Yesterday, 4/12, my furry buddy, Abby, and I headed to the northeast corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula to scout out a few possible camping destinations for the summer. We were on the road a bit before 7:00 a.m. for the 4+ hour drive.
About a half hour after exiting I-75 at Wolverine, we went through the little town of Onaway and another short 15 minutes brought us to the only named waterfall in Michigan’s lower peninsula: Ocqueoc Falls. The park was actually closed, but no gates were in place to keep us out so we drove in to check things out—the only vehicle in the lot.
We could hear the rushing water as soon as we got out of our truck. A very short walk down the paved path from the parking area brought us to the falls…up close and personal. The water was running fast and cold, so much that Abby didn’t care to get in; I can’t say I blame her a bit!
Folks are encouraged to jump right in and enjoy the falls, but with the temperature a brisk 42° when we visited yesterday, we chose to wait a couple months at least.
A small (15 sites) state forest campground is right across the road from the falls, so Abby and I walked through it. As with any Michigan State Forest Campground, it was rustic with vault toilets and a couple water pumps, but the sites made up for that giving campers very good-sized lots and ample space between camp sites…nice. Each site also has a fire pit and picnic table. By the way, the daily fee for camping at these State Forest Campgrounds is just $13; another point in their favor over a State Park camp fee, which can range from $22 to $34 in that area.
We then drove 15 or so miles on east to the Lake Huron shore and the clean, quiet town of Rogers City. After a quick bite at the local Mickey Dee’s, we headed 6 miles up US-23 to P.H. Hoeft State Park.
As with most Michigan state parks, it offers electrical and water hook-ups, showers and flush toilets appreciated by thousands of RV campers filling Michigan campgrounds each summer. However, we found the 143 sites quite close to each other, side-to-side and back-to-back. Since our camping plans included a nice 6-person cabin-style tent, those amenities weren’t as important to us. I would much, much rather have the privacy and room found at a State Forest Campground—check back with me after a trip or two, however! 🙂
We headed back west to Onaway, then south on M-33 to visit a couple more campgrounds, all the State Forest variety: Shoepac Lake (28 sites), Tomahawk Lake (26 sites), and Tomahawk Creek (47 sites). All three were within a very short drive off M-33. I was again impressed with the size of each camp and the privacy each site provided.
Right now, I’d say our first trip may be to Hoeft State Park to try out equipment with the assistance of comfortable amenities, but if all goes well I believe the State Forest Campgrounds are the way to go for our best experience. Time will tell.
We began the trip home at that point, but we did stop at both North and South Higgins Lake State Park Campgrounds. Unfortunately, they were both still closed for the season and gates kept us from going through the camp areas. Our long day concluded when we arrived back home at about 8:30.
Now, if Mother Nature would put nicer, warmer weather in place, we could get this show on the road!