I grew up a Cedar Point kid.

Blue Streak. Corkscrew. The Gemini. The Magnum. Summertime in Ohio wasn’t complete unless we made a trip up to Lake Erie and the roller coasters of Cedar Point. We’d putz around in the amusement park’s antique cars, glide over the midway in the gondolas of the Sky Ride, and climb aboard the Cedar Point and Lake Erie Railroad for a ride past Boneville and its cheerful, skeletal denizens.

As amusement parks go, Cedar Point is a singular place. Established in 1870 on Lake Erie’s Cedar Point Peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio, the 364-acre park today is home to no fewer than 70 rides, including 18 roller coasters, many of which have set world records for height, steepness, length and speed. There are also two waterparks, two marinas and an outdoor sports complex.

As one might expect, Cedar Point draws tons of visitors — 3.6 million in 2017 alone. So it’s a busy place, but it’s a fun one that will make some lifetime memories, too. Want to make the trip even more memorable? Cedar Point camping is just the ticket.

Cedar Point Camping is the Perfect Summer Trip

Ferris wheel and other rides at amusement park with lake in background

Sure, if you live in the northern half of the Buckeye State, you could make Cedar Point a day trip. Or, if you’re coming from farther away, you could stay in one of the park’s festive resorts. But there’s something a little more adventurous — and a little more affordable — to the idea of Cedar Point camping.

There is one great campground practically inside the park, as well as several not far away that will give you great access to the park but also a bit of a natural escape from the crowds at the end of the day.

Cedar Point Camping Options Inside the Park

1. Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point

Located on the northern tip of Cedar Point in the very shadow of some of the coasters, Lighthouse Point at Cedar Point is the only camping option that’s within walking distance of the park itself. There’s no tent camping, but there are 120 full hook-up RV sites and 25 patio suites, along with waterfront cottages and inland cabins. The cabins and cottages are a little more deluxe, with air conditioning, full bathrooms and kitchenettes in the cabins. All sites include one hour of early entry to Cedar Point, which can give you a nice head start. Lighthouse Point also includes an outdoor pool and hot tub, a water play area, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi and other amenities.

“Absolutely beautiful RV park! Gorgeous views of Lake Erie and walking distance to the gate of Cedar Point. Beautiful landscaping and very clean. Staff is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable.Until now I have held Disney World’s Fort Wilderness as the penultimate place for camping, but they could learn a few things from Cedar Point!” —The Dyrt camper Chase G.

Cedar Point Camping Options Outside the Park

2. Camp Sandusky

Tent at campsite

Distance to Cedar Point: 6 miles

Located just a short drive from Cedar Point, Camp Sandusky offers a range of camping opportunities in a pretty, treed Sandusky setting. Options include: more than 100 quaint Amish cabins with electricity, picnic tables and fire rings; RV sites, spanning from back-in sites with only water and electric to pull-thru sites with water, electric and sewer; and tent sites, some with electric and some without, though all come with picnic tables and fire rings. Camp Sandusky also has two swimming pools, a playground, a bunny farm, cornhole, basketball, sand volleyball, laundry facilities and a camp store. The campground will also fill you up for a day at Cedar Point with its all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast that’ll run you just $4.50.

3. Sandusky/Bayshore KOA

Distance to Cedar Point: 3 miles

If you want to be close to Cedar Point, Sandusky/Bayshore KOA is your best bet. This campground has pretty much every kind of camping option, from water and electric tent sites to full hookup RV sites, KOA “kabins” and rustic Amish-built cabins. Amenities include two swimming pools, a snack bar, archery, paintball, pedal carts, a giant jump pillow, a breakfast bar and pizzeria and, new for 2019, a “Gaga Ball pit.” This family-owned campground also caters to families with fun events, like family movie night with free popcorn, a weekly ice cream social and bird house building. One note: There is a train nearby, which can add a little extra noise to the scene.

“This campground has lots to do on the weekends. It has nice clean pool and lots of things for the kids to do: play at the parks, rent bikes, swim, jumping pillow, etc. All the workers who drive around are super friendly.” — The Dyrt camper Tracy C.

4. Crystal Rock Campground

Green tent and other tents on campsite with trees in background

Distance to Cedar Point: 11 miles

A charming escape a little more off the beaten path, Crystal Rock Campground is quiet but still bustling with activity. The campground welcomes tent campers as well as RVs, campers and motorhomes to sites with full hook-ups or simply water and electric. All include fire rings and picnic tables. There are also rustic, air-conditioned cabins that can accommodate four to six people. Crystal Rock offers a camp store, laundry, outdoor games like volleyball and basketball, a playground and a gem mine that’s fun for the kids. The campground hosts special activities, like hay wagon rides, giant Jenga games and corn roasts throughout the year.

“Everyone in the office is so polite and courteous. The grounds, office, bathrooms and showers are spotless. There are tons of amenities and it’s close to the highway but far enough away for a little hideaway of awesomeness. One of our family’s favorite campgrounds.” — The Dyrt camper Matt W.

5. Cold Creek Trout Camp

Distance to Cedar Point: 7 miles

Want to cast a line or two for some trout while you’re taking a break from the Cedar Point action? Cold Creek Trout Camp is the place to go. Located on Cold Creek, which flows out of the ground near the mysterious Blue Hole, this campground offers prime fishing for rainbow, brook and brown trout. It’s also home to tent and RV sites, all of which include picnic tables and fire rings. The RV sites are full hook-up.

“This was the best decision we made when visiting Cedar Point’s Hallo-Weekends in September 2017. It was cheap, convenient, easy to find, book, and use. The owner was friendly and you could fish right there if you wanted to.” — The Dyrt camper Amanda L.

6. East Harbor State Park

Tent at campground with trees in background

Distance to Cedar Point: 18 miles

Perched right on the shores of Lake Erie, East Harbor State Park is an adventure of its own. The 1,831-acre park is a favorite of migratory birds, waterfowl and other wildlife species, so it’s a good place to catch a glimpse of Mother Nature in action. For what it’s worth, the campground here is the largest in the Ohio State Park system and includes 340 electric sites, 51 full hook-up sites and 160 non-electric sites. There’s also a single yurt available for rent.

Amenities include showers, a dump station, a camp store, Wi-Fi for purchase, bike rentals and a fish-cleaning station. Activities range from disc golf and fishing to hiking, outdoor sports and swimming from the park’s 1,500-foot sandy Lake Erie beach.

“This is probably my favorite park in Ohio. It’s always clean. The people are so friendly and the lake is just beautiful!” — The Dyrt camper Kimberly A.

7. Camp Lake Erie

Distance to Cedar Point: Within 20 miles

Camp Lake Erie is the owner and operator of five properties within a short distance of Cedar Point that offer a range of camping options. Your best bet is the Tall Timbers Campground & Resort, which has 400 sites, ranging from primitive tent spots to full hook-up sites and even rental RVs. There’s a camp store, laundry, a sandy beach, volleyball and basketball courts and outdoor movies on Saturday nights.

“Nice little swimming area with floatables for kids and a sandy beach. There are fire rings right outside your door. Friendly staff, too.” — The Dyrt camper Linda R.

Jon Bell

Jon Bell

Jon Bell is a journalist, writer and outdoors fan who grew up in Ohio but who’s lived in Oregon since 1997. He is the author of the book, “On Mount Hood,” and he spends as much time outside with his wife and two kids as possible. Find him at www.jbellink.com.