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Camping at Ludington SP in early June

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Atlanta, Georgia
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Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Me and my wife are new to the Chicago area. We have come here from Denver, Colorado and are camping freaks. The other day I was inquiring about some good National / State Parks around Chicago. Almost everyone suggested Ludington State Park. Although its a bit far from Chicago but people say its worth it. I got excited and opened my laptop to book some good sites in the upcoming camping season. Unfortunately and to my surprise every day in late June, July and August is completely reserved already (The Park must be really great). I somehow managed to get hold of a couple of sites 62 and 227 in the first week of June.

My questions are:

1) Is first week of June good time to tent camp in the area?

2) 227 is in the lower Beachwood and 62 is in Pines. Which one would be better considering we want good view from our tent. 62 seems to be near the beach. We dont have any kids. Also 62 is a Sunny site. How sunny does it get in June? Do we need a Gazebo?

3) There is one inner site also available in Upper Beachwood. Should we go for that?

Please guide.

Thanks,

Rsehgal

Chicago's North...
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1. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

some guidance from somebody who has similar interests and has traveled all around the great lakes region over the past 25+ years:

ludington st park is very nice, with a top notch beach, as is the city beach... the area is great, with the pere marquette river nearby---good canoeing... also, silver lake st park is close... pretty much the entire west michigan coast is lined with awesome beaches and dunes.....

a good portal for this region:

http://www.beachtowns.org/

since you are new around here, there's a bit of a learning curve---lower michigan gets very busy (AND pricey) during the summer (peak) season, thus your difficulty in finding a site.... tho, i'm surprised it's so busy in early june, which is just shy of the peak summer season.... that all said, i would save ludington (or any other western lower P state/national park) for after labor day, when the kids go back to school (i assume you don't have kids).....

the upper peninsula of michigan (the U.P.), on the other hand, doesn't get the tourist traffic like lower MI... since you're from out west, and you're probably used to the mountains and the wilds of the rockies (i'm jealous!), upper michigan might be more to your liking for a first time camping trip around here... believe me, i'm not knocking the lower P by any means, i love it, but i think for what you're looking for, the UP might be better... that said, you might wanna look into pictured rocks national park and porcupine mtns (small, but mtns nevertheless) st park..... the UP is, IMO, the best kept secret in the lower 48, thus fewer crowds... lake superior is breathtaking (especially when you jump in!)....

i know you've probably heard the midwest is nothing but boring, flat cornfields..... but once you start exploring the great lakes region, i guarantee you'll have a newfound appreciation for the midwest!

=================================

here's a bunch of links to help you plan future trips:

www.great-lakes.net/tourism/circletour/

----------------------------------------

lake superior sights/sites:

http://www.nps.gov/piro/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/isro/index.htm

http://www.nps.gov/apis/index.htm

michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx…

michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx…

http://www.uptravel.com/

http://www.exploringthenorth.com/

http://www.lakesuperiorphoto.com/

http://www.lakesuperior.com/

http://www.northshoreinfo.com/

www.ontarioparks.com/english/lakes.html

http://www.northofsuperior.org/

http://www.soolocks.com/index.phtml

http://www.agawacanyontourtrain.com/

--------------------------------------------------

lake michigan sights/sites:

http://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm

http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com/

http://www.mackinacisland.org/

www.wisconsinhighways.org/other/lmct.html

www.michiganhighways.org/other/lmct.html

http://www.ssbadger.com/home.aspx

www.travelwisconsin.com/Door_County.aspx

michigan.org/Things-to-Do/…

http://www.michiganwines.com/

Edited: 24 March 2012, 05:31
Bay City, Michigan
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2. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

In a quick answer to your questions about where in the park to camp... When I was a kid we used to camp at Ludington every year. That has been a while, but I have gone back there on day trips. As a kid I loved Ludington State Park more than any other. We always preferred Beechwood over Pines for the very reason you mentioned - it's closer to the beach on Hamlin Lake as well as Lost Lake for fishing as well as most of the hiking trails we preferred. The Pines section is closer to Lake Michigan and Big Sable Point Lighthouse if those are higher on your to-do lists,

Ludington (the city) also has plenty to do both on & off the beaten path. For a change spend a 1/2 day at Historic White Pine Village.

Ann Arbor, MI
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3. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Ludington SP is a GREAT state park and extremely popular because of all it has to offer. The thing it absolutely does not have is any sense of privacy or solitude. The sites are small and you're guaranteed that it'll all be full around you. This results in a lot of people in a small area.

If you're thinking solitude (my image of camping in the west) this place won't give it to you--head to the fantastic places StrangeTripper writes about in the UP. If you're thinking a great place to be on the beach, near a nice town, some short to mid-length trails, tubing/canoeing, in a pretty social environment this is the place for you.

We drove through last summer marking spots on a campground map that we liked for tent camping, either because of the vegetation in back or on the side of the sites (looking for some degree of privacy). 62 was one of the ones I highlighted, but I didn't write down why.

