Michigan: RVing Along the Great Lakes

Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Michigan state may be more renowned for its automobile industry, but there is actually more to the "Great Lakes State" than just car production. For starters, as its nickname suggests, Michigan is intertwined with the so-called Great Lakes of the US namely Michigan Lake, Erie Lake, Superior Lake, and Huron Lake, consequently encompassing a shoreline coverage of 3,288 miles, second only to Alaska. This makes Michigan a land where various outdoor opportunities abound, and many RVers should find these to be another major stop in their colorful RV trips.

Exploring Michigan in Regions

Michigan is dominated by two large land masses namely the Upper and the Lower Peninsula, but when viewed in regional terms, the state can be more appropriately viewed in seven diverse regions. These include the Upper Peninsula Region, the Northwest Region, the Northeast Region, the West Central Region, the East Central Region, the Southwest Region, and the Southeast Region.

The Upper Peninsula Region

This region is engulfed by two major lakes, which are Michigan and Superior, and a forest area mostly dominated by the Michigan national tree, the pine. It is generally a remote area, distinguished by windy mountains, picturesque streams, and various waterfalls that number to more than a hundred.

Several regional cities that RVers can try visiting are Dafter, St. Ignace, and Marquette, with the latter comparatively more significant for it is here where Northern Michigan University resides. Other attractions here that RV riders will find interesting are the Maritime Museum, the Marquette Lighthouse, the Presque Isle Point Park, and many others.

For outdoor fun, RV-boarded trippers can look towards Lake Superior. Marquette City is situated along its southern shores where it stands as a good starting point for paddlers who want to explore the waters of this ancient lake. Early Native American settlers have previously called Lake Superior Gitche Gumee, and paddling across its clear waters that cover about 120 miles involves a scenic view of such attractions as the Hiawatha National Forest, the Grand Island National Recreation Area, and several other state landmarks. Seeing these attractions ought to be quite convenient for most RVers since across Lake Superior stands Gitche Gumee RV Park and Campground, a secluded and wooded RV camp site that can accommodate generally large RVs.

The Northwest Region

Unlike the Upper Peninsula that generally has water attractions, Northwest Michigan is more into land features with public-owned lands stretching for miles covering the Lake Michigan area up to Lake Huron. The forest area showcases a combination of conifer and hardwood trees that provide the perfect backdrop to sandy beaches set along attractive shorelines.

Of the numerous cities found here, Mackinaw City ought to be quite interesting. RVers will find great delight in touring the many Mackinaw City attractions like the Old Mackinac Lighthouse and Fort Michilimackinac. An alternative attraction is Mill Creek where one can go on a boat ride or go fishing, and afterwards relax at nearby Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping, which can be accessed in just five minutes. The RV campground is just a mile away from Lake Huron where other water-based activities can be enjoyed, aside from having 600 RV sites, 200 of which are fully hooked-up. RVers looking for more nearby attractions can easily head off to Tahquamenon Falls and the Soo Locks Falls that will only take an hour to reach.

The Northeast Region

Dominated by the Saginaw River, this region is largely agricultural in nature although grassy fields, along with sandy shorelines and hardwood-covered forests, loom in the horizon. The top attraction here for many RV riders is naturally the Saginaw River, a Lake Huron arm, where leisure cruises aboard chartered boats are regular fixtures. RV-boarded visitors, however, who prefer a more hands-on experience can try fishing as the river is filled with walleye fishes while its mother arm, Lake Huron, features steelhead and salmon varieties.

For a suitable city where the RV can be parked at, RVers should check out Cheboygan found between the Lake Huron shores and the Cheboygan River banks. Its Waterways Campground falls under the Inland Waterway Route of the city covering about 38.2 miles where year-round pursuits are commonly engaged in by excurtionists, including boating ventures. Nearby, the city beaches likewise offer endless fun while the mountains are perfect grounds for hikers and mountain bikers and are also renowned during the winter months for its snowmobiling and cross-country skiing ventures.

The West Central Region

The area is seen as a region composed of a vast combination of modern urban life as seen in cities like Mt. Pleasant and Grand Rapids and small-town atmospheres with a historic past as evinced in Hart and Muskegon cities. Hart City, though, is also a beach town whose shores are lined up with a wide variety of shops and restaurants designed to suit every beach-goer's needs. RVers who adore the beaches are more than welcome here, but if one is searching for a West Central Michigan city with a suitable RV park and with several attractions to boot, Pentwater is the ideal choice. Aside from its many public beaches, Pentwater boasts of enchanting Victorian houses amidst a street lined with trees that should account for a relaxing RV drive. Further stressing this rural but charming setting is a stay at Whispering Surf Camping Resort where rustic RV areas await the travelers. Generally accessible from the main highway, the campground boasts of a private beach down at Bass Lake, with Lake Michigan being merely a few short walks away.

