Hubby and I took a day trip to Grand Haven State Park. The weather was sunny, cool and breezy. And this time I scoped out the campground imagining me there in my Toyota Sienna RV, once I get it decked out.
My experience with Michigan State Park campgrounds has been mostly positive. Grand Haven (GH) is somewhat unique in that it is in a town as well as on Lake Michigan. The campground itself is little more than a parking lot - all paved, no trees. But the location is to die for. (In fact, some people have died here, as you will learn from reading the warnings on the pier. But with good weather and/or caution, it's a safe and enjoyable sojourn.)
I stood in one place and took pictures, pivoting from my spot on a rock next to the channel.
The lucky campers with sites right on the lake
Turn right and see the lighthouse pier. You can join the many walkers to the end of the pier, watch the fishermen (in September catching whopping big steelhead, aka salmon), in summer people like to jump from the pier into the water.
Turn right to the channel that leads from Lake Michigan into Spring Lake. Lots of boats including fishing charters, pleasure craft and sailboats.
Turn right again for another view of the channel.
Turn right again and it's back to the campground. You see here the edge of the restroom/bathouse with vending and ice machines. Hot showers included in the campground fee, need I say more?
Another view of the facilites and campers and the lake.
I can't tell you what a beautiful location this is, so I'll let Google show you:
I think GHSP would be a wonderful first destination not only because of the natural beauty and park amenities, but because Grand Haven proper is a comfortable walk away along the channel. You'll find food from chili dogs to sit down seafood restaurants, and lots of trendy shops if you're into that.
Grand Haven is also Coast Guard City USA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGmXsDO0xV8 and the station is on the path along the channel from the state park to town. The Coast Guard Festival is crowded but fun, with usually at least one tall ship and one military ship you can tour.
It's all walkable, so it's perfect for van camping because you can park your van in the campground and leave it there while you do the beach, the lighthouse, the town and the coast guard station.
It does get noisy especially on summer weekends, so be warned. I'd want to avoid it during spring break weeks. It's well patrolled and safe, but lots of college kids with the usual hijinks. The beach stretches for quite a distance from the pier south along the lake, with a lot of day users - jet skis, sand volleyball, and family fun. The second Sunday in September, when we were last here, was relatively quiet, and a good time to go.
Here's the link to GLSP, with detailed campground information http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/details.aspx?id=449&type=SPRK. If you go, or if you've had experiences here, especially good ones, please leave a comment! Thanks.
More pictures of our day at Grand Haven https://picasaweb.google.com/110582119738802377286/GrandHavenStateParkMichigan#