Boondocking in Ohio

Top Campgrounds

Regardless of what you enjoy doing with your time in the great outdoors, you can find a terrific boondocking location to do it. Ohio can be divided into five regions with great places to explore in each of them. In the northwest corner of the state, you find the Huron-Erie Lake Plains, which is home to many sand dunes. The largest part of the state is the Central Lowlands, where you can find terrific cities to explore, including Dayton and Columbus. In the very southern part of the state is the Interior Low Plateau, which is a great place to go fishing and boating. Northeast Ohio hosts the Glaciated Alleghany Plateau, and below it is the Appalachian Plateau. Both of these regions include great places for hiking along gently rolling hills. Regardless of where you decide to go camping in Ohio, you will find fabulous boondocking locations. 

Several RVs and boats sit along the shore of a lake lined with trees with a partly cloudy blue sky overhead.

Boondocking Sites in Ohio

Hook Lake Campground

Hook Lake Campground is on the east side of Jesse Owens State Park near McConnelsville. Each campsite has a picnic table and a fire ring, and there is a dumpster near the main gate. Be advised that the campsite has a 14-day stay limit. This state park offers an archery range, two fishing lakes, and many hiking trails. 

Hidden Hollow Campground

There are 22 campsites at Hidden Hollow Campground located within Fernwood State Forest. These campsites near the Land Lab come with a picnic table and a fire ring. This state forest near Bloomingdale is a terrific hiking spot that will allow you to see how the forest rejuvenates itself. There are also numerous fishing ponds. 

Ronsheim Campground

There are seven paved pads for trailers at Ronsheim Campground in Harrison State Forest. The sites each have a picnic table and fire ring, and vault toilets are available. Enjoy hiking along 20 miles of trails or bring your horse and go for a ride. This isolated campground near Cadiz also has a shooting range. 

Summit Metro Parks

Camp at the trailhead to Big Bend Trail in Akron at Summit Metro Parks. This site is free, but other nearby campgrounds charge a fee, so be sure you are in the right spot. No fires are allowed at this site where you can camp for one night. 

Woodbury Wildlife Area

You can camp in the 32 sites at Woodbury Wildlife Area near Warsaw for free for up to 14 days from September to May. You must have a valid hunting, fishing, or trapping license to stay at these sites. This is a fantastic place for nature photography, and hunting is allowed seasonally. 

Zaleski State Forest

There are many ideal camping spots at Zaleski State Forest near Athens. Drinking water is available at many sites throughout the forest, and vault toilets are also available. This is a great area for a beautiful fall hike under the trees as they change colors. 

Bicentennial Campground

The Bicentennial Campground near Caldwell has five sites where you can take advantage of a nearby fishing pond. Be forewarned that these sites fill up fast, though. You need to get a permit from American Electric Power to camp at this site where there are fire rings, picnic tables, and potable water. 

Where to Boondock in Ohio

There are many great choices for free camping in Ohio. American Electric Power owns 58,800 acres in southeast Ohio where people can camp, fish, hike, and enjoy other outdoor pursuits for free. Many state forests in Ohio offer free camping, and you can even find some spots in state parks within Ohio. 

Free Camping in Pennsylvania

When preparing for your boondocking trip in Ohio, consider whether you need a different type of permit. For example, you may need a hunting or fishing permit in wildlife management areas while on American Electric Power lands you need a free permit. Take care of these necessities before you arrive to avoid any problems.

Many free camping locations are in remote areas. While this makes for a great place to go stargazing, it can also present problems when trying to camp in the dark. Therefore, you should bring along a strong flashlight with extra batteries. You may also want to consider some solar lights so that the sun can recharge them for you. 

While most boondocking adventures end happily, you will also want to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure you are able to tell law enforcement where you are located so that they can get help to your location as quickly as possible if a medical emergency arises. Bring a well-stocked first aid kit with you, and consider taking a first aid class before you leave home. You may be able to find one for free in your area. 

There are so many fantastic places where you can build great memories while boondocking in Ohio. Camping, fishing, hiking, and many other activities are readily available. Some sites are close to big towns where you can dine and shop. The best part will be communing with nature and creating beautiful stories to tell about the great times spent with family or friends. 

Before you head out on your trip, check out our blog for all you need to know about boondocking. Find helpful tips so that you will have an even better adventure when you boondock in Ohio.

Bring along the creature comforts of home by going boondocking in your RV. If you do not have your own camper vehicle, you can rent one on