Malabar Farm State Park
Guide

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Introduction

Malabar Farm State Park is a historical state park that is a must see for fans of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield. Located in Richland County, Ohio, the park is a very popular location for vacations and those wanting an insight into the olden days of America. Bromfiel bought 595 acres of land in 1939 and transformed it into a massive family compound that featured a 32-room western reserve, where Bromfield wrote many of his books. Malabar Farm was famously the venue for the wedding of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall along with being their honeymoon destination. The park came to be after Bromfield's children sold the farm to a conservation foundation in 1958. The property was accepted by the state of Ohio and the park was officially opened in 1976 as a state park.

It's no surprise that Malabar Farm State Park is very a popular tourist destination and people flock to the park to go on tours of the buildings that once played host to Louis Bromfield, his relatives and celebrity friends. There are also festivals held in Malabar Farm State Park throughout the year, including the Maple Sugaring Festival and The Bromfield Cup (Vintage Base Ball Tournament). Along with these events there are some great hiking trails available all year round. Camping in Malabar Farm State Park is made possible by a 15-site primitive campground that is suitable for horse and pet camping. The park is open all year round and peak season runs from the beginning of April until the end of October.

RV Rentals in Malabar Farm State Park

Transportation in Malabar Farm State Park

Driving

Malabar Farm State Park is located in Richland County and is close to other outdoor havens, including Mohican State Park, Mohican Memorial State Forest, and Pleasant Hill Lake. The park is in a very central location and is close to many small towns, including Mansfield, Little Washington, Lucas and Perrysville. The park is accessible via Pleasant Valley Road on both the east and the west side and from the south via Bromfield road. We recommend taking Pleasant Valley Road if you are looking for the easiest way to access the park in an RV.

Getting to the park is very easy, which is always a bonus! The park and the surrounding terrain is relatively flat and there are no major obstacles for you to navigate in order to reach the park. The only time that you may have trouble accessing the park is during the wintertime when snow and ice can cause inconveniences in your travel. If you are wary of travel conditions make sure you call through to the park to see if park access is attainable.

Parking

There is plenty of parking available within Malabar Farm State Park.

Public Transport

Unfortunately there are no public transport options that will take you to Malabar Farm State Park.

Campgrounds and parking in Malabar Farm State Park

Campsites in Malabar Farm State Park

Reservations camping

Shelby / Mansfield KOA

Conveniently located near Cedar Point Amusement Park and local Amish Country attractions, the Shelby/Mansfield KOA Resort features activities and amenities for everyone. Kids enjoy the playgrounds, and everyone loves the heated pool and hot tub. There’s a dog walk area and lots of activities to enjoy, including pedal karts, miniature golf, fun boats, basketball and more. Rental bikes, as well as on-site fishing, are also available. Hungry? Order a fresh-baked pizza or a full breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Kafe. Staff are available to arrange family reunions, birthday parties and more. Clean bathroom and hot showers, along with full hookups and sites for big rigs are all available at the Shelby/Mansfield KOA Resort.

First-come first-served

Malabar Farm State Park Campground

Malabar Farm State Park has 12 primitive campsites that are available for you to use during your stay at the park. The campground is a single loop that features sites on each side of the campground road and around the circular loop at end of the road. The sites are very large and also accommodate equestrian camping. There are no electric or water hookups available at any of the sites, but they do come with fire rings, picnic tables and drinking water collection points.

Pets are permitted on all of the camping sites and there are two toilet blocks available for use during your stay. Due to the cold weather that the park experiences the campground does close from the beginning of November until the beginning of April. When the campground is open it is walk-in only. Quiet hours are from 10:00PM to 7:00AM and a maximum of 2 vehicles are allowed per site. If you need more information on camping in Malabar Farm State Park contact the park office.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in Malabar Farm State Park

In-Season

Fishing

Fishing is always a great family friendly activity and in Malabar Farm State Park you can fish in the pond or in Switzer Creek. The pond has been refurbished so you now have easier access to the water than ever before. There are multiple species stoked in the creek and the pond in Malabar Farm State Park, including bluegill, bass, catfish and trout. The variety of fish will give anglers more choice as to what species to target.

Big House Tour

Want to check out Louis Bromfield's "Big House"? During the peak season you are able to check out this impressive building with an Ohio State Park Naturalist telling you all about it. On the tour you will learn about Bromfield's life before and after his arrival to Pleasant Valley in 1939. The tour of the Big House will generally last around 45 minutes and will not overlap with other tours that are happening within Malabar Farm State Park.

Off-Season

Birding

Malabar Farm State Park also makes for a great birding location at all times during the year. Throughout the year different species of birds are attracted to the park. During the summer months you can expect to see birds such as the eastern kingbird, red-eyed vireo and green heron. In winter you can spot the northern harrier, rough-legged hawk short-eared and long-eared owl, snow goose and osprey. Check the event section on the park website to see if there will be a birding walk held as they are done so intermittently throughout the year.

Maple Syrup Festival

Want to learn the history of Ohio syrup making at Malabar Farm State Park? The Maple Syrup Festival is a free event where you can experience life in the olden days with live historical demonstrations and horse drawn wagon rides. Food and maple products are also for sale and you can find free samples of maple syrup available at the sugar house. The festival has been held annually since 1977 over the first two weekends in March.

Hiking

Malabar Farm State Park has some great hiking trails available for you to enjoy throughout the year. In total there are four trails that you can use that vary in length from around half a mile to five and a half. If you are looking for a long hike we recommend the five and a half mile Pleasant Valley Bridle Trail. The trail traverses some gorgeous scenic overlooks and some lovely old growth forests. Once the snow starts to fall this trail is also available for those who like to cross-country ski.

Guided Farm Wagon Tour

Another great way to view the historical sites of Malabar Farm State Park is to take a tractor drawn guided tour. The tractor tours are led by an Ohio State Park Naturalist who will take you on your journey and inform you about the landmark and conservation highlights in relation to Louis Bromfield and his fantastic book "Pleasant Valley". The wagon tours generally last for around 45 minutes and will not overlap your house tour.

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