Ohio Camping Adventure

camping cabin

Looking for a great getaway? Try planning an Ohio camping adventure. In addition to private and municipal campgrounds, there are 57 Ohio State Park campgrounds offering a total of more than 9700 campsites. 

Though my husband and I both trailer camped as kids and tent camped with our own kids, we decided to try a new experience. With a last minute week of freedom on our calendars, we decided to try cabin camping. 

Planning an Ohio Camping Adventure

Most of the state parks were booked up, so we had to get creative. Additionally, we had a one day obligation in Louisville, so we concentrated our search on the southwestern corner of the state.  We wanted a nice clean park with a cabin large enough to hold at least five people. We were looking for nearby things to do as well as amenities within the park. 

Before long I discovered Winton Woods. It’s part of the Great Parks of Hamilton County and located near Cincinnati. In addition to tent and RV camping, the park features both deluxe and rustic cabins for rent. 

Winton Woods

There are ten rustic cabins and eight deluxe cabins all of which have air conditioning. I decided fairly quickly on the deluxe cabins.

Bathroom and bedrooms of deluxe camping cabin.
The deluxe cabins had a private bathroom, separate bedroom (bottom right), and a loft area suitable for sleeping bags.

In addition to the extra space, the deluxe cabins also have fully appointed kitchen and bathrooms. In addition to a pull out sofa, the cabins also have a separate bedroom and loft area. The girls had a friend staying with, so this gave everyone a little bit of privacy.

Dining area of deluxe camping cabin at Winton Woods in Ohio.
A view of the dining area in the cabin.

The park is in a great location. There’s so much to see and do in Cincinnati. And to be honest, sitting around a fire the entire time wasn’t going to provide the wow factor the girls were seeking.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

COVID Advisement

Special note: This trip was in the summer of 2019. At the time COVID was not a problem. Keep in mind as you make travel plans that you may need to take COVID restrictions into consideration.

We got right into adventure mode, as we were able to take in a Cincinnati Reds game on the way to the campground. And, as luck would have it, they were playing the Indians. Yes, we’re sort of Indians fans. I mean we’re not the die-hard, season-ticket-holding, everything-covered-in-the-logo kind of fans (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But if someone says, “Hey what MLB team do you like?” We’re that kind of Indians fans.

The Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds
The Great American Ballpark for an all Ohio battle between the Reds and the Indians.

The facilities at the Great American Ball Park are beautiful. The stadium overlooks the river and it was nice to watch the boats gather and go by. We also purchased the unlimited drinks package which turned out to be a real bargain because it was incredibly hot with impossibly high humidity. It was a good game, we all sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” ate peanuts, and the Indians won. 

Checking in for Our Ohio Camping Advenure

Next we headed to Winton Woods. It was easy to find with GPS and check-in was smooth at the little camp store. In addition to camping necessities and merchandise, the store sells ice cream. 

We took a quick drive around the campground. I noticed all of the cabins and RV sites are within easy walk to the shower house. The tent sites are a bit further but still walkable. There are both back in and pull through sites for RVs. There is also a playground and designated fishing area and nice paved camp roads for kids to ride bicycles and make sidewalk chalk art. 

Our Home Away from Home

Our cabin was not large but livable, at least for the week we would be there. It was clean and the kitchen was well stocked with pots and pans. There was a microwave and dishwasher. The bathroom was small but usable. We did find out that the water pressure was hit or miss (down to almost nothing). It wasn’t a huge problem though as we just used the shower house which had plenty of water pressure. 

View from loft of deluxe camping cabin, home base for your camping adventure
View from the loft of the cabin – the sofa pulls out into a bed.

There was a nice area outside of the cabin for the usual camping recreation. There was plenty of lawn space for cornhole or throwing around a football. Traffic was low in the area and the roads were paved. For smaller kids there was plenty of space to ride bikes or play hopscotch. 

Kitchen of deluxe camping cabin in Winton Woods near Cincinnati, Ohio.
The kitchen had all of the conveniences you would need for a short stay.

There was a large deck attached to the cabin, with a sturdy railing convenient for hanging beach towels or twinkly lights (which we did). A few steps off the deck, the fire pit provided a large area for gathering and a picnic table sat nearby.

Dinner Around the Campfire

Our first night we had dinner on the fire. Packets are one of my favorite things to have over the fire or on the grill at home. You can fix them however you like, sort of mix and match style with whatever you have on hand.

Dinner over the fire is key to your camping adventure.
Delicious hamburger packets from the first night and a banana desert from the second.

My packets included hamburger, bacon, green beans, zucchini, red onion, potatoes and mushrooms. After cooking over the fire (I didn’t time it, but about 20 minutes on indirect heat flipping over occasionally), I opened them up and added shredded cheese. It’s a great all-in-one dinner. If you don’t like hamburger you can change it out for steak cut into small bites, chicken cut into bite sized pieces, or smoked sausage. It would be easy to make a vegan or vegetarian packet as well. 

Afterward, we capped the evening with s’mores around the fire. Although sticky and messy, s’mores have to be one of my all time favorite deserts. 

