Plan your visit: Top five things to do at Camp Perry

Ashley Dugan

Thousands of visitors come to Camp Perry each summer to take part in the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) annual National Matches – a staple event to the National Guard Training Center since 1907. The month long series of marksmanship events features a variety of rifle and pistol competitions and learning opportunities that attract enthusiasts to the grounds, but the base has much more to offer for those exploring behind the firing lines.
• Camp. For those who want to stay directly on base, Camp Perry offers several accommodation options, from family cottages to motel rooms to transient quarters, catering to many budgets. Those who prefer to camp may set up a tent or hook up on one of the RV sites with full water, electric and sewer access. A nearby shower facility also allows campers to get cleaned up after a long day outdoors. The facilities are smoke-free and pet-free (pets are allowed at the campground only).
• Go to the beach. Those staying on Camp Perry will have access to the beach and the famous Camp Perry pier. Spend the day listening to the waves crash ashore, fishing, sunbathing, swimming or simply taking in the view of the open water of Lake Erie. Keep your eyes peeled toward the north on a clear day to see the silhouette of the Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial – one of the tallest monuments in the United States (at 352 feet), located on South Bass Island. The site commemorates long-lasting peace between Great Britain, Canada and the U.S. after a victory by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and the U.S. Navy during the War of 1812. Take a look to the east and you may even be able to see along the coastline of downtown Port Clinton and Catawba Island. Don’t forget your fishing pole – the pier is a great spot to spend a few hours fishing with friends.
• Try out the Air Gun Range and Petrarca Range. CMP houses a few ranges on the Camp Perry grounds, open to the public all year.
The Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center is home to an 80-point indoor electronic air gun range. The targets are capable of simulating different distances and facilitate both air rifle and air pistol firing for any experience level, including those who have never fired before. Rental equipment is available at the range.
The National Match Air Gun Events and the CMP’s Aces Postal offer opportunities to participate in Air Gun Competitions. Outside the range, visit displays authentic items from the celebrated career of Olympian and two-time Gold Medalist and range-namesake, Gary Anderson, including a piece of the Berlin wall, gifted to Anderson, and a letter from President John F. Kennedy. Find out more at
Outdoors, Petrarca Range includes 10 electronic rifle targets set up at 100 yards and five cardboard pistol targets set up at either 50 ft., 25 or 50 yards. For those interested in short-range zeroing, the electronic scoring system can add difficulty by accurately simulating 200, 300 and 600 yards. Benches are also available for sighting in rifles. Learn more, including a schedule of when the range is open, at
• Visit the CMP North Store and Commercial Row. Located on the Camp Perry grounds within one of the oldest buildings on base, the North Store allows guests to browse through the vintage firearms offered by the CMP. The store is open to National Match competitors only, July 7-Aug. 3, with a full selection of rifles and surplus ammunition available for ordering. The store also holds CMP memorabilia and other equipment needs. Visit for more details.
During the National Matches season, Commercial Row on Camp Perry is a road of several leading industry vendors offering firearms, ammunition, competition gear, parts and more. Learn about Commercial Row and find a vendor list for 2023 at
• Tour Hough Theatre and other historical sites. As a National Guard Training Facility built over a century ago and a prisoner of war site during World War II, Camp Perry holds many stories within its roots. Take a tour of the grounds to see many historical markers and learn how each of the outdoor ranges got its name.
CMP has created a Walking Tour of Heroes of Camp Perry for visitors to explore. Hough Theatre, built in 1938, houses the National Matches awards ceremonies and once played host to legendary entertainers such as Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Once a small town within itself with a bowling alley and even its own airport, visitors may also see the remains of old original structures while exploring the grounds.
Visit the small park on base to see authentic helicopters, tanks and rockets from past wars, along with a boxcar – the Gratitude Train, gifted by France in 1949 after World War II and restored at Camp Perry in 1986.
Discover more about Camp Perry at
The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto

Those driving onto Camp Perry will notice the centrally located park with authentic Army vehicles and more. (Photo by Claire O’Neel)


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