Potato Creek State Park | Outdoorsy

Potato Creek State Park
Guide

Introduction

North-central Indiana's Potato Creek State Park offers a wide variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Just outside South Bend, the park surrounds the 327-acre Worster Lake. With mature woodlands, restored prairie and vibrant wetlands, Potato Creek packs a lot of diversity into a relatively small area.

Before European settlement, Native Americans used the area to harvest wild tubers, and it's these 'potatoes' that give the park its name. Starting in the 1830s, settlers converted much of the area to agricultural land. But in the early 20th century, efforts to preserve the area resulted in the restoration of the natural habitat and the designation of park status.

These days, visitors to Potato Creek can take part in boating on the scenic Worster Lake, biking and hiking along miles of trail, fishing from the park pier, and much more. The cool winter months bring snow to Potato Creek State Park, and with it, a flock of winter sports enthusiasts. Cross-country skiing and ice fishing are amongst the most popular winter sports, and there's even a tubing hill for the kiddos. It's no wonder that this is one of Indiana's most popular state parks! RVers looking to stay the night will have no trouble finding a spot to camp, as the park's campground is equipped with nearly 300 electrical sites.

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Camping Accommodations

60'
Max RV length
60'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Potato Creek State Park

Transportation

Driving

Located just 20 minutes south of South Bend, Indiana, Potato Creek State Park is straddled by two major routes -- US-31 and IN-23. Indiana's rolling grasslands make for some pleasant driving, and even those maneuvering big rigs should have no trouble navigating these roads. The park's northern entrance off of New Road is the best bet for those staying overnight, as the main campground is situated nearby. The park's southern entrance off of State Park Road will lead you to the visitor center and equestrian campground.

Even if your RV is on the larger side, you shouldn't have too much trouble navigating the roads inside the park. There are few sharp turns or significant hills, which makes it easy to get around no matter what you're driving. Although the park remains open year-round, winter weather may cause roads in and around the park to be icy, so drive with caution in the off-season and aways check the local forecast before heading out.

Parking

Visitors will find ample parking around the park, but busy areas like the beach, trailheads, and the boat launch lots may fill up quickly during the summer months. If you are camping, you can leave your rig at your campsite and avoid parking altogether by exploring the park either on foot or by bicycle.

Public Transportation

Campgrounds and parking in Potato Creek State Park

Campsites in Potato Creek State Park

Reservations camping

South Bend / Elkhart North KOA

The location of South Bend/Elkhart North KOA combines a rustic wooded setting with the convenience of several restaurants and stores nearby. The campground provides unique amenities such as a petting zoo for the kids to learn about farm animals and other critters. Between South Bend and Elkhart, Indiana, and practically in the backyard of the University of Notre Dame, Amish Country, and the RV Hall of Fame, it would be difficult to find a more perfect midwestern location. The campground provides beautifully maintained and level full-hookup RV sites, including free Wi-Fi and cable television. There are two dog runs for the pups, and bike rentals are available at the campground. Enjoy the campground’s hot and refreshing private showers, clean restrooms, and a nice laundry room for all the amenities of home.

Elkhart Co. / Middlebury KOA

In Middlebury, Indiana, you're right in the heart of Amish country, and the RV capital of the world. Seek the simple and quiet life at the Elkhart Co. / Middlebury KOA where your big rigs have plenty of room in 80-foot long sites offering full hookups, or water, sewer, and electricity, powered by up to 50-amp service. On-site propane is also available. Rent a bike or take the camp shuttle to the Shipshewana Flea Market, and make full use of the Kamping Kitchen, firewood and the pavilion. Wi-Fi, cable television, mini-golf, a swimming pool, and fishing spots will keep you entertained during your stay. Pets are welcome.

Potato Creek Family Campground

This family campground features over 287 sites providing electric hookups, a fire ring, and a picnic table. Most sites are back-in, though pull-through sites are featured as well. It's a spacious layout with no sites overlapping in any obtrusive manner. As long as your rig is under 60 feet long, you'll have no problem fitting into any site.

The pet-friendly campground is such a perfect getaway where the whole family (including your beloved dog) can unwind and recharge from the day's events. Facilities to help make your stay more comfortable include an area bathhouse with flush toilets, dump stations, and access to potable water. Visitors are also welcome to use the grounds' convenience store, where you can stock up on camp supplies.

Just minutes from the lake, the campground is an ideal location to park for a few days and really soak up Potato Creek's surroundings. Open year-round, the park sees guests through all sorts of weather and seasonal events. It's good to get your reservations in fairly early with this park, as the lake brings in many visitors during the peak of summer.

Keep in mind that water is turned off and restrooms may be closed due to winterization from November to April. All facilities are open during the peak season from May to October.

First-come first-served

First-come, First Served

When you stay at Potato Creek State Park, you have options. As a popular day-use area, Potato Creek State Park not only provides sites for those who have reserved ahead but also for those who work off of more spur of the moment decisions. Once you see how much you can enjoy here, you won't question the need to stay for longer. Any unreserved sites on the day of your arrival will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Alternate camping

Horseman's Campground

There are 70 equestrian campsites featured at the Potato Creek State Park. Each site provides hookups for electricity and can support trailers up to 60 feet in length. However, in order for wheeled guests to park, there MUST be a horse along for the ride. Each site is equipped with a fire ring, picnic table, and horse hitiching post. Reservations for Horseman's Campground can be made up to six months in advance.

