Ari A.


Okemos, MI

Joined February 2019

We are Ari & Jessi. Find out more about how we Hike. Camp. Boldly Go. at #hikecampgo

Great campground for small rigs

We stayed in the Cedar Sage campground for a month -- two weeks in site 5, then gone for the weekend, then 2 more weeks in Site 3. The loop is designed for smaller rigs, there is a 20-foot limit due to how the sites are laid out. 

There's a small parking asphalt pad and then the sites extend out to the side or behind the pad. There is a raised dirt platform area for tents or screen tents. Each site also has a fire pit and a large picnic table.  All the sites have the same sized parking pad (which seemed quite level throughout the loop), but the space beyond that pad varies quite a bit. Some are quite large and others a bit small. (Site #5 has a huge camping area with great sun in the afternoon.) 

Most of the sites seem to be good for privacy and all are well spaced out so you shouldn't feel cramped even when the campground is busy. 

The bathrooms in this loop seem new. They are well-designed and clean, plus they have shower rooms that are separate from the bathrooms. The showers had great pressure and plenty of hot water. 

Cellular service was good for Verizon and T-Mobile overall. It could periodically get weak but would come back quickly. We used Verizon and T-Mobile for video calls and other work and did just fine. Occasionally had to use our cellular boost to get great service, but it was decent without the booster, too -- at least in sites 3 and 5. We heard from others and noticed when walking around that some sites had less cell signal. (Probably depends on trees and terrain, as some sites sit more on a hill than others, and surrounding trees vary from site to site. 

The park boasts miles worth of trails, some that take you along the Guadalupe River. Note that it doesn't take much rain before they close the trails down (first closed to bikers and equestrians, but then to hikers, as well).

The park is very popular and fills up on weekends, even in the winter. During the summer, we've heard it's extremely popular. If you can't get a campsite, there is a large day-use area near the river to enjoy. 

The park is about 3 miles down the state park road before you even get to the entrance, so you take that into account if you need to run to town for supplies. But a Walmart and HEB+ are about 8 miles away(although driving time is deceiving because the hilly, curving roads mean taking things slower with an RV).

If we have a need to be in this area again, we will definitely look at booking here again.

Nice and dark for star gazing

We, unfortunately, only got to spend one night here on our way through the area but enjoyed some great stargazing due to the park being quite dark.

We appreciated electric and water being at the campsite, especially for only $14 per night.

The only thing negative we noticed during our very short stay was that while the bathrooms were clean, they seemed old and small. Men and women each had just one shower stall and it was behind only a shower curtain in the main restroom area. (We were in the Wilkins Creek Loop.)

Staff was friendly and welcoming. We'd like to come back and explore the area more when we have time.

Nice layout and a ton of nature activities

The state park is located within the boundaries of the Indiana Dunes National Park (formerly National Lakeshore), so don't get confused by this. There also is a national park campground, but it's closed in the winter.)

This state park has a nice layout because the sites seem to be staggered so that they don't back up to each other. Also, there is a good buffer space behind the sites and decent space between each site. 

All sites have 20- 30- and 50-amp service available, plus almost all are a combination of a concrete pad and asphalt apron. Note that just because they're paved doesn't mean all of them are level. Each site has a fire pit and it appeared they all have grill grates on them.

One nice touch is that some sites have wider asphalt aprons so if you have a longer rig, you can put your towing vehicle or your towed vehicle off to the side once your rig is in place. Also, the ADA sites are nicely laid out with larger concrete pads so that even the fire pits are in the concrete section for ease of access. 

Note that after Nov. 1, the water is shut off and bathrooms are shut down until spring, although there are vault toilets available. 

You will hear a pretty regular stream of train whistles at this campground, but they aren't so loud as to be disruptive. 

You can hike to the 1929 Dunes Pavilion and a large beach on Lake Michigan. The best hiking activity, however, and also easily accessible by walking from the campground, is the series of dune trails. The Nature Center, which sits between the campground and the trails, has some good visitor's information about the dunes, the flora and fauna, and the history of the area. 

Once you finish seeing what you want in the state park, there's still the entire national park to see. Plus, there's a multi-use trail that runs for 9 miles along the state park and into the national park. 

Cell service for Verizon was two bars but speeds seem to be good. Less signal and speed for Google Fi, but not terrible.

Hard to get to but worth it

Lime Island Recreation Area is located in the St. Mary’s River at the very east end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It sits in the middle of the river with Canada on one side and Michigan on the other. Raber, Michigan is the nearest shore town, 2 miles across the river. The only way to reach the park is by boat but there are no designated ferries, so the only way to reach it is by using your own boat or finding someone in the area with a boat willing to charter you and your gear. Non-motorized boats are not recommended due to the many freighters and choppy water conditions.

