Camping & RVs

March Michigan Event Calendar

Our monthly calendar contains a selection of what’s cool to do in Michigan. If you have an event to share, please POST IT IN THE COMMENTS. We read them all and might add yours, but if you email us, we simply can’t add the event!

If your event is ticketed and you would like to give tickets away to promote it, please go to this page!

Approaching Spring by mayerdavid1978

Our Michigan event calendar for the month of March features all kinds of signs that spring is just around the corner with some cautious reminders that objects around the corner may be further off than they appear.


“March is a tomboy with tousled hair, a mischievous smile, mud on her shoes
and a laugh in her voice.” – Hal Borland

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens

“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.” – Lewis Grizzard

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.” – Doug Larson

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s party!” – Robin Williams

Fast Facts

March’s birthstone is Aquamarine and Bloodstone. They symbolize courage.

Its birth flower is the Narcissus.

March in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of September in the Northern Hemisphere.

Daylight-Savings time occurs on March 13, 2010, at 2:00 AM – time to spring ahead!

Think spring! The vernal equinox occurs on March 20, 2011, at 11:21  PM EDT.

DNR Uncut: Michigan State Parks Capture Top National Award

Here’s a “guest” post from the Michigan DNR. We say “guest” in that we copied and pasted it from their website. Great parks, great news. 

Collectively Falling - Bond Falls by Aaron C. Jors
Collectively Falling – Bond Falls by Aaron C. Jors

The Department of Natural Resources announced today that Michigan state parks and recreation areas have won the 2011 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Gold Medal for the top state park system in the nation. The DNR was notified today by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration and NRPA.

Michigan was named one of four finalists in May, and beat North Carolina, Florida and Missouri for the top honor.

“This award is a credit to the people of Michigan,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, who recently appointed a blue-ribbon panel to guide the parks system into the future. “For more than 90 years, Michiganders have realized that these unique areas are an integral part of the cultural enhancement, economic enrichment and overall quality of life that we value. Our parks are what we make of them and the people of this state clearly prize these treasures. I commend the DNR for its outstanding stewardship of these resources and look forward to working with all stakeholders so that we have a parks system that serves our state and its visitors for generations to come.”

The Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management, and agency recognition. Each agency is judged on its ability to address the needs of those it serves through the collective energies of citizens, staff, and elected officials.

“We are very proud to receive this award, and I want to recognize the employees of the Parks and Recreation Division who have worked hard to make sure our 99 state parks and recreation areas remain excellent places for our citizens and visitors to experience Michigan’s abundant and amazing natural resources,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “This is the result of teamwork, talent and vision that is aimed at protecting our special places, and also making sure that visitors have an enjoyable, high quality experience.”

In its winning application, the DNR focused on innovation, such as the Recreation Passport, which is the new funding model for state parks and outdoor recreation in Michigan. The $10 optional fee that Michigan residents can pay when renewing their vehicle registration at the Secretary of State gives them annual access to all Michigan state parks and boating access sites and also supports state forest recreation programs. A portion of the funding also supports a grant program for local parks.

“This achievement is indicative of the tremendous staff who works in the Parks and Recreation Division, who strive for excellent customer service every day to provide a positive experience for our customers,” said DNR Parks and Recreation Chief Ron Olson.

Michigan is home to 99 state parks and recreation areas, offering visitors more than 13,000 campsites, trails, access to inland lakes, rivers and the Great Lakes.

For more information on state parks in Michigan, go to

And for even more, check out the Absolute Michigan Parks section!

Make Your 2011 Summer Camping Reservations Now for Michigan State Parks, Recreation Areas and Harbors

Camping by Joe Gall Photography
Camping by Joe Gall Photography

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment wants to remind users of Michigan state parks, recreation areas and harbors that reservations are now being accepted for the 2011 summer camping season. Reservations for harbor slips, campsites, cabins, teepees and yurts are now available online or through the reservation call center for dates including Memorial Day weekend through late June.

“Campsites become available for arrival dates six months in advance of the date a reservation is made, so we are already booking reservations for early summer,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNRE Recreation Division. “We encourage Michigan citizens and visitors to plan ahead for their summer of fun at a state park or recreation area by booking as early as possible. Camping in Michigan state parks is a very affordable family activity.”

