The best camping near
Elsie, MICHIGAN

173 Reviews 97 Campgrounds
EXPLORE
Most Recent Elsie Camping Reviews
Ranger Review: Banner and Oak Pathfinder hat at Holly State Rec

As a Ranger the Dyrt sends me products to test. This trip my husband and I tested hats from Banner and Oak. https://bannerandoak.com/collections/hats-ladies/products/pathfinder-blue   I found the pathfinder soft comfortable and it stayed secure on my head on a blustery rainy day. Even with a buff on underneath for keeping my ears warm. I did find the brim to be a little large for my face and I had to turn my head up at odd angles to take a selfie or as you can see in the video below.  My Husband Steve found the Sierra did not fit his head well He felt it looked too tall from the front, and the band was itchy.

Holly State Rec

Pretty park with several well marked trails. We stayed in the Maple loop which had several semi-private sites screened from neighbors by trees. I think site #1 was one of the roomiest and prettiest. The bathrooms were clean. There were several playgrounds, bench swings, play fields and even a basketball court. The ADA sites had pavement surrounding the fire rings and space at the picnic tables for a wheel chair.

Rustic, beautiful views

We got lucky with our site right on the water and the temperature was nice and cool so we did not have to deal with any bugs. We hiked right in and setup camp. This place only allows camping for one night as it's considered a pass-through campground. There is a decently clean outhouse(it appears to be cleaned daily by DNR staff), and each site has its own fire pit. The views are wonderful and the surrounding sites appeared to be enjoying themselves as well. Our site, B6, was equipped with a table, bench, and a fire pit. From what I could tell no other sites had a bench; fire pit and table only. We found another place to park which allowed us to cut down on our hike time because I was not about that 4 miles+ life. Our hike was maybe 15, 20 minutes tops. If staying on the water is not your jam, there were places at a higher elevation to try. There is also a fresh water pump. No electricity. You must hunt for the wood you want to burn in the pit. No ground fires. A great time!

Fun with family and pets!

Nice lakes for swimming and can take your pet as well!  Big playground and nice bathrooms

Great for young children

Great park for young children as they have an amazing play set that is great for all ages. We’ve been to 2 other state parks after visiting sleepy hollow and so far sleepy hollow has had the best play set. Sites are also secluded so the children had an idea of what the site boundaries were

Go to

This campground is the best one in their fleet. It is super dog friendly as well. This is our “go to” spot for sure. Love it here and the staff are great.

Packed in

We stayed here over a weekend. Biggest disappointment was you need to bring your own fire pit! Or they have some at the front of the park you can use, which we did as we were planning on cooking hotdogs. The pool was nice. We did full hookup and were tight to the campers next to us, like 6’ away. People working were nice.

Day hiking trip

It was only $2 to enter the park. There was three hiking trails to choose from, we choose the “turkey trail”. The trail was well marked but got quite confusing about 3/4 in. Tons of fun things to see here, beautiful stone bridges. Trail was well maintained.

We did not camp here but camp sites were very spread out and most very shaded.

Disappointing

This was our last stop on a trip where we camped in 6 different Michigan State Parks. This may be an older camp or the DNR was trying to save money when it was built. Most electrical posts are designed to accommodate at least 2 adjoining lots, and as many as 4. This in itself is not a concern until you realize the posts are way too far away to reach without an extension. We tried several lots and couldn’t reach any of the outlets. We finally met a couple who saId they had extensions at the office. So, we finally got set up with an extension cord from the camp office and decided to walk to the beach. Our site was adjacent to the path leading to the beach so we figured we could use a little walk. The path led to another path that led to a parking lot for the beach. After crossing the parking lot we still had to cross a large yard/park that finally opened onto the beach on this small lake. It was all very scenic, but we weren’t expecting a major hike to get to the beach. Showers are nice. They also have a neat ice cream vending machine that I had to check out for scientific purposes only. For a Michigan state park we were quite disappointed.

Great place to go

This is lovely place to try out when your short on time. You can try out your new gear or just enjoy being outside. Very easy to get to and if you want to camp overnight you can buy a permit online super easy. This place is open year-round.