Overnight accommodations include six cabins that can sleep between four and seven guests each, as well as 10 tent sites on wooden platforms that look out over the river. The park is a favorite among fishermen, couples, and large families who like to rent out all the cabins for annual reunions. 

A boat slip comes with your reservation. The island has limited electricity (solar-powered only) and no running water. Portable toilets are provided and there is a pump for a potable-water well. Cabin guests need to provide all their own gear, including sleeping and cooking supplies and equipment.

Approximately 7 miles of hiking trails traverse the island, providing guests the chance to wander, explore and possibly encounter wildlife. With so little human activity you never know what you’ll find.

One of the favorite pastimes of guests is sitting and watching the large Great Lakes freighters pass by at all hours of the day. They pass so close to the island you feel you could almost touch them. It’s quite a sight!

There's a ton of history on the island, some of which is still visible. According to the Michigan DNR, “Lime Island provides a significant representation of early 20th-century industrial and maritime history. The coal dock, fuel storage tanks, Quonset hut with bunker, fuel heating and pumping equipment, other supporting buildings, and scattered industrial equipment, provide a complete picture of the island’s use as a ship refueling depot. The schoolhouse, superintendent’s house (that was brought to the island by dragging it across the frozen river), cottages, and fruit trees remind visitors of island life for the workers that supported the depot.”

It's not an easy state park to reach, but if you can find a way to get there, the seclusion should make for some great camping on the tent platforms (or hanging out in the cabins if you're into that sort of thing.)

Good basecamp, especially for ORV users

At 217 acres, Muskallonge Lake State Park is on the smaller side. However, it is a great basecamp to visit the many scenic locales throughout the northeastern section of the Upper Peninsula. 

The campsites vary immensely in size throughout but include both paved, gravel, and grass sites in essentially all the loops. This much variety allows you to choose if you want a woodsier feel (sites 131-159), a more open area (sites 1-80), or a little in between (81-130.) Two bathhouses are available since the campground is so large.

If you have an ORV/ATV, Muskallonge Lake State Park is one of the few state parks where you can ride your ORV straight from the state park to the many nearby designated ORV trails. (This is special because in most Michigan state parks you have to keep your ATV trailered and haul it to the trailhead.)

The Lake Superior shoreline is a great place to hunt for all types of rocks from agates, granite, basalt, and even Petoskey Stones. At the campground host station is a board that describes the different rock types and what they look like. Before you head to the beach check the host station first to see what to look for. (Note, if you take a UV flashlight with you once it gets dark you might even find some of the special Yooperlite rocks!)

The only hiking trail in the park is a 1.5-mile trail that connects to a segment of the North Country Trail. 

A designated swimming beach is available near the campground, as well as a small day-use area with a few picnic tables, grills, and some old playground equipment.

Decent UP basecamp, but could feel crowded

Brimley isn't a big state park at only 160 acres; it consists of the campground and a small day-use area. 

The campground is the majority of Brimley State Park, with more than 230 sites. And the sites are crammed in pretty close to one another in a relatively open area with multiple rows.

A few of the sites around the outside edge back up to trees, while others back up to the day-use area. A few are technically on Lake Superior but there is a row of trees separating them so it’s not like you’d have a waterfront view.

The sites do come in varying sizes and a few are more pull-in sideways than back in. This helps with so much variation in rig size and type. There also are a few sites with 50-amp service. In addition, there is one mini-cabin.

There are three bathroom facilities in the campground. At least one is showing its age, with only 3 stalls and 1 shower each for men and women. The other facility is a newer, modern style restroom with 5 separate gender-neutral shower stalls. 

Brimley State Park technically has two beaches, or at least areas where you can reach the water. With lake levels so high in 2019 and 2020, there wasn't much of a sandy beach available, but there is a designated swimming area.

The beach area provides a great view of the St. Mary’s portion of Whitefish Bay where you can watch all the big Great Lakes freighters line up as they prepare to pass through the Soo Locks. Make sure you head down at night, too, as the freighters often are parked offshore overnight and likely to be all lit up.

We were there near the end of the fall season so it wasn't very crowded. But during peak times, you're going to be packed in pretty tight so think about that when booking a site and try to get out along the edges if you want more elbow room.

Great municipal camping oasis

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.

Great location near the dunes

This is a good-sized campground with loops on either side of the road. None of the sites offer much privacy and in the busy season you can feel pretty packed in. But the location is awesome due to its proximity to the Silver Lake Off Road Vehicle Area, Lake Michigan, Silver Lake and the Little Sable Point Lighthouse. 

