Looking for a beautiful RV getaway destination that is peaceful, interesting, and has plenty to do in Ohio? Barkcamp State Park is a 1,000-acre park surrounded by rolling sandstone hills and valleys, woodlands, wide-open meadows, and a pretty lake with a 700-foot beach. Tucked within the center of the coal-mining region in Belmont, Ohio, the park is a haven for year-round, family-style camping and recreation.
The name of the park dates back to before Lake Belmont was dammed when a creek ran through the area that was known as Barkcamp Creek. Before the land was purchased by the state to become a park in the 1950s, it was used as a logging camp where bark stripping occurred before going to a mill.
The area in and around Barkcamp State Park features a fantastic mix of rolling hills and wooded areas to provide a picturesque backdrop for your stay. There’s plenty of wildlife to be found in the park so keep an eye out for frolicking squirrels, raccoons, skunks, wild turkey, and white-tailed deer. For those looking to let off a little steam, there are volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, an archery range, hiking trails, and an 18-hole miniature golf course. On the lake, you can go non-motorized boating, fishing, and swimming too. For a leisurely afternoon, pack a picnic and enjoy the scenic surroundings, filled with woodland wildflowers, wild geraniums, dogwood, and redbud blossoms in spring.
There is one campground featuring paved sites that cater for large rigs and a separate section for campers with pets and horses. There are also sites with electric hookups available, along with a loop only available to group campers. Barkcamp State Park is open all year round with the peak season running from March until October.
Barkcamp State Park is located off Interstate 70 and is well signposted from the highway. This means that you shouldn't have any trouble finding the park if you aren't using a navigation system, but they are recommended as a back up if your navigation skills aren't exactly perfect.
The park has one entrance that is accessible from Barkcamp Park Road and due to the looped layout, there is an easy exit for your RV. While the interior roads and the campsites are paved, navigating the park can be challenging for those in big rigs. As the site numbers aren’t listed, it can be a little tricky to find your site, but if you need any help the park staff will be able to assist you. If you need a larger campsite for your RV, stick to the second pet area where the roads are wider and the pads are longer.
Visiting the park for a day trip? There is a massive parking lot on the northeast side of the lake that you are welcome to use. There is more than enough room to park your rig here, so you won't have to worry about parking troubles if you are a beginner RV driver.
Barkcamp State Park has one campground that is suitable for you to call home during your RV vacation. Located in a wooded area not too far from Belmont Lake, Barkcamp State Park Campground has 132 RV-friendly sites, including 120 that are powered with electric hookups.
Whether the site has hookups or not, they are all equipped with a picnic table, fire pit, and a log of firewood to help you get the fire started. You can also access water collection points within the campground, use the pit toilets, and there is a centrally located dump station that all RVs are welcome to use. If you are traveling to Barkcamp State Park with a pet, you will have to make sure that you stay in one of the pet-friendly loops since the whole campground is not pet-friendly. The areas where pets are allowed are in loop A, B, and the Equestrian Loop.
Reservations for the Barkcamp State Park Campground can be made online or by calling the park office prior to your arrival, and it is open for use all-year-round.
Visitors planning a last-minute trip to the park can take advantage of some sites only being offered on a first-come, first-served walk-in basis. The majority of sites with this designation are available in the winter, but there are some in the summer too. Depending on the time of year that you are visiting the park, these first-come, first-served only sites may be all in use, so if you are planning your trip it is more beneficial to make a reservation to guarantee that you will have a site waiting for you to enjoy.
If you are thinking about bringing your horse to Barkcamp State Park, you should do it because there is an equestrian-friendly loop within the campground. The loop is one of the closest to the shores of Belmont Lake and is well set up to provide you with a great place to stay for you and your horse.
The loop contains 24 sites and along with featuring the regular amenities of the campground, the equestrian loop has a horse washing station so that you can clean up and take care of your animal and a mounting ramp that is accessible to all. The equestrian camping area is most popular during the summer months, so if you are considering traveling during this time make sure to book a reservation prior to your arrival.