The East Central Region

The region could very well be the historical district of Michigan owing to the numerous historical sites that are nestled in its many cities. For example, in Frankenmuth, several landmarks still accurately depict a unique Bavarian architecture reflecting the strong influence exerted by early German missionaries upon this land that was established in 1845. Meanwhile, over at Flint City, many structures like the Buick Research Gallery, the Whaley Historical House, and the Sloan Museum feature the evolution of the car production industry being the city where General Motors was born. Needless to say, RVers who love history will enjoy touring these West Central Michigan cities.

Of course, this region is not only about automobiles and history, for there are sandy beaches, public parks, and scenic places here that should fire up the outdoor passion inherent in most RVers. For this, Port Huron City is a good place for exploration with Port Huron KOA Camping Resort as a convenient jump-off point. The city is quite historic being the place where Thomas Edison grew up but more than that, Port Huron is a place where summer outdoor sports abound including boating, sailing, and fishing. RVers will definitely have a grand time here, particularly fishing enthusiasts since salmons, walleyes, and perches are teeming in Lake Huron and in St. Clair River where Port Huron KOA Camping Resort is ideally situated.

The Southwestern Region

The region covers a large shoreline portion that falls under the Lake Michigan jurisdiction where loads of beach activities can be engaged in. Stretching inland, the region also features a dense forest area that includes wetlands and marshes so diverse that they have become the breeding grounds of various wildlife. Beyond, inland lakes beckon nature lovers to further explore the landscape.

To fully capture the many wonders that the region offers, RV riders can visit Allegan City where its Allegan State Game Area presents a wide range of outdoor recreational pursuits like boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Two golf courses can likewise be enjoyed here, apart from two ski resorts.

With such a diverse line-up of outdoor opportunities, RVers might find themselves exhausted but that need not be a real concern since Allegan is host to four RV parks including Dumont Lake Campground, Gile's Campground on Swan Lake, Tri Ponds Family Camp Resort, and River Pines RV Park and Campground, the last providing convenient entry point to Grand River, the longest in Michigan and renowned for its salmon and trout fish residents, sought-after catches for many anglers.

The Southeastern Region

The region boasts of several metropolitan cities led by Detroit, dubbed as the "Motor City", and the perfect representation of the industrial center of America. Yet, beyond the industrial cities like Ann Arbor, Adrian, Irish Hills, and many others, RVers can find areas that are certified recreational wonderlands and these include Algonac, Marysville, St. Claire, and Marine Cities. The latter is particularly worth mentioning for it best embodies the riverfront setting of the latter city groups where mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing are popular activities. Marine City, in particular, plays host to Algonac State Park, which covers about a mile of river frontage of nearby St. Clair. The 1,500-acre wide state park boasts of lakeside prairie lands that RVers will definitely want to explore specially since there are two campgrounds set up nearby. Alternatively, RV riders can settle in the RV at Riverview Campground in nearby Algonac City before they go on an exploration tour of Marine City.

The Cities of Michigan

Detroit is the hands-down most famous city in Michigan and RV riders may initially find the attractions found in this particular city sufficient enough to satisfy their touring interests. Still, the "Great Lakes State" has more to offer than just Motor City and visiting them should likewise prove fruitful for most RV-boarded tourists.


The Michigan state capital is also the sixth biggest "Great Lakes State" city. It has many state parks that RVers will simply find a great joy to visit. Of its many state parks, highly recommended is the Adado Riverfront Park for its numerous attractions including the Potter Park Zoo, the Turner-Dodge House, the Louis Adado Riverfront Park, and the Brenke River Sculpture and Fish Ladder.

For RV-boarded tourists who prefer actual tour participation, the more suitable park will have to be Hawk Island Park with its beach and boating activities. There are picnic areas and shelters everywhere complemented by horseshoe pits and playing courts for beach volleyball. All of these covered in miles of totally paved walkways that can be transformed into a sled area complete with a warm lodge during winter.

There is only one RV park in Lansing City, the Lansing Cottonwood Campground. RVers need not be worried, though, that service here is outdated. On the contrary, the RV campground strives to consistently offer excellent service so as to remain the only worthy RV park in Lansing. Nearby attractions include the State Capitol Building, the Potter Park Zoo, the Michigan State University, and the State Library and Historical Museum, all of which can be reached in just 15 minutes of driving time.

Traverse City

Nestled at the endpoint of the Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City features several natural attractions that have made it a favorite among vacationers. Its elegant golf courses have helped the city take the #12 slot on the final list of Golf Magazine of the 50 best golf areas. Additionally, Traverse City has been cited by Travel America Magazine as among the best holiday vacation areas worldwide.

