Fort Custer Campground at Fort Custer State Recreation Area is a 3,033-acre park located between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The park features three lakes, the Kalamazoo River, a campground, a swimming beach, boat rentals, more than 25 miles of multi-use trails, paddling and fishing opportunities, second growth forests and remnant areas of prairie. The trail system is popular with mountain bikers, equestrians, hikers and dog sledders.
Originally farmland, the area was acquired by the federal government to establish Camp Custer, an induction and military training center for the U.S. Army during WWII. The land was deeded to the State of Michigan under President Nixon's Legacy of Parks in 1971.
No alcoholic beverages allowed in park April 1 through Labor Day.
It is a state park. There are lakes to fish, boat, kayak. Sites have lots of growth.
Best trails in the area! Beautiful surroundings. Hidden gem
Playground was not suitable for toddlers (1-3 year olds). This park is best known for their hiking and biking trails which our kiddos are still a little young for. The sites are decently sized and secluded.
After finding our original campground full, we were directed over to Fort Custer. We found a campsite that was large with vegetation separating us from neighbors. I didn't expect to find something this interesting as an alternate to original plans but it worked out nicely.
There are a couple hundred sites and most of them were full. Our site was on the far end of a loop. This meant a longer walk to the restrooms and showers. On the other hand, we were right across from an access trail to the blue hiking trail. Each site has a picnic table and fire pit. It was overcast upon arrival only to have the sun shine down the next day. We soon found out that there was enough clearing in the treetops to give our camp full sun for most of the day. If you camp here, I suggest one of the other sites that would give you a break from the sunny heat.
We hiked on a multi-use trail that the ranger suggested. The blue trail goes around a couple lakes and was wonderful. We did miss a sign or two and ended up turning our 4 mile trip into a 6.5 mile one but there are plenty of spots to rest and enjoy the time. We passed other hikers and bikers and even some people trying their luck at fishing. There are quite a few mountain bike trails on the other side of the recreation area. A horse trail circles around the outside edge.
As a Dyrt Ranger I sometimes get products to evaluate. This trip I tested out the Midland X-Talker two way radio - T77VP5. The kit we used came bundled into a zippered case that is perfect for keeping everything organized. We charged it up before our trip and even tried it out in a school building.
We read reviews that said it might not work well in buildings and thought we should see. I gave them to two high schoolers and asked them to run throughout the place testing them as they went. They came back happy and excited and wanted to keep using them.
The real test came out in the woods. The belt clip snaps on easily and this stayed connected to my pack strap for our entire hike. The X-Talker fits nicely in the hand and the buttons are perfectly placed. Another feature I wanted to try was the weather radio. It scans channels automatically to find a weather channel in range. You just need to listen to the report as it cycles through the days. We had some rain and storms moving in so this proved useful in helping us sneak out of camp really early to avoid the downpour that was looming.
The Midland X-Talker T77VP5 radios worked wonderfully and will certainly see more use on future adventures.
Sites have electrical service only. Must use the dump station.
Love going there to ride the trails or walk my dogs the lakes are awesome great beach Great fishing awesome picnic areas nice boat launch. Most campsites are big with trees in between. Miles of biking and hiking trails
We are in town for a softball tournament and decided to camp for the week. The mosquitos are awful. The site was a decent size and had a lot of shade, which was nice.
Fort Custer is a hidden gem in Michigan. Nobody thinks to go camping near Battle Creek, but they really should reconsider!
Never over-crowded, tons of trails, and very nice paddle board, kayak, and canoe rentals! The lake at the state park is outlined by trails and features a small island to paddle around!
Excellent Excellent place to camp
This was a pleasant surprise to have what felt like a semi private lot nestled in the woods. We had site 1 and felt we were close to a bathroom shower house as well as to the entrance. The restrooms were kept reasonably clean, and there's a nice playground by the bath house.
The negatives? It's a drive to the beach, which is rather crowded on nice Saturdays (to be expected)… there's no shortage of mosquitoes (but hey, you're in the woods, right? Bring a thermacell! )… and the midnight snack bandits we call raccoons are not going to hide from you. We had one traverse along our site while cooking dinner, but he left us alone and kept on his way. We saw several others during our stay… keep food and trash stored away!
In all we are very likely to return someday!