Great Atmosphere!

We’ve been going here for many years, we love access to the plenty of pools and kayaking amenities that are included in our stay!

Beautiful woods

Sites were spacious, we loved the national forest.

Nice campground

Nice place with a ton of activities. My only complaint would be that bathrooms and showers could be cleaner. Went in right after they mopped and it looked like they just slid the dirt around.

Great stay

The sites are good size, very shaded. Bathrooms are clean. Lots of thing to do here as you are right across the street from the beach. The near by nature preserve is a great place to take a hike or bike ride. There are a couple restaurants right outside the park entrance.

Amazing weekend for the kids!

This is one of the best campgrounds for kids that I've ever visited!!!

The campground itself is beautifully laid out and maintained. It features roughly a 150 some odd sites ranging from tent sites to RV and cabins. Each site has a cement fire ring and electric hookup. There are communal water spickets generously scattered around the grounds. The bathrooms and showers are very clean. They are closed an hour a day for thourgho cleaning and restocked and wiped down in the late evening. They have one large group camp area, but it is for organizational reservations only (as most of them are). Howeve, there is a cul-de-sac of 5 or 6 (I can't remember) sites off by itself. Those sites are very large (except the one on the end, which of course we had reserved for the weekend) and have huge space between them. There is also an additional parking pad there for overflow. Though they're not a sanctioned group site these would be perfect for it. We've already planned to reserve these sites next year for our large (35+people) family camp weekend. The drive around the campground is all paved and very long, so be sure to bring your bikes!!

Now for the amusements and conveniences. . . . . There is a small playground in the campground, but you have to cut through campsites to reach it. There are trails for hiking around the wider state park area as well as a few that lead across the street to the swim area and day park. Take a 2 min walk from the camp office across to the day park and you'll find the Spray by the Bay splash pad, a huge timber playground, beautiful sandy beach along Lake Huron, sandy swim area, geocaching, pavilions, well kept bathrooms and changing rooms. We spent all day at the park with 4 kids 6yrs and under and not a single on of them complained of being bored.

They have campground hosts that facilitate free activities organized by the park. We did a kids craft and enjoyed hot cocoa or coffee Saturday morning and then returned after dinner for Back-to-School bingo and popcorn. See pic of the August schedule for a better idea of what was offered.

They sold ice and wood at the camp office and there was an ice cream place next door to the park. It's a 5 min walk from the park office.

We didn't have to leave the park once all weekend. It was so relaxing to have everything we needed on hand and not have to run out for things.

One final note: there were quite a few May Flies. According to the park office they're pretty much there all summer. They weren't bad at the campground except at night around the bathrooms. We walked over to the day park before breakfast one morning and the playground was covered with them. As the day got hotter and the playground got busier there were hardly any, but that morning visit was rough. We actually abandoned the playground till later in the day.

Popular Place!

This is a giant recreation area that features a campground, 3 lakes, tons of trails, and even a splash zone for kids. The campground has it all, electric, cabins, playgrounds, basketball courts, etc… The lakes are nice and there are tone of options of things to do and places to explore. Ideal for families and people who like to camp but aren’t into the “rustic” part.

Flat sites, water, toilet, hike/boat in

Absolutely beautiful hiking area. Nice place to camp right on the lake. It's a 7 mile hike in(can also be accessed via boat), part of the Potowatomi loop trail(~18 miles) located in Waterloo-Pinckney recreation area. This place is filled with all sorts of mushrooms, never seen that many different species in one place. Parking for trailhead is at silver lake, be cautious as trail is primarily used for mountain biking. Be sure to walk counter-clockwise if walking the full loop trail, so that you see them coming. Not a big deal, fairly easy to step out of the way quickly. Lots of wildlife and a good bit of elevation change and 2 sections that can be skipped via shortcut if not up for the full 18 miles. Great views and lots of biodiversity, was surprised at how many different landscapes it seems you move through in such a short distance!

