Versailles State Park is worth taking a special RV trip out to southeastern Indiana just to see. It is the state's second-largest state park and one that is filled to the brim with wildlife and history. Many of the stone structures within the park were originally built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, but its deep cultural history goes even further back. During the Civil War, the area was briefly under Confederate control until the Union soldiers took it back.
Nonetheless, you can follow the same path Confederate General John Morgan took through the park thanks to the historical markers the park has placed along his route. Fossils found throughout the park also tell the story of the ancient ocean that once covered the area. Present-day Versailles State Park is pretty interesting, too, though. After hooking up your RV, you can pick from one of the many recreational activities offered at the park, including boating, fishing, mountain biking, picnicking, and relaxing by the pool.
Visitors to the park may be surprised to learn the large 230-acre Versailles Lake was actually a man-made result of building a dam across Laughery Creek in 1954. The lake now makes the perfect spot for fishing, and the dam can even be visited since it's within the park. You can explore all of the park's other secrets yourself, but you have to get there in your rig first.
Luckily the park is easy to find, sitting just an hour west of Cincinnati and a mere half-mile from outside of the town of Versailles, Indiana. The park can be reached several different ways, depending on where you are coming from, but you will ultimately end up on US-50, driving just outside of the city until you reach the park entrance.
Once inside the park, the roads are paved and lack any tumultuous terrain or sharp turns, but some of the roads around the campgrounds may be difficult to maneuver with a big rig. That's why many visitors opt to bring an extra, smaller car that can get around the park easier, but it isn't totally necessary. However, if you plan on leaving the park to go shopping or eat in nearby towns, it would probably be easiest to bring an extra car.
Whether you bring an extra car or use your RV to get around the park, you shouldn't have any problems finding parking near your destination. There are multiple parking lots throughout the park located near points of interest, including the pool, the boat launch, and the campgrounds. Some of the trails within the park are also paved, which are suitable for bikes or scooters.
The large established Batesville KOA campground is in a rural, wooded setting surrounded by forest and bordered by a lake. RV sites feature full hookups with Wi-Fi and concrete patios; some sites have picnic tables, grills, and/or fire pits. Campground amenities include restrooms and showers, laundry facilities, a pool, pavilions and gazebos, a family lodge, fishing, miniature golf, a nine-hole golf course, a beauty shop, a camp store, and much more. Planned activities include themed weekends, hayrides, nature walks, crafts, and candy hunts. There is also a restaurant on-site.
Campground C is the smallest of the three campgrounds and has the easiest layout to navigate. The campground is a simple semi-circle shape and has a nice little playground neighboring it. Like the others, this campground also only has electrical hookups, but the sites are very spacious, and there are water stations and restrooms within the campground. Sites are pet-friendly as well.
Also, like Campground B, reservations for this campground are only available during specific months. On the one hand, this makes it easier to get a spot without a reservation, but if you want to stay for the weekend or on a holiday, you should get there as early as possible.
Campground B is a short walk from Campground A and is comprised of sites 97 to 180. Many visitors find the roads in this campground are easier to navigate than those in Campground A, but it doesn't tend to be much busier. This campground is especially good for visitors with larger rigs since almost all of the sites can fit equipment over 50 feet long. Sites are electric and pet-friendly.
This campground is closer to the dump station than Campground A, but still far enough way that the inevitable odors won't waft into your site. Water stations and restrooms are also located throughout this campground to make up for the lack of sewage and water hookups. The sites at this campground can only be reserved between May and October and may be reserved up to six months in advance.
The 226 campsites at Versailles State Park are spread out over three campgrounds, with Campground A containing sites one through 96. The sites vary in size, but they are all pretty spacious and can accommodate RVs and trailers over 40 feet in length. Every site has an electric hookup, but no water or sewage hookups, which is pretty common for state parks. Thankfully, there are restrooms and water sources nearby, as well as a dump station centrally located between the three campgrounds.
The nearby playground is the perfect setting for the kids to play while you're relaxing back at the campsite. The campground is within close proximity to the picnic area, a couple of nature trails, and Fallen Timber Creek. Although the campground isn't very close to the boat launch and fishing areas, the roads from the campground will take you right to them, so it's not a huge inconvenience. All of the sites at Campground A are available for reservations year-round.
Versailles State Park also has nine extra-large gravel RV campsites in the equestrian campground for horse lovers. These are located to the south of the Campground Control Station on Old Fire Tower Road. Length limits for your rigs and horse trailers range from 60 to 93 feet, and they are all back-in sites. Each site offers 50-amp electric and allows your other four-legged family members as well, as long as you keep them on a leash or otherwise contained at all times.
