That's a fair deal, Dave...we can't pay too much for the poor souls.
Beautiful photos, Ann...looks like fun. So, do you flip over much when you are kayaking? I would like to try it sometime but I am afraid I would flip over and not be able to get myself upright again...I'd probably look like a duck with their feet and feathers in the air and head under water.
I have camped at Pere Marquette State Park down near Grafton but haven't been recently...do you guys ever camp there or stay in their lodge? It is definitely pretty in the fall. I also like Starved Rock State Park...up north near LaSalle-Peru area...seems like a lot of Chicagoans go there as well...it is an easy drive from Chicago and Suburbs but also for those from central Illinois.
Ann, I'm guessing you have biked the Katy Trail? How is that? Any campgrounds along the route that you recommend?
I'm curious if anyone has suggestions for good white water rafting and any recommendations for outfitters...anyone know of places in the Midwest (even if they are smaller rapids)?
Helen, I'll keep an eye on the cobbler, and Mary I'll also bring along some jiffy pop for the camp fire... Mary if your wantin to cook some stuff over a fire maybe I can get somethin rigged up for ya. Ya know, theres nothin like a pot of ham and beans cooked over a fire that time of year...
Dennis, I'd love it if you could rig up a grate or something so several folks could cook their lunches or whatever on the fire. Those foil packet meals are fun and easy to do - I'm hoping some of the novice campers might bring their favorite ingredients to give it a try. I'm not planning any big b'fast or dinner meals over the fire - but to allow others to cook their individual lunches and show their 'campfire cooking' talents......that would be wonderful. I may have another grate you can use too - for more cooking surface. I'll look into that and get back to you. And if I forget to say it later - THANK YOU for your help, Sir Keeper of the Flame!
Helen - your DELUXE s'more ingredients sound great! Think you can find enough folks to pitch in ingredients for a s'more smorgasborg?
I would love to go camping in the UP of Michigan and Mackinaw Island and that whole area sounds wonderful...
There is no camping allowed on Mackinac Island, but there is a large campground in Mackinaw City (south of the bridge) and a nice state campground in St Ignace (north of the bridge). The campground in St Ignace, Straits State Park, is in a very convenient location and has some waterfront sites. I love those sites because all I do is point my tent's door to the water and I have a great view of the Mackinac Bridge.
The waterfront sites are only $20 a night, cheaper than the motels in the surrounding area and much cheaper than all the places to stay on the island! However, I highly recommend staying on the island if you can afford it. If you would like a good suggestion as to where to stay please let me know!
I've camped at Munising's city campground in da UP and it was pleasant enough, but when I was there was it was cold and rainy. Normally that wouldn't be a problem, but I also was sick and had a fever so I was a bit miserable! Then there's Fayette Historic State Park. I haven't been camping there (yet), but I have been to the historic town site which was very, very cool. It was so cool that my 101+ degree fever couldn't drive me away!
In the LP, Fisherman's Island State Park is a rustic campground with several waterfront sites, located near Charlevoix. I've been there once and liked it, but only stayed there one night. I've also been to the Platte River Campground in Sleeping Bear National Dunes a few times. It's a good campground, but it can get crowded. Most of the times there I've stayed in the walk-in tent sites, but once I went to a normal drive-in one. All I can say is yuck! There were too many campers around and I felt pressured to leave the site in the morning by the multiple people who would drive around looking for a campsite that night. The walk-in sites are somewhat secluded and there are no vultures circling. There is also access to Lake Michigan via trails from the campground. I took the following picture from that lake access area:
I've also been to Van Buren State Park near South Haven. There are a lot of sunny sites and not much privacy, so I can only recommend it if you are looking for a cheap place to stay that's a short walk to Lake Michigan. If you want quiet, you'll have to go elsewhere! Yankee Springs State Recreation Area is near where I live, but I get the impression that the campground is another one of those busy places that's not conducive for a restful stay!
As far as camping, a couple of things come to mind.
Many of the states have excellent state park systems, including Texas and Missouri.
I like many of the national parks. One place that I love is Chaco Canyon. You almost have to camp at Chaco because it is so far from any lodging, and there are many miles of dirt road. The Great Sand Dunes are also nice, especially when the water is running, and the campground is within a very short walk to the dunes and the water.
One crazy trip to Missouri we kept running into bad weather. At one point, we were driving in rain so heavy that it looked like the camper had been through the car wash. That night there were tornado warnings, so we spent an hour in the concrete block campground bathroom, the only safe place. Another night we arrived at a campground during a downpour, and we had not been there more than an hour before they knocked on the door and told us to evacuate, as we were very close to the stream.
But once you're there and settled, it's DROP-DEAD GORGEOUS! Snorkeling in the Fort's moat is one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had--the only time I've seen live conchs. Watch out, though, for the barracudas. They're attracted to anything shiny (like a necklace or watch), and will attack for any reason--or none at all. Then there's the Fort itself--chock full of history and an amazing tour.
Intrigued? There's info on this website: www.fortjefferson.com
Wow! Margaret, you are a wealth of information and I have often wondered about the camping in Michigan as I have been wanting to make my way up there. Glad to know about Sleeping Bear Dunes (they have an artist-in-residence program there) but don't know if I want to do the crowds. There is another National Park or National Lakeshore on the UP that has a a residency program and I can't think of the name right now...begins with a P??? Anyway, I might have to take some time off and head up north and I might message you if I do and get a bit more info - some of those camping fees sound quite reasonable....so the other places you mentioned are not so over run with other campers? Hmmmmm.....I will have to find out the name of the camping area my brother and his family stayed at, they really liked it...seems like it was about half way up the Lake Michigan coast...?? Can't recall.
You should come down for the CM Indy Farm Outing...it is a fun weekend...great camping (we are not like vultures ;)), lots to do and great people....there is more information listed on the Events page. Check it out.
Thanks so much for the information...really appreciate it and love the photos...that is some dog you got there (I like that - low maintenance).
Well, Richard, sounds like you have had some real adventures! I don't think I would want to stay in a campground bathroom any longer than necessary - even those that are kept up seem to have a less than pleasant scent. Good thing they cleared you out of that spot by the stream...I recall in the news a few years ago about campers who were washed away in the night due to storms...they were asleep and those that were awakened couldn't make it out fast enough to get to higher ground...very scary and very sad. Good reminder that we need to be careful when having fun in the outdoors...gotta be safe.
So, is this Chaco Canyon in Texas? Maybe on the Gulf Coast? Might have to google that. I haven't been to Texas in a while and even then didn't make it that far south, I was mostly in Lubbock and spent a little time in Dallas. Have you ever camped in Big Bend?
So which campgrounds did you stay at in Missouri? Missouri is beautiful and yes, they can get some good downpours....at least you got a free car and camper wash out of it.
Thanks for the information, Ginny...that does sound fantastic! When I was growing up we went camping in Florida and camped in the Keys...loved it...I should dig up some photos from that trip and post. That is a beautiful area and the Tortugas do sound great (I think I recall that some nieghbors went sailing there with another couple???). I will check out that website for sure as I like places where I can enjoy nature, activities, and some history thrown in, too.