While camping is one of the most fun ways to spend a summer evening—stoking the fire, roasting marshmallows, stargazing—you want to have plenty of adventures to fill your days, too. This is where the Hocking Hills deliver. Round out a camping trip in this Ohio outdoor fun zone known for its waterfalls and caves with hiking, paddling, mountain biking, zip-lining and rock climbing. You’ll need more than one weekend to do it all.
Choose your level of adventure based on needs, plus your desired level of comfort (or solitude).
The Hocking Hills State Park campground is as central as you can get to the action. You can hike directly from the campground to Old Man’s Cave or Rose Lake. Choose from non-electric ($27 weekdays/$28 weekends April 1–Oct. 31, $25 Nov. 1–March 31), electric ($31/32, $29) or full-hookup ($45/45, $29) sites. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring. The campground does fill up, so be sure to reserve a site, especially in the summer and on weekends. While the campground is open year-round, water is shut off for the full-hookups in the winter.
Just across the road from the main campground is the family hike-in campground. You’ll need to schlep your gear about a half-mile to your site (time to test out your backpacking setup), complete with a picnic table and fire ring. The payoff? No endless stream of cars driving by all night. This spot is more secluded and quiet compared to the car camping, so keep your ears open for the call of the barred owl. Bonus: The mountain biking trails start right here. Be prepared to leave your food in the car or have a food hanging system. ($23 weekdays/$24 weekends, $2 surcharge for a holiday; closed Dec.–March.)
Cabins and lodge
If you want the adventure minus the camping, Hocking Hills State Park also has cabins ($140-$160, plus a $6.50 reservation fee), plus the newly opened Hocking Hills State Park Lodge. The original lodge burned down in 2016 and the new one features 81 rooms and indoor and outdoor pools.