If you are into off-roading across sand dunes, this is the park to stay at, although this isn't by any means a quiet place to getaway. In addition to the dunes, which are available to off-road vehicles and pedestrians to enjoy, there's another part of the park that has a cool lighthouse from 1874 and there are some nice views all around the park. 

Cell service was decent on Verizon but non-existent for a Google Fi phone (which uses Spring and T-Mobile towers). 

Make sure you check your rig size against the site you are planning gon reserving as many sites have odd shapes or require some maneuvering due to the placement of trees and fire pits. Also, be aware that the road through the campground is quite narrow so you'll need to take your time and, if at all possible, arrive when you still have daylight available to see everything. 

Note that 20 and 30 amp is available at all sites, but you often are sharing a power pole with several other sites.

Bathrooms were in good shape and offer unisex shower stalls outside the restrooms, which is always nice.

Primitive sites on Lake Michigan

This is a primitive state forest campground right on the shore of Lake Michigan that is larger than most in Michigan. The sites vary in size and shape, but many could accommodate everything from a tent to a small trailer, Class B or truck camper.

It's first-come, first-served so you may end up with an inner site that isn't on the water. But even with 50 sites, it's not a long walk to get to a lake access point.

Keep in mind that when it rains, this place tends to get quite muddy and the sites are mostly grass and dirt. Some sites were a bit unlevel but most seemed pretty good.

There is some road noise if you're in a site closer to the front. But if you're near the lake you won't hear the cars and trucks.

Cell service was low on a Verizon phone (1 bar LTE) but a bit better with our Verizon MiFi (2 bars LTE). Google Fi phone had spotty LTE service that came and went depending on location in the campsite.

Beautiful park, busy campground

You can't beat the Porcupine Mountains if you're looking for wilderness experiences in Michigan. Union Bay is a nice campground to use as a base camp for lots of day hikes in the area.

It can be busy and weekends are louder with kids, dogs, loud neighbors, etc , just like most state parks. Weekdays tend to be quieter even when busy.

Many sites are quite close together and there isn't much privacy in those. Some sites have odd sizes and shapes so be prepared to adjust your rig on the site to get best placement and be level (back in vs. sideways, etc ). Also consider having leveling blocks with you.

Sites in bottom loop offer great views and access to Lake Superior. But even the upper loops are a short walk to awesome shoreline and amazing sunrises.

Bathrooms are clean and showers have good design, although shower heads could use some maintenance.

Staff working the office seem to really know their stuff about hiking the area, so check with them for ideas in addition to the Visitors Center.

If you want the wilderness feel of the Porkies but modern amenities at the end of the day, this is the place.

Note that cellular service can be extremely weak if you don't have a booster.

Great views, good cellular service

This is one of our favorite state parks for just hanging out. We prefer the Lower West campground due to proximity to the water and views of the Mackinac Bridge.

This place can get very busy and the sites are quite varied in terms of size, shape and how unlevel they are. Some sites offer a lot of privacy but others are more open. The sites right along the water are spectacular, but note they do not have electricity.

If you have a van or truck camper, note that even the tent sites have electricity available, so consider those if the RV sites are full.

The Lower West campground isn't the quietest campground but the views and atmosphere make up for it.

Also note there is good cell service for Verizon and Google Fi (2 to 3 bars LTE with decent data speeds).

Can be busy but doesn't feel crowded

(North Campground) This campground can fill up and feel busy, but the sites are generally large enough that you don't feel packed in too tightly. I like the way they left some stands of trees as a buffer between sets of loops as it means you can end up against trees in some sites (such as 161) even though you're technically in the middle of the campground. 

The campground has nice bathroom facilities with separate shower rooms. They also are laid out well within the loops so that if one is closed for cleaning there's another one a short walk away. 

Verizon cell service was decent enough that we could get work done and at the end of the workday, you can take just a short walk to the campground beach and enjoy searching for cool rocks on the Lake Huron shoreline. The day-use area is quite a bit down the road so you would have to drive there or take a good bike ride. But the benefit is that there is a large, sandy beach at the day-use area.

Great peaceful spot on a quiet lake

This is a rustic state forest campground with only 8 non-reservable sites. The sites have decent distance between them and vary from tucked into the trees (away from the lake) or more open (near the lake). Several sites have views of the lake, and a couple have direct access to it down small paths. The sites are large enough for most rigs, even though the DNR recommends smaller trailers. 

Big Mud Lake is a decent size and is nice and calm for kayaking, etc. There is a boat ramp near the campground, although Site #6 has a small path down to the lake with a shallow spot to use for putting a kayak or canoe in and out of the water. 

