Nurtured by nature

Get away nearby at Indiana campgrounds

Posted on Jun 27 2020 in Travel
Photo of people canoeing

The restorative power of nature is a recurrent theme in literature, music and art. And if ever Hoosiers could use a little restorative power, it’s right about now.

If you are looking to get away this month, but maybe not to a crowded or far away place, Indiana offers a diverse group of public campgrounds. Here is a list of Indiana state parks, state forests, and federal recreation areas within the Hoosier National Forest you might want to consider. Campsites may vary from offering electricity to being primitive and some are listed as being for horse camping. 

In addition, be sure to go online and check with local visitors bureaus for privately-owned campgrounds, RV parks and cabin rental facilities in areas you’d like to visit. Also, many other of the state forests and fish and wildlife areas also offer limited primitive camping. Also, Hoosier National Forest horse camps offer camping to any Forest visitors.

Indiana DNR facilities

To make reservations, go online to www.Camp.IN.Gov.

Brown County State Park • Nashville

Brown County encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of rugged hills, ridges and ravines. 

Chain O Lakes State Park • Albion

This is lake country and a small boater’s paradise with nine connecting lakes. 

Charlestown State Park • Charlestown

The Ohio River is the main feature of this park with many recreational opportunities.

Clifty Falls State Park • Madison

The waterfalls and fossils are the highlights of the park that offers exciting year-round hiking and scenery.

Deam Lake State Recreation Area • Borden

A Forest Education Center on property has a full-time naturalist to provide interpretive programming.

Hardy Lake • Scottsburg

Hardy Lake has a 740-acre lake with great fishing and water skiing opportunities.

Harmonie State Park • New Harmony

The park brings together the small historic town and beautiful scenery.

Indiana Dunes State Park • Chesterton

Indiana Dunes consists of 2,182 acres of primitive, beautiful and unique Hoosier landscape with more than three miles of beach along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. 

Lieber State Recreation Area • Cloverdale

In 1952, Cagles Mill Lake was built as Indiana’s first flood control reservoir. Mill Creek feeds the 1,400-acre lake and is home to beautiful Cataract Falls. 

Lincoln State Park • Lincoln City

Discover the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln. The state park, across the highway from the national boyhood site, offers hiking trails, lakes, and an interpretive center.   

McCormick’s Creek State Park • Spencer

Explore the spectacular limestone canyon, flowing creek, and scenic waterfalls that highlight Indiana’s first state park. 

Mississinewa Lake • Peru

Mississinewa Lake and its surrounding area are rich in American Indian history. Pleasure boating, water skiing, fishing and hiking are only a few of the activities available.

Monroe Lake • Bloomington

Six miles south of the main Indiana University campus, Monroe Lake is the largest body of water in Indiana. Activities at Monroe include fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, picnicking, water recreation, bird/eagle viewing, and many others.

Mounds State Park • Anderson

Mounds State Park features 10 unique earthworks built by prehistoric Indians known as the Adena-Hopewell people. The largest earthwork, the Great Mound, is believed to have been constructed around 160 B.C. 

O’Bannon Woods State Park • Corydon

O’Bannon Woods State Park (formerly Wyandotte Woods State Recreation Area) lies in the central and extreme southern part of the state, bordering the Ohio River. It is nestled inside 26,000-acre Harrison Crawford State Forest.

Ouabache State Park • Bluffton

“Ouabache,” pronounced like “Wabash,” is the French spelling of a Miami Indian word, “waapaahšiki,” so don’t be surprised to hear many folks call it o-ba-chee. 

Patoka Lake • Birdseye

With 26,000 acres of land and water, Patoka Lake is a fine example of lake ecology. An 8,800-acre lake provides habitat for freshwater jellyfish and bald eagle nesting sites. River otters and osprey were reintroduced at Patoka by the DNR. 

Pokagon State Park • Angola

One of the state’s original parks, Pokagon features the unique work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, whose members lived and worked at Pokagon from 1934 to 1942. Natural lakes created by glaciers that melted 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, frame the park and offer abundant opportunities for boating, swimming, fishing and scenic sunsets.

Potato Creek State Park • North Liberty

The park features a wide array of activities and facilities for year-round enjoyment, including the 327-acre Worster Lake, old fields, mature woodlands, restored prairies and diverse wetlands.

Prophetstown State Park • West Lafayette

Established in 2004, Indiana’s newest state park offers camping, hiking, biking, fishing, birding, and wildlife observation. The park is unique because of the large expanses of tall prairie grasses, blooming native wildflowers, and numerous wetlands that wait to be explored.

Raccoon Lake • Rockville

Includes the Raccoon State Recreation Area and Historic Mansfield Roller Mill. Cecil M. Harden Lake resulted from the damming of Big Raccoon Creek for flood control. The lake also provides recreation, wildlife management and economic benefits.

Salamonie Lake • Andrews

A 12,000-acre outdoor recreation property with a 2,855-acre lake for boating, swimming and fishing. The property features horse riding, hiking, mountain bike trails; campgrounds; an interpretive (nature) center; and marina. 

Shades State Park • Waveland

Shades State Park is a favorite for hikers and canoeists with beautiful sandstone cliffs overlooking Sugar Creek and numerous shady ravines provide the backdrop for your journey through this nature lover’s paradise.

Shakamak State Park • Jasonville

Three man-made lakes offer 400 acres of water for fishing and boating while a new family aquatic center provides swimming fun. About two-thirds of the campsites are in a wooded area. 

Spring Mill State Park • Mitchell

The park links Indiana pioneers: a restored pioneer village including working grist mill and pioneering astronaut Virgil “Gus” Grissom with the Grissom Memorial.

Starve Hollow State Recreation Area • Vallonia

Some of the best camping in southern Indiana can be found here with 90 electric camp sites some of which are right on the shore of a 145-acre lake. 

Summit Lake State Park • New Castle

Excellent fishing for bass, crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, walleye and sunfish can be had at the park’s 800-acre lake. All campsites have electric and water hookups with modern comfort stations. 

Tippecanoe River State Park • Winamac

This is a nature lover’s park with many opportunities to observe wildlife and explore the outdoors. The property borders seven miles of the Tippecanoe River.

Turkey Run State Park • Marshall

The natural geologic wonders of this beautiful park will astound hikers along its famous trails. The park offers the chance to explore deep, sandstone ravines, walk along stands of aged forests, and enjoy the scenic views along Sugar Creek.

Versailles State Park • Versailles

This area has deep history rooted in both the Civil War and the Civilian Conservation Corps. Fish on the 230-acre lake where you can rent a rowboat, kayak or canoe. 

Whitewater Memorial State Park • Liberty

Constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1975, Brookville Lake is about 5,260 acres. Combined with Whitewater Lake of about 200 acres, the Brookville/Whitewater complex offers great fishing, boating and swimming.

Hoosier National forest facilities

The Hoosier National Forest offers a variety of camping opportunities, from cabins to primitive camping. For more info, visit

Buzzard Roost • Magnet

An overlook on the Ohio River provides a panoramic view of the river bottom. The site has a primitive picnic area and trails though no toilets or water are provided.

German Ridge • Rome

Recreation site offers a 24-mile multiple use trail, a scenic lake, swimming and picnicking. 

Hardin Ridge • Heltonville

The 1,200-acre recreational complex is located on the shores of Monroe Lake.

Indian-Celina Lakes • St. Croix

A tranquil getaway, the recreation area contains the 164-acre Celina Lake and the 152-acre Indian Lake. Activities include camping, boating (electric motors or paddles only), fishing, and hiking. Additional amenities include the historic Rickenbaugh House, an amphitheater and interpretive trail.

Saddle Lake • Gatchel

Saddle Lake has a primitive campground, a boat ramp and a hiking trail. This scenic, somewhat remote lake is an excellent place to get away from crowds and you will often have the place to yourself!

Tipsaw Lake • St. Croix

The 131-acre Tipsaw Lake in Perry County offers camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking and biking. Amenities include a beautiful swimming beach with playground equipment, a modern bathhouse, and a boat launch.