Free admission to Indiana State Parks May 2

Get your carload of family and friends in the gate of any Indiana state park, lake or state forest at no charge on Sunday, May 2, as part of the annual Welcome Back Weekend, the traditional lid-lifter of the spring recreation season.

"This is a great time to visit a DNR property," said Ginger Murphy, assistant director for stewardship in the DNR Division of State Parks and Reservoirs. "It's a chance for people who've never visited or haven't visited recently to discover a state treasure and save a few dollars at the same time."

For a complete list of Welcome Back Weekend activities, see

Even veteran park-goers will notice something new or updated at most properties. Each winter, State Parks and Reservoirs staff members spend many hours making improvements to campsites, trails, restrooms, interpretive centers and other facilities. This year there are new exhibits at McCormick's Creek State Park's nature center, restroom facility improvements in several locations, a new park office at Versailles State Park, additional mountain bike trails at Harmonie and O'Bannon Woods state parks, and trail improvements. More are listed at

"We hope people will like what they see and buy a $36 Annual Entrance Pass ($18 for ages 65 and older), which will get their carload through any entrance gate for the rest of 2010."

Normal weekend gate fees for most properties are $5 per day for an in-state vehicle and $7 per day for an out-of-state vehicle. During the week, most fees are $4 for in-state and $7 for out-of-state. All other fees will be in effect during Welcome Back Weekend. The only thing waived is the daily entrance normally charged for any car, truck, bicycle or pedestrian on May 2. The entrance fee for Historic Prophetstown at Prophetstown State Park remains in effect.

On a personal note, we have stayed at Pokagon State Park in Angola, Indiana and have truly enjoyed our time there. It was one of those "get the whole RVing family together" camping trips and our experience was, as usual, full of good times and great food.

Pokagon is a large, sprawling park full of terrific trails, lakes and other outdoor recreational opportunities. Bring your bikes! Features: 200 electric sites, 73 non-electric; some sites more level than others. Also, the Potawatomi Inn is available for your non-RV friends (as if someone would have such friends). The photo above is of one of the guest rooms.
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My family (wife and three kids, sometimes the dog) and I have been RV campers since 2007. We own a 2000 Trail-Lite B22 Bantam hybrid, our tow vehicle is a 2006 Trailblazer LT EXT (5.3 V8 with 3.73 Rear Axle Ratio), and our setup includes the Equalizer sway controller. Looking to upgrade the camper in the near future, but until then we get out 2-3 times a month in season.