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Old 02-11-2014, 01:57 PM   #1
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Southwest Michigan campgrounds:Holland, Van Buren State Parks???

A group of us are planning a mid August trip to Southwest Michigan. Last year we camped at South Higgins Lake State Park and that was perfect. But one family recently moved north of Chicago and the rest of us are in Southeast MI, so we wanted to make the drive less than or around 3 hours at the most for all of us.

Lots of kids will be camping with us.

We were looking at Holland State Park and Van Buren State Park. Any one have any pros and cons to these parks.

Ideally, we would like to be able to walk to the water from the campground. Is this possible at either of these places.

We are also open to suggestions but think we should stay south of Holland, MI because it is only a long weekend trip and don't want the drive to be longer than necessary.

We are kind of in a crunch because if we need to get online soon because we are fast approaching the 6 month window.

Thank you to anyone who can give us any information!
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:16 PM   #2
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I've been to both.
There's really nothing special about Van Buren SP IMO, plus it's a long walk to the beach. Most drive.
Holland is nicer, but good luck getting in. It's a very busy park. Both the beach and overflow are pretty good, and walking to both Lake Michigan and Macatawa Lake can be done. Excellent boating too.

Another idea for you is Indiana Dunes SP at the bottom of lake Michigan, near I-94, but you still need to drive to the beach.

We typically go farther north to Pentwater, love that park, but just as difficult to get reservations there. We'll be there the first week of August, and again late September (just show up - no reservations!)

Also think about:
Hoffmaster SP
Muskegon SP
Silver Lake SP

I hope this helps
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:27 PM   #3
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we camped at South Higgins Lake State Park this past summer for a week, the water is very cold but only waist high 400 yards out, that weekend we were their it turned super cold (august) and we were on the water , we also went to mullet lake and I liked it better warmer water, nicer sites (grass) not sand
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by zs325RES View Post
I've been to both.
There's really nothing special about Van Buren SP IMO, plus it's a long walk to the beach. Most drive.
Holland is nicer, but good luck getting in. It's a very busy park. Both the beach and overflow are pretty good, and walking to both Lake Michigan and Macatawa Lake can be done. Excellent boating too.

Another idea for you is Indiana Dunes SP at the bottom of lake Michigan, near I-94, but you still need to drive to the beach.

We typically go farther north to Pentwater, love that park, but just as difficult to get reservations there. We'll be there the first week of August, and again late September (just show up - no reservations!)

Also think about:
Hoffmaster SP
Muskegon SP
Silver Lake SP

I hope this helps
Thanks. We camped at Silver Lake a few years back in Sept. Loved it.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:41 PM   #5
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we camped at South Higgins Lake State Park this past summer for a week, the water is very cold but only waist high 400 yards out, that weekend we were their it turned super cold (august) and we were on the water , we also went to mullet lake and I liked it better warmer water, nicer sites (grass) not sand
That is where we camped last summer, in August. We might have been there about the same time. COLD nights. We actually put our heat on for a bit one night. Most of our friends were in tents! The shallow water was perfect for our younger set of kids. We would love to go back but it is just too far of a drive for one of the families in our group.
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Old 02-11-2014, 02:58 PM   #6
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I remember camping at Holland when I was like 7 or 8 years old. At that age, it was a chore to get up and over the dunes to the beach. Mind you that was about 30 years ago, so the beach access might be different now.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:21 PM   #7
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I remember camping at Holland when I was like 7 or 8 years old. At that age, it was a chore to get up and over the dunes to the beach. Mind you that was about 30 years ago, so the beach access might be different now.
Good to know.

I would just like to know that we can get to the water from the campground without a car. I want the older kids and teens to be able to come and go with one or two adults rather than always having to wait around for all of the parents while we tend to the infants and toddlers. Having to coordinate cars is always a pain. So much easier for the kids to just say, "Going with Mr. X and Mr. Y to the beach" than trying to figure out if there is room for everyone in so and so's car and enough room for those of us left to get there!
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:27 PM   #8
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Southwest Michigan campgrounds:Holland, Van Buren State Parks???

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Good to know.

I would just like to know that we can get to the water from the campground without a car. I want the older kids and teens to be able to come and go with one or two adults rather than always having to wait around for all of the parents while we tend to the infants and toddlers. Having to coordinate cars is always a pain. So much easier for the kids to just say, "Going with Mr. X and Mr. Y to the beach" than trying to figure out if there is room for everyone in so and so's car and enough room for those of us left to get there!

Oh, yeah, it was certainly walkable. At least, I remember walking it. Teens should have no problem, but if it's still up and over you might have to carry the toddlers, that's all.

Of course, if anyone's been there more recently than 30 years ago, feel free to correct me.

Edit: Ok, I just re-read what I wrote. Now I feel old.
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:41 PM   #9
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Oh, yeah, it was certainly walkable. At least, I remember walking it. Teens should have no problem, but if it's still up and over you might have to carry the toddlers, that's all.

Of course, if anyone's been there more recently than 30 years ago, feel free to correct me.

Edit: Ok, I just re-read what I wrote. Now I feel old.
Well, if you were 7 or 8, 30 years ago, you are younger than me! I'm 43. Gonna be 44 in April and my baby is just turning 2 this week on Valentine's Day. Yeah, I feel old most days! Camping keeps me feeling young!
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Old 02-11-2014, 03:49 PM   #10
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Well, then, yes, I'm younger. 37 right now. Kids are 3 and 4.

Talk of Holland had me feeling nostalgic, so I was just looking it up on the DNR. It appears I stand corrected. If you can snag it for your dates (seems to be booked through the summer) there's now a campground right on the beach. Can't get much closer than that. Though looking at the site photos, it appears to be a repainted parking lot. I don't know how I feel about camping on asphalt.
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