Reservations can be made online at, or by contacting the reservation call center at 800-447-2757. Reservation call center staff start taking phone calls at 8 a.m. on weekdays and at 9 a.m. on weekends. New site availability dates roll into the database at those times to be fair to all users.

For more information about a specific state park or recreation areas harbors, winter camping opportunities and events, visit, or contact the Lansing Office at 517-373-9900.

Effective Oct. 1, 2010, the Recreation Passport replaced the resident motor vehicle permit (MVP). All resident motor vehicles must display the new Recreation Passport when their vehicle registration is renewed, for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and permit required boating access sites. Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking “Yes” on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area.

Non-resident motor vehicles must still display a valid non-resident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access site. Non-resident Recreation Passports are available at any state park entrance or through the Michigan e-Store at

A new way to fund Michigan’s outdoor recreation opportunities, the Recreation Passport also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit or call 517-241-7275.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment is committed to the conservation, protection, management, and accessible use and enjoyment of the state’s environment, natural resources, and related economic interests for current and future generations. Learn more at

Autumn in Michigan: Something for Everyone

Autumn Pathways by pentax hammer (gary syrba)

The crowds and traffic have subsided, the harvests are bountiful and the mosquitoes are few and far between. What we’re trying to say is that autumn is perfect time to get out and enjoy a color tour, take in a late season festival or event, go camping or hit some of Michigan’s numerous wineries and pick up a few bottles for holiday gifts or get-togethers. produced a great video a while back that takes you on a tour of Northern Michigan’s wine country and we think it is worth a watch and will entice you to plan a visit. On that note we should point out that Absolute Michigan is giving away a pair of tickets for the Toast the Season wine trail event which takes place on the Leelanau Peninsula on November 14 & 15.

Hoping to get one more wine tour in this summer? Or maybe you’re envisioning those glorious fall days when wine is an excellent excuse to drive through our wine country. Sit back and get some ideas as we visit Chateau Grand Traverse ( on the Old Mission Peninsula; Traverse City’s urban wineries, Left Foot Charley ( at The Village in Grand Traverse Commons (old state hospital grounds) and Black Star Farms ( in the Mercato, also in the Commons (Black Star also has its winery just south of Suttons Bay); and Shady Lane Cellars ( near Suttons Bay.

Enjoy watching the lush landscape as the vintners each tell us what makes them unique and what it is like growing and selling wine in Northern Michigan.

Also be sure to check out our monthly calendars on Absolute Michigan’s home page as well as keywords Halloween, maze, pumpkin, cider and more!

Absolute Michigan’s 2009 Labor Day Roundup

Mackinac Bridge Walk by carolynne marie

Since1882 the first Monday of September has been recognized as a time to salute Americas workers with festivals, cookouts and parades on “a day off for the working man.” With school starting after the Monday, September 7 holiday, the long Labor Day Weekend is an ideal time to squeeze in some last-minute summertime fun. An estimated 1.4 million Michiganians will travel during the 2009 Labor Day holiday, according to a recent AAA survey. Michigan, the Great Lake State, offers ample opportunities to celebrate the end of summer.

Labor Day via Wikipedia

The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City. In the aftermath of the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the US military and US Marshals during the 1894 Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with Labor as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. Cleveland was also concerned that aligning a US labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair. All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

Stuff to Do, Places to Go

August 28 – September 7
Michigan State Fair Detroit
The Nation’s Oldest State Fair was officially first held in 1849, only twelve years after Michigan attained statehood. At the onset it was customary, in fact, for the fair to be held one year in one city, the next year in another, and there was always a hot contest to be the city selected. The Michigan State Fair settled down at the present fairgrounds in 1905. The 2009 Michigan State Fair will be held August 28th – September 7th.

Popular attractions include the FREE Concerts under the stars in the Band Shell, daily parades, competitions, horse shows, agricultural displays, arts & crafts, racing pigs, rabbits & poultry, dairy exhibits, carnival midway rides & games and the world’s largest stove.

August 22 – October 4
Michigan Renaissance Festival Holly
Festival is held on weekends and Labor Day, rain or shine. “visitors may also partake in games of skill or enjoy non-stop entertainment where belly dancers, sword swallowers, musicians, comedians and sword fighters provide merriment for all ages. The Festival is best known for it’s awe-inspiring full-contact armored jousting tournaments where gallant knights defend their honor until the last man is standing!”

