My first campground review has to be Pokagon State Park, I grew up in the park, my first stay was when I was a couple months old. My memories in the park now span over 40 years, they are some of my most cherished memories because that time was always with my grandparents. So, needless to say, this will be my most biased review.
Also, since this is my first review I’m not exactly sure of the format I want to use. I’m not going to do a number system or nitpick little things. The joy of being on the road and camping is a blessing to me, every campground doesn’t have to conform to my specific wish list. We live in a time where you can say the sky is blue and some rando will leave a comment saying it isn’t really blue…so, these are my thoughts and opinions, take what you will from that.
Pokagon State Park is located in northeast Indiana near the town of Angola, right off of the 80/90 turnpike. The area has gorgeous rolling hills and decent size lakes for fishing. Angola is a great little town to explore when you want to get out of the campsite, between the park and town center there are plenty of big box stores for last minute items. There’s easy in/out gas stations with diesel right on the main road.
Now, the campground is a typical state run park with reasonable fees. This is not a glamping RV park, in fact, there’s only a few sites that can handle a 50’ RV. They do have 50amp service but no water or sewer hook ups. Fill up on the way in and use the public bathrooms if you plan on a longer stay. It is typical to see trucks going by pulling portable waste tanks. The public bathrooms are always clean and have free showers as well. There’s only two dump stations so there’s usually a Sunday line up during the busy months. The general store has the basics and hasn’t changed much at all in the last 40 years. The park is located on Lake James with a beach area and swimming just a short walk from most campsites. Plenty of parking if you want to drive up with all your gear but the walk down to beach is kind of steep that could be too much for some people. There is a trail system around the park with a nice view from Hell’s Point. Most trails a easy for all levels and can be considered a nature walk, you will see plenty of critters along the way. If you start trail 3 (Hell’s Point) from the campground, you will have to tackle the stairs leading up to the Hell’s Point observation deck, there isn’t a way around it that I know of. The nature center is still fun for this big kid even though it hasn’t changed much since I was a toddler. The horse stables provide even the most novice rider with slow group rides that circle the park. The hay rides back in the day were a highlight for me but I’m not sure if they still run.
Entering Pokagon State Park you will be charged a fee that depends on resident or non-resident status, they have a single entrance fee if you are camping for a few days so you don’t have to buy the annual pass. Right after the fee is paid you will see a beautiful structure to your left, overlooking Lake James. That is the Potawatomi Inn for the non-campers that want a few more amenities. The Inn has a pool, craft center, and dining in a building that takes you back in time. The toboggan slide assures you that even the “off season” doesn’t mean the place is silent, those brave enough to hit the slide will never forget it. Down to the beach there is watercraft rental shack that is open to all in the park.
Overall, you can tell this place has a special meaning to me and I have nothing negative to say about it. It is what is has always been, a great family oriented campground that somehow slowed down time. This place is the perfect way for young families to spend their weekends making memories. I hope the kids visiting today have a chance to talk about how things haven’t changed 40 years from now and that some of their best memories are from camping at Pokagon State Park as a child.