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Old 08-20-2012, 08:36 AM   #1
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My take on Platte River, Ludington, and Mears, MI CG's

We had a wonderful 10 day excursion to Western Michigan (Our first time!). We spent 9 nights between Platte River, Ludington, and Mears. Mears was not supposed to be on the trip, but Ludington was shortened and I will explain why.
Platte River CG (Sleeping Bear Dunes) was very, very nice. It was full but didn't feel as if. Sites were nicely separated, large, and all seemed to be very shady. A definite "park like" feel. Heavily wooded and lots of trails. No bike trail, but roads were wide and we felt secure riding our bikes through the park. They took great care here & it shows. Very strict about anything, and I mean anything, left out overnight or while away from camp that would attract bears. Can't even leave empty coolers out. We got violation for that.
Ludington S.P. CG was a bit of a shock after Platte River! All the sites at Ludington were on top of each other and no privacy as there was at Platte River. However, we quickly adjusted and realized no one is paying any attention to you and our "neighbors" were all very considerate. We stayed first in Cedars CG for 3nts and then had to move to Pines because unable to get all 5nts at one site. We quickly realized that Pines (site 59) was not going to work because it was right next to lighthouse trail and we would have to share electric box with site next to us. We maneuvered our 35' TT where it would be able to reach the box & we were literally about 3 feet away from TT next to us in order to use our 30 ft cord. We couldn't even open our outdoor kitchen door. Well, we weren't happy & our neighbors weren't happy about us being so close, so we checked out & mosied on down the road & found Mears S.P. had a site open. Wow!!!! We loved this place!!! The kids said this was their favorite, even before Platte River!! The beach is beautiful & close walk from any site & easy to carry all our beach gear. Great beachhouse with restrooms & showers. My 6 year old loved the playground. If you didn't know any better, you'd think you were at the ocean. The lake just goes on for miles & scenery was breathtaking. Sand was so soft and not hot on your feet. The actual CG is small, but quaint, and my hubby had no problem maneuvering into our spot (site 68). It was very sunny, but later in afternoon, the shade tree over picnic table provided relief. The sites are all fine sand and we loved it!! We went barefoot. No use wearing shoes! The quaint town of Pent-Water (won't let me put in correct way. It censors for some reason) was a close walk away. Not bike friendly town as every corner states & we didn't mind the walk. The houses were so nice. Never knew this place existed. Cute shops, but I'm not much of a shopper. We watched fisherman bring in & clean their haul of fresh salmon. I would definitely come here again. Michigan is just beautiful! We're thinking of Ste. Saint Marie next year.
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Old 08-20-2012, 04:45 PM   #2
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Kim,

Thanks for the overview on the Platte River CG, and your observations confirm what I have been hearing about it. I believe that it was once a State Park, but a number of years ago went over to the National Park Service and they cleaned it up.

I understand that the construction scheduled for this fall has been canceled so I might still be able to slip in there yet this year.

Thanks again

Bob
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:43 PM   #3
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Kim,

Thanks for the overview on the Platte River CG, and your observations confirm what I have been hearing about it. I believe that it was once a State Park, but a number of years ago went over to the National Park Service and they cleaned it up.

I understand that the construction scheduled for this fall has been canceled so I might still be able to slip in there yet this year.

Thanks again

Bob
You're welcome! Platte River is definitely worth the visit. Was very pleased with it and it was easy adjusting to the stricter rules. No shortage of park rangers either. They were constantly making their rounds via foot, truck, and golf cart. We also had one truck tire about a foot into the "vegetation" (i.e. pebbles & dirt) and off blacktop & park employee asked us to move truck back onto blacktop. We also had to pay $10 (for week) fee to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes Nat'l Park areas...Worth every penny!
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Old 08-20-2012, 08:53 PM   #4
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We camped at Sleeping Bear Dunes/Platte River back in 2001. They were very strict even then. We enjoyed it a lot. I would not mind going back there again.
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Old 08-21-2012, 05:07 AM   #5
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Funny how different folks have completely different takes on parks! We stay at Ludington SP for a week every summer and in June decided to take a day trip the town where Mears SP is. As we rolled through the park we couldn't believe how packed it was. In my opinion much worse than Ludington. Was it full when you stayed there? When we went there, we could barely negotiate the park road due to all the cars parked along the edge of the road. If we were trying to back into a site we'd of had to ask 6 people to move their cars just to maneuver!!