September 3 – 7
Michigan Peach Festival Romeo
If you are looking for something fun for the whole family, there is no better place to be on Labor Day Weekend! Bring your family & friends to the Michigan Peach Festival in the beautiful Village of Romeo. There’s something fun for everyone!

September 4 – 7
Hamtramck Labor Day Festival Hamtramck
Hamtramck Festival has more than 500,000 annual visitors, live music on two stages, carnival rides, Polish Day Parade, samplings of ethnic food, cultural dancers, children’s activities, more.

September 4 – 7
Detroit International Jazz Fest Detroit
For 30 years, the Detroit International Jazz Festival (DJF) has attracted visitors and locals to an end-of-summer ritual on Labor Day Weekend that celebrates one of America’s most important art forms. The festival boasts five stages and 100 acts over four days in a city with a rich musical legacy. Sprawling over several city blocks in downtown Detroit – from Hart Plaza to Campus Martius – the festival also offers educational activities, giant puppets, fireworks, rare opportunities to meet the artists and much more. And it’s all FREE!

September 4 – 7
Arts, Beats & Eats Pontiac
Arts, Beats & Eats is excited to add to its name, mission and purpose in 2009. We are now Arts, Beats & Eats – Festival of Hope and we are excited to announce new changes and partners for the 2009 festival.

Arts, Beats & Eats will still feature The HealthPlus Art Fair, one of the top art shows in the US, incredible food, more than 125 bands on six stages, and dynamic and interactive fun for the kids.

September 4 – 6
Logging Fest Newaygo
The Logging Fest takes place over Labor Day Weekend. Newaygo was built around the logging industry, and we are celebrating our logging heritage. Highlights of the Logging Fest include the Chainsaw Sculpture Competition and Auction, Lumberjack’s Competition and Fireman’s Water Battle. The Arts & Crafts Show in Brooks Park is host to exhibitors from all over the country displaying their arts and crafts. The local merchants have sidewalk sales. The event also includes kids activities and games, and on Sunday a parade route goes through downtown Newaygo.

September 5 – 6
Marquette Area Blues Fest Marquette
The Marquette Area Blues Society has announced the headline performers for the 2009 Marquette Area Blues Fest. The festival, now in it’s 6th year, will once again be held at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in downtown Marquette over Labor Day Weekend. The dates are Saturday, September 5 and Sunday, September 6, 2009. Featured performers on Saturday include Blue Bass entertainment recording artists Biscuit Miller & the Mix, VizzTone recording artist Gina Sicilia and Chikan Howse Records recording artist James “SUPER CHIKAN” Johnson.

On Sunday, the featured performers are Michigan’s very own “The King of the Party Blues” Maurice Davis, Shanachie Entertainment recording artist Curtis Salgado and Blind Pig recording artists Smokin’ Joe Kubek and B’nois King. Also on the bill for the weekend will be the finest in local and regional blues performers. The music will begin both days at 1-pm with gates opening at noon. Be sure to take in the food and merchandise vendors as well as the workshops offered during the weekend to make it a complete blues experience!

September 7
Labor Day Bridge Walk Mackinaw City
The Labor Day Bridge walk, recognized as “the world’s greatest walking event”, brings over 70,000 people to the area. Buses are available for transportation to the north end of the bridge. Participants walk from the north side to the south. At the finish line you are awarded a certificate of completion.

More Labor Day Getaway Resources

Stretch Your Labor Day Holiday with Michigan Fairs and Festivals from

Labor Day Getaways from the West Michigan Tourist Association

MDOT Halts Most Work for the Labor Day Weekend from MDOT (54 work zones will be active so check it out to plan your route)

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Calendar of Events – All the happenings are listed here

Thinking of doing some camping then check out this cool ‘Campground Search‘ from the DNR

If you are not hitting the road then take a virtual Labor Day tour of Michigan courtesy of our Absolute Michigan Flickr pool

Michigan Rated #1 in Social Media Tourism Promotion

pure michiganTravel Michigan has announced that it has earned the top-ranking amongst the 50 official US tourism office Web sites in the use of social media. In a recent study, How Social is Your State DMO (national break down pdf), How Social is Your State DMO (Michigan by city break down pdf) conducted by Gammet Interactive, Michigan takes the top spot for the use of popular social media outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and others.

