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Camping in the Midwest

CLHEJ
Explorer
Explorer
Hey all. Random question here.

I've been approached by a potential employer about relocating to Northern Indiana, around the Elkhart area. I've lived in the Southeast for most of my adult life and absolutely love the location where I currently reside in SC. I'm just a few hours to the beach, and a few hours to Gatlinburg.

We do a lot of long weekend camping trips in TN, SC and NC.

My question is - what are my options for long weekend camping within a few hours of the Elkhart area.

Thanks in advance.
Craig, Lillian and Aly
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20 REPLIES 20

Trekkar
Explorer
Explorer
Many good ideas presented so far. You have the opportunity to expand your camping enjoyment to 4 full seasons. If you dress for the situation, cold weather camping is amazing. Skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, etc., let you enjoy an expanded number of activities.

Hope you enjoy whatever decision you make.
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Edd505
Explorer
Explorer
Check https://www.rvparky.com/ and
http://www.campgroundreviews.com/

You will find reviews by people been there and tips on whats in the area to see & do.
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welove2drive
Explorer
Explorer
In Illinois there is Starved Rock SP just West of Elkhart and Shelbyville Lake and Carlyle Lake in the central part. Southern IL and Mo are nice but further.
Dave and Marcia
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valhalla360
Nomad II
Nomad II
ken56 wrote:
You will have a MUCH SHORTER camping season. Plus there is quite high pressure on all the campgrounds so getting reservations might be difficult too.


If you are worried about season, when it gets too cold to head north to Michigan and Wisconson just head south to Kentucky and Tennessee.

Northern Indiana doesn't get near the snow you see just a couple hours north in Michigan. So usually if you are heading south, it's quite possible to camp most months of the year if you pick weather windows.
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Bob806
Explorer III
Explorer III
Thom02099 wrote:


I've read about (but never been to) the Hocking Hills area in Ohio, another apparently popular area that's not in Michigan.

There's a lot of Amish areas in Indiana and Ohio, so a trip to camp/visit could be something of interest.

Not to detract from Michigan, because there's a lot to see and do up there, just that there are other areas as well.


Yes indeed, we love Michigan too (mainly the UP and northern lower peninsula) but there's some good stops in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, & New York.

Hocking Hills SP in Ohio doesn't have a lot of sites to fit bigger rigs, but it's a great area. Mohican SP is very nice but you really have to plan ahead and reserve. Geneva SP is great, nice little small town.

The NY Finger Lakes region may be around 7 or 8 hours from Elkhart, but look into it. Kentucky has several nice SPs, particularly Natural Bridge. West Virginia gets a bad rap nationally but is great for campers.

travelnutz
Explorer
Explorer
Sorry, I meant, Chain O Lakes
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travelnutz
Explorer
Explorer
Thom02099,

Yes, there are so many other places/states to RV to that are not a day's driving time to get there from Elkhart. We know of many others too but those in the close states and also around in Indiana too. We have been to Brown County State Park several times and also around the area too. Lots to do or do nothing at all and just relax at your campsite. Chain of Lakes SP is another not over an hour from Elkhart south of Albion, IN.
A superb CC LB 4X4, GM HD Diesel, airbags, Rancho's, lots more
Lance Legend TC 11' 4", loaded including 3400 PP generator and my deluxe 2' X 7' rear porch
29 ft Carriage Carri-lite 5'er - a specially built gem
A like new '07 Sunline Solaris 26' TT

Thom02099
Explorer II
Explorer II
I was just back in the midwest in NE Indiana in July. Plan was to visit Brown County State Park in the southern part of the state, about a 4.5-5 hour drive from where I was. Unfortunately didn't make it due to an accident that affected my trailer, but still somewhere that I'd like to see.

The Brown County area has a lot of things to see and do. Notably a goodly number of covered bridges. Also a hilly area with what looks to be some great sightseeing, small towns to visit and shop.

I've read about (but never been to) the Hocking Hills area in Ohio, another apparently popular area that's not in Michigan.

There's a lot of Amish areas in Indiana and Ohio, so a trip to camp/visit could be something of interest.

