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Clays Park Camping

By Doug Kish, MA

As the sun sets over the red and yellow leaves of the trees, you’re sitting by the warm campfire, toasting marshmallows to make s’mores. The air smells of dried leaves and although the days are still warm and sunny, the evening air is crisp. What’s more fun than hiking a trail covered in crisp, dry leaves or catching that last fish of the season? It’s fall—a perfect time for camping.

In 1945 Otis D. Clay purchased several tracts of land southwest of Canal Fulton, Ohio with a goal of creating a “Family Fun Center” for everyone. His vision ultimately became the reality known today as Clay’s Park Resort. After clearing the land, construction began by tapping into a natural spring on the property to create a lake. After opening in 1948, the location was a favorite of people coming from miles around to see the natural beauty of this manmade wonder.
Situated on more than 500 acres of rolling hills and picturesque woods, Clay’s Park offers various sizes of sites for tent camping to large RVs. The RV campsites have your choice of electric, water and water/sewer hookups, as well as pull-thru and back-in accessibility, a fire ring and a picnic table. Some sites are handicap accessible.
For campers wanting more stability, there are various rental cabins to choose from. The six Rustic cabins have electricity, a double bed and single bunk beds with pads. A fun porch swing is provided but you will need to bring your own ice chest and ice for this facility.
Deluxe cabins contain a kitchen, a full bathroom with a shower, private master bedroom with a double bed, private second bedroom with bunk beds, a loft with twin-sized floor pads and a futon. Included are electric and water service, heating and air conditioning, refrigerator, two-burner cook stove and microwave, as well as basic kitchen furnishings and utensils, including table service for eight people. There is parking space for one vehicle and a porch swing.
The two Park model cabins are full-service units available by reservation. They are located in a shaded, wooded area and feature efficiency kitchens with mini refrigerators, microwave ovens, a full bath with shower, a closet and air conditioning. An open-concept sleeping area accommodates up to four people. They have a concrete patio and parking for one vehicle.
All cabins include a fire ring, charcoal grill and picnic table. You will need to bring your own cooking and eating utensils, food and charcoal. Firewood is available for purchase. There is a heated indoor pool, country store, restaurant and pub, and a 25-acre fishing lake where no fishing license is required.
Clay’s Park Resort offers a new type of camping opportunity I have not seen before. Glamping is a unique camping experience in a custom-built canvas cabin. Each features a queen bed, a set of bunk beds and a day bed. The canvas tents, wood platforms, mattresses and log furniture are custom built by local Amish craftsmen. For a small extra charge you can add the Glam Kit which includes bedding for all beds, end tables, lamps, a fan, charcoal for the grill and a golf cart escort to your tent upon arrival. This camping choice requires a two-night minimum stay and the Glam Kit must be requested when making your reservation.
Fall campers are afforded unlimited use of the heated indoor pool, nature hiking and biking trails, and the fishing lake. Bring your kayaks or canoes to use on the campground lake and enjoy the fall colors. Clay’s Park is pet friendly, too! Themed weekends, many activities and live entertainment are scheduled throughout the year. Clay’s Park Resort also offers year-round camping sites with private access 365 days a year. These sites are located in a wooded area called Whippoorwill Woods and offer all the amenities of the resort but are larger and more private than the 400 seasonal sites within the main campground. This area includes a gated and secure entrance with 24-hour access, over-sized sites with spacious yards, 50 amp service, site pads to accommodate large RV’s, and optional cable TV hookups for internet, TV or phone.
By far the most popular fall event at Clay’s Park Resort is the Yankee Peddler Festival. Held each year over three weekends during September, this event transforms the Park into the 18th century with arts, crafts, food and entertainment. People travel to Ohio from all parts of the country to participate in this event and to attend. They take advantage of the camping facilities to stay for the weekend or longer. The 2016 Yankee Peddler Festival is scheduled for September 10-11, 17-18 and 24-25. For more information about this year’s Yankee Peddler Festival or to purchase tickets, see the website at
To learn more about Clay’s Park Resort camping or to make a reservation for a campsite to enjoy this year’s Yankee Peddler Festival up close and personal, see their website at
Clays Park Camping

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