We pull up at the campground and take a few minutes to situate Gidget so she is parallel to the crashing waves of Lake Michigan. Every camper’s dream. Neil unhitches her from the trailer and unlocks her door. He tosses me a beer and we start the routine of setting up camp. Kids run wild on the sand of the shore – just as they should. And I start to relax into the rhythm of natural sights, sounds, and the layer of dirt that covers everything. He smiles as he starts the fire and I realize how happy we are here. Home is where you park it. This is our happy place. All of the signs that campers place outside their RVs are true. We sigh deeply and sink into the hammock.
We are two for two. Two beautiful campsites in two different states. Either I just KNOW how to pick them or every campsite is just as lovely as the next. In all seriousness, I do spend hours finding the perfect campsite, so let’s not discredit my apparent Internet research skills. I’ll blog about what I look for in a campsite someday.
But basically, I just need to find a place where the blue meets the green. You don’t see that very much in the city. And as chaotic and fast-paced as camping with kids can be, it’s worth it to look up and see the blue meet the green.
Wilderness State Park is a must-see for anyone heading to northern Michigan for camping. Quite a few sites are right on the water of Lake Michigan. I checked in at the gate and he described our property (Site 109) as a beach-front site. And the waves actually crash into the shore like the ocean. Makes for a wonderful background sound. Now – word around the campground and the quaint General Store is that they are closing down the West Campground in 2018 to renovate the bathrooms and facilities. And the worst news of all seems to be that they are building a fence right on the beach. I’m hoping this is just a rumor, but only time will tell. Either way, the sound of the waves and the ability to probably climb over the fence will make the trip worth it again. When it reopens, Site 112 and 113 are on a corner on the beach and look like they have a larger camping area.
One downside of this trip was the wind. It was so windy all day and night long. Since we were right on the water without any barrier of a tree line, we felt the wind worse than others in the campground, I think. On the East Campground, you can still be on the water, but a little further back and perhaps sheltered from the wind. Site 66 has a swingset on the beach right behind it. This might be a good option for next time!
If you aren’t a camp on the water type, the sites in the back of the campground are set in the forest and are amazing and would be fun for the kids to explore in the trees. To me, the worst sites are the ones in the middle of the campgrounds. Not close enough to the water, but not far enough into the trees.
- Bring sand toys – any kind. We’ve used these both trips and I’m so glad that I kept them in the camper.
- We also were grateful for Neil’s Woobie from the Army. There’s a reason they issue these to soldiers. They really do trap the warmth underneath you. And they dry fast and sand shakes right off. I’m getting a few more for our next trip. They are also called poncho liners.
- When you camp with a full moon, the stars are hard to see. The SkyView app has been our favorite this trip and last for star gazing, though!
- Brushing our teeth was a nuisance. Especially without water on site. I’m going to try and bring these pre-pasted disposable toothbrushes next time. And just keep them in the camper.
- Our microwave in Gidget actually fell out and crashed into the full length mirror on the outside of the closet door during our trip up. It totally busted, but we actually decided that we don’t need a microwave and actually enjoyed the extra counter space on top of the mini fridge.
- The garbage can I linked to in my first camping post was also a bust. It just takes up space and isn’t really necessary. I think next time I’ll bring some clear 3m hooks and hang a garbage bag on Gidget outside.
- The FRESH DONUTS at the Wilderness General Store were SO GOOD. There was even a children’s book written about them that I bought and will keep in Gidget!
We will totally be back again. Although, if I end up saying that after every campsite we visit, our list is going to be really long! About 4 weeks until we head out with Gidget again!