“We’ve extended our efforts to stay connected with travelers. Social media allows us to get the Pure Michigan message out to potential visitors on other platforms,” commented George Zimmermann, Vice President of Travel Michigan, a business unit of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “It opens another line of communication with travelers.”

In addition to the most popular state tourism Web site,, visitors now have other means to stay up-to-date on Michigan tourism deals, discounts and events.

Connect and get the inside scoop on where the fish are biting, what greens are running fast and how you can make your visit Pure Michigan at the newly launched blog, Pure Michigan Connect. Read about bloggers’ experiences along the nation’s longest fresh water coastline or experience at a small town celebration. Take a minute to comment on the blog posts, or submit one of your own.

Follow @PureMichigan on Twitter for the latest events and breaking news, along with some fun behind-the-scenes information on all the things going on with Michigan tourism. Search hashtags #puremichigan, #MIevents, #MIdine, #MIgolf, #MIfish, and #MIwine, for all the latest.

Join the Pure Michigan Fan Page on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all the latest events in Michigan and talk to others with the same love for Michigan. The fan page is another great resource for planning a trip.

In addition, visitors can now enjoy all the photos from the Pure Michigan Photo Contest on Flickr, or watch all of the Pure Michigan commercials on YouTube. continues to be a source for Michigan travel information, featuring more than 12,000 attractions, events, hotels, resorts, restaurants and other tourism-related businesses.

Travel Michigan, a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, is the State of Michigan’s official agency for the promotion of tourism. Travel Michigan markets the state’s tourism industry and provides valuable visitor information services.

Hoxeyville August 21 – 23, 2009

hoxeyvilleNestled on 75 + acres of pristine north country farmland and natural hardwood forest — within the Manistee National Forest — is a testament to pure north country peace and hootenanny. Hoxeyville will boast 2 stages of national touring artists as well as a 3rd stage featuring the best and brightest talent from around our beautiful state! Right next door, is a modern campground with full amenities, including a swimming pool, showers, plug-ins, dump station and wireless Internet. With an increased capacity of 8,500 and an amazing lineup, 2009 promises to be the grandest incarnation to date.

As always, the festival site will have a Disc Golf Course Designed by Stephanai Myers of Disc Golf Michigan. The festival site is also strategically located near various mountain biking trails and the Pine River, a National Wild and Scenic River, a world class blue-ribbon trout stream, and a renowned paddle sports playground. Kestelwoods restaurant, party store and campground is a convenient 6 minute walk from the festival grounds.

New to the Festival
New this year will be the addition of a beer tent, featuring some of the finest handcrafted brews from the great beer state, served up in a micro beer festival format. We’re proud to announce our all new Farmers Market full of local produce and specialty baked goods.

Vendor Village
In Hoxeyville we understand the vendor village is the nucleus of any good festival. We always strive to feature the finest artisan, craft and food vendors from our region, with a focus on specialty foods with locally grown and organic ingredients.

Just some of the artists include:
Buddy Guy, Galactic, Bill Frisell Trio, The New Orleans All-Stars, Melvin Seals & JGB, Greensky Bluegrass, Great American Taxi, Ekoostic Hookah, Seth Bernard & May Erlewine, Steppin’ In It, The Macpodz and many, many more….

Located in Beautiful Northwest Lower Michigan in the Heart of the Manistee National Forest, The Festival Grounds are located just west of The Kestelwoods Store and Campground off M-37 in Wexford County (1 1/2 hrs N of Grand Rapids, 40 Min. S of Traverse City) This year the site has been expanded to 75 acres and features ample areas for shaded walk-in and car camping, and open and level fields for RVs and Campers. This year we have a new Venue area that will be home to the The Main stage, Vendor Village and a Beer Tent featuring some of the finest brews from the region.

2009 Rothbury Ticket Giveaway Is Over!

After tallying the votes from an enormous number of submissions we have identified our winner. Drum roll please……

“I moved from Michigan to Florida this January for work. People said “Florida in the winter….wow, you’re lucky” and “you got a job in this economy, man, you’re lucky”. Well let me tell you something my Michigan friends….you can take a man out of Flint, but you’ll never take the Flintstone out of the Man. Give me one excuse to leave this this oceanside resort for a reunion with the best people in the world, my Michigander soul people, and I won’t be taking Interstate 75 south again. This Michigan Man is ready to find a way to join all the spirited people celebrating our nations birth with some Great Times in the Great Lakes…..and I thank you for bringing me home!!! Say Yeah to Rothbury, the best music line up of the year….Say Yes to Me in M!ch!gan!!!”

