From Sand Dunes to Canyons, Our top 5 Campgrounds in Indiana

 

“Honest-to-Goodness Indiana,” is Indiana Tourism’s latest slogan for the Hoosier state, which in many ways sums up the state’s natural beauty. Untouched environments abound in Indiana, with rolling rivers, first-rate forests and pastoral placidity comprising the state’s public lands. The same is true of the campgrounds in Indiana.

Across the midwestern heartland, explorers don’t have to travel far off the beaten path to see the “goodness,” as Indiana camping is an ideal and easy way to appreciate the state’s beauty. The campgrounds themselves offer part of that goodness, with nice, clean, family camping options for tent campers, RV enthusiasts, hikers, bikers, and even beachcombers.

The Dyrt Campers’ Favorite Campgrounds in Indiana

In Indiana there are countless camping opportunities, so to help you narrow down your options. Here are The Dyrt campers’ favorite Indiana campgrounds.

1. For the Best of Both Worlds: Dunewood Campground, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

A wood boardwalk leads to the shores of Lake Michigan at the Dunewood Campgrounds in indiana

Image from The Dyrt camper Jen L.

Campgrounds in Indiana can surprise you, and this is a prime example. Dunewood Campground is full of sandy beaches and spectacular terrain likely found on the coasts, yet still offers forested campsites; you can go from searching for shells on the seashore to hikes in a thick forest.

Located in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, about an hour drive east of Chicago, Dunewood is one of the state’s favorite campgrounds for a good reason. Dunewood is the main campground in the park, with 54 drive-up sites and 12 walk-in sites. It’s first come first served, and open from April to October. 

“This is seriously my favorite of the campgrounds in Indiana. My family and I have been camping here for more than ten years.

We have camped in the walk-ins and the drive-up spots. The sites are private and the bathrooms are super duper clean. Showers are great. 

There is a nice sandy beach one mile walking distance through an amazing prairie. Great walk at night back from the beach after watching the sunset. Very romantic.” –The Dyrt camper Jennifer Z.

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2. For Lots of Options: Brown County State Park in Nashville

A sunset at Brown County State Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Anna A.

About one hour east of Bloomington, you’ll discover why the terrain surrounding Brown County State Park is known as the “Little Smokies.” The park features some of the largest campgrounds in Indiana for tents and RVs, and is home to classic outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. Most notably, however, horseback riding and horse camping is the area’s draw.

Equine campers require a permit before ponying up, but inside lies nearly 30 individual horsemen’s trails and even a separate horsemen’s campground to ride-in and camp. Don’t have a horse of your own, but still looking to ride the rolling hills? The Brown County State Park Saddle Barn offers trail rides at a reasonable price.

“This campground is a must-visit in Indiana. The views all around Brown County are breathtaking. While were were there we rode on a trail ride at the saddle barn. The horses were well trained and willing to let people ride them.

We also went to a Raptor show that was put on at the nature center where we got to look at some interesting raptors.” –The Dyrt camper Anna A.

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3. For Indiana Camping History: McCormicks Creek State Park in Spencer

An old stone bridge over a river at McCormicks Creek State Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Timothy B.

Indiana’s first state park—and one of the first campgrounds in Indiana—McCormicks Creek is just about an hour southwest of Indianapolis. Ten miles of hiking trails can take you to a limestone canyon, a flowing creek, and waterfalls. Enjoy some comfort camping with 189 sites with electrical hookups plus modern restrooms and showers, or get in touch with nature at one of the over 30 primitive campsites.

“This is one of my favorite state parks. We have visited and camped here several times. They have great cabins, a perfect primitive tent only camping area, a nice camper area with more amenities, and even an inn.

The trails are fun and varied for all skill levels. They are well maintained and pretty easy to follow.

It is a little more difficult in the Fall when they are covered with leaves but still not too bad. The creek waterfall is a great place to cool off and some of the trails criss-cross over the shallow areas of the creek as well. This place is a must visit for Southern/Central Indiana.” –The Dyrt camper Falen P.

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4. For Rugged Terrain: Clifty Falls State Park in Madison 

image of a waterfall beside image of local campsite at sunset at clifty falls state park

Image by The Dyrt camper Jeff W.

Under two hours from both Indianapolis and Cincinnati, Clifty Falls State Park boasts rugged canyons and ever changing waterfalls, plus an historic railroad tunnel. The area’s real charm rests in its close proximity to the Ohio river, offering everything fun on the water from fishing and swimming to the annual Regatta on the Ohio event.

“My daughter and I stayed in the NON-electric loop, site 122 on this most recent trip. This site was very well shaded but did not have a lot of grassy areas. This loop has a really nice shower house and restroom facility centrally located in the loop.

The park is a beautiful park with lots of hiking, 3 waterfalls, a cave, nature center and inn/restaurant. I have stayed at Clifty Falls State Park since I was a kid and I will continue to visit the park.” –The Dyrt camper Jeff W.

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5. For Paddlers: Turkey Run State Park in Marshall

A man and a dog walk together across a river on a bridge at Turkey Run State Park

Image from The Dyrt camper Maggie M.

About an hour and a half west of Indianapolis is Turkey Run State Park. Here, you can explore sandstone ravines, ancient forests, or paddle down Sugar Creek. The park is open year-round, with a large number of electric hook up sites available. The scenery is colorful enough that you won’t need your phone for entertainment.

“Turkey Run is my all time favorite State Park in Indiana. It has great camping with both reserved and walk up options (get there early for walk up options). The campgrounds have modern facilities including showers.

We love the hiking trails. The extra bonus for us was to do a covered bridge driving tour!” –The Dyrt camper Bonnie C.

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