RV Camping at Michigan’s Van Buren State Park

On the shores of Lake Michigan, Van Buren State Park is an active RV camping family’s wonderland. With a gorgeous beach, scenic hiking trails and affordable RV camping, this state park meets our seal of approval for a great vacation spot.

Just two hours’ drive from Chicago along I-90, the park is easy to reach. Once there, here’s what you can expect to enjoy at Michigan’s Van Buren State Park.

Van Buren State Park Campgrounds
Doesn’t it whet your RV camping appetite to read “220 campsites just 400 yards from Lake Michigan?” These up-to-date campsites offer electric hookups (some 50-amp), as well as clean, modern restrooms and showers just steps away.

The Van Buren State Park setting is best described as “rolling dunes, a mile-long stretch of sandy beach and beautifully-wooded recreation areas.” You can reserve your Van Buren State Park campsite here. At $22 for the most expensive site, this is definitely a bargain thrifty RV campers will appreciate.

The Van Buren Trail
One of the best reasons to travel to this Michigan state park is for the chance to travel the 14-mile Van Buren Trail. With a dirt and gravel surface suitable for biking, hiking and horseback riding, it’s a great day trip for active families. The trailhead is located just minutes away in South Haven, MI.

The trail is also very affordable, just seven dollars for a family day pass and three dollars for individuals. That pass will also give you access to the 33-mile Kal-Haven Trail from South Haven to Kalamazoo, if you’re planning to stay a little longer.

Van Buren State Park Beach and Dunes
We can’t mention a Lake Michigan campground without mentioning the beautiful beaches! Van Buren State Park’s mile-long stretch of beach is no exception. Lie on the sand beach and while away the day or splash in the waves of Lake Michigan. Photograph the area’s “high dunes” and watch for wildlife and birds through your camera lens. You decide how to spend your time on this state park’s idyllic beach front.

Area Attractions
Before you leave the South Haven, Michigan area, experience the charm of this historic resort town. Here are just a few ways to immerse yourselves in this Lake Michigan community:

The shores of Lake Michigan are a place all motorhome camping families should experience! Book your campsite at Van Buren State Park in South Haven to discover the lure this area has had for campers for more than a century.

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Traverse City – Michigan’s RV Travel Wonderland

RV travelers, you simply must plan a trip to Traverse City, Michigan, located on Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay. This cheerfully scenic city on the 45th parallel is an RV travel wonderland, thanks to the amazing range of experiences available. Whether you’re hoping to attend a wine-tasting at an area winery or enjoy the fall foliage on a scenic drive, Traverse City, MI has everything RV campers want on vacation.

The Natural Beauty of Traverse City, MI
When you arrive in Traverse City, expect to be overwhelmed by the area’s visual delights. Lake Michigan itself offers endless waterscapes, windswept beaches and lushly forested shorelines. A favorite destination of RV camping fans is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where a hundred miles of hiking trails and year-round outdoor activities will keep everyone in your group in motion.

Arrive in Traverse City in autumn and the fall foliage will have you stopping to take photo after photo. Scenic drives fan out along Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and showcase the best in area leaf peeping. As you roam the wooded hillsides, plan to take a break for fresh-pressed apple cider at one of the historic cider mills; there’s nothing else quite like it!

Another favorite scenic attraction for Traverse City visitors is the collection of historic lighthouses. Here are four “must sees” on your RV lighthouse excursion:

  1. Grand Traverse Lighthouse and Museum on the Leelanau Peninsula
  2. Mission Point Lighthouse, owned by Peninsula Township
  3. South Manitou Island Lighthouse, within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  4. Point Betsy Lighthouse near Frankfort, MI

Before we move on, we must also mention that Traverse City is in the heart of Wine Country! Plan your own leisurely tour to such wineries as Chateau Grand Traverse, Peninsula Cellars and Bowers Harbor Vineyards, or take one of the escorted wine tours offered by local firms. These wine country tours are especially nice in Autumn, when the fall foliage adds even more sensory pleasure to the experience.

RV Camping Near Traverse City, MI

Here’s another tip for RV campers-picturesque RV campgrounds are everywhere in the Traverse City area, making this Michigan town a natural for RV travelers. Here are some favorites reported by seasoned travelers:

  • Wild Cherry Resort at Lake Leelanau
  • Holiday Park Campground, seven miles south of Traverse City
  • Ranch Rudolf, south of Traverse City on the Boardman River

If you’re hoping for a Fall RV trip that packs in leaf peeping, wine tasting and plenty of outdoor activity, Traverse City, Michigan is your destination. You’ll soon learn why this beautiful city on Lake Michigan is truly an RV travel wonderland.

