Waveland, IN: Camping at Shades State Park


Since we've been settled into Bloomington, each fall Eric and I have invited friends to join us on a weekend camping trip somewhere within a 2 hour drive. Last year we went to McCormick's Creek State Park and the year before to Hardin Ridge on Lake Monroe. This year, we went to Shades and Turkey Run State Parks. We invited several friends from Eric's PhD program, plus friends from outside IU, and we wound up with quite the crowd: 11 camped Friday night, 15 stayed for dinner on Saturday night, and 10 stayed to camp that night, too.

Camping with such a large crowd was new for me and a lot of fun. (I wasn't involved in Girl Scouts or anything similar growing up; I did not even go camping for the first time until my senior year of high school, and it was in my friend's backyard/horse pasture.) Most of our time at the campsite revolved around eating (and cooking), chatting, and enjoying the hot September weather. In the evenings, we roasted s'mores and periodically stepped away from the camp fire to stare at the stars.

Originally, we had wanted to camp at Turkey Run, but even two weeks out when planning the trip, all the sites were booked. So we moved the camping part to Shades, which turned out to be a great idea. The campground at Shades is tucked away back into the park. All the sites are non-electric, which was to our benefit because most of them were available.

We booked 3 sites that were all in a line, since we needed 6 tents to house everyone (at Indiana State Parks, you can have up to 2 tents per site) - 80, 81, and 82:

  • 80 is right next to one of the vault toilets and has a lot of nice, flat space. (This is the one pictured here.) We set up two 2-3 person tents here and there was plenty of space. The trees were configured nicely enough to set up two hammocks, which were highly enjoyed. It was shady for most of the morning and evening. It had the most room around the fire ring, so we did all of our meals here. We could fit 13 camp chairs around the fire. The fire ring had a nice grate on top that could swing over the fire directly. A big benefit of 80 was that there was no other close camp site on three sides (only 81 to the right, blocked by trees). There was a large grassy area to the left near the toilets that we could have easily used to play games, if we wanted.
  • 81 was tight! It barely had space to fit the two smallest (2-3 person) tents. It was flat and the fire ring was the same as for 80. It was shady as well but less so than 80. 
  • 82 was a bigger site and it could have also been used as our meal location, since its fire ring also had room (it was the same configuration as 80 and 81). We put the two biggest (4-6 person) tents on this site. We also put the 6-months-pregnant person at this site, because it is right across from another vault toilet and water fountain. It was the most exposed of all the sites, though. There was a very clear view into the camping neighbors behind the site and across the road, and it did not get any shade.

These sites were a few minutes' walk to the "real" bathrooms with running water and showers. The showers were nice and I had hot water for my 8:30am shower on Sunday morning. The bathrooms and vault toilets seemed to be kept up well (lots of toilet paper and evidence of cleaned floors). 

Shades was much quieter than Turkey Run (we did not check out Turkey Run's campground though so I can't speak for it, but with all 200+ sites booked...), although we did deal with some barking dogs and people who (hopefully accidentally) set off their car alarms in the morning.

It was easy to get to the hiking trails, which I'll talk about in a second post. I would go back to camp here again.
Waveland, IN: Camping at Shades State Park Waveland, IN: Camping at Shades State Park Reviewed by Maria on 5:39:00 PM Rating: 5


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