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  1. #1
    Senior Member jtwilson's Avatar
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    Favorite camping spots?

    Hey all,

    I plan on doing some touring this summer and I thought I'd see if anyone knows of some exceptional campsites that I should check out. I don't mind the average state park experience, but I am hoping to learn of some spots that have more of a wooded/wilderness setting, or at least somewhere with decent separation between campsites. I am also not too averse to the idea of using an established and safe 'unofficial' site.

    I will be departing from Columbus, Ohio, but feel free to recommend anything in the general region. I am considering possibly renting a car to take to a distant starting point for my trip.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Where are you going?

  3. #3
    Senior Member jtwilson's Avatar
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    I haven't settled on a direction yet. A couple decent campsites might be enough to decide it. All ideas welcome.

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    A lot depends on distance you're willing to travel. I took off to virginia a few years ago, and one of the things I really liked about Ohio was the signs they had in the rest areas which basically said, "feel free to sleep". I ended up spending a week doing a bit of exploring in the southwest side of Ohio because it was so 'travel friendly'. Most of the time I spent right near the ohio/west virginia line. Can't think of any place names right off (it was about 6 years ago!) but some of the areas were pretty sweet.

    Ken.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jtwilson's Avatar
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    kendall - did you pitch a tent at the rest area? Also, how were the hills in that area? I've done part of the 'Columbus Fall Challenge' route in the Hocking Hills region, and while I think the route/hills were chosen for their difficulty - it was quite ridiculous and nothing I'd like to do on a loaded tour. Part of me is thinking to choose a flatish route - the other is thinking I am strong and shouldn't worry about it. Last year on my first ever tour I made a southern loop due south to Chillicothe then west from there and it wasn't too bad.

    I will probably do a couple short Ohio weekend trips, and one longer trip in late July. For the longer trip I am leaning towards renting a car on the first and last days to get out of state. One idea is to do the Outer Banks region in Virginia, and the other is to do a Madison to Minneapolis round trip. I am really drawn to the idea of seeing the coast and beaches, but Wisconsin and Minnesota seem to have nice woodlands/parks, and probably fewer tourists and mosquitos. Hmmm

    Any recommendations on those routes?

  6. #6
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Lots of nice National Forest campsites in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

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    I pitched a tent in a few spots when it was rainy or chilly, but for the most part it was warm and dry so I just picked out an isolated spot and slept.
    Terrain was not that bad, some hills made you wonder if there was a way around them, but it was mostly rolling terrain.
    I was 42 at the time, and it was my first long haul. Prior to that I had never even done a century, so a lot of the hills looked daunting.

    In michigan there are tons of places to camp, with many improved areas that will run about $5 a night, to totally unimproved areas that are totally free, but you have to carry everything in. Lakes and rivers to fish and swim are everywhere. Some of the best spots are a pain to find, many locals and many campers will tear down any signs to keep them from being overrun.

    Ken.

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    I've noticed a lot of the state/national parks require you to be in designated camp sites which are grouped in little clusters so you get to hear the generator of the big RV next to you as they camp out to watch wats on the staalite dish network. The state/national forests around the area in OH, WV, VA, etc the rules state somehting like camping except certain designated areas so you can kind of camp about anywhere. There is a long state forest in VA that I'd like to visit sometime or you have furthur on down in TN for the smokey mountains, just stay on the south side rather than in the tourist trap called pideno forge and suroundings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    Lots of nice National Forest campsites in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
    Yes!

    In my opinion, the best camping around here begins and ends at Lake Superior. Place I've camped that I can't suggest highly enough include Tettegouche State Park (Minnesota), and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Mich).

    A place that is pretty good but not quite at that level is Sylvania Wilderness (sites are either paddle or hike in, though).

    For easily accessible state park type camping with a great view on a bluff high over the Missippi, try one of the "walk in sites" at Nelson Dewey (Wisconsin).

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    if your gonna do hocking hills do a park and hike or get dropped off(best way)

    Ive done pretty much all of hocking hills that way, some of the best hiking and camping around but its against the law.

    Zaleski is a bit better that way but again the best camping there is off the official trails and down by the moonville tunnel. Killer rock over hang campsite down there, I helped build it.

    After that there's mohican up near mansfield, wild cat hollow out east, shawnee hills down south, all of those are within 80 miles of columbus. The best though anywhere near here is either the monongahela in west virginia or daniel boone in central kentucky. The laws and policies vary a bunch in ohio. Places like wild cat hollow you can do whatever you want just about, Zaleski and Hocking you can't.

    I've done the bike packing trip by bike to both Hocking and Zaleski 3 times now, its a pretty good haul with a trailer or backpacking gear loaded on the bike. The roads are decent but usually shoulderless state routes with 45-55mph speed limits.
    “Whoever does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart. Whoever wants it back has no brains.” --Vladmir Putin

  11. #11
    Member sundaypunch's Avatar
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    I have two kids and like to camp along Lake Michigan. There are many great campgrounds in the northern lower peninsula. Two of my favorites are Nordhouse dunes south of Manistee and D.H. Day near Sleeping Bear Dunes. Both are right on the lake with some of the best beaches in the USA. They both are heavily wooded with huge sites. Neither takes reservations but you are usually fine during the week or early on a non-holiday weekend.

  12. #12
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJH2 View Post
    Yes!

    In my opinion, the best camping around here begins and ends at Lake Superior. Place I've camped that I can't suggest highly enough include Tettegouche State Park (Minnesota), and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Mich).

    A place that is pretty good but not quite at that level is Sylvania Wilderness (sites are either paddle or hike in, though).

    For easily accessible state park type camping with a great view on a bluff high over the Missippi, try one of the "walk in sites" at Nelson Dewey (Wisconsin).
    Tettegouche has some great cart-in sites on a bluff over the Lake Superior beach. Stayed in one over Memorial weekend. Perhaps my new fav. Neighbors weren't visible and no motors could be heard.
    Mike
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  13. #13
    Senior Member social suicide's Avatar
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    My favorite place to camp on Lake Superior.

  14. #14
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    I agree that there are lots of nice areas to camp & bike in northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan. My wife and I especially like the area around Boulder Junction and the Northern Highlands State Forest in northern Wisconsin.

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