Sunday, September 11, 2011

Campground Review–Hartwick Pines State Park


Location:  Grayling, MI

When we stayed here:  Friday, Sept. 2 – Monday, Sept. 5, 2011

We got an early start on Friday, and since it was Labor Day Weekend, we were hoping that it was enough to put us ahead of much of the crowd.  We took US-23 north to I-96 west, to US-127 north until it merged into I-75 at Grayling.  We could take US-23 to I-75 at Flint, and take I-75 all the way up north, but we much prefer the less-travelled US-127.  Traffic was pretty light, even through East Lansing, where we were also early enough to miss most of the crowd going to Spartan Stadium for MI State’s home opener football game.  We made it to the campground in exactly 3-1/2 hours, with one rest area stop.

Our site:  #82


We had a pull-thru full hookup site, although only 30 amp electric, and paid $33 per night.  There was no cable or wi-fi in the park, and Verizon cell service varied from non-existent to OK.

The full hookup sites are in the interior of one half of the campground,


and the sites were paved, well-spaced and reasonably level. 


We had plenty of room at our site for campfires and cornhole!

The interior roads were pretty good, although the layout of the one-way roads were a little goofy.  Our row of sites, for instance, had an inbound road on one side of the sites, and an outbound road on the other side.  This is fine until you have your RV parked, but then, since the end of the loop is a site, afterwards you need to drive either in or out the wrong way on the road.

This was just a minor annoyance, though . . . getting the RV in and out was no problem.

Our friends were in the other half of the campground, on an electric-only site.  (#51)


This area of the campground is more wooded, giving the sites more privacy, but less room.  We made our reservations about a month ahead, and I was surprised at the number of sites available for the holiday weekend.  By the time the weekend arrived, though, they were fully booked.

Amenities:  One of the reasons that this state park is easier to get into is probably that it is not on water.  Usually, we prefer to have a beach or pool, but we were only about 15 minutes from Higgins Lake, which is one of the nicest lakes in Michigan.  If the weather had been better, we could have spent a day at the beach there . . . as it was, we were able to rent a pontoon boat on Higgins for a day (see my post here), and that was about all the lake time we needed this weekend!

Conveniently located in the middle of the two halves of the campground is a new bath house with modern showers.


In addition to the campground, there is a small fishing lake with a pier, a large picnic area with baseball field (where the local vintage baseball team plays), a Visitor Center and Logging Museum, and several hiking trails and mountain biking trails.  See my other post about our ride on the mountain bike trail and visit to the Logging Museum.  No shortage of outdoor recreation!


For the little kids, there’s a nice play area in the campground

Starting at the entrance to the park, there’s a paved bike path that goes all the way into Grayling – I think it’s 9 miles long.  For the most part, it was pretty level, and looked like it would be a fun ride.  We might have to try this next time we’re here!


We saw a wide array of campers in the park this Labor Day Weekend – from tents to popups, to a Jayco Recon toyhauler that gave us a little competition for “Biggest Camper in the Park”!



This little camper reminded me of my Mom & Dad’s old Holiday Rambler!

Overall Impression:  We really liked this state park, and it’s definitely one that we can get our RV into.  The location is great, as it is conveniently located close to almost everything up north, including the Boyne area, Traverse City, and even the Mackinac Bridge -- only about an hour away.  Grayling has a catholic church (St. Mary’s), a bakery with awesome cinnamon bread, and a quilt shop (The Ice House) that I have to get back to visit!

We’ll definitely stay here again sometime – it’s a really nice state park that we can actually get into – I’m glad we gave it a try!


The big wheels at the entrance are a tribute to the logging industry that was the lifeblood of this area of Michigan at one time.

1 comment:

  1. I love hiking through Hartwick Pines, but didn't realize you could camp there until recently.

    I really appreciate your blog post--this is the best Hartwick Pines camping info available online! Thanks so much!


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