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RV Vacation to Visit Lake Superior Lighthouses

Did you know that Lake Superior, largest of the five Great Lakes, is home to nearly three dozen lighthouses? That should be enough to get your RV out of storage and headed north to explore beauty and maritime history on an RV vacation to visit Lake Superior lighthouses!

Michigan Upper Peninsula Lighthouses
One of the most scenic spots on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is also the place to see a well-restored lighthouse built in 1871. Point Iroquois Light near Brimley features the original lighthouse tower and a picturesque two-story keeper’s dwelling. Just west down the shoreline, you can visit the site where the legendary Edmund Fitzgerald was lost. Skeleton-style Whitefish Point Lighthouse stands tall above the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum housed in the keeper’s quarters.

An additional thirteen lights have kept the shores of the Upper Peninsula safe over the years. Of special interest are Crisp Point Lighthouse, Au Sable Light Station on Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, also home to an excellent maritime museum. When you need a rest from lighthouse viewing, Whitefish Hill RV Park near Rapid River comes well-recommended.

And we haven’t even mentioned the amazing collection of lights on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula! Many of these are on private property or in the process of restoration, and are best seen from the water via local charters. Two you can tour on land are Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and the Jacobsville/Portage River Light.

The truly intrepid RV traveler can park the RV for a bit and take a five-hour cruise from Houghton or Copper Harbor to Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park. This rugged park, known for its backcountry hiking, boating and wildlife viewing, includes views of four historic lighthouses.

Wisconsin Lake Superior Lighthouses
Where the waters of Lake Superior wash against the Wisconsin shoreline, you’ll find a collection of lighthouses standing guard over Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Nine great lights stand in varying degrees of operation, restoration or restored glory and some are open to guided tours. On shore, you can also see Ashland Breakwater Light standing out in Chequamegon Bay. An important RV camping tip: the City of Ashland offers very affordable RV camping at Kreher Park.

Minnesota Lake Superior Lighthouses
In the Duluth, Minnesota area on Superior Bay, six lighthouses are clearly visible. From Canal Park Drive in Duluth, you’ll be able to see Duluth South Breakwater Inner Light, Duluth North Inner Breakwater Light, Duluth South Breakwater Outer Lighthouse and the ruins of Minnesota Point Light on the grounds of Sky Harbor Airport. As if that weren’t enough for lighthouse lovers, a short drive north to Two Harbors yields view of two more historic lights – Two Harbors Breakwater Light and the picturesque red brick Two Harbors Lighthouse.

As you continue your lighthouse tour of Minnesota’s “North Shore,” plan time for a stay at Lamb’s Resort in Schroeder, MN, right on the shores of Lake Superior. That positions you perfectly for a visit to breathtakingly scenic Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. You can then venture a little farther north to visit Grand Marais Lighthouse before turning back for home.

Three states, three dozen lighthouses and many excellent RV camping adventures… it’s the perfect formula for some serious travel fever! An RV vacation to visit at least some of Lake Superior’s lighthouses should be on the agenda of every maritime-history-loving RV camper.

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It’s Time for Gearheads to Take an RV Trip to the Motorsports Hall of Fame!

Where better to locate the place honoring the greats in American motorsports than Detroit, Michigan? That’s where car-loving gearheads will find the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, and the centerpiece of an exciting RV vacation.

Located at the Detroit Science Center, the Motorsports Hall of Fame honors American drivers, builders, designers and others who have furthered motorsports during their careers. The Hall of Fame’s annual August induction ceremony is held in conjunction with the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.

What’s there to see at the Hall of Fame? Plenty! Geared toward those who love cars, the Hall of Fame and Museum exhibits feature great cars, legendary races and exceptional drivers. Interactive displays, video presentations and memorabilia fill the galleries where American motorsports are constantly celebrated. Expect to see such things as:

  • Champion and record-breaking race vehicles of all kinds: Indy cars, stock cars and dragsters, just to name a few.
  • Vehicles like the Miss US-1 piston-driven hydroplane.
  • Art Arfon’s jet-powered Green Monster, Cyclops.
  • Photos and other memorabilia honoring Hall of Fame inductees since 1989.

By the way, admission to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is included with your ticket to the Detroit Science Center. The Center itself is worthy of a road trip, filled with hundreds of hands-on exhibits and exciting presentations in the Chrysler IMAX Dome Theater and Toyota Engineering Theater. Plan enough time to see the entire museum; it’s not just for kids!