Lovely . . . . . Or would have been without the kids ;)

The camp was small, but lovely.  I enjoyed the setting and hiking, but swimming did not keep the kids (ages 1.5, 3, 5 &6) entertained for long.  It's my ideal location for a quiet solo camp, maybe next time.

Nice size sites for a state park

First thing that caught my attention is that sites are larger than most state park campgrounds. The bathrooms are standard state park stuff, but they are clean. Lake is a bit weedy, but trails are great for hiking. Remember, only electric at the state parks.

Chill, comfortable, beautiful and would definitely come back!

5 friends and I drove out from Chicago to this campground and were pleasantly surprised by how great the campground and site were. I booked this site a month in advance during the summer so I must have just gotten really lucky! The site was cozy, not crazy spacious but enough for two tents and two cars. 

The campground had a lot of motorhomes, families, and larger groups around us but it was still very quiet and peaceful. The rangers were really nice and you could buy ice and firewood at the campground. 

There was a great 3.5 mile hike around the lake with really beautiful lake views and a great beach for swimming. We had an awesome time and would definitely come back here.

Great rustic camp site

Great location. The view of the lake is stunning. I really like having a campsite where you don't have to worry about setting up your tent next to a motor home. 

One potential issue is that every campsite has at least one other site that it is very close. If you have considerate neighbors like we did, it's a dream. If you are unlucky, you get the campers who get drunk and rowdy until 2am.

Busy place. Lots to do for the kids.

Great for kids, a little annoying for a couple adults just trying to break in our camper..but the hookups worked fine. Dog area was like a barren wasteland but I still appreciated it. Clean bathrooms.

Pretty lakes!

This place has some great water so bring a boat, board, or kayak. Very popular for fishing and paddling. The campground isn’t overly special but it’s in a great location. Bathrooms, picnic tables, fire pit, the standard accommodations.

Perfectly peaceful

This is a rustic campground right on beautiful blind lake. It is only accessible by foot/bike/or boat. The hike/bike is about 7 miles or 4 (depending on where you park). The paddle in works out to be about 2.5 miles from the Halfmoon boat launch. The campground is simple. Vault toilet, water pump, and a fire ring, nothing too crazy. It is however very quiet and relaxing due to the fact it is not easily accessible. You have to reserve ahead of time and there is a one night maximum stay too. Kinda weird, but those are the rules. I would recommend this place to anyone looking for a quiet night on the water.

OK family campground

It’s a really fun place for kids with lots going on over the weekend. There’s a decent pool, with a TON of rules. Free putt putt. Nice place for them to ride bikes. But, there are also a lot of seasonal campers. Us common folk are put in the back, which is fine, but the only golf carts allowed are seasonals, so they ride around and it almost feels like you’re being gawked at. It was fun for a weekend, but you’re right on top of your neighbors.

Hidden gem

Such a cool little backcountry campground. You can hike or paddle in, no car access. The hike can be done a few different ways with the shortest being around 4 miles. We opted for the longer one which was about 7 and it was beautiful. The campground has picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets. Limited cell service.

Peaceful and semiprivate

We love the large sites with walls of greenery separating the campsites. This is rustic camping at it's best. Small fishing lake for paddling. Mountain bike and hiking trails run through the campground. Bishop lake beach and jump island are a 5 min drive away.

Halloween Cubscout Campout

Thank you for having an abundance of tent space that was nice and grassy with lots of shade trees the price tag for what we got was it’s only shortfall and it was loud at night being that close to I-75. But the Halloween event was awesome loved it all the boys had a blast. I’d be interested in checking out the little cabins they have there super cute.

First to Review
Okay, but could be better

This is a nice little spot if you have everything you need with you. The campground is small and compact, which is either good or bad… depending on your neighbors. Beach access is nice, and within walking distance of your lot. However, there is nothing close by to get essentials if needed without a bit of a drive. Campground hosts are very friendly and accommodating, which gives you that homely feeling when you arrive. They could improve their severely outdated playground equipment, and maybe update a few things to greatly improve their surroundings. Overall though, a nice little place to get away right next to the lake.