Guide to Camping in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Camping Guide

Most National Parks across the country offer a range of different locations you can stay within the park’s borders. Cuyahoga is no longer one of these, and staying in the park overnight, whether camping or in one of the parking lots, can result in a fine.

That doesn’t mean that you don’t have options. There are many beautiful locations you can stay in around the park. Whether you are interested in free campgrounds, RV overnights, or staying in a lodge, the surrounding area can accommodate.

Some of the best places to camp in the surrounding area are Ohio’s state parks. There are several that are very close to the borders of the National Park. If you enjoy tent camping, you will have the most options in this area of the United States.

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Campgrounds and Campsites Near Cuyahoga Valley National Park

West Branch State Park

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : Varies
  • Reservation : Yes; Call (866) 644-6727

West Branch State Park is expansive, covering more than 5,000 acres of land and almost 3,000 acres of water. All of this allows you to participate in a wide variety of activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, and more. The campground is situated on a small peninsula that sticks out into the lake and gives beautiful views of the water and surrounding area.

If you want the opportunity to go camping to give you access to the National Park and the activities in this beautiful State Park, there are 103 campsites in the park. Some of these are situated along the lakeside. Others are located within the dense forest area, ideal for hammock tents.

There are options for different campsites. Some of them are primitive, while others are suited with full hookups. Pets are permitted within this campground, and there is an active dump station. There are campsites specifically for horsemen as well and trails that run throughout the park.

Punderson State Park

  • Type : Tent / RV
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : Varies
  • Reservation : Yes

The Punderson State Park Campground is another site that is an hour or less away from the National Park. It is located just to the east of Punderson Lake and offers plenty of boating or hiking options around this lake or Stump Lake.

Some of the campsites are located on a hill where you will get more of a view of the surrounding area. Campers might have to walk up an incline or a set of stairs to get to these sites, so they should be sure to have the ability to take all of their camping gear up with them.

There is a campground station, a Nature Center, and a playground in this campground. Restrooms and a shower house are also located on-site. There are almost 200 sites available, some of which have electric hookups. Bring your camping cookware since there are a fire ring and picnic table for use at each location. Pets are allowed at the campsite.

Stanford House

  • Type : Lodging
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : Varies
  • Reservation : Yes

Stanford House is just outside of the National Park and is located in a relatively rural section outside of the closeby town of Boston. It was originally built and occupied by James Stanford in 1806. Originally, it served as his property as well as the home of township offices. His son, George, is the one who built the farmhouse that is still standing to this day.

It has a stunning location, with a view of the Cuyahoga River from its windows and closeby to the Ohio & Erie Canal. You can spend a night at the Stanford House to be close to the national park and many of its most iconic sites. The Towpath Trail starts just steps away from its door.

This location offers you a more restful and relaxing stay in the area than camping for some people. It also gives you a chance to engage with the area’s history more closely than on a typical campsite.

River Front Tent Site

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $40 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

The River Front Tent Site is a tent-only campground set up by a local landowner to provide a space for those who want to explore the surrounding area’s beauty. Although there are no sites large enough for most RVs, you can use a rooftop tent if you have the vehicle for it.

This campsite allows pets and campfires. It is not necessary to bring wood with you since they supply an unlimited amount of firewood from work in the nearby forest. You can obtain a fire starter if you want to make the initial job easier.

There are bins to throw away your trash and picnic tables available at most of the sites. Toilets are present at the campground as well, although there are no showers. It is easy to go hiking, biking, or watching wildlife in the nearby area.

Rose Field Tent Site

  • Type : Tent
  • Open : Year-round
  • Cost : $45 per night
  • Reservation : Yes

The Rose Field Tent Site is another campground opened by a local landowner who wants to help visitors celebrate the underrated scenery in Ohio. This campground is laid out on 122 acres of a protected sanctuary.

They are trying to create a space where people can interact with nature in a healing environment. The land’s ecological integrity is one of their primary concerns, and their visitors must respect that goal. The sites are large and can host up to 10 people. Feel free to bring along multiple smaller tents or a sizeable eight-person tent.

Pets are allowed in this area, although they need to be kept controlled, not negatively affecting the environment. Toilets are available for campers, along with showers and potable water. There are intermittent fire bans in effect in this area, so be aware of this before lighting yours.

Camping Tips for Yosemite National Park

  1. Pack for the weather. Ohio is part of the Midwest and can experience a large range of weather patterns. Pack gear like rain jackets or rain pants since it can be drizzly any time of the year. In the summer, pack cool weather clothes but be prepared for cooler nighttime temperatures.
  2. Keep your dog under control. Most of the sites and parks in the area in and around Cuyahoga Valley National park allow pets. Many people enjoy bringing their dogs with them to the parks. However, it is best to use a dog harness and keep them on a leash that is six feet or less.
  3. Get creative with your locations. Since there are no campgrounds in the National Park, you might need to get creative with your camping locations. Many landowners in the area have begun to set up campsites so that more people can enjoy the scenery. It is simply a matter of finding these sites.
  4. Dress in layers. Dressing in layers is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for the daily change in temperatures. You can wear hiking shorts under your pants, or a sweater over a T-shirt.
  5. Reserve ahead of time. Since there are not too many large-scale options for campers, it is best to come to the area prepared. Reserve your campgrounds ahead of time to get a guarantee of a place to stay.
  6. Pack your swimsuit. This area in the north of Ohio is well-known for its beautiful lakes and rivers. Pack your swimsuit so that you are ready to leap into refreshing waters after a day of hiking.
  7. Watch out for snakes. Ohio plays host to more than 25 species of snakes. Most of these are harmless, although they can still bite. They would often prefer to slither away. However, there are three poisonous snakes in-state, and it is best to know what they look like and avoid them. These three include the Northern Copperhead, Eastern Massasauga, and Timber Rattlesnake.

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a writer, plant-nerd, and outdoor enthusiast. She has traveled extensively, around the U.S., throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Everywhere she treks, she takes time to enjoy the outdoors. John Muir is her hero. She aspires to inspire people to live better as he did.