There is a 2.5-mile-long connector from this campground to the Green Pine Lake Pathway -- it's a total of about 9 miles of trails that connects you to three different lakes. 

Mosquitoes came out a bit at night, but weren't bad overall and didn't bother us during the day in the campground. (Can't speak to what might happen on the trail.) 

Cellular service for Verizon is awesome, service for Google Fi was decent. 

If you can snag a spot here, you're in for a nice peaceful time but can still stay connected if you need to get some work done in between your forays into the woods or out onto the lake.

Big and Little Leverentz make a nice pair

This is actually one state forest campground split into two units, each on a lake: Big Leverentz and Little Leverentz.

There are about 20 campsites here with approximately 3/4 of them on the Big Leverentz side.

All sites are in good size and could handle a small travel trailer, Class B RV, truck camper, or several tents.

The sites are large enough and spaced far enough apart that even if it were full you would not feel crowded in at this campground. Many of the sites are on a hill looking over the lake.

Little Leverentz lake is quite small and while it has a canoe and kayak launch, it was in a state of disrepair in July 2020. The lake is small enough that you would really just do a lot of floating around anyway.

Big Leverentz is large enough for small motor boats, and makes a nice peaceful area to kayak around looking for wildlife including fish, turtles, muskrats, etc. It has a boat ramp and a fishing pier.

Amenities include newer vault toilets, a hand pump for water, and a dumpster for trash.

Decent cell service for Verizon and Google Fi. The campsites cost $15 per night; they are not reservable. Also, there is no DNR staff on site so bring cash or check to drop into the payment pipe.

Good place for families to relax

A United Methodist Campground now open to the public instead of just for church camp, this is a nice location for families to enjoy some downtime, with access to Lake Michigan and plenty of activities available to pass the the time.

The sites vary in size but several can accommodate very large rigs. The whole place feels tucked away into the woods but you're only about a 10-minute drive from downtown Pentwater.

Short hike over the dunes (via stairway) takes you to Lake Michigan. (They have a great viewing platform for sunsets!)

Campground is getting regular updates each year, including a new 2-spot dump station (2 years ago), and new water and electric (50 amp) hookups at the sites continually being added.

They offer everything from RV and tent sites to platform tents and cabins. They have a great staff that cares about visitors enjoying their time there.

Cellular signals can vary greatly within the camp, but we found signals for Verizon and Google Fi (T-Mobile/Sprint) with decent service.

Plenty to do but plenty of people, too

This is actually two different campgrounds -- North and South. The North Campground has larger sites spaced a bit apart to afford you some privacy (or at least as much as you can expect at a state park campground). The grounds and facilities looked to be in good condition, too. 

The South Campground (where we stayed) has smaller sites that were much more closely packed together. There are non-electric sites that are a bit deeper but still quite narrow so your neighbors may be right there when you look around. The facilities in this campground also seemed to be in good, clean condition. 

The one thing that was bit unnerving was that throughout both campgrounds, there are sites on the outer edge that are next to a main road with nothing but a small, wooden split-rail fence dividing the state park from the outside world. While the park is in a rural area, it still seems odd to have zero security for your site and your belongings from anyone who just happens to park on the road and wander in. 

This seemed to be a popular campground for families -- especially little kids on bikes, so be extra cautious when driving around or even riding your own bike because the kids seemed to have no concept of safely riding around. They would often change direction or dart out unexpectedly. 

Things to do include a good-sized, no-wake lake that was a pleasure to use our kayak on.  There is a small beach that seemed popular, although the signs warning about all the dangers in the lake made us question entering the water for swimming. There also is a hiking/mountain biking trail that goes around the lake. It wasn't well-marked and seemed to just be a series of connections through some woods, down roads, and across parts of the developed areas of the park. So, not a terrible experience but just not what we expected.

Peaceful spot, plenty of room

Seems much larger than most state forest campgrounds in Michigan. There are 6 loops here with numerous sites on each loop. And yet, you don't feel crowded in and there's decent privacy in many of the sites. Jones Lake is peaceful and offers some great sunsets. Dirt road leading in is in decent shape and navigable by any size rig. Some of the sites may require some tight maneuvering for larger rigs but site size is good overall. Trees offer good shade cover at different times of the day depending on site location.

Rustic campground, so no water or electric are available, but there are vault toilets, as well as trash and recycling receptacles.

Each site has a picnic table and fire ring.

We had a very pleasant stay.

Deecnt cell coverage -- 2 bars LTE on Verizon, 2-3 bars LTE on Google Fi.