First a confession: We didn’t expect much out of our stay at Alum Creek State Park in Delaware, Ohio, given its close proximity to the metro-Columbus area. Some prior experiences camping at state parks near big cities have not always turned out so well, so we were skeptical. But this time we were pleasantly surprised.
Located just minutes from Columbus suburbs, Alum Creek was the perfect place to base camp for some fun in the city. The park is surrounded by housing developments, so if you are looking for a “wilderness” camping experience, this is probably not the right stop. We camped mid-week, so the campground was not filled up and had a quiet atmosphere. However, given the campground’s location on the outskirts of Columbus, this campground probably gets a lot of use over weekends and summer holidays.
We arrived ahead of the campground’s 3 p.m. check-in time and discovered that even if our reserved campsite was vacant, the staff would not allow us to check in early. That was a bit frustrating since we had to unhook the camper and leave it in the parking lot so we could head into the city for some preplanned afternoon sightseeing.
Our site (A44) was full shade and bordered by trees and undergrowth making it very private–something we love to have while camping. Many sites throughout the campground had similar privacy hedges.
A few other observations that may be helpful in reserving a site at Alum Creek:
- There are some “premium sites” that did not literally have a lake view, although they were located along the water. If you want a lake view select sites B34, B36, B37, or K21.
- Cabins C15, C17, C18, and C20 were older and more rustic but the cedar cabins located in the E-loop were newer. Cabin E5 also had a place to plug in a camper/RV.
- The three full hook-up sites do not allow pets.
The downside of the campground for Kristin was that Alum Creek’s shower houses were older and in need of some upkeep, including a paint job and a deep cleaning. In the showers there appeared to be black mildew growing on the walls. So, they weren’t the nicest state park bathrooms we have ever used.
The campground had a private campers’ beach and a campers’ boat launch area with access to the unlimited horsepower lake. Some campsites along the water also had the ability for boats to pull directly up to the sites. Other features at the campground included volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, and a primitive equestrian camping area.
While staying at Alum Creek State Park we did some touring of the Columbus area. All of our touring destinations were less than an hour from the campground. Some of the touring highlights of this trip included:
- Sweet Pea’s stroll through the American Girl Store
- Flash and Tornado’s visit to the Lego Store
- The COSI science center
- The Anthony-Thomas Chocolates factory tour
- The Graeter’s Ice Cream self-guided tour at the Bethel Road location
On previous trips to Columbus we have also enjoyed:
There were more things we wished we had had time to do, including a tour of the American Whistle Corporation and a visit to Topiary Park. We are pondering a future return trip to Columbus to coincide with the Ohio State Fair–we’ve never taken the kiddos there and I would love to take a walk down memory lane.
Date of visit: July 2014