By Janelle D. James, Bridge Michigan
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- About 35 percent of available state campsites are already booked through July
- The most popular parks are 60 – 80 percent booked
- Some state parks are closed for the majority if not all of 2024 for construction
One in three available campsites across Michigan’s state parks are already booked for 2024, while some of the most popular campgrounds have only 40 percent or fewer of their campsite inventory remaining, as campers look to make reservations for the year.
As hopeful campers make their plans, they’ll find inventory missing as some campgrounds will delay opening or even remain closed for the year for needed infrastructure repairs through The Building Michigan Together Plan.
Michiganders can reserve campgrounds at state parks six months in advance. As of Monday, there are 178,378 bookings through July – about 35 percent of available state park campsites – according to data provided by the Department of Natural Resources. That number is consistent with the last two years.
The most popular parks are filling up even quicker.
Campsites at Ludington State Park are already 80 percent booked through July, while Holland and Grand Haven are both 60 percent filled.
Inventory is updated daily and reservations can be made online anytime or by phone starting at 8 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends.
Campers seeking summer reservations may find that amenities – including campsites – are unavailable for the 2024 season, part of a $250 million dollar investment in state parks through the Building Michigan Together Plan.
That includes popular Port Crescent State Park, off Lake Huron at the tip of the state’s Thumb. The campground is closed for the year while the beach house is set to reopen by Memorial Day as the park undergoes $4.95 million in repairs.
Residents can still visit The park’s day-use area during construction and Port Austin State Harbor remains open for the year.
“We have been continuing to be on an upward trend for reservations at our parks,” said Kristen Bennett, development unit manager for the DNR. “If anything, it’s just a little bit harder to get that ideal spot, but we still have a lot of different campgrounds that people are starting to discover.”
Popular Interlochen State Park, just south of Traverse City, is also undergoing upgrades resulting in some campsite closures. The north loop of the park is closed for 2024 while the south loop will be closed until Labor day. The day-use area and access to the boating site will also be closed for the spring and summer. While the rustic campground is still open, sanitation areas are closed.
“To be frank, it brings us no joy to close our facilities,” said Kasey Cline, Cadillac district supervisor for the Parks and Recreation division of the DNR. “We really are trying to navigate a successful construction season with visitor access but health and human safety has got to be our number one priority.”
The state plans to replace water and sewer systems, repaving roads, replacing toilet and shower buildings and updating electrical systems, among many other things, at 43 state parks over the next three years. Last year, 13 projects were completed.
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Featured image: State park reservations are filling up quickly, despite some being closed due to construction. (Courtesy the state Department of Natural Resources)