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Brown County State Park is by far the most popular getaway in Indiana for both Hoosiers and out-of-state visitors. Indiana’s largest state park, Brown County consists of nearly 16,000 acres of diverse landscape sandwiched between Bloomington, Indiana, and Columbus, Ohio. This convenient location is ideal for finding RV rentals in Brown County. Like so many other state parks in the country, this one also started as a Civilian Conservation Corps project to employ young men in the 1930s.
Due to the makeup of the park, Brown County has earned the moniker of “Little Smokies.” Glaciers came to the end of the road here during the last ice age, and their journey formed moody ravines and rugged hills that are today filled with dense forest. In fact, one of the highest points in Indiana is located in Brown County State Park. Visitors have endless recreational opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, swimming, and playing, as well as abundant motorhome camping sites.
Brown County State Park is especially popular with equestrians. The park features over 70 miles of bridle trails, available to Brown County campers who bring their own horses and those who don’t. The park’s Saddle Barn offers guided trail rides and horse rentals; ponies are available for the kids.
Hikers and mountain bikers will find miles of trails of varying difficulty. The park’s 18-mile hiking trail network offers short paths up to three and a half miles long, which means most hikers of all abilities will find something suitable here. These trails will take you around the park's two lakes where you can watch for deer and woodpeckers, and through nature preserves with interpretive signs. Find some breathtaking views of the park on the more difficult Fire Tower trail, which passes an old Civilian Conservation Corps shelter and eventually takes you to the park's fire lookout. One of the park's trails is wheelchair-accessible. Mountain bikers will love the park’s almost 30 miles of singletrack.
Bring your fishing pole if you have an Indiana state fishing license, even during the winter. The 17-acre Ogle Lake and the smaller Strahl Lake are stocked with fish like bass and bluegill. You may launch your own non-motorized boat from the lake’s shores during warmer months, and once the lakes freeze over, walk out on the lake for challenging ice fishing.
Brown County State Park also has an outdoor pool and grill, playground, tennis courts, and grass fields for volleyball, soccer, and football. Be sure to explore the nature center’s numerous exhibits, and even participate in a naturalist-guided walk. There are educational programs of some sort every day throughout the summer.
The Brown County State Park campground is open year-round, though some sites are closed in the winter months. Between the state park's RV campgrounds, there are 401 RV sites with electric hookups and an additional 28 sites without hookups. RV campers are advised to use the west entrance due to bridge restrictions at the north entrance. You’ll find the campsites in a mix of open and wooded spaces.
Motorhome campers will find a dump station at the Brown County State Park campground as well as a water fill station. Additional campground amenities include a camp store, hot showers, and flushing toilets. Every campsite also comes equipped with a picnic table and fire ring with grill. Bringing Fido? Pets are allowed in the campground as long as they’re supervised and kept on a leash of six feet or less. It’s also worth noting that alcohol is prohibited in the park.
The Abe Martin Lodge is one of the most distinguished facilities at Brown County State Park. This large, charismatic building features a restaurant and an indoor water park, perfect for questionable outdoor weather. If you choose to go RV camping at Brown County State Park in the fall, you’ll find a spectacular display of bright yellow and orange leaves along the park’s 20 miles of road and from the road’s overlooks.
The nearby town of Nashville is known for its dining, arts, history, shopping, and recreation opportunities. Foodies will love its mix of comfort food, BBQ, pizzerias, and artisan cafes. Those who are old enough will have numerous tasting opportunities at the town’s many breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
For a kid-friendly activity the whole family can enjoy, head over to Copperhead Creek Gem Mine. This spot is, quite literally, a hidden gem where you can discover fossils and arrowheads as well as precious gemstones. While you’re here, check out one of Nashville’s many music festivals, including the annual bluegrass festival which has entertained locals and out-of-towners for more than 50 years.
Nashville does have a few gas stations, but your best bet for provisioning at larger stops and big-box retail stores is in Bloomington, 30 minutes to the west. After restocking in Bloomington, take your rental RV to explore more of Brown County’s recreational activities like zip lining, paintball, disc golf, and ATV tours. Further beyond Bloomington, you'll find RV camping opportunities in Hoosier National Forest and Garden of the Gods Recreation Area.