Camping on Lake Michigan at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park


Our H.O.M.E.S Summer/ Lake Michigan


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them”

John F. Kennedy

Memorial Day weekend finally arrived. This is the day that is designated for us to   stop to remember, and thank our  soldiers and their families, for making the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

I was not born an American. I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. My parents moved to Canada when I was 11 months old. We lived in small mining town in Northern Ontario, and later, Guelf, Ontario.flags

On November 9, 1963, we immigrated to the United States of America. I consider it a privilege to be an American citizen.

I would like to take this time, on behalf of my parents, of blessed memory, and my entire family, to say thank you to the men and women who have bravely defended this country that we love.


Memorial Day weekend is also considered the first weekend of camping season. Anyone who knows me, knows how excited I get. I have waited all winter, prepared all spring, and I am ready.

This year my family is committed to camping on all 5 of the Great Lakes. We are calling it our H.O.M.E.S. summer. We won’t be camping in H.O.M.E.S order. The first Great Lake that we camp on will be Lake Michigan.basinMap2

Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes that is located entirely within the Untied States. Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and, Lake Erie are also bordered by Canada. The shores of Lake Michigan are shared by  Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

Lake Michigan is 307 miles long and 118 miles wide. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes by volume, and the third largest by surface area. It is the sixth largest fresh water lake in the world.

Lake MichiganThe average depth of Lake Michigan is 279 feet with a maximum depth of 925 feet.

The largest fresh water sand dunes in the world grace the shores of Lake Michigan. In several places, the dunes tower hundreds of feet above the lake. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore covers 35 miles of lakeshore and has a reported 1,143,857 annual visitors.

According to Chippewa legend, a mother bear and her two cubs entered the lake to escape a forest fire on the western shore. The mother bear  was able to swim to safety,  and climbed to  a high bluff to wait for her cubs. The cubs drowned in the lake but, the mother never stopped waiting or hoping that her cubs would come. Eventually, the wind buried the mother bear under the sand of the dunes, and it is said, that she is still there waiting for her cubs to this day. The Great Spirit, Manitou, was so moved by the mother bear’s love, that he created two islands in memory of the cubs. They are North and South Manitou islands.beardune

What a beautiful story.

Lake Michigan has been known by many names. It has been called Grand Lac. Lake of the Puants, Lac des Illinois, Lac St. Joseph, Lac Dauphin, and Lake of the Stinking Water, before getting it’s final name of Lake Michigan.

There are state parks all along the shores of Lake Michigan. We  are camping at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.


Hoffmaster State Park is located at 6585 Lake Harbor Rd., Muskegon, Mi., 49441. The park was named after Percy James Hoffmaster, who served as the Director of the Department of Conservation, which preceded the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He also served as Superintendent of State Parks, and is considered the founder of the Michigan State Parks system.hoffmaster sign

I camped with my grandchildren, Bree and Chase, and our friends, Denise, Kenzie, and Charlotte, on sites 33 and 34. image001They are big, woodsy sites with a clean, shallow, pretty little creek running behind them. The kids had fun through out the weekend, playing in the creek with the other young campers.

Our campsites were next to the beach path. It was a pleasant scenic walk to the beach. There were benches along the way to sit, rest, and enjoy the serene beauty.  DBeach pathSCN4805

On our first night in camp, we took the kids down to the beach for a night swim. They all wore glow bracelets so that we could keep track of them in the dark water. They splashed and swam  in cold Lake Michigan until after 11:00. They had so much fun!

The beach is huge. It was never crowded.  Twice, we were able to catch a  breathtaking sunset while the kids played in the water, and climbed  on the dunes.Sunset lkmi may28

sunset may 31,2016Besides swimming, and an unsucsessful geochaching hike, we took a day trip to tour the submarine, USS Siversides, silversides liferingand the Coast Guard, Cutter. With the exception of malls, I am not the least bit claustrophobic  but, I cannot imagine what it would be like to spend long periods of time in the confined quarters of a submarine, espessially, when it is submerged. I have a whole new level of respect for our soldiers, who serve on submarines.

My brother-in-law, Ron, did his service on a submarine. Ron, I salute you.

One afternoon, we taught the kids to make bird feeders. These are simple and fun to do.  If you want to make some with your kiddos, you will need:

  • Knox gelatin
  • Water
  • String or yarn (looped and knotted)
  • A cookie cutter
  • Bird seed

Dissolve the gelatin in water. Let it sit until it starts to set up.desolved gel5036 Add 1 cup of bird seed (if it looks runny, add more bird seed.)adding birdseed Scoop 1/2 of the bird seed/gelatin mixture into the cookie cutter. Place the loop of string or yarn on the seed, and add the rest of the bird seed mixture over it.bird seed in cutterjpg Let the seed filled cookie cutter sit until the gelatin is set completely before removing the bird feeder from the cookie cutter. Bird feederPut the bird feeder on a branch and use the string to secure it. The birds will love the treat.

Speaking of treats; I had my first “walking taco” on this camping trip.  If you haven’t had these yet, you should try them. They are fun to make and fun to eat. Start with a single serving size of your favorite nacho chip. You can use any flavor. You can even use Fritos. Crunch them up in the bag a little bit. Open the bag and add your favorite taco fixings. Mix them up with your fork and eat them right out of the bag.  I made mine with cool ranch Doritos, taco meat, cheese and taco sauce. I look forward to trying these with lettuce and tomatoes, and other chip flavors. I will definitely put walking tacos on my lunch menus for future camping trips.

That, to me, is what camping is all about. Being out of doors, doing fun silly things,  eating fun foods, and spending quality time  with family and friends.

I  had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend at beautiful P.J. Hoffmaster State Park with my family and friends. I hope your weekend was just as awesome.

We have a whole season of camping ahead of us. Let me know how your camping season is going. You KNOW I will tell you all about mine!

Happy Camping,




” Spring is natures way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'”

Robin Williams




My Photos:

  1. Featured Photo: The girls, posing in Lake Michigan, May 30, 2016
  2. Flags at the Soo Locks, 2015
  3. P.J. Hoffmaster sign with Bree, Charlotte, Chase, Denise, Kenzie, and Denise
  4. The creek behind our campsite at Hoffmaster State Park
  5. The scenic path to the beach, Hoffmaster State Park.
  6. Sunset over Lake Michigan May 28, 2016
  7. Sunset over Lake Michigan May 30, 2016
  8. Dissolved gelatin
  9. Adding birdseed to gelatin
  10. Scooping birdseed/gelatin mixture into a cookie cutter
  11. Birdseed heart hanging from a tree in camp.
  12. Me at Straits State Park, 2014 (I am wearing a shirts that says, “Camping is in tents” Just sayin!








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