Stace S

Rothbury by Dave Vann

Rothbury Snoop Dogg Crowd by Dave Vann

We are pleased to announce that just as we did last year we are having another Rothbury Ticket Giveaway thanks to the very generous festival organizers. This year we will be giving away a pair of 4 day GA Tickets camping included!

Tickets can still be purchased and just like last year’s Rothbury Festival they are offering a variety of packages to suit all lifestyles. Unique to this year’s festival are the 2 day Saturday & Sunday tickets.

About the Rothbury Music Festival

This year the Rothbury Music Festival takes place July 2-5, 2009 in Rothbury, Michigan (near Muskegon). RothburyFour days of music on six stages feature some of the biggest musical acts around including THE DEAD • BOB DYLAN AND HIS BAND • THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT • WILLIE NELSON & FAMILY • THE BLACK CROWES • DAMIAN ‘JR. GONG’ MARLEY & NAS • STS9 • G. LOVE & SPECIAL SAUCE • GOV’T MULE • UMPHREY’S MCGEE • BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE • YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND • and about a jillion others!

The festival also will be showcasing “Circus & Theater“, a feature that demonstrates the festival’s commitment to the performing arts and theatrical culture.

All kinds of interesting Environments & Experiences where you can wander through the Sherwood Forest and stumble upon its many mysteries. Put your hands on some great new gadgets and games at the Festival’s Epicenter or wake up and get loose in a unique yoga journey.

The Rothbury Think Tank will be focused on finding energy independence and feature the innovators, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, celebs, and rabble rousers who – in this time of economic, energy and climate crisis – are offering a green path to a brighter future.

Rothbury in Video and Pictures

Checkout more Rothbury videos on their YouTube channel!

There is also this awesome slideshow from Rothbury 2008 via Flickr…

Camping at the Sleeping Bear Dunes

This feature by former Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park ranger Bill Herd appears courtesy It’s part of a summerlong feature America’s Lakeshore: A Comprehensive Guide to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. There’s tons more information available at that link!

by Bill Herd

Platte River National CampgroundCamping is as American as apple pie—oops, I mean cherry pie. It’s part of our pioneer heritage. Not too many generations back, we were all outdoor folks, hunters in the forest, shepherds on the hillsides, herders on the plains, farmer tilling the soil, fishing folk and sailors at sea. For many of us, being outdoors is part of our genetic makeup. When the weather turns fair we long to be out of the city and back in the countryside. A tent and a campfire are two of our favorite companions.

Except for recreational vehicle campers that require full hook ups, camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes has something for everyone, so you really can “have it your way.” From vehicle camping with modern restrooms and electric to backpacking on a remote wilderness island, you will find opportunities for the type of camping you seek for your next trip. Best of all, camping is inexpensive. A site with electric and a Lakeshore pass will cost just $150 for seven nights, a small fraction of what a modest cottage on an inland lake would cost for a week. In these tough economic times, camping may be just what we need.

I did not realize just how important camping might be this year until I read two articles in the same newspaper. The first article talked about the stress the current economic crisis is having on individuals and families. The article recommended that families think about alternative vacations, and have fun simply spending time together. The second article reported that a large numbers of families would not be taking a vacation this summer because of the economy. So, just when families need a vacation for their mental health, they will not be taking one. But a camping vacation to Sleeping Bear Dunes can provide an enjoyable, fun-filled vacation and still save a large amount of money, not to mention a number of activities that are available at little or no expense.

The Platte River Campground is the park’s premier campground. Campers who have camped at many different National Parks often remark that is the nicest campground in the entire system. The campground has paved roads, which keeps dust from smothering you, your campsite and the nearby vegetation. Campsites are generous and spaced well apart and take full advantage of the terrain with abundant vegetationbetween sites. Campground staff keep the modern restrooms immaculate and “These are the cleanest restrooms I’ve ever seen” is often heard by Park staff. The ultimate luxury for a camper is a hot shower, which is available for a small fee. (They are a $1 for six minutes—let your teenagers use their own money for any additional time they feel they need) Some of the Platte River Campground sites have electric hook-ups and some can be reserved ahead. From the back of the campground there is a half-mile trail that leads to Lake Michigan and a nice sandy beach. aDSC_9776.jpgOne of the big advantages of the Platte River Campground is that poison ivy is not common and most years mosquitoes are few because of the well drained sandy soil, which are actually ancient dunes.