Onsite Fun

The next morning it was time to explore. We walked down to the fishing area to have a quick look. It was a nice area away from other campers, but didn’t offer many places to sit. You might want to bring a camp chair if you plan on fishing. 

Fish on a hook.
A small catch in the lake.

Our next stop was the disc golf course at Winton woods. I’m not very knowledgeable on the sport and am mostly good at throwing the disc into the woods and then going to find it, but it seemed like a nice course. The girls seemed to enjoy it, and their friend seemed fairly expert. At 18 holes it took us over an hour to finish the course. To be honest, a good bit of the time was searching the woods for my discs.

Parky’s Farm

Winton Woods also features a farm park, Parky’s Farm. In addition to the animals which appeal mostly to children, the farm also offers horseback riding for all ages. There are also hands on ranger led programs. You can access the programs, including the programs at Parky’s Farm, from the park website.

Big red barn at Parky's Farm.
At Parky’s Farm we saw horses, chickens goats, and more.

More Food and Fire

The second night around the fire we had smoked sausage, cut into hot dog sized pieces and cooked over the fire on sticks. I really like Big Red Smokies and used to always have those for camping, but couldn’t find any this time. The smoked sausage was a suitable substitute and a definite upgrade from hot dogs.

For dessert we tried the banana boats, which I’d seen numerous times on Pinterest. We sliced bananas lengthwise, filled with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips, then wrapped in foil. We placed them over hot coals and cooked for a few minutes. Then, when they were cool enough to handle, we opened the foil and scooped out the treat with a spoon. They were delicious, but very messy.

The Marina at Winton Woods

Day three took us to the marina at Winton Woods. The small store sells boat fuel and snacks and supplies, rents both bicycles and boats, and has a small snack bar. The boat rentals were fairly inexpensive and they had several types: rowboats, kayaks, paddle boards, canoes, pontoons, pedal boats, and motor boats. 

Sign for Winton Woods Boathouse and duck on the lake.
In addition to activities at the marina, the Winton Woods boathouse offered a snack bar and splash pad for little ones.

We decided to rent two motorboats between the five of us to get in a few hours of fishing. It’s a small, limited horsepower lake but there is plenty of space to motor around for a few hours. We did some fishing and caught a few sunfish and a small bass. We gave up toward midday , as it was hot and the fish weren’t biting.

View of lake from a boat.
The lake was peaceful with wooded areas along the banks.

We finished our day with a delivery pizza to the campsite. I don’t know why, but getting a pizza delivered to the campsite is always more exciting than pizza delivery at home!

Jungle Jim’s and a Visit to Spring Grove

After our fourth day jaunt to Lousiville, day five saw us back in the Cincinnati area. We spent the morning at Jungle Jim’s. You can check out my review of Jungle Jim’s. It’s the craziest supermarket you can imagine and well worth the visit. You can spend a few hours in there, just looking around, without spending a cent. Although, chances are good you’ll find a little something out of the ordinary to purchase. Maybe you’ll go home with a package of salt and vinegar crickets or like me, just get a couple giant pickles from the barrell.

Firetruck i Jungle Jim's Grocery store near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Boats, firetrucks, and a singing can of soup grace the aisles at Jungle Jim’s.

After Jungle Jim’s, the kids decided to cool off at a local pool. With time to kill, my husband and I headed to Spring Grove Cemetery. It may be odd, but I think cemeteries are beautiful and this one is well known. We wondered around for a few hours admiring the flowers, stones, statues and some magnificent mausoleums. Though it seems unusual, it was a highlight of the trip for me. The grounds were immaculate, the flowers beautiful, and the old stones and statues interesting to see and read.

Downtown Cincinnati

This was more or less our last evening in Cincinnati, so we went downtown and across the river into Kentucky. Then we walked back across the Roebling Suspension Bridge into the city. It is a beautiful bridge and a nice walk. There’s a park at the base of it on the Ohio side which is quite nice. With such a great location, we could even include downtown Cincinnati in our Ohio camping adventure.

The Roebling Suspension Bridge, Cincinnati.
The Roebling Suspension Bridge between downtown Cincinnati and Kentucky is a nice walk.

Kings Island

The next morning we checked out and headed to Kings Island for the grand finale of the trip.  We met up with our oldest and another friend to spend the whole day from opening, through closing fireworks. I think the kids rode every ride and by the end of the day I was tired and my feet were aching. 

The Eiffel Tower at Kings Island Amusement Park near Cincinnati, Ohio.
The entrance fountain at Kings Island is a great place to take a picture.

Base Camp for our Ohio Camping Adventure

Winton Woods made a great base camp for our Ohio vacation. Accommodations, while not luxurious, were adequate and comfortable. The kitchen gave us space for preparing easy and cheap meals for breakfast and lunch and storing food for our campfires. There were nice amenities for onsite fun, such as fishing, disc golf, and hiking. And the location, which was close to everything to do in the Cincinnati area, was ideal. 

Do you have a favorite Ohio campground? Do you prefer to tent camp or rent a cabin, or do you have your own RV? What’s your favorite Ohio camping adventure? We’re always looking for new and better ways to explore Ohio’s outdoors. Be sure to drop a comment and share.