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed your stay there, keep bringing your $$ to Michigan, we appreciate it! Did you visit the Ludington Pumped Storage Facility? There is a geocache in the lookout building at the rim and another one on the observation area across the road. We passed a pole building just north of Pwater on Lakeshore Drive that appeared to be some kind of fish restaurant. You know the type...not much to look at from the road but probably has some out of this world food. Next summer we are going to give it a try.
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Old 08-21-2012, 11:49 AM   #6
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Funny how different folks have completely different takes on parks! We stay at Ludington SP for a week every summer and in June decided to take a day trip the town where Mears SP is. As we rolled through the park we couldn't believe how packed it was. In my opinion much worse than Ludington. Was it full when you stayed there? When we went there, we could barely negotiate the park road due to all the cars parked along the edge of the road. If we were trying to back into a site we'd of had to ask 6 people to move their cars just to maneuver!!

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed your stay there, keep bringing your $$ to Michigan, we appreciate it! Did you visit the Ludington Pumped Storage Facility? There is a geocache in the lookout building at the rim and another one on the observation area across the road. We passed a pole building just north of Pwater on Lakeshore Drive that appeared to be some kind of fish restaurant. You know the type...not much to look at from the road but probably has some out of this world food. Next summer we are going to give it a try.
Mears SP was packed & understand about cars parked along sides, but hubby drives 18 wheelers as part of his business so he's able to get into any space. I quickly adjusted to how packed it was, but we sure did love the atmosphere & sandy sites. We met some very nice people w/kids, so mine we're happy. Didn't do the "pumped facility" in Ludington. If we had a different site than Pines 59 in Ludington, we wouldn't of moved, but we were actually happy that it happened because we found Mears & PWater to be a very nice surprise. We've already decided were going farther north to Mackinaw/Cheboygan area and Sault Ste. Marie next year same time. If you have any suggestions for those two, would gladly hear them. You have a beautiful state!!! And we spent most of our money on gas!! Lol!
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Old 08-21-2012, 04:54 PM   #7
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I've stayed at Straits, Wilderness, and Cheboygan SPs. Wilderness is pretty nice...there are some nice sites on the lakeshore. Straits is OK but stay away from the west end of the lower unit. The jake brakes and rumble strips kept me awake at night. Cheboygan is about a 15-20 mile drive out of town but I liked the campground. There is a nice, seldom used beach at Duncan Bay. You can walk way the heck out in the bay and never lose touch of the bottom.

The thing I love the most about Michigan state parks is that you can always find several that suit your fancy!!
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Old 08-21-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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We spent 8 nights at Platte River at the end of July. The bear and her cubs had been seen in a primitive area and at the Platte River beach area the day before we got there. Hands down this is our favorite CG! SBNL is breath taking in it's views, and yes they are very strict! I got busted for leaving hand sanitizer out one afternoon. (Evidently hand sanitizer is considered toiletries who knew!)
Anyway, went down the road a mile or so to Esch (sp?) Beach for a campfire on the beach! Had the whole beach to ourselves! Unbelievable how many stars you can see when there is absolutely zero light pollution.
Took some wonderful pictures at sunset..Click image for larger version

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Old 08-22-2012, 04:47 AM   #9
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Looks nice but I'm surprised Officer Friendly allows open fires on the beach!
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Old 08-23-2012, 04:53 AM   #10
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This beach was outside of the camp ground proper but still within the National Lakeshore boundaries. You could see some additional fires, but they were miles away from us. As far as I know it's OK.
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