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Van Riper State Park is a must-visit if you’re traveling through Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It’s popular year-round, although camping is only open between May and October. Stop for the day to hike the trails and go for a swim, or stay a week and enjoy the sunsets and serenity.
The state park covers both sides of the highway with the campground and day-use area on the south side and a huge section of trails and wildlife viewing areas on the north.
There are 147 sites in the modern campground, including some sites with 50-amp electric service, and there are another 40 sites in the rustic campground. Plus, there are two mini cabins in the modern campground if you don’t own a tent or RV. All of the campsites have a fire ring and picnic table.
One thing we noticed is that the sites at Van Riper are very large– so much bigger than many sites we’ve seen at other state parks. This means there is plenty of space for your trailer, truck, bikes, screen tent, kids’ toys, etc. without feeling like you’re infringing on your neighbor.
Another plus for the state park is the laundry facilities. Two washers and dryers are located in the restroom building near the beach.
Van Riper State Park is extremely family-friendly, with activities for everyone. There are approximately 5 miles of hiking trails on the north side of the state park. One trail provides a very nice overlook of Lake Michigamme and the surrounding area. Other trails run along the Peshekee River or through the woods and may even provide the chance to see the moose that live in the area. The trails are not difficult, but there is some elevation to get to the lookout. If you don’t want to hike the whole 5-plus miles from the campground and back, you can drive and park at the group campground and go from there.
A sandy beach awaits both kids and adults on Lake Michigamme. The lake is popular as it is much warmer than most of the lakes in the Upper Peninsula. A large, fairly new playscape is also located near the beach, as well as a swing set. One of the most unique activities is a bike pump track. This is the only state park that we saw that had one. It was very popular with the kids and is conveniently located between the campground and the day-use area. The lake is popular for fishing and if you have a boat you can use the launch in the back of the park. It also is a good location for kayaking.
If you're looking for an off-the-grid escape this is it. The hike-in/paddle in camping spots are equipped with a picnic table and a firepit, everything else is up to you. I have been going here yearly for the last 10ys and absolutely love it! The only downside is the fishing has gone downhill the last 3ys, the bass used to bite every cast…
During our trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan this was one of my favorite campgrounds. The only reason we didn't stay longer was fear of our rig not starting up again and leaving us stranded. This campground had LARGE campsites with 2 separate loops and plenty of room between campsites. There was only one other group at this campground on the second loop which we never saw. The road to this campground is gravel and is a very pretty drive winding through the woods. At night it is very surreal as the only sounds you hear are the ones you make and an empty night sky. The canopy tree cover makes it tough to see the night sky but there are openings where you can see the sky full of stars. The lake was very peaceful and calm. There were a couple of small docks at each of the campground loops. If you have dogs beware the lake bottom is heavy dark mud and can be troublesome getting off your dog if they decide to take a dip. They also have clean vaulted toilets which is always nice(just beware of large spiders). We would recommend staying at this campground for an extended stay!
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My family stayer here for five night this past June. Reservations and deposit was easy to do online. Their reservation system was easy to use, able to pick out site and was also able to do some more extensive search criteria on it as well to check availability. The office is a small building as you enter the campground. The staff was prepared for us and the process of checking-in was very smooth.
This is a newer park but well maintained. The sites are well layout, with a good amount a space between sites. Full hookups and everything worked well.
If it were dry it could see things get dusty on a windy day but the area had a good amount of rain this summer and this was not an issue for us. There is a good mix of pull-thru sites and back-in sites. The site was what looked like a mixture of gravel and recycled asphalt and was mostly level. A little rough on bare feet but an outdoor rug help out a ton. While we were there they were planting tress. It will take sometime for them to grow to provide very much shade but you can tell they are looking towards the future.
There were a lot of bugs while we were there, so it was hard to stay outdoors for a long period of time during certain times of the day. But this is the Mid-west and it is just part of this region of the US. Next time I would bring a screen tent to be able to sit outside and enjoy the view.
Restrooms and Showers were not open due to COVID.
This campground in located on the east side of small town of Christmas and a short drive west to Munising, WI. and it is not a far drive to Pictured Rocks National Lake shore. It is a beautiful park and I would highly recommend seeing the rocks along the lake shore either from the water on a guided boat tour, kayak tour, or boat ( there are pontoon rentals available too). Most of these options are available in Munising. Also hiking through the park forest, along the lake shore, rivers and many waterfalls was a great experience.