Campging Cabins

Even when you're not traveling with a home on four wheels, you can still stay in comfort when you visit Potato Creek State Park. Seventeen camping cabins are available for rent year-round and come equipped with modern conveniences like electricity, centralized heat, and indoor plumbing. Inside, guests will find a kitchen with appliances and supplies, a fireplace, and a screened-in porch. Outside there grills and picnic tables available for use, along with a parking space. Cabins can sleep up to eight people, and one ADA-accessible cabin is available. Reservations can be made up to a year in advance.

Off-site Campgrounds

If you were unable to secure a campsite at Potato Creek State Park and are looking for similar accommodations, you won't have to journey too far to find a place to park the RV for the night. Indiana Dunes National Park is located about an hour to the northwest on the shores of Lake Michigan. Those interested in camping overnight will find 66 primitive style sites available for rigs up to 55 feet. For a more modern camping experience, you can either head south to Tippecanoe River State Park or north to Warren Dunes Campground. Both are located about an hour away from Potato Creek and offer electric and water hookups to overnight guests.

Youth Tent Campground

Those seeking accommodations for a large group of youths, whether it be a girl scout or other non-profit group, can reserve one (or all) of the park's six Youth Tent Camping sites. These primitive sites each allow a maximum of 50 guests and come equipped with basic necessities like picnic tables and fire rings. Vault toilets, potable water, and a dump station are also available in the campground.

Seasonal activities in Potato Creek State Park

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing

No matter what time of year you visit, Potato Creek is a great place to see wildlife in its natural habitat. An important area for bird migration, the park hosts water birds such as mute swans and sandhill cranes along with songbirds such as sedge wrens and warblers. Besides birds, beavers can be seen in the Swamp Rose Nature Preserve area of the park, and deer are often seen on the trails -- so tread lightly!

Hiking

Potato Creek offers five hiking trails that range in terms of difficulty from easy to rugged. The trails offer opportunities to explore the wetlands, rolling hills, old farms, and woodlands. Trail 2, the most rugged of the trails, leads to the park's highest point and offers sweeping views across the region. For an especially memorable hiking experience, park the Airstream at Potato Creek State Park in the early autumn and take to the trails to witness the fall foliage in full swing.

Ice Fishing

Indiana winters get plenty cold, and the lake at Potato Creek can be relied on to freeze solid. But that doesn't mean there's nothing going on under the surface. Drill a hole and drop a line, and you'll be surprised at what you might catch. The nearby fish cleaning station makes it easy to prepare your catch once you've caught it. The ice thickness is not monitored by the park, so be sure to bring your own auger and measure the density of the ice before you attempt to reel in some dinner.

Tubing

Potato Creek State Park has a sledding and tubing hill that is very popular in the winter. Racing down the icy hill on a sled or rubber tube is a thrill for both the young and the young at heart. The hill is located between the main campground and the Nature Center. Plan ahead, though; there's no sled or tube rentals in the park, so you'll need to bring your own gear with you in the Class A.

Cross-Country Skiing

When the snow falls in northern Indiana, Potato Creek's hiking trails become ideal for cross-country skiing. It's a great way to enjoy and explore the park even in the heart of winter. It's a good idea to be prepared, though; the park itself doesn't rent skis, so you'll need to bring your own along with in the campervan or rent them from a private outfitter in a nearby town. There is also a sledding hill located between the main campground and the Nature Center that is a known hotspot for young visitors during the winter months.

In-Season

Fishing

With all that water in the center of the park, you'd expect to find good fishing at Potato Creek. And you'd be right -- regular bass tournaments are held on the lake each year. As well as the bass, anglers can hope to reel in crappie, catfish, and other species. The boat launch and boat rentals make it easy to fish on the water, but you can also fish from one of the piers available on Worster Lake. Two are located on the south side of the lake near the boat launches, and an ADA-accessible pier can be found on the north side of the lake near the beach.

Horseback Riding

Potato Creek offers around ten miles of equestrian trails. And because these trails are set aside for horses only, you won't have to worry about sharing them with bikers. Bringing your horse along with you on your RV vacation means you can camp in the designated equestrian campground in the park. The campground is located on the southeast side of the park, with trailheads starting nearby. The trails are mostly flat, making them suitable for riders of all experience levels.

Boating

Fancy a day spent on the water during your stay at Potato Creek State Park? Worster Lake practically begs to be explored by boat, and if you don't have one of your own, you can always rent one. Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and trolling motors are permitted on the lake. It's a perfect way to get some exercise, or simply relax on the calm waters of the lake during summer. There are two boat launches available on the south side of the lake -- one to the east, and one to the west.

Biking

The three-mile bike trail that winds its way through the park is a great way to experience what Potato Creek has to offer. Starting at the boat rental, it leads up and down through wooded hills before finding flatter ground. For a more thrilling experience, there's also a 6.5-mile mountain bike trail. Biking is also allowed on all park roads and is a great way to get around if you are without a passenger vehicle. And if you didn't bring your bike along in the motorhome, don't worry; it's possible to rent one from the park.

Visiting the Nature Center

Looking for a way to get the young ones interested in nature and out of the pop-up? Head to the Nature Center for an afternoon of family fun. Potato Creek's abundant flora and fauna are some of the highlights of the park, and the Nature Center will help you to get a better understanding of what you're seeing. The bird feeders they have set up on the observation deck attract many of the park's bird species, both resident and migratory. There is even a naturalist available who can help you appreciate the delicate ecosystem of the park. There are also events and programs available throughout the year, from snake feedings and fur feeling to owl observations and nature walks. Ask a ranger which programs are available during your stay.

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