Unlike most parks, Barkcamp State Park has a group site that is located within the same campground as the RV-friendly and equestrian sites. Large enough to accommodate up to 66 guests at any given time, this is a primitive group camp with no hookups or RV access available.
Those staying in the camp are able to do so in tents, and there are 11 picnic tables available for eating and social gatherings. There are no pit toilets in the loop but you are only a short walk away from one that is near the entrance to the loop. The group camping area can be reserved online or by calling the park office.
For a more luxurious stay in Barkcamp State Park, consider renting out one of the Sherman Cabins. There are four cabins in total for you to choose from, all of which contain enough room and bedding to sleep three people in a twin and set of bunk beds.
The cabins feature some modern amenities, including air conditioning, heating, a microwave, and a small fridge. Outside, you can make the most of the provided deck, grill, and fire ring for some outdoor relaxation. There is one cabin that is ADA-accessible and contains a table that the others do not. Please note that linens and housekeeping aren't provided, so you will have to bring your own bedding if you want to stay in one of the cabins. They are available all year round and can be reserved online or by calling the park.
If you are visiting Barkcamp State Park and don't have an RV, don't worry. All of the sites in the campground can also be used by tent campers, and you will also have some tent-only sites available for you to choose from. There are a total of 14 tent-only sites located in one loop near the shore of the lake where you can pitch a tent and enjoy the serenity. This loop has the same features available as those that can accommodate RVs so you won't be missing out on anything. There are no pets allowed within the tent-only loop of the campground, so keep that in mind before reserving one.
Looking for some solo or family fun off of Lake Belmont? Barkcamp State Park is home to a variety of outdoor sporting facilities, including an 18-hole miniature golf course. The course is a whole lot of fun and can be used throughout the year, but if you’re visiting out of season, call the park office to make sure that someone will be there to rent you clubs if you don't have your own. The mini-golf course is free to use so why not give it a go and see if you are the next putting master.
Barkcamp State Park has some stellar picnicking amenities available for visitors to enjoy, so if you are thinking about kicking back you should do so at one of the picnic areas. Along with being popular with campers, the picnic areas at the park also are popular with locals, family gatherings, and day visitors. Some of their amenities include shaded areas, tables, and fire rings. If you have a larger group, you should consider booking one of the three shelter houses online prior to your arrival so you can enjoy the large space.
The trails that lead through Barkcamp State Park are perfect for hiking lovers and visitors who have brought their horse so make sure to check them out. Take the paved trail that meanders through the pioneer village towards the Antique Barn. You’ll pass through mature woodlands with beautiful plants and flowers in season (particularly in spring). Interpretive signs are placed at intervals along the route to describe the local fauna, flora, and culture of the park.
A variety of naturalist programs are available during the summer months at Barkcamp State Park. The park contains a 19-century Antique Barn that was built by Solomon Bentley, a famous local orchardman, who grew apples he called the “Bentley Sweet”. The barn is now used for summer naturalist programs and historical exhibitions. On a similar note, family movies are also screened in the park during the summer months if the weather is good.
A boat launch area available in Barkcamp State Park makes it easy for you to access the waters of Lake Belmont so that you can go exploring. Please note that only boats with electric motors are allowed on the lake, which means that any boats with standard motors will not be allowed in order to maintain peace and quiet for other campers. Seasonal boat tie-ups are available, and if you don't have your own watercraft, kayaks can also be rented from the park.
The 117-acre Lake Belmont is the star of the show at Barkcamp State Park. Campers and day visitors alike love to hit the lake and have some fun in the sun during the warmer summer months. Thanks to the large 700-foot beach there is plenty of room to beach comb or do some sun tanning. If you do plan on swimming, make sure that you take precautions. Some of the park's picnic areas are located near the swimming area so you can bring along a picnic to accompany your day out at the beach.