Now that you’ve decided an RV camping trip to Detroit’s Motorsports Hall of Fame is on your horizon, it’s time to choose a campground. Here are three possibilities:

  1. Detroit Greenfield RV Campground – about thirty minutes away in Ypsilanti, MI
  2. Beautiful Haas Lake Park – forty five minutes from the museum in New Hudson, MI
  3. Family-friendly KC Campground in Milan, MI – an hour away from the congestion of downtown Detroit

Planning to spend a few more days in the Detroit area? Here are some of our favorite area attractions:

  • Detroit Institute of Arts is located on the same street as the Detroit Science Center. Well worth spending a day at this enormous museum; there’s even a “Family Fitting Room” where museum docents can help you plan your visit.
  • For the chance to attend one of Detroit’s frequent festivals, head for Hart Plaza. This enormous riverfront park also features a fascinating collection of outdoor sculpture and is adjacent to the Detroit Riverwalk.
  • Take a cruise! The Detroit Princess and Diamond Jack are the best-known Detroit River cruise offerings. They’ll introduce you to a whole new Detroit in just a couple of hours.
  • Detroit sports! Depending on the time of year you visit Detroit, there should be a professional sports team playing nearby. Four pro teams make their home in Detroit, giving you the chance to see Pistons basketball, Tigers baseball, Lions football or Red Wings hockey. Pick your favorite and plan your road trip to include a game.

Motor City’s Motorsports Hall of Fame is a fascinating tribute to America’s automotive history. RV camping gearheads should definitely be making plans to visit the city where America’s love affair with cars began.

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RV Road Trip Idea: Great Lakes Circle Tours

You may have visited Chicago, Cleveland or some other city on the Great Lakes, but have you ever considered a multi-day RV tour around one of the lakes themselves? People who treasure the Great Lakes and all they have to offer have developed a great group of driving excursions known as the “The Great Lakes Circle Tours.”

Sixty-five hundred miles of shoreline are there to be enjoyed on the Circle Tours. You’ll find these routes well-marked with special green and white road signs, and there are plenty of interesting places to stop along the way. Read through our highlights of each lake’s tour to help you plan your RV trip along at least one of the Great Lakes Circle Tours.

Lake Huron Circle Tour: Approximately one thousand miles long, this driving tour takes you through both Ontario and the State of Michigan. You’ll cross over the Straits of Mackinac on Mackinac Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere. Other points of interest:

  • Barrie, Ontario: Gorgeous, white sand beaches and an historic downtown area are only two reasons to make a stop along your route in Barrie. Consider camping at Barrie KOA, with their family, adult and pet-friendly RV camping sections.
  • Bruce Peninsula National Park on Georgian Bay is an absolute showstopper, with rugged cliffs, sparkling waters and wonderfully diverse ecosystems.
  • Port Huron, MI: This city on the shores of Lake Huron features maritime-themed museums and displays, as well as a working lighthouse, a lightship and a lively waterfront area.

Lake Michigan Circle Tour: This eleven hundred mile trek around Lake Michigan leads RV campers through Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan. Highlights: Mackinac Bridge, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Manistique, MI, with its lighthouse, boardwalk and “The Big Spring.” Here’s the link to RV campgrounds at Sleeping Bear Dunes. You’ll also have a chance to visit the urban attractions of Green Bay, Chicago and Milwaukee.

Lake Erie Circle Tour: Only have a few days, but would love to get to know one of the Great Lakes? The Lake Erie Circle tour offers landscapes in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario. You’ll cruise near such treasures as Niagara Falls and Cedars Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, OH. You’ll also tour towns such as Erie, PA, where you’ll find Folly’s End Campground and other great places to stop.

Lake Superior Circle Tour: RV camping fans who like international travel will relish this trip into Canada’s Ontario Province along Lake Superior. Before leaving the States, stop in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan for a look at this beautiful port city’s lighthouses and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Then drive your RV across International Bridge into Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada, a much larger metropolitan area. Here’s more information about what’s required for crossing the international border. Be sure to plan time for stops in Ontario’s Thunder Bay area, where unforgettable Kakabeka Falls glistens down twelve stories into a gorge and Fort Williams Historical Park educates and entertains about Ontario’s past. Happy Land Campground is perfectly located for trips to both attractions.

Lake Ontario Circle Tour: This 900 mile trek follows a shoreline shared by both Ontario and New York State. The largest cities along your route are Buffalo, NY and Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Old Fort Niagara at the south end of the lake, complete with its famous lighthouse, and the fabulous 1000 Islands Region, where the St. Lawrence River meets the Great Lakes, are both fascinating side trips. Cross the bridge at Massena, NY into Canada and head southwest to Niagara Falls, then loop back up the Eastern Shore to complete your trip.

Whew! We admit to being a bit long-winded on this blog post, but we wanted to ensure you had the details you need to start planning. The Great Lakes Circle Tours present weeks of travel possibilities for the intrepid RV camper. Which one will you be taking this year?

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