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Just 30 minutes’ drive from the heart of Columbus is the Rippling Stream Campground, a family-friendly RV park on the outskirts of Baltimore, Ohio. It welcomes pets (provided they remain on a leash) and is open from the start of April to the end of October each year.
RV camping at the Rippling Stream Campground includes access to just over 120 grassy, shaded sites, with water and 30-amp electric connections. Campers can take advantage of the dump station, bathroom, and shower facilities, and firewood and propane are available for purchase on-site.
Recreational facilities at the Rippling Stream Campground include a swimming pool, children’s playground, and basketball and volleyball courts. There’s also a game room for those rainy days, not to mention hayrides and hiking trails for those who want to get active.
Camping at the Hidden Lakes Family Campground is a good base for exploring the Pickerington Ponds Metro Park, which encompasses 1,608 acres en route to Columbus. It’s a popular birdwatching destination, with more than 260 species having been recorded here, including migrating waterfowl attracted to the seasonal ponds and rich wetlands. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, beaver, and fox while hiking through the surrounding woodlands, with trails ranging from the short Yellowlegs Trail to the 16-mile Blacklick Creek Greenway.
Drive in the other direction, and you’ll arrive at the Buckeye Lake State Park, a 3,349-acre protected area near Millersport. It centers around the waters of Buckeye Lake, which was established in the 19th century to supply water to the famous Ohio and Erie Canal. Boating, swimming, and fishing are all popular activities in the park, with boat ramps available at the park headquarters at Liebs Island, Fairfield Beach, and North Shore. Sightings of cormorants, herons, and ospreys are common along the lake shores, together with bald eagles that can be seen soaring in the skies above.
Just under an hour’s drive east of the Rippling Stream Campground is the Perry State Forest, a once-active coal mining area that’s now traversed by horseback riding, hiking, and ATV trails. While the terrain was stripped following years of mining, it’s undergoing reforestation, with a diverse coverage of trees that have seen wildlife return. Picnic tables and toilets are available at the parking area from where the trails radiate.
Campsites at the Rippling Stream Campground are just five minutes’ drive from the center of Baltimore, where you’ll find a couple of supermarkets where you can pick up groceries. There are also gas stations here if you need to fill up your RV rental and a handful of eateries that include fast-food restaurants and a retro-inspired ice creamery. Alternatively, you can drive in the other direction to Pickerington, which has a broader choice of supermarkets and services.
While you’re in Pickerington, don’t miss a visit to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, which honors those who have contributed to motorcycling in all its forms. There’s an impressive range of vintage motorcycles and riding gear on display, as well as memorabilia from some of the motorcycling world’s most prominent riders and brands.
The Rippling Stream Campground also makes a good base for visiting Columbus, which is home to a fine collection of museums. You can get hands-on with the interactive exhibits at the COSI science center or browse the American and European paintings on show at the Columbus Museum of Art. The Scioto Mile winds its way through the heart of Columbus along the banks of the Scioto River, with public parks, walking trails, and an interactive fountain among its highlights. Green thumbs shouldn’t miss a visit to the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, where you’ll find species from around the globe, while history buffs can head to the German Village, which celebrates the legacy of the city’s 19th-century immigrants.
If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss a visit to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is located in the city of Powell to the north of Columbus’ city center. It lies on the eastern banks of the O’Shaughnessy Reservoir. It is home to more than 7,000 animals that represent just over 800 different species. Get up close to Alaska moose, American black bears, and black-tailed prairie dogs in the North America exhibit and see sloth bears and red pandas in the Asia Quest zone, then come face-to-face with manatees, Humboldt penguins, and Aldabra giant tortoises in the Shores and Aquarium areas.
Whether you want to explore the natural reserves of central Ohio or get cultured in the state capital, Columbus, book a camper rental in Fairfield County and start planning your next vacation.