Looking for a serene spot to center yourself in nature? Michigan’s state parks are calling, campers.
MICHIGAN — Michigan state park campgrounds are reopening on June 22, and many ‘Ganders can’t wait to start packing up the camping gear, especially with Father’s Day fast approaching.
But we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. And that can make summer vacations — even rustic weekend getaways — tricky.
“We are excited to open up these resources to visitors again,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “We can identify with the passion and enthusiasm people have for these beautiful outdoor spaces, especially during the warmer months, and we’re working hard to make sure everything is ready.”
Dispersed camping on state-managed lands — which allows for greater social distancing and does not involve shared restroom or shower facilities — resumed May 29. But Michiganders are looking forward to the return of camping, overnight lodging facilities, day-use shelters and sanitation stations in state parks and recreation areas on the 22nd. (Note that a handful of campgrounds have extended closures due to construction.)
Many park amenities, such as bathroom buildings, hand-washing stations, trash services, concessions, playgrounds and play equipment, fishing piers, and picnic tables and shelters, are beginning to open in phases. As anticipated opening dates are finalized, they will be posted to the DNR COVID-19 response page.
“It’s good to see that Michigan is starting to open back up and, hopefully, returning to some sense of normal in many areas,” Olson said. “Spending time in the state’s great outdoors, making memories with family and friends, that’s one of the best Michigan traditions. We’re asking everyone to do their part to keep themselves and others safe, so that we can keep that tradition going all season long.”
Michigan’s state parks offer gorgeous scenery, hiking trails for all kinds of experience levels and a golden opportunity to unplug from it all.
Here’s some inspiration to help you plan your next camping trip at Michigan’s tranquil state parks with a look at three of the coolest spots to socially distance and disconnect this summer.
Baraga Mini Cabins — Baraga State Park
Baraga State Park is nestled right behind the bunny’s ears in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Walking trails, canoeing, geocaching and fishing are just a few of the activities available across the sprawling 56-acre site.
But if you’re looking for more seclusion, consider heading to the park’s mini cabins. The small, rustic wooden structures sleep up to four people and are in close proximity to the campground’s modern restrooms. The cabins have electricity and kitchenettes, so consider one of the park’s semi-modern camping sites if you think you’re ready to rough it (kinda).
Cheboygan Modern Lodge — Cheboygan State Park
At the northernmost tip of the Lower Peninsula sits Cheboygan State Park. It’s nearly 20 times the size of Baraga State Park and is open for year-round activities. Depending on the season, Michiganders can fish, hunt, ski or take advantage of water sports.
Campers looking to get away from the crowds can head to the park’s Cheboygan Modern Lodge, where five of the park’s hiking trails are nearby. The recently remodeled lodge is a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, ADA accessible ranch-style house. The Billy Elliot Creek dances along the backyard of the tree-lined lot.
Grab seven of your friends and get away for a celebration of life.
Pinckney-Bruin Lake Yurt — Pinckney Recreation Area
The Pinckney Recreation Area is an inland park about half an hour northwest of Ann Arbor. Loose and Silver Lakes provide tranquil waters for activities like boating and fishing. Land lovers can keep busy with hunting, biking or horseback riding.
Their yurt is one of the area’s greatest camping attractions, but keep in mind that it’s a sober house from April to September each year — no alcohol is allowed on the campgrounds.