RVers will undoubtedly want to know what makes Traverse City tick. They just might get the needed answers by checking in any of its numerous RV parks like the Garey Lake State Forest Trail Camp that features three different lakes where various outdoor pursuits can be engaged in. One such lake, Lake Ann, features a 5.8-mile hiking terrain that eventually leads to a campground in nearby Lake Ann State Forest. Mountain biking is another outdoor pursuit popular in these parts.

The other three lakes -- Garey Lake, Pearl Lake, and Glen Lake -- are renowned for their fish stocks. Anglers will find great pleasure catching a bluegill, a pike, a perch, a bass, and a trout off the waters of these lakes.

For RV riders concerned about a nearby RV park, there is one over at Hammond Road named Timber Ridge RV and Recreation Resort. The RV campground is available all season through so interested RV visitors can plan their trips anytime.

Ottawa National Forest

Perched atop the Upper Peninsula Region of Michigan, this wilderness area covers less than two million acres encompassing the southern shoreline of Lake Superior and extending to the Nicolet National Forest in Wisconsin. RV riders visiting this particular Michigan region will be pleased to find hiking paths that ultimately lead them to the northern area where spectacular views of green hills dwarfed by running lakes and majestic waterfalls are available to the determined hiker.

There are many districts found within the Ottawa National Forest although for many RVers, what should prove to be highly attractive is the Ontonagon Ranger District. Set along the western fringes of the Upper Peninsula Region. The area boasts of over a hundred waterfalls apart from splendid lakes like Lake Gogebic. With a depth of 37 feet and covering about 12,800 acres, the lake is quite popular among anglers who wish to get hold of a walleye, a perch, a northern pike, or any type of trout.

F.J. McLain State Park

Perched atop Keweewaw Peninsula, F.J. McLain State Park is actually another popular tourist destination in the Upper Peninsula. Its single biggest attraction that RVers will definitely want to see is the spectacular sunset taking place daily along Lake Superior, which one can witness from across the park.

Elsewhere in this public park, sandy beaches stretching for two miles also beckon prospective RV-boarded tourists since these lie along Bear Lake, the biggest of the so-called Great Lakes of the US. Here, swimmers, windsurfers, beachcombers, and anglers all come together to enjoy the wonders of the lake. During summer, the place is crawling with bikers as the area becomes a virtual footpath that extends for miles.

A Visit to Michigan

Summer in the "Great Lakes State" is generally mild with evenings unusually cold, especially up north. Autumn is generally a good season for visiting as one can encounter color changes in foliage during an RV trip. A day trip should normally have crisp weather while night travels are usually dominated by a cold temperature.

Several Michigan public parks, meanwhile, are good places to visit during spring time. At Algonac State Park, for example, spring time is a good period to see freighters heading down Saint Claire River, breaking up winter ice in the process. Over at Waterloo Recreation Area, RVers driving across the park will usually be rewarded with awesome views of blossoming dogwoods.

Twin Oaks Campground and Cabins

In Wellston, Michigan, a year-round RV park invites RVers with its proximity to several major Michigan attractions. Lying within the vastness of the Manistee National Forest, the Twin Oaks Campground and Cabins has 68 large camping areas with a camp store that is fully stocked with every needed supply. The so-called Lodge Area is where guests can have access to most modern amenities like dish TV, video games, microwave ovens, dishwashing sinks, electronic games, and coin-operated washing machines, among others. For the children, the playground area boasts of a swing, a sandbox, a teeter-totter, and a play castle.

For outdoor fun, the campground features big-time fishing at the Big Manistee River, at Tippy Dam, and at the Pine River. Over at the North Country Trail and at the National Forest Trails, hunters and hikers are a common sight. However, for a really exciting water adventure, Lake Michigan is only about 23 miles away where one can either swim in cold waters or simply watch colorful birds come flying by.

Silver Creek Luxury RV Resort

Considered as a premium RV park, the Silver Creek Luxury RV Resort affords magnificently modern accommodations to RV-boarded visitors. The roads are paved and totally landscaped with water hook-ups and provisions for irrigation. Cable TV is available and so is access to phone systems and wireless Internet. The restrooms come with showers with children given a special kiddie pool along with playground areas and arcade access.

The RV park boasts of 181 premium sites set upon lawns of green grass. Golf courses abound within and outside the park premises, but for RV guests who wish to go outside of the perimeters, there is the Montague Bike Rail Trail to explore. At Rainbow Ranch, meanwhile, offers for horseback riding can always be availed of. Ditto for Go karts and dune buggies at the appropriate rental corners, all of which are located nearby.

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