Michigan offers so many great places to visit and one of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery in our state is to camp. Campers/RVers have many choices when it comes to camping, from private campgrounds and RV Resorts, National and State Forest Campgrounds and county parks, to state parks. Where you stay depends a lot on what you want to do on your trip and on what amenities you want while you camp. National and State Forest campgrounds are all rustic – you can pull in your RV, but there won’t be any electric, water or sewer service. RV Resorts and private campgrounds usually have a good number of sites that offer it all as well as other added benefits like swimming pools, cable television and wi-fi. State parks aren’t going to offer swimming pools, cable television or wi-fi, but many do offer campers the option to truly rough it or go a little more modern. Here are some of my favorite parks – each park offers different levels of amenities. Checking the Pure Michigan website (once there, choose Stay | Campgrounds and RV Parks) is an easy way to see find each park’s web address and see what each park offers.
Hartwick Pines State Park – Grayling, MI
Hartwick Pines State Park has the largest area of old growth white pine in the Lower Peninsula. There are many great trails, including a nicely paved trail through the old growth forest, which will also lead you to the Hartwick Pines Logging Museum where you can see what life was like in the logging camps. Visitors can watch wildlife, hike, bike, and fish and if you want to visit in the colder months, you can even snow shoe, ski and hunt. This is one of the few state parks that offers some full hook-up sites for those who like to have all the luxuries of home.
Interlochen State Park – Interlochen, MI
The first state park, established in 1917, Interlochen State Park is a great place to stay if you want to visit the Traverse City area, and don’t mind being a few miles out of town. About 15 miles south west of Traverse and 25 miles east of the Lake Michigan shoreline, this park sits directly across the road from the Interlochen Center for the Arts. If you are a music lover, this campground is a great place to camp … sit outside in your lawn chair and listen to the students at the summer arts camp practice their instruments, or walk across the road and catch a concert (the camp also has a great ice cream store!)
Krystal Lake Campground – Vassar, MI
A newer, private campground just south of Vassar, this campground has a sandy beach and a swimming pool, putt-putt golf course, playgrounds, game room, laundry room and paddle boat rentals. There are even several sites available right along the water. Want to take a day trip? Frankenmuth is about 16 miles away and shopping in Birch Run is about 25 miles away.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise, MI
Tahquamenon Falls are a beautiful sight, no matter what time of year. The Tahquamenon Falls State Park offers four campgrounds to choose from that offer both modern and rustic campsites. This campground is a great place to go hiking and view the wildlife of northern Michigan, just remember the bug spray! If you want to visit in the colder months, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are available.
As always, don’t forget, whether you’re a seasoned camper or just starting out, your Chippewa River District Libraries can help you with a variety of resources and we also have park passes you can check out if you didn’t purchase a Recreation Passport the last time you renewed your license plates. Passes are valid for seven days after check-out and are good for one free day into any state park or recreation area. So, get out there – enjoy all the beautiful scenery our great state has to offer!