D.H. Day Campground
Everyone thinks they want to go out camping, and this usually brings an image of a rustic camping ground out in the middle of the forest, with bears roaming around, and you living a natural life, like things used to be. But in reality, when we get to most camping grounds, things aren’t as natural as we would expect. Sure there’s some trees, but everyone lives in small cabins or RV trucks, water and electricity are just a few feet away, and the bears are no where to be found, driven away by the noise and pollution of a town that’s often less than a mile away. Fortunately, not all of our country’s camping grounds are like that. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’s rustic campground for example is a perfect spot for those who really want a traditional experience. If you like a more rugged experience then the camp has a whole section with 88 private spots right next to Lake Michigan, and a beach nearby. It’s completely quiet and peaceful thanks to the wonderful location, and still provides easy access to places like Dune Climb, the many museums of the region, and even Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.
Whether you go there alone or with your family, the various sizes of the camping ground will match your needs perfectly. And don’t think that once you pick rustic, you can’t go back. Toilets and water sources are available from multiple locations, and trained staff always makes sure the area stays safe and peaceful. During summer, maybe you want to do some activities in the great outdoors but you don’t know the region well. Thankfully, the Bear Dunes campground has several evening programs throughout the season, led by experienced rangers. You can explore the nearby lands, listen to tell tales of local lore, or even watch slide shows in family. After spending a day at the beach or out in nature, your evenings will be filled with activities as well, if you desire. The ranger station in the center of the campground is staffed every day from 8 am to 9 pm during summer, with varying hours off season.
The D.H. Day Campground itself is another alternative to going fully rugged and it’s open from the first Friday of April, and remains open until November, every year. This part of the campground is available on a first come, first serve basis. There’s no reservation taken for it. Because of nearby constructions, the group campsites may be closed until May 24 in 2012. Because everything works like that, the earlier you arrive, the better your chance at getting the spot you want. You can opt to get the park pass, or pay nightly for a spot on the campground. You can also extend that camping stay by going to re-register before 8 pm. Some of the campground spots allow generators, but not all of them, to keep a natural feel to part of the location.
Also, there are strict quiet hours implemented to ensure everyone can get a good night of sleep between 10 pm and 6 am every night. Each side has a camp fire ring, and you can set up a fire in those metal rings using the firewood available on site. In order to get to the campground, simply follow the M-22 from Empire, then the M-109 to the campground entrance. Note that the D.H Day Group Campground is situated north at another location, just beyond the Dune Climb. Finally, make sure you read all the local regulations and rules applicable during your stay to make sure you don’t get into trouble, and spend a wonderful time there.
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