Best Places for Free Camping in Ohio 

Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by admin

If you are in Ohio or its environs and are wondering if there are any places that offer free camping, then you are in luck. In this article, we will be discussing some of the best places that offer free camping in Ohio. You don’t need to pay any fee before you are allowed to stay on the site.  All you need do is to ensure that you come with your camping gear and don’t forget your cameras too so you can capture every moment. Without wasting much time, here are 6 of the best free camping places you can visit freely in Ohio.

The Ronsheim Campground is a perfect place for those looking for a primitive camping ground that is well hidden in the woods. Although it is a small camping site on public land, there are a number of primitive campsites that can accommodate individual campers and a small group of people. Each campsite comes with a picnic table and a fire pit for extra warmth during cold nights. There is also a bathroom on the site but you shouldn’t expect it to be like the ones available at a five-star hotel. 

While it is completely free to camp at the grounds, you will be required to fill a card and drop it in the box when you arrive on site. There are activities that you can engage in such as fishing, hiking, and outdoor sports. So you might want to consider coming along with your fishing gear if you decide to stop by here on your journey out of or into Ohio. 

84892 Toot Rd
Cadiz, Ohio 43986

  • Sand Hollow-AEP

Another great camping site in Ohio is the Sand Hollow campsite. There are different campsites available; some of them are small while others are large, providing you with a variety to choose from. The place is extremely quiet making it a great location if you are looking for an outdoor romantic getaway or you need a place for the family to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

There are a lot of activities to engage in once you arrive at Sand Hollow, after picking a spot and setting up your tent, you can visit the nearby lakes where you can fish in or simply engage in a water sport on any of the lakes with a boat ramp. You can enter with a canoe or kayak and have a nice time exploring the lakes and the rest of the wildlife that are in the area. 

Sand Hollow– Campground C
9290 St. Rt. 284 McConnelsville, Ohio 43756

  • Sawmill Road Campsite

The Sawmill Road Campsite is situated in central Ohio and easily accessible for those who live in the city or suburbs. If you are in need of a quiet time as you explore the woods while you camp close to the trees and wildlife, then you should consider stopping by at the Sawmill Road Campsite. The campsites are spaced out with room for everyone giving you enough privacy away from other campers. 

There are a lot of activities to engage in when you arrive; you can go hiking along the paths or go exploring the area and discover why the site is a major destination for locals who besiege the place occasionally to relax and unwind. You can camp here for up to 3 months once you have obtained a permit which you can easily print online. 

Sawmill Rd. Campsite
10390 N. St. Rt. 83 McConnelsville, Ohio 43756
McConnelsville, Ohio

  • East Fork State Park

The East Fork State Park is another one of the best places for free camping in Ohio. If you live in Cincinnati or around its environs, then you should consider visiting this campsite when next you hit the road. You will need a permit to camp in the state park any of the free campsites that are available to choose from. You can go hiking along the trails or take your bike/ATV out and drive through the open fields and steep valleys as you explore the area. 

While you are free to do whatever you choose provided it’s not against the law, you will be required to keep your pets on a leash should you bring them along in the state park. 

East Fork State Park – Ohio State Parks
3294 Elklick Rd, Bethel, OH 45106, USA

  • Wayne National Forest

The Wayne National Forest is the only national forest in Ohio but even at that, they do not charge a fee for you to use the grounds for camping. There are specific areas of the Wayne National Forest that are designated for use as a campsite. Individuals can camp freely without a permit but groups with more than 25 persons will need a permit. A permit is easy to obtain from the forest service once you land at the site but it is important to mention that the authorities only allow individuals and groups to camp on the ground for 14 days. This is just so everyone can get an opportunity to camp at the ground as there are a lot of people trooping in every other week to the Wayne National Forest to explore the wildlife in their natural environment. 

There are a lot of things you can do when you get here, go horseback riding, hiking, or pull out your bike or ATV and explore the entire forest. You can also swim or fish in the many lakes that you can find here. 

Wayne national forests
13700 US Highway 33
Nelsonville, OH 45764
(740) 753-0101

  • Hidden Hollow Campground 

Just like its name, the Hidden Hollow Campground is perfectly hidden making it a good spot for those looking for a free camping ground that is well out of sight. It is easily accessible for those who live in Ohio, but residents of Pittsburgh and Cleveland can also troop in here as the campsite is just close by. There are a lot of things you can do when you visit the Hidden Hollow Campground. You can visit the nearby shooting range and perfect your shooting skills or check out the place as you go hiking along the trails. 

Hidden Hollow CampgroundFernwood State Forest
11 Twp Rd 181
Bloomingdale, Ohio

There are many campsites to choose from here and it is completely free. You can also bring your pets with you and leave them to roam about freely but it is always advisable to keep them on a leash so you don’t have to go looking for them when they wander off. 

How often do you go camping outdoors, and what are your favorite primitive camping locations? We will like to learn about them in the comment section.