Welcome to the midwest and exploring the state of Michigan! There are some really great places to discover!

Bay City, Michigan
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4. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Early June, most likely, will be a nice time to camp at Ludington SP. It could be cool, however. If it is a sunny site, I'd take it. But bring your screen room (gazebo) with you, anyhow. It could be buggy out so you'd have it to sit in if that is the case. There will be children, of course, but schools here in MI go that first week in June, so there won't be that many.

You will not have a view of any beach. I think I am reading your question correctly. You will have views of other campsites and maybe the wooded dunes. You need to get your view by hiking thru the woods, dunes or along the beach. There is an extensive trail system in LSP and if you like to hike at all, you've come to a great spot. They also have an official canoe trail that might interest you.

Personally, I like Beechwood Loop. I don't know why. But any place in LSP is worth getting because of the overall park, not because of the site. It is extremely popular and you will find it difficult to get reservations almost any time of the camping season. Reservations can be made 6 months to the day you want to start camping and those phone lines/computer lines light up at 8 AM when they start taking reservations. It is a "score" to get a site-so good luck and have fun!

Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

First of all a Big Thank You to all of you for a warm welcome to Mid West and loads of helpful information. I have started to learn a lot about this region from your posts.

@StrangeTripper: You are correct. We didn't want to move here from the Rockies. My wife was sad leaving Denver because we love tent camping in summers and we had heard from almost everyone that there is nothing out here in Mid west. Your detailed repository of links helps me a lot and gives us lots of hope :). I will start exploring from today. The only problem is that I may already be late for this season :(

BayGuy 08: Thanks a lot for your tips on what to do in the park

luv2snorkel61: I read your awesome post in this forum a 3 days ago regarding the specific sites in LSP. Thank you very much for the guidance!

tymetraveler222: Thank you for the screen room recommendation and yes I have started to realize that booking in Michigan State Park is a big task

We will start exploring the area and keep everyone posted in this forum

Thompsonville...
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6. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Be sure to look at the National Forest Campgrounds in Lake, Manistee, Mason, and Benzie Counties. They are peaceful and are available on a first-come/first-serve basis.

The Sleeping Bear Dune Campgrounds are also wonderful with my favorite being the Platte River Campground.

Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Thank You Upnorth!

Minneapolis
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8. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

I really think you'd like backpacking along the cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the U.P., midwestweekends.com/plan_a_trip/nature/natio…

It's true that the U.P. is almost never crowded. The Porkies are spectacular, and if you really want to get away, try backpacking on Isle Royale, the least-visited national park (take the ferry from Houghton or Copper Harbor).

But there's a lot of great camping closer to Chicago, along the Mississippi River bluffs and in Wisconsin's state parks and forests.

If you want to stay on Lake Michigan, Wisconsin's parks are not quite as crowded. Try Harrington Beach and Point Beach and, in Door County, Newport and Rock Island state parks, midwestweekends.com/plan_a_trip/stay/camping…

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Thanks a lot for wonderful ideas. Based on your recommendations I have reserved following spots for weekend camping this summer.

1) Ludington state park on June 1. I have a site in the Pines camPground as well as beach wood. Will most certainly cancel the one in Beachwood. Still not decided

2) a lakeshore site at porcupine Mountains state park on June 22. We are pretty excited about that

3) a site at grand haven state park on July 6th which I will cancel because I heard that the park is not good for tent camping. Any comments?

4) a lakeshore RV site at silver lake state park in september after the labor day. We have been tent campers right from our starting days in the rockies but want to explore RV side of the camping at the end of the season

I definitely plan to go to sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore for camping but DH day campground ,which I heard is the better of the two that they have, doesn't accept reservation in advance. So we will take a couple days off and plan something in August. Also pictured rock state park is completely booked for weekends but we do plan to go backpacking if time permits.

Thanks for this Wisconsin angle. We will definitely explore doors county if we finally cancel grand haven state park reservation

Edited: 30 March 2012, 19:44
Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Camping at Ludington SP in early June

Thanks a lot for wonderful ideas. Based on your recommendations I have reserved following spots for weekend camping this summer.

1) Ludington state park on June 1. I have a site in the Pines camPground as well as beach wood. Will most certainly cancel the one in Beachwood. Still not decided

2) a lakeshore site at porcupine Mountains state park on June 22. We are pretty excited about that

3) a site at grand haven state park on July 6th which I will cancel because I heard that the park is not good for tent camping. Any comments?

4) a lakeshore RV site at silver lake state park in september after the labor day. We have been tent campers right from our starting days in the rockies but want to explore RV side of the camping at the end of the season

I definitely plan to go to sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore for camping but DH day campground ,which I heard is the better of the two that they have, doesn't accept reservation in advance. So we will take a couple days off and plan something in August. Also pictured rock state park is completely booked for weekends but we do plan to go backpacking if time permits.

Thanks for this Wisconsin angle. We will definitely explore doors county if we finally cancel grand haven state park reservation

Edited: 30 March 2012, 19:44
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