Not to detract from Michigan, because there's a lot to see and do up there, just that there are other areas as well.
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theoldwizard1
Explorer
Explorer
Many (most ?) floks from IN, IL and OH head to MI. A bit of a drive for a weekend, but there are lots of nice campground in the SW corner of MI.

Tourist sites really close down after Labor Day, but most private campgrounds are open into October with State campgrounds open even later.

Enjoy the color change this fall. It can get down to freezing at night in some ares in late September.

travelnutz
Explorer
Explorer
We have camped in all 12 months in Michigan and never been cold or without a place to camp. Usually snow on the ground in January but it's usually light fluffy snowfall, not ice or icy. also Been in Tennesee evry winter since 1965 with an RV and froze our but off a few times as it's a wet cold feel and have had ice storms so you'd stay put a couple times already if smart. Especially in eastern Tennessee I-75 when we used to go that way to Florida to visit family. You don't wisely go down to Florida in the summer with it's very humid and sticky sickening heat.

Won't forget late December in the Nashville area on I-65 as it was like on greased roads even at 20 mph with inches of freezing sleet and snow on them and was even rutted so you didn't wander or else. Scary as heck!!! We had to overnught in a Mcdonalds truck/RV parking lot and the next day too as they don't really plow the roads like up north where they are kept plowed. Thus, we feel the true season for RV camping is quite bogus as to region stays.
A superb CC LB 4X4, GM HD Diesel, airbags, Rancho's, lots more
Lance Legend TC 11' 4", loaded including 3400 PP generator and my deluxe 2' X 7' rear porch
29 ft Carriage Carri-lite 5'er - a specially built gem
A like new '07 Sunline Solaris 26' TT

travelnutz
Explorer
Explorer
ken56,

Only an issue getting reservations in the extremely popular Lake Michigan on the Lakeshore CG's like Grand Haven, Holland, Ludington, sometimes in Hoffmaster and Silver Lake State Parks. These CG's are usually booked full within a day or less when you are able to even reserve. Weekends are busier than weekdays like any where else. These Lake Michigan Beach CG's are of course extremely popular as is the area. However there are so many other good CG's near the Big lake in all these areas to also choose from and reservations are not that hard to get unless you wait until the week you leave home to reserve. In 55 years of RV'ing we have only gotten reservations 4 times total and never went without a place the camp yet. We live at Grand Haven and have for over 77 years so we know.

You have to remember that there are more than a couple dozen summer festivals in the communities along the lakeshore so of course the CG's would all be full for them for the festival time. Grand Haven U.S. Coast Guard national Festival annually has well more than 350,000 attending during the 10 day long festival so all the couple dozen local regional CG's are packed full for it. Also on the 3 major holidays weekends too. Must be a real reason for having such a high attendance each year for 96 years now!?

Usual camping season each year in Michigan is from late April until after Halloween but many CG's are open year around. Even Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the northern Upper Peninsula close to Lake Superior Lower falls CG is always open with kept plowed sites as are the snowmobiles staging parking areas for camping. Electric on all winter long at the open SP CG's. Some State Park CG's in the Lower Peninsula are too. Lots of snowmobilers, skiers, snowshoe, and just regular campers are in the CG's We have so many time in the past too before wife became disabled.

Beautiful in the winter and RV's have furnaces, are insulated (some better than others), have fresh water tanks and holding tanks too. That's all it takes and is why RV's even have the liquid tanks! We always used our large 5 gal Thetford Porta Potti as they can be dumped about anywhere in toilets or pit toilets. Don't need to take a 10 minute long shower each in the RV in winter but rather a short shower etc and most tanks will last well over a week or even more. Would be a tad chilly camping in a tent though...
A superb CC LB 4X4, GM HD Diesel, airbags, Rancho's, lots more
Lance Legend TC 11' 4", loaded including 3400 PP generator and my deluxe 2' X 7' rear porch
29 ft Carriage Carri-lite 5'er - a specially built gem
A like new '07 Sunline Solaris 26' TT

ppine
Explorer II
Explorer II
Michigan and the North Woods. The season is shorter but really good. Lots of water and magnificent forests. Buy a canoe.

ppine
Explorer II
Explorer II
Michigan.
If you need a change, northern Wisconsin.
After that Minnesotta and the BWCA up by Ely.

Dick_B
Explorer
Explorer
Get a CG directory.
Dick_B
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