We will definitely stay again at this RV park again.
We stayed at this campground over the summer and really enjoyed our time there. There’s access to many of the local mountain bike trails directly from the campground. Overall the sites are good size and offer a decent amount of privacy. We walked around the campground and there are many sites that that we would like to try out at a different time.￼ we also utilized the shower facilities as we have a pop up and they were clean and worked well for us. Overall we really have no complaints at this campground and will be back!
Like previous reviews say, this place is kinda just “there”…
Absolutely no privacy between sites, hardly any tree cover, ground was thick mud when I arrived. Not to mention the lake access isn’t really enjoyable.
If you wanna pay for a spot to sleep in your car- that’s about all this place is good for.
Part of the Noquemanon Trail Network for mountain biking.
First come, first serve and only rustic sites.
Some sites don’t have fire pits and are kind of a tight squeeze with precarious tree placement.
Not all sites are like this. Just get there early so you have better selection. There are only a few sites I don’t recommend.
Sites can be paid for in cash or at https://noquetrails.org/forestville/
Only an outhouse and no running water or showers. But, you should have close to full cell service.
I primarily stay on weekdays and don’t have an issue finding a site. However, weekends can get busy with all the out of town mountain bikers.
This campground is well placed for hiking as well. Sugarloaf Mountain and Hogsback are only a short drive away.
There are also numerous waterfalls within an hours drive of this place. Some easier to get to the others.
This campground is in Marquette, near Northern Michigan University. But once you're camped there, you won't feel like you're in one of the largest cities in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
The sites are generally spacious and they have a lot of options to choose from based on what rig you have and how you like to camp. They have tent sites that are non-electric, about 100 RV sites with just electric, and another 38 sites that have water and sewer hookups. They even have some sites that are pull-through. They also offer a dump station and potable water for folks that don't have the full hookup sites.
The campground is adjacent to a municipal park that has a beach. The campground also offers sites that overlook Dead River Basin. The sites aren't paved, so rainy days could lead to some mud to deal with, but the nice stand of trees and the basin view can make up for it. There also are some sites that are tucked into the trees quite a bit for additional privacy. Because you're near a major UP city, you have access to plenty of shopping and services if you need them, plus there is great (Verizon) cellular service in the campground. The park wifi is a bit weak depending on where you are at in relation to the office, but we used our wifi booster and had smooth sailing for our jobs all day long.
The bathroom and shower facilities seem older but also appeared to be clean and functioned well. There weren't very many showers, so if you need to use one you may need to wait for it.
All-in-all a decent campground that serves as a perfect oasis in an area where there aren't any state parks to choose from. We also liked that when they close the office at night, they print out a map with all the reserved sites, so if you show up without a reservation, you can quickly check the map to find an open site. Then you just get some rest and register at the office in the morning.
This is very close to the Munising/Pictured Rocks/ Christmas Michigan areas.
The campground is adequate, but not the most awesome bathrooms.
There was a great trail near our campsite that had signs and info about the birds in the area (great for young ones especially).
Adequate place for pitching a tent and going to the bathroom (and having some lake fun) and being near Munising.
On the shores of Independence Lake, just south of Lake Superior, sits this gorgeous, sparkling clean county park with a well-managed campground. Wasn’t expecting much, so was blown away by the facilities for the low price. Lots of site options: non-electric, with electric only, with full hookups, walk-in or boat-in sites on the water, as well as a couple cabins. Sites are nicely spaced apart, but not much privacy between them. We chose the site right by the boat launch, which definitely has the most privacy when it’s not boating season. Lots of deciduous trees, making the fall truly glorious!
The campground was about 10% full upon arrival, and everybody left before we did, so we had the place to ourselves. Did we mention how much we love fall camping?!? Bathrooms and showers are clean and well maintained and spread out throughout the campground.
Tons of hiking, mountain biking, and water sports of all kinds around. Nice boat launch facility, as well as special place to launch canoes/kayaks. A large picnic pavilion with stone fireplace sits right at the waterfront. This is a reservation only type of place (with a $3 nominal fee), but the website allows you to book for the same day, and there is decent cell service at the campground. Win win!
Stock up in Marquette before heading out here as there is only a small gas station convenience store across the road from the campground, as well as a small café and laundromat.