Elkhart, Indiana, might be the RV capital of the world, but most travelers would be surprised to also find bluegrass nirvana, gorgeous beaches, a museum dedicated to one of the country’s first astronauts, and nationally-acclaimed mountain bike trails in this notoriously flat state. However, you can find all of this, and more, right from your RV at some of the Hoosier State’s top parks and camping areas.
Here are seven campgrounds you should visit on a trip to Indiana.
1. Brown County State Park, Nashville, Indiana
One of the largest state parks in the U.S., Brown County State Park offers remarkably similar scenery to Great Smoky Mountains National Park—hence the nickname “the Little Smokies”—but has far fewer visitors. While the fall foliage is truly spectacular and the trees explode with fiery colors every October, this is also one of the park’s busiest seasons. The best time to visit is typically mid-to-late spring after the tree canopy returns and before the summer humidity rises.
Climb the park’s 90-foot fire tower to gain a bird’s-eye view of the gorgeous scenery. Hikers will love the nearly 20 miles of undulating trails throughout the park, while more adventurous visitors can ride the more than 30 miles of mountain bike trails, ranging from beginner-level to advanced, double-black-diamond tracks. Visitors looking for a more low-impact way to see the park can go horseback riding from March to October. Anglers can also cast a line into Ogle or Strahl lakes for a chance of snaring a bass or bluegill.
The park’s campgrounds offer more than 400 RV sites with electric hookups. Buffalo Ridge, Racoon Ridge, and Taylor Ridge are the three primary RV campgrounds within the park. Horsemen’s Campground is also available for those traveling with their horses and trailers. Sites are a mix of gravel and paved with bathroom and shower facilities placed throughout each campground’s various loops. Reservations can be made online. Sites tend to be close together near the campground entrance, but gain space and more tree cover the further back you go.
2. Bill Monroe Music Park and Campground, Nashville, Indiana
Outside the rustic hamlet of Nashville, Indiana, and just minutes away from Brown County State Park, Bill Monroe’s Music Park and Campground hosts several music festivals throughout the year, including the acclaimed Americana Bean Jamboree Festival.
With more than 300 partial- or full-hookup sites, along with plenty of tent and dry camping spots, this park puts music fans steps away from the stage. The campground is big rig and pet friendly, and there are even cabins available to rent for those looking for indoor lodging. Bathroom facilities offer running water and coin-operated showers. There’s also a laundry room, camp store, and music museum on-site.
3. Turkey Run State Park, Marshall, Indiana
Hoosier hikers flock to Turkey Run State Park, where the more than 15 miles of trails wind their way over creek beds, through hemlock forests, past waterfalls, and underneath moss-covered sandstone cliffs. Paddlers have plenty of scenery to enjoy as well, as Sugar Creek passes underneath a suspension bridge and multiple picturesque covered bridges. The park is a prime leaf-peeping destination in the fall but is open year-round for any type of adventure.
The Turkey Run State Park Campground boasts more than 200 RV campsites with electric hookups, but you need to make reservations early, especially in the fall. Sites tend to be close together, but each comes with a fire ring and picnic table. Bathroom and shower facilities are located throughout the campground, as well as a general store. Tent camping sites are also available.
4. Indiana Dunes National and State Parks, Chesterton, Indiana
Sitting along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, Indiana Dunes National Park and its namesake state park offer a myriad of recreational opportunities throughout their miles of gorgeous “Third Coast” beaches. But there’s more to these parks than just summer fun. Both parks are also incredibly biodiverse; in fact, Indiana Dunes is the fourth-most biodiverse park in the National Park Service system. You’d be hard-pressed to find another area with not only beaches and towering sand dunes, but also black oak savannah, wooded wetlands, and clusters of prickly pear cactus and carnivorous bog plants.
With more than 60 miles of trails between the two parks, hikers can wind through the various ecosystems on trails designed for all levels of ability. However, if you’re really up for a challenge, you can put your hiking skills to the test on the state park’s 3 Dune Challenge. The route only covers about 1.5 miles, but it can be deceptively difficult, scaling a combined 552 vertical feet up the three largest dunes in the park.
Open year-round, the Indiana Dunes State Park Campground offers more than 130 paved RV sites with electric hookups. Most sites are a mile or less from beach access, which means reservations tend to book quickly during the summer months. Restroom and shower facilities are available on-site, and each campsite includes a picnic table and fire ring.
The Dunewood Campground in Indiana Dunes National Park is open seasonally, with 53 RV-designated dry camping sites and 13 tent sites. Each loop offers an indoor bathroom and shower facility. Some sites have RV length restrictions, so big rig owners are advised to contact the campground before booking your reservation.
5. Versailles State Park, Versailles, Indiana
Tucked away in the southeastern corner of the state, Indiana’s second-largest state park was built in the 1930s and ‘40s with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps. The park has a little bit of everything for outdoor enthusiasts—anglers and paddlers will love traversing Versailles Lake and Laughery Creek, while mountain bikers, equestrians, and hikers have miles of trails to explore. Versailles is also one of 14 Indiana state parks that will experience totality during the next solar eclipse in 2024.
Most of Versailles State Park Campground’s more than 200 RV campsites offer electric hookups. Sites are fairly spacious and big rig friendly, have paved pads, and include a fire ring and picnic table.
6. Spring Mill State Park, Mitchell, Indiana
If you’re camping with kids in tow, head toward Spring Mill State Park. In addition to hiking trails and an outdoor pool (open seasonally), the park offers cave exploration, an 1863-era pioneer village with reenactors, and a museum dedicated to the late Virgil “Gus” Grissom, one of the first Americans in space who was killed along with two other astronauts during an Apollo mission training exercise. The exhibit includes Grissom’s space suit, the Gemini 3 spacecraft, personal artifacts, and more.
The Spring Mill State Park Campground offers more than 180 RV sites with electric hookups. Sites are gravel with a fire ring and picnic table. The campground is pet friendly and can accommodate most rig sizes. Tent camping is also available.
7. Pokagon State Park, Angola, Indiana
Surrounded by the fresh waters of Lake James and Snow Lake, Pokagon is one of Indiana’s earliest state parks, built from 1934 to 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the warmer months, this park is the perfect setting for fishing, boating, and swimming activities. Plus, there are several hiking trails, including the Hell’s Point Hiking Challenge.
During the winter, visitors come from all over to race down the park’s popular toboggan run. This icy thrill ride spans a quarter-mile with record speeds reaching more than 40 miles per hour. You can also cross-country ski and snowshoe throughout the winter.
There are more than 270 sites at the Pokagon State Park Campground, with 200 offering electric hookups for RVs. Each site comes with a picnic table and a fire ring. The campground puts you near hiking trails, swimming beaches, and boat launch access.