At the request of a friend looking for somewhere sort-of wild to go camping this summer, I listed a few places a day’s drive from the big city. My bias for the summer is north (mostly because I hate heat and humidity). Do you have a favorite summer camping spot? If so, let us know in the comments.
Ludington State Park (Michigan Coast, about 6 hours away)
This is a new favorite place for us and we have yet to sample it in the summer (this is what we wrote a few months ago). Summer here should be a lot of fun too ’cause it has a big lake for contemplation and a smaller one for swimming and canoeing. There also is a lighthouse, bike trails and rentals, and a pretty cool nearby town.
Kettle Moraine South Unit (near Whitewater, WI. About 2-3 hours away)
Along the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin, this park was awesome for us and several other Edison Park families one late May weekend. It has a great lake with a smallish but decent enough sandy beach, good fishing, and a roomy campground that lacked electricity (yeah, more stars at night) and plumbing (I swear the nicest vault toilets ever). The park is known for mountain biking which people do on the cross-country ski trails.
Sparta-Elroy Bike Trail Area(Northwest Wisconsin; 3 hours away)
Situated in the Driftless region of northwest Wisconsin (the area of Wisconsin not flattened by the glaciers) the area boasts a very long, mostly flat crushed limestone bike trail that weaves in and out of the hills. So you bike a few miles through farmland then come into a small town where you eat some ice-cream before hopping back on your bike. Along the trail there are three tunnels with one so long that it is pitch black in the middle. Closer to Elroy there is a great private campground that also offers bike rentals.
South Haven Area, Michigan (2.5 hours away)
Not a big fan of the very noisy and crowded state parks around South Haven. As a good alternative, try this wonderful family run campground. You are going to have to drive to the beach, but they have blueberry picking and a very nice pool to go with their wood lodge like facilities. Last time we camped the bugs in the tent area were pretty bad, but maybe it was just the season. The cabins make a nice alternative and have AC. If you go, check out the scene at St. Joseph (very cool public beach and a so-so Children’s Museum).
Pike’s Peak State Park (North East Iowa, 3-4 hours away)
Named after the same Pike whose peak in Colorado exceeds 14,000’, this peak is not quite as tall. But the views of the Mississippi are pretty cool. And the ancient burial mounds making up Effigy Mounds are something that has to be seen to be believed. Again, our only experience here is in the fall (where the Great River Road’s foliage has to rival anything in Vermont), but Summer is likely just as good a time to visit. Noel
Happy Summer everyone and hope you find time to follow us on travel northeast all the way to Newfoundland!