The campground also features 25 walk-in sites, which give campers a rare opportunity to get away from vehicles and traffic and get closer to nature with a short hike that’s not farther than a city block. Once set up, life at your walk-in site takes on a relaxed pace and atmosphere. Parents of young children do not have to constantly watch to be sure the kids are not in the campground road. They can also enjoy themselves as the young ones amuse themselves in nature’s playground. Campers are often reluctant to use these sites fearing the extra work required to carry their gear to the campsite. Usually, however, they are pleasantly surprised to find that the close-to-nature experience is worth the extra effort. Here is a hint: it is not necessary to carry all your gear to the campsite. Rangers suggest that campers store food in their vehicle at night, so just take the food you need for the next meal. Likewise, you will be returning to the parking area to use the rest rooms and showers so just leave your clean clothes and towels in the vehicle. I cannot think of any other place where you can camp away from traffic and still have easy access to modern restrooms and hot showers. You get the best of both worlds. If that’s not enough, at the back of the restroom is a kitchen sink with hot water where you can wash dishes. I encourage you to consider the walk-in sites. However, full disclosure requires me to inform you that the walk-in sites were my idea when we were developing the design plans for the reconstruction of the campground.

The D.H. Day Campground on Lake Michigan near the Sleeping Bear Dunes provides traditional rustic campsites—no electric, no flush toilets, no showers. It has been a favorite campground for Michigan families for generations. Highlights of the campground are its simple, widely spaced campsites, airy pine and oak forest and its close proximity to the Lakeshore’s main attractions. D.H. Day Campground is named for local lumber and shipping entrepreneur David Henry Day, who owned most of the adjacent forest, and donated 32 acres of land along the shore of Lake Michigan to the state for Michigan’s first state park in 1920. You can visit his company town of Glen Haven, which is now a historic village, just a short walk from the campground. One disadvantage of this campground is the large amount of poison ivy. Just about every plant that is not a tree is poison ivy, so beware and stay on the campsite, paths and roads. Since the early part of the last century the National Park Service has provided high quality ranger programs in its campgrounds. Both campgrounds continue this National Park tradition with evening amphitheater programs or hikes.

Boat to the IslandFor those who wish for a more adventurous camping experience, the Lakeshore has two hike-in campgrounds on the mainland and two on South Manitou Island. Hiking distance is about a mile to a mile and a half depending on the one you choose. On the mainland the White Pine Backcountry Campground is the most popular since its sites are near Lake Michigan. The six sites are in the pines just back of the dunes at the middle of Platte Plains, close to the lake but not so close that you will have sand in your sleeping bag and food. The Valley View Campground on the edge of the Port Oneida Historic District seldom gets used since its sites are not on a body of water. They are located in a sunny meadow surrounded by mature hardwood forest, and if you want to camp in solitude, this is your place. The hike-in campgrounds on South Manitou Island are the Bay and Weather Station; both are close to Lake Michigan.Tent Crescent City A normally overlooked hike-in campground is on North Manitou Island not far from the dock. Since most campers to the north island are backpackers who want to put some miles on their boots, you can usually have the campground to yourself. Set up camp and enjoy the beach, forest and historic village. If your family is not up to backpacking because of age, this may be the best place in the park. On one of our family camping trips to this campground, campers ranged in age from one year to 80. All campers on North Manitou need to be prepared to purify their drinking water, including those camped in the campground.

Backpackers who want to hike farther have two choices: Popple Campground on the north side of South Manitou and North Manitou Island. The Popple Campground is slightly over three miles from the dock. On North Manitou backpackers can select their own camping spot on the 15000 acre island, an opportunity not allowed on most other public lands. However, there are some important restrictions the ranger on North will tell you about when you register for a backcountry permit. Campers on either Manitou Island need to remember to take everything they need. There are no stores on the islands so if you forget batteries for your camera or insect repellant you will have to do without. On the other hand, the islands are about as safe as backcountry camping venue as you will fine anywhere. There are no dangerous animals, you can not get lost for too long before you find a known landmark, rangers are nearby if someone gets hurt or sick and, if needed, for emergency evacuation the Coast Guard helicopter is just a few minutes away in Traverse City.

