Where to go camping near Columbus Ohio? Fishing, and foraging preferred
June 19, 2014 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to go camping with my son and daughter this summer, somewhere near Columbus Ohio. We would like to go fishing (a place that is easy to fish at with high likelihood of success), and gathering some wild edibles that are easily identifiable with my wild edible book.

We plan to catch fish, gut it and cook it, and gather safe wild edibles to cook also (and bring some food too).We are new to camping, but we aren't skittish at all. We plan on spending two nights camping. Going to the bathroom outdoors is fine, no electricity is fine. How does one sleep when it's super hot out? Do we need a pad to put beneath the tent so the ground will be soft?

What good places are within a 2 hour drive?
What are your best camping tips to make the experience even better?
What wild edibles are easily found and identified (without poisonous look-a-likes) at that campground?

I have heard chocolate and whiskey are nice. A deck of cards, a whistle, a mirror, bug spray, sunblock.
posted by kikithekat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
Response by poster: Bonus if the location has a body of water to swim in, and/or a place to rent a canoe.+ We will probably go on weekdays to avoid crowds.
posted by kikithekat at 4:16 PM on June 19, 2014

How about John Bryan State Park in Yellow Springs? It has fishing and camping, although I've never done any fishing there myself. It's adjacent to Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve, which has gorgeous scenery. I've also heard good things about Buck Creek State Park and it seems fishing-centric.
posted by heart's ease at 5:02 PM on June 19, 2014

I have no information about camping, but I've loved all my trips to Hocking Hills.
posted by shesbookish at 5:16 PM on June 19, 2014

There's some Ohio foraging instructors listed here. Maybe shoot them an email.
posted by Beti at 10:07 PM on June 19, 2014

Mohican Memorial State Forest has some very nice hike-in primitive campsites.
Wayne National Forest, too.

The easiest wild edibles to ID are prickly berries -- blackberries, raspberries and wild garlic chives. The chives will go nicely with your fish. :-) Don't get too crazy with mixing wild-edibles and primitive camping your first go-round. Wild edibles are more concentrated than domesticated veggies and it is possible to have a reaction even to an edible one. Experienced foragers know to try just a little of something the first time.

- Bring lots of food. You'll be surprised how hungry the kids get camping.
- Check current fire restrictions -- nothing worse than planning on cooking over a fire only to learn that due to fire danger or restrictions you need to use a stove.
- Get foam pads. Foam pads are really cheap at Dicks or Walmart and they will make sleeping much more comfortable. They go inside your tent, under your sleeping bad.
- Sleeping in a tent in summer is sticky. :-) Get up with the sun or else the tent becomes a sauna.

Camping Packing List:
- tent
- sleeping bag
- foam pad to sleep on
- bag to carry it all
- daypack
- water bottles -- at least 2 x 1L bottles per person -- FULL
- something to treat the water like iodine tablets or bleach
- something to hide the taste of iodine or bleach like kool aid
- camp pots, spoons, mugs, and bowls
- foil, oil, salt, sugar
- camping stove
- small cutting board, sharp knife, soap, sponge
- matches
- tp and a trowel for burying... ahem... your business
- sun screen, bug spray
- headlamps (to find where to pee at night, to cook by, to set things up in the dark)
- clothes, clothes to sleep in, a sweater or sweatshirt-- you'll be surprised how chilly the AM feels.
- a nice, peaty scotch

Since you are going with kids, smores are required. Kids love making foil dinner packets and putting them in the embers to cook. Oranges, hollowed and filled with cake mix, then wrapped in foil, make the coolest camp cakes EVER. Potatoes, wrapped in foil, and tucked in the embers are delicious.

Some useful advice:
- Learn to ID poison ivy.
- Learn how to treat water!
- Do NOT sleep in your tent in the clothes you eat in. Do not bring your food into your tent. (Good advice for both bear country and mice).

PM me if you want a more complete packing list or more retailed info on where to camp.
posted by LittleMy at 5:07 AM on June 20, 2014

I'll second Mohican as being a great place to camp. I grew up about a half hour away from there and have fond memories of day/weekend trips. Nice trails, good location. The fishing was pretty good ten years ago, can't say if it is still.

A word about foraging and edibles: even if you have a guide, be careful. A lot of things can look pretty samey, especially the mushrooms. Seconding LittleMy's advice on trying a bit at a time.

Also, Ohio is balls hot and buggy in the summer so figure out ways to stay cool and stave off bugs beforehand for a much better time.
posted by Tevin at 3:52 PM on June 20, 2014

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