Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ is located near Nelsonville, Ohio, in the region known as Hocking Hills. The park has a combined space of 82 acres with 88 accommodations split between 75 RV sites, 6 cabins, and 7 tent units. The park has many features, including a ranger station, a laundry facility, and a store. Additional features include a relatively small lake for fishing and swimming, a pool, an inflatable tube slide, a disc golf course, and a gaga ball pit. Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ also hosts themed weekends each week, ranging from Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends to mad science and Halloween events. Several local attractions are within driving distance of the campground, including Hocking Hills State Park, Ash Cave, Old Man's Cave, and various places to hike. Lorraine and Daren Carlson are the current and second campground owners.
Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ is located near Nelsonville, Ohio, in the Hocking Hills region. Per the area's name, much of the space surrounding the campground consists of many hills. It also has trees and several outdoor recreational attractions. According to Lorraine Carlson, one of the campground owners, Hocking Hills was listed as one of the top ten summer destinations by USA Today in 2023. Athens and Nelsonville are two of the closest towns to Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™.
Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ has 88 campsites, 7 of which are tent-only units. Most RV sites have water and electric hookups, although some have full-service water, electrical, and sewer hookups. They also have patios, picnic tables, fire rings, and cable TV. Some of the RV campsites are shaded by trees as well.
In addition to the RV and tent sites, Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ has six cabins. Three of them are one-room units with flush toilets; Red Bud Cabin has two bunk beds—each with a double bed on bottom and a twin bed on top—a mini-fridge, a microwave, and can sleep up to six people; Blue Bird Cabin and Happy Trails Cabin can sleep up to four visitors and have double beds, twin bunks, microwaves, mini-fridges, and showers. The three remaining cabins are deluxe units, which can accommodate up to six guests and have full bathrooms. Furthermore, they have queen beds, futons that convert into double beds, twin bunks, tables, equipped kitchens with pots and dishes, microwaves, and living room spaces. Of the rentals at Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™, Lorraine says the deluxe and one-room cabins are the most popular.
Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ consists of about 82 acres between two parcels of land. Lorraine notes that most of this area is undeveloped but plans to expand are in place. Within its acreage, Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ has a laundry facility, a pavilion, and a ranger station, which serves as the check-in spot as well as a store for visitors to purchase groceries, camping accessories, and souvenirs. Another notable feature is a relatively small lake for fishing and swimming. Additionally, the property has a pool open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., though it should be noted that no lifeguards are on duty. Lorraine also mentions that snowless tubing is available on a hill with 150-foot side-by-side tracks on inflatable tubes. Finally, Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ has a nine-hole disc golf course, a basketball half-court, wagon rides, and a gaga ball pit. Because the park is an all-inclusive property, most activities come with the cost of a booking, including paddleboat rentals and using the tubes and pool. The only exceptions are activities such as gem mining, crafts, and tye-dye shirts.
Hocking Hills has many nearby attractions for visitors to see. Lorraine mentions that Hocking Hills itself has several sightseeing points. She also says people can visit recreational locations such as Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls, and Ash Cave, to name a few. Lorraine adds that a few canoeing liveries are located along the Hocking River. Regarding dining locations, she recommends people visit Los Mariachis, a Mexican restaurant in Nelsonville; Shade, a restaurant in Athens; Millstone Southern Smoked BBQ in Logan; and Urban Grille, also in Logan.
Lorraine, one of Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™' owners, hopes her visitors feel "very welcome" during their stay. "We take our guests' mini-vacations or weekend getaways really seriously. We want them to have a great time while they're here and we do our best to provide that so they have lasting memories," she says. Lorraine continues, explaining that the park staff tries to make the best experience for guests because, as far as they know, it could be the visitors' only vacation for the year. Both the owners and staff attempt to communicate often with park occupants, and Lorraine remarks that a person's vacation begins from the moment they make their first interaction to reserve a spot.
Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ hosts many activities during its season. Most activities are held daily until August 15, when the park reverts to only hosting weekly events. Lorraine emphasizes the themed weekends that occur weekly. Some of these include Stars and Stripes Weekend for Memorial Day; Red, White, and Boo Boo 4th of July Bash Weekend; Rock n' Roll Weekend; and Mad Lab Science Weekend. Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ also anticipates receiving several showrunners in 2023, namely, a scientist for Mad Lab Science Weekend and a woman who rehabilitates wild animals such as owls, beavers, foxes, and opossums. Lorraine adds that six Halloween-themed weekends include a monster mash, trick-or-treating across the park, a costume contest, and the property's 2023 18th annual hog roast during the first weekend of October. As previously mentioned, most of Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™' activities are all-inclusive.
Many visitor reviews seem to highlight Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™' activities and features. One such review said, "This is a wonderful campground with wonderful owners! These owners really care and go the extra mile to make sure everyone is having a good time, and everything is running smoothly. Close enough to all the hiking trails too!" Another reviewer wrote, "Spacious sites, we got the one with a pad for the picnic table, and it was nice not to have mud when it rained. Lots of planned activities to attend, like snowless tubing, the foam slide, and crafts. They also had a jump pad, gaga ball, and gem mine."
Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ is open from May 1 to October 31, with its season peaking from Memorial Day to Labor Day. In Lorraine's opinion, the park's "most fun" season is during the fall when the leaves change color and the Halloween weekends begin. "It's like all the stress of the season goes away," she remarks. Lorraine adds that most of the campground's demographic is from the five states surrounding Ohio, especially Michigan and Pennsylvania. Lorraine also notes that most of the property's visitors are composed of families, with parents between the ages of 30 and 45 and children between 2 and 14. Lorraine affirms that many repeat guests return each year. Some policies should be mentioned, mainly that Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ is a pet-friendly park, though dogs must be leashed, supervised, and cleaned up after. Furthermore, fire rings are not to be removed from the sites, and guests cannot bring their own firewood to the park. The last major policy mentioned by the owner is that the property has a quiet time from 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ was built and opened to the public around 1976. Lorraine and Daren Carlson, the current owners, bought the property in 2006 from Dave and Bonnie Brown and joined the Jellystone franchise in 2019. Lorraine says she and Daren joined the hospitality industry because they wanted a change of pace from their IT backgrounds. They "used to camp all the time" and looked for a campground to purchase for three years. The couple moved from Connecticut to buy the property in Ohio. Presently, Lorraine says their favorite part of operating Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ is meeting different people almost every day.
According to Lorraine, Hocking Hills Jellystone Park™ had 66 campsites when she and Daren first acquired it. They expanded to 88 campsites and also started allowing visitors to swim in the lake, which had previously been closed to guests. Lorraine comments that the lake is "now our biggest feature." Additionally, they added the tube slides and many themed weekends over time. Moving forward, the owners would like to add more cabins and campsites. They anticipate having them completed sometime in the next couple of years.
Lorraine and Daren Carlson
Dave and Bonnie Brown