The park also provides water supply and restroom nearby for your convenience. However, the water is shut off and flush toilets are closed from November until May to prevent frozen pipes. Pit toilets are available during this time. You’ll find a post to hitch your horse to, a picnic table, and a large fire ring where you can cook. You can also bring your own camp stove or portable grill. Reservations are needed and can be made up to six months in advance.
The campsites at Campground C are all available on a first-come, first-served basis during the off-season. However, during peak season, starting in May, they can be reserved. Whatever sites aren't reserved are available for local sale, but there's no telling when a site might be available if you don't make your reservation. Making a reservation is also the best way to ensure you have a site that can accommodate your equipment.
During the off-season months, all sites at this campground are only available on a first-come, first-served basis, and you shouldn't have a problem getting one upon arrival. However, if you plan on going during the summer months, make sure to make your reservations well in advance because this is many visitors' favorite campground, and no sites are explicitly for local sale only during peak months.
Whatever sites are not reserved when you arrive are available on a first-come, first-served basis. During the winter months, excluding holidays, you shouldn't have any problems getting a site when you arrive if you didn't make reservations. However, you probably won't be as lucky during the peak season, so make your reservations in advance if you plan on visiting during the summer or spring.
Do you have a large family or group gathering coming up? If your family appreciates nature, Camp Laughery Group Camp, located right on the water, is a fantastic idea. This campground can sleep up to 120 people with 12 cabins, a recreation room, dining hall, kitchen with all the necessary appliances, and a large BBQ pit outside. You will have to bring all bedding, cooking utensils, and other personal items. Each of the main buildings has a restroom, and there is a comfort station in the middle of the camp with showers and restrooms.
You’ll also have a large campfire ring where your group can gather, as well as picnic tables for you all to enjoy. The playground is a short walk from the campground as well as the pool, lake, boat dock, and nature center. You must be 21 to rent the group camp and designate one person as the group leader to be in charge. Your furbabies will have to stay home for this one, and your RV will have to stay in the parking lot. Reservations have to be made at least 30 days in advance.
The Youth Tent Campground is for non-profit youth groups only. These are not for group or family camping. You will have to show verification of the non-profit status when you come so be sure to bring that info with you. That being said, there are three campsites in the Youth Tent Campground. Sites one and two can accommodate up to 25 guests while site three can handle up to 35. These sites are located just past Campground B in a secluded area of the park.
Each campsite has six picnic tables and a large campfire ring with a grill to cook on. Sites one and two have room for seven vehicles each, while site three has room for eight. There is a pit toilet and water supply between sites one and two for your convenience. You’ll also be within a short walk to Fallen Timber Creek. Pets are not allowed, and reservations are needed for these sites.
The trails in Versailles State Park are great for beginners and pros alike. They allow visitors to roam throughout nature at their own pace, whether you're looking for a relaxing stroll or grueling hike. Eight miles of trails are meant specifically for hiking, but hiking is also allowed on the biking trails. Although it may be tempting to pick a flower or feed the animals, make sure you don't take anything out of its original place; just enjoy it with your eyes.
Versailles State Park is any horse lover's dream come true. Whether you're just going for the day or camping for multiple nights, the park has plenty of room for you and your horse to roam. Although not all of the trails in the park are suitable for horseback riding, a whopping 25 miles of trails are just waiting to be explored on horseback. There is also an equestrian day-use area if you don't want to stay on the trails all day.
If you're packing your bike in your camper you are in luck. The park also has 16 miles of mountain biking trails, with varying grades and treads. The easiest of the trails is Turtle Loop, which is only one-mile long and doesn't have any challenging terrain. The other trails are quite a bit more challenging, but still a lot of fun to explore. They may not be suitable for children, but experienced mountain bikers will love the combination of scenic views and challenging terrain.
Even though swimming is not allowed at the lake, don't worry, there are plenty of swimming options available at the park. The large 25-meter swimming pool is the perfect spot for the whole family to go for a dip. As if that wasn't enough, there is also a huge 100-foot water slide and a children's area with a wading pool and rainmaker. Bring plenty of sunscreen since the swimming complex is only open during the summer and spring months.
It'd be a shame to leave Versailles State Park without first boating on Lake Versailles. You can either bring your own boat towed behind your rig or rent a canoe or kayak at the park. Not only is kayaking relaxing and a great form of cardio, but if you have your state fishing license you can also go fishing on Versailles Lake. Small game fish such as bass, bluegill, and catfish are common catches for anglers on the lake.
The Indiana state parks system provides a wealth of interpretive nature programs for visitors and nature lovers of all ages. The programs are offered three days a week from May to August. These programs give visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the flora and fauna around the park. You can also learn more about them, as well as the history of the park and the surrounding area.