For detailed information about camping fees, reservations and rules check the camping pages on the official Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore web site and also the camping fees & reservations page. Group sites are also available at both main campgrounds and on both islands.


Memorial Day Weekend Michigan Style 2009

Happy Memorial Day by lorainedicerbo
Happy Memorial Day by lorainedicerbo

Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the summer season in Michigan and the weather forecasts around the state look to be favorable. Businesses in sleepy towns are waking up, and community plans for festivals and ongoing summer fun are taking shape after weathering it through an extended winter.  

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the biggest travel holidays and this year will be no exception. With gas prices almost 40% lower than last year and MDOT halting road work for the holiday, travel is expected to be up this year. In fact according to AAA around 1.1 million travelers will be out on the road headed to and from their holiday destinations.   For many, this weekend is the first trip up north of the year and if you want to set up camp in one of our beautiful state parks there is still availability. Even if you are planning on sticking close to home for the holiday, we have found plenty of events happening all around Michigan.

Parades, Festivals, Reenactments and more!

Parades abound and if fudge is calling your name then head to Mackinaw City and honor our nation’s Veterans at the biggest parade in Northern Michigan, the Mackinaw Memorial Parade. Held on Saturday, at 1:00pm this parade complete with floats, queen, and clowns is a family fun, must attend event. For events happening in your area please check with your local media outlets.

Step back in time and experience Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Become a part of living history as you travel through a microcosm of the American Civil War. Union and Confederate soldier re-enactors, civilians, musicians and historic presenters—all in period costume—are eager to immerse you in the life of this turbulent American era.

If your looking for something a little more cutting edge then check out Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival or head to Marshall for the first weekend of their Renaissance Festival. You will find these events, other Memorial weekend events, and yet even more Michigan events happening throughout the year in the Absolute Michigan Calendar.

Since most of Michigan Memorial Day travel is done via the highways and byways why not check out a celebration of cars?  Northport hosts their 12th annual  Cars in the Park on Saturday, with food, music, and prizes.  Manton combines their 14th annual  Classic Car and Truck Show with a craft fair and in Frankenmuth visitors can enjoy a Ford classic car show featuring 125 vehicles, plus a gathering of hot air balloons.

Eat, Drink and be Grateful

For those who just want to kick back at home, support Michigan and grab your favorite bottle of Michigan wine, some fine Michigan made beer , stock up on the Faygo and fire up the grill. The Detroit News has a delicious looking recipe and basic grilling information in their article Grilled dishes add sizzle to Memorial Day weekend. For all you localvores we present Planked Great Lakes Whitefish with a Potato Chip and Parmesan Crust from Michigan-centric chef Eric Villegas. This recipe can easily be prepared on the grill and we recommend using Better Maid chips, Michigan cooking planks and any other ingredients the recipe calls for that you can purchase from Michigan based producers.

Another Villegas classic and a good Memorial Day twist would be to whip up Eric’s Michigan White Shrimp & Smoked Whitefish “Gumbo” using Michigan white shrimp. Shrimp in Michigan? You better believe it! Russ Allen, after having transformed Belize and Ecuador from shrimp niche players to powerhouses returned to Michigan as a modern-day seafood equivalent of Johnny Appleseed and created an indoor shrimp farm in Okemos that is aiming to produce around 5 million pounds of shrimp per year.

Absolute Michigan Memorial Day Archives

Some articles worth revisiting on Absolute Michigan include one on poet Will Carleton’s visit to Arlington Cemetery as well as Michigan’s first Memorial Day from Michigan History Magazine. Also, do not miss the post about the Michigan Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Detroit from Michigan in Pictures.

Lest We Forget by scherbis
Lest We Forget by scherbis

Last and Certainly not Least…

A visit to Wikipedia for insight to what this day truly stands for and why we all should take a moment, step back from our grills and give pause says it all. It is a lengthy page and we are posting just a blurb so we invite you to head over for further information.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each gravesite at National Cemeteries. Many Americans also use Memorial Day to honor other family members who have died.