiana Dunes the country's 61st national park. Located on the southern tip of Lake Michigan, the 15,000-acre park includes 15 miles of shoreline and more than 50 miles of hiking trails that showcase the dunes, wetlands, rivers and forests. Visitors can also swim, sunbathe and play volleyball.

The area also is home toIndiana Dunes State Park that includes more than 2,100 acres of beaches, dunes, hardwood forests and marshes, surrounded by the national park lands. Thereare also 16.5 miles of trails, a swimming beach, a small bird conservatory, picnicking and a snack bar.

Dunewood Campground:The campground atIndiana Dunes National Parkincludes67campsites with54 drive-insites and 13walk-in sites.This campground is open April 1 through Nov. 1. Make reservations onlinehere.

Indiana Dunes Campground: Inside Indiana Dunes State Park, this campground includes134 electric sites, and four tent-only sites.Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and twpvehicles. Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities: Both campgrounds include vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills and access to convenience stores.

Camping fees:$23-$33for Indiana Dunes State Park Campground. $25 per night for Dunewood Campground, 50 percent discount for Senior and Access Passes.

Dunewood Campground details: 1100 North Mineral Springs Road

Porter, 219-395-1882,nps.gov/indu/index.htm.

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Indiana Dunes Campground details: 1215 N State Road 49, Chesterton, 219-395-1882,nps.gov/indu/index.htm.

Starve HollowState Recreation Area

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (9)

Distance: 79 miles south of Indianapolis.

Features: The 280-acre recreation area within the Jackson-Washington State Forest is named for the 145-acre Starve Hollow Lake that provides visitors with greatfishing, boating and swimming, and features a sandy beach. Hikers and mountain bikers can find 11 miles of trails just east of the lake. The education center provides a lesson on conservation.

Campground: The campground has 87 electric sites, and 52 with full hookups.Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and twpvehicles. Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities: Vault toilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and ice and firewood for sale. Thereare also boat rentalsand a nature center.

Other lodging: Rent-a-camp cabins.

Camping fees: $16-$44 per night.

Entrance fees:$7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details:4345 S. 275 West, Vallonia.812-358-3464,in.gov/dnr/forestry/4819.htm.

McCormick’s Creek State Park

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (10)

Distance: 60 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

Features: Indiana's oldest state park is known for its stunning waterfalls and limestone canyon. Thereare 10 trails to choose from, ranging from easy to rugged that take hikers through diverse fauna habitats and the flowing creek, and a trail that offers access to Wolf Cave. Visitors can also climb the fire tower and check out the Statehouse Quarry, which provided thelimestoneto build the Indianapolis capitol.

Campground: Find 181 electric sites and 32 primitive campingsites.Each one is pet-friendly and allows for a maximum of six people and one vehicle, with an overflow parking lot for extra cars. There's also a youth camping area. Make reservations onlinehere.

Campground amenities:Vault toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and a convenience store. The park also featureshorse rentals, ball courts, a restaurant, nature center andamphitheater.

Other lodging: Canyon Inn, cabins.

Camping fees: $14-$30 per night.

Entrance fees:$7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details:250 McCormick's Creek Park Road, Spencer.812-829-2235,in.gov/dnr/parklake/2978.htm.

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Hardin Ridge Recreation Area

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (11)

Distance: 68 miles southwest of Indianapolis.

Features: Situated inHoosier National Forest, the 1,200-acre recreation area is located right by Lake Monroe, Indiana's largest lake. Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing and swimming, hiking trails and sandy beach.

Campground: Thereare 200 campsites and a handful of double sites. Single sites allow a maximum of eight people and two cars. Double sites allow a maximum of 16 people and four cars.Each one is pet-friendly.Make reservations onlinehere.

Other campgrounds and lodging: Hoosier National Forest has a number of other campgrounds including Indian-Celina, whichtakes reservations, German Ridge, whichdoes not take reservations, Saddle Lake that features a primitive campground, andBlackwell Horsecamp that'sexclusive forhorseback riders. There are also dispersed camping areas throughout the park, and cabin rentals.

Campground amenities: Flushtoilets, drinking water, showers, picnic tables, fire rings, grills and firewood for sale.

Other lodging: Cabins.

Camping fees: $20-$50 per night.

Entrance fees: $5 per vehicle.

Details:6464 Hardin Ridge Road, Heltonville.812-837-9453,fs.usda.gov/hoosier.

Raccoon State Recreation Area

10 of the best campgrounds within a few hours of Indianapolis (12)

Distance: 50 miles west of Indianapolis.

Features: Known officially as Cecil M. Harden Lake, the more than 2,000-acre body of water is a result of damming of Big Raccoon Creek for flood control. Tourists have benefited because the recreation area is known for good fishing, boating and swimming.

Campground: The large campground features 240 electric sites, 39 non-electric sites and 35 primitive camping sites.Each site is pet-friendly andallows a maximum of six people and two vehicles. There's also a youth camping area. Make reservations online here.

Campground amenities:Vault toilets, drinking water, picnic tables, fire rings with grills, and a conveniencestore. There’s also access to ball courts,boat rentals and playground.

Camping fees: $16-$32 per night.

Entrance fees:$7 for in-state plates;$9 for out-of-state plates.

Details:1588 S. Raccoon Parkway, Rockville.765-344-1412,in.gov/dnr/parklake/2959.htm.

Kellie Hwang is a reporter at IndyStar. Contact her at 317-444-6032 or kellie.hwang@indystar.com. Follow her on Twitter: @KellieHwang.

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FAQs

Where is the most beautiful place to camp? ›

  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. ...
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. ...
  • Olympic National Park, Washington. ...
  • Crater Lake National Park, Oregon. ...
  • Joshua Tree National Park, California. ...
  • Yosemite National Park, California. ...
  • Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California. ...
  • Haleakalā National Park, Hawaii.
Jun 18, 2020

What is the biggest campground in Indiana? ›

Also known as the Little Smokies, Brown County State Park is the largest state park in Indiana. It spreads over nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges, and ravines and is particularly known for its mountain biking and horseback riding opportunities. How much is RV camping in Indiana?

What is the nicest campground in the United States? ›

Here are the top nine best campgrounds in the United States.
  • Sandy Pines Campground - Kennebunkport, Maine. ...
  • Trail's End Campground - Superior National Forest, Minnesota. ...
  • Emerald Beach RV Park - Navarre, Florida. ...
  • Silver Falls State Park - Salem, Oregon. ...
  • North Rim Campground - Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.
Jul 28, 2022

What is the best site for camping? ›

What Are The Top Camping Websites (for Finding a Place to Camp on My Next RV Trip)?
  • Go Camping America. ...
  • Thousand Trails. ...
  • RV Parks & Campgrounds. ...
  • Boondocking. ...
  • The Dyrt.

What is the number 1 rule of wild camping? ›

The key to wild camping is to make as little impact as possible and leave no trace while you're there and after you go. Keep numbers down and moderate noise as much as possible. Make an effort not to damage vegetation and don't light fires that could spread and cause a major conflagration at any time of year.

What is the best month to camp? ›

September and October are some of the best months to go camping because they are not too hot or cold and allow you to experience the outdoors with fewer crowds. Arguably, there is a reason many people go camping in June and July, however.

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