Even with Labor Day right around the corner, it’s not too late to get in on some sizzling summer fun and fitness at many of Michigan’s state parks. Camping reservations for Labor Day weekend are still available throughout the state, especially in Metro Detroit, the northeastern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
Pontiac Lake Recreation Area (Detroit metro), Onaway and Clear Lake state parks (northeastern Lower) and Indian Lake and Van Riper State Parks (Upper Peninsula) are among those with campsites available for reservation over the Labor Day weekend. One-third of state parks (including these) have at least a 15-percent vacancy, offering families a last-minute opportunity to explore the outdoors before the school year begins.
According to Ron Olson, chief of the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Parks and Recreation Division, the open reservations afford families the chance to still get away for Labor Day while also starting a new family tradition — camping at a state park they’ve never visited before.
“If your Labor Day camping reservation hasn’t yet been made, there’s still time,” Olson said. “By starting a new family tradition — exploring a different state park this Labor Day — you’ll open up fresh experiences to your children. They’ll explore different trails, play on unique beaches, gain additional insight into nature, and broaden their general knowledge and understanding of Michigan and the natural wonders that make this state special.”
Michigan’s natural wonders — its trees, foliage, streams and wildlife — can be enjoyed while utilizing the state’s hundreds of miles of expansive, interconnected trail and pathway systems. Taking advantage of this opportunity can become part of every family’s camping experiences.
Jeremy Spell, park manager at Onaway and Aloha state parks in northeastern Lower Michigan, encourages campers to get out and enjoy trails.
“Camping is a great way to relax, and it’s also an ideal way to become active in Michigan’s out-of-doors,” Spell said. “Aloha State Park, and many other state parks in the area, are located near both the Inland Waterway — a water trail — and the North Central State Recreation Trail, which is ideal for hiking and biking. Families can enjoy hours of active recreation on these trails while also starting or continuing the tradition of a healthy lifestyle.”
Visit www.michigan.gov/stateparks and click on Labor Day Occupancy Reports to view the latest state campground availability for Labor Day weekend. To make a camping reservation at a Michigan state park, log on to www.midnrreservations.com. More information about the North Central State Recreation Trail is available at www.northcentraltrail.org.
The Recreation Passport is an easy, affordable way for residents to enjoy and support outdoor recreation opportunities in Michigan. By checking “YES” for the $11 Recreation Passport ($5 for motorcycles) when renewing a license plate through the Secretary of State (by mail, kiosk, online at http://www.expresssos.com/ or at branch offices), Michigan motorists get access to state parks, recreation areas, state forest campgrounds, non-motorized state trailhead parking and state boat launches. In addition, Recreation Passport holders can experience real savings at businesses and retailers that participate in the Passport Perks discount program. The Recreation Passport is valid until the next license plate renewal date. Nonresidents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($30.50 annual; $8.40 daily) at any state park or recreation area or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore.
Learn more about this creative way of sustaining Michigan’s outdoor recreation and natural resources at www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport. For information on Passport Perks shopping discounts or how businesses and retailers can enroll in the program, visit www.michigan.gov/passportperks.
Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources