While the Cleveland area is loaded with many great nature reservations, most are not “camping-friendly.” Finding solid places to camp requires a bit of a drive outside the city. But once you discover these amazing locations, you’ll realize how well worth the effort was.
Lakeside Camping in Lake Metroparks is probably the most popular option locally, one of six tent-camping sites of the Lake system which are best described as “primitive.” They’re especially attractive to families and fisherfolk, who like a quick getaway for a weekend to indulge in some quiet angling and hiking. Lakeside tends to book up quickly; the park includes its rules on its website.
If a “paddle-in, paddle out” is your forte, Lake Metroparks’ Tent Camping on Grand River is likely your speed. Accessible by foot (it’s a half-mile hike from parking lot to campsite), this gorgeous stop is just downstream from Hidden Valley Park in Madison. Equally “primitive” (read: no bathrooms) this is another one of the Lake Metroparks system’s best stops.
One of the more appealing sites, Lake Metroparks’ Creekside Camping at Baker Road offers a taste of true backcountry backpacking. Only 30 minutes outside Cleveland, this spot is immersed in nearly 900 acres of their Girdled Road Reservation. Camping happens just off the craggy Buckeye Trail and tends to draw folks who’ve had their share of pack adventures. A delicious getaway.