Great Lakes Camping In Michigian State Parks

Great Lakes Camping In Michigan State Park

When I was asked if we could camp on all 5 Great Lakes this summer, I looked at my 11-year-old granddaughter, and without hesitation, said; “Sure.”

It wasn’t until I started to actually plan what we are calling our H.O.M.E.S. (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and, Superior) summer, that I started to realize how involved it would be. We would have to squeeze 5 camping trips into a Michigan summer, and I still work full time!

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In Michigan, our summer camping season is roughly from Memorial Day weekend until Labor Day weekend. I say “roughly”, because it is after all, Michigan, and although we have the pleasure of enjoying 4 distinct seasons, our seasons begin and end when Mother Nature says they begin and end. She has a mind of her own, and a wicked sense of humor. She can reduce our camping season by causing snow days, (when the roads are too snowy or icy for the school buses to travel safely,) and cold days, ( when the actual temperature, or the wind chill temperature is too low for the kiddos to safely stand outside at their bus stops.)

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With a relatively short camping season, it is no wonder that Michigan State Parks fill up quickly. Camping enthusiasts, like myself, look for the “perfect” campsite online during the winter, and book them 6 months in advance. I personally try to get the waterfront sites, if there are any. If not, I look for the biggest sites. It is always nice to have a little space between camping neighbors, especially when the park is at capacity. I can honestly say, I have never encountered any problems in a Michigan State Park.

The Michigan State Parks are overseen by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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In the 1800s, the people of Michigan became concerned about the depletion of the natural resources, and the Legislature created agencies to protect and manage them. The agencies were combined in 1921 to form the Michigan Department of Conservation. The department was renamed the Department of Natural Resources in 1969, and given a broader range of responsibility. Their mission statement describes their wide range of goals.

“The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for the current and future generations. The DNR strives to:

  • Protect natural and cultural resources.
  • Ensure sustainable recreation use and enjoyment.
  • Enable strong natural resource-based economies.
  • Improve and build strong relationships and partnerships.
  • Foster effective business practices and good governance.”

www.michigan.gov/dnr

Protecting the natural resources, and ensuring recreational safety, are the conservation officers. C.O.s are law enforcement officers who enforce the regulations for outdoor recreational activities, as well as the protection of the environment, and the public.

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Park rangers work within our park system to oversee the operation of the parks, assist visitors, enforce park rules, and  educate the public, among other duties. It has been my experience that the Michigan State Parks are well run by the rangers. When I see where people have posted reviews that the facilities are dated and dirty, I cringe. Sure, some of the bath/shower rooms in some of the parks are somewhat dated but, they have been closed twice per day for cleaning in every state park that I have camped in.attendant cleaning

 

These are campgrounds. Folks with wet and dirty feet are in and out of the bath/shower rooms all day. They are not going to be as clean as our bathrooms at home. When camping, you have to expect a little dirt. I consider it all part of the camping experience.

There are some Michigan State Parks that I have liked better than others. There are some that I didn’t care for much at all but, never was it because I found the park to be poorly run or unkempt. Thank you Rangers!

ranger_13_jeep_col-250x181I hope that I am not the only one willing to admit  that I am  old enough to remember this Ranger!

As I was planning our H.O.M.E.S. camping trips, it occurred to me that in order to camp on Lake Ontario, I would have to step out of my Michigan State Parks comfort zone and look for a campsite out of state. My overall satisfaction with Michigan State Parks was the reason that I searched New York State Parks for a campsite. I was thrilled to find  a campground that is only 15 minutes from Niagara Falls.P1050969 Since I was a child, “The Falls” has been one of my favorite places. We used to take day trips to Niagara Falls when we visited our family in Toronto. I am so excited to take my grandkids to see the Niagara Falls and Fort Niagara.

I now have all 5 of our summer camping reservations made. We have a very aggressive camping schedule ahead of us.

I intend to take the opportunity to educate the kids about the Great Lakes as we travel.  I am planning some “hands on” activities for each campground to keep the lessons light and the learning fun. I am predicting  an awesome summer.

You can’t go wrong enjoying the out of doors as a family. Will you and your family be camping on any of the Great Lakes this summer?

Visit our State Parks. They are ours to enjoy!

I will let you know how my H.O.M.E.S. summer is going.

Happy Camping,

Denise

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“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”

                                                                                                    Albert Einstein     

Photos:

  1. Featured Photo: A sailboat on Whitefish Bay at sunset
  2. Snow day sledding
  3. Snow day sledding
  4. Snow day sledding
  5. Snow day sledding
  6. A deer with a snowy face
  7. Niagara Falls
  8. Me at the Mackinaw Bridge

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