Know Before You Go: Plan Ahead For Summer Construction at These Michigan State Parks
With an influx of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (2021), many Michigan state parks are set to get some major upgrades in 2023 and 2024. The list below highlights a few of the closures that will impact beaches, day use areas, campgrounds, and visitor centers. The Michigan DNR updates this list weekly at www.michigan.gov/dnr. No one wants to have their summer vacation plans ruined, so we put this list together to help you plan and prepare. While we know these closures will be inconvenient it is important to think of how much better things will be after project completion. Many of Michigan’s state parks have been in dire need of repairs and upgrades for many years, and we are excited to see that finally getting taken care of! Here is a list of state parks with closures in 2023 and 2024:
Algonac State Park – This popular park near the Detroit River will stop accepting reservations past October 31 so work can begin on converting some campgrounds to full hookup, road paving, and sanitation station improvements.
Aloha State Park – Closures here are unrelated to ARPA funds, but more than 30 sites are closed due to water and electrical issues.
Bay City State Park – The modern campground here will close in September and reopen next year, after repairs are made to the electrical, sewer, and water systems. The visitor center is currently closed while a new roof is put on and other improvements are made (expected to re-open in June).
Belle Isle Park – The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory remains closed while some major renovation work gets done: “The work completes the final phase of a comprehensive plan to revitalize the upper 60 feet of the 80-foot-tall conservatory dome in one of the nation’s oldest turn-of-the-century glass houses still in existence.” Outdoor gardens should re-open to the public in June.
Cheboygan State Park – Trails, cabins, and the day use beach area remain open at this beautiful park on Lake Huron. The modern campground is closed for construction while the electrical and water systems get upgraded. Keep checking back on the DNR page to see when Cheboygan State Park’s campground will re-open
Fort Custer State Recreation Area – The modern campground will close September 11th and will not open until next July. All other parts of the park will remain open while a “planned park enhancement project to replace both toilet and shower buildings and install new electrical conductors, site pedestals and distribution panels in the west loop” is in progress.
Hartwick Pines State Park – Also unrelated to ARPA upgrades, a portion of the Au Sable River Trail is closed due to two footbridges needing to be replaced or repaired. The rest of the trail is open but as an out-and-back trail only.
Hoffmaster State Park – One of the biggest projects of the year and one we highlighted at the end of last year is at Hoffmaster State Park on Lake Michigan. The day use area is closed until July 7th, including the visitor center. Roads are being fixed and we can’t wait to see what this park looks like after project completion (long overdue). From July 7th until the end of the year the modern campground will be closed. Bathroom renovations for the visitor center and day-use area are on the schedule for next year.
Ludington State Park – It was hard enough to get a summer campsite at Ludington State Park, and this year it will be even tougher. A January update from the DNR: “Due to a contractor delay to replace two bathroom buildings and part of the electrical system in the Beechwood campground, camping reservations won’t open until at least June 30, 2023.”
McLain State Park – The modern campground is slated to open in mid-June, lodging remains closed until September. This is one to keep an eye on in the next few weeks to see if there has been an update. Like many of the other projects, this was a water, sewer, and electrical upgrade and we’d take a wild guess that due to the late winter in the Upper Peninsula this year this project might be running a bit behind.
Mitchell State Park – Two projects were combined here to ensure the earliest opening possible, currently listed as July 1. A new toilet and shower building is being built and the campground road is being repaired! Repairs to the day-use area are scheduled to start once this project is finished.
North Higgins Lake State Park – One of the two campgrounds here will be closed for a portion of the summer. The west campground will be open, while the east campground is closed for “a planned park enhancement project to complete a new toilet/shower building.”
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Another large project is happening at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Fresh off of a long winter and some news headlines after a child went missing and was then found in the park, construction has begun on the visitor center and park roads and parking areas. “The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park (Ontonagon County) visitor center will close May 15-Aug. 15 and Summit Peak parking lot will close Aug. 15-Oct. 15 (Lily Pond parking lot will remain open).” The ski chalet at the winter sports complex is serving as a temporary visitor center and is where campers should check in.
Straits State Park – One of the busiest state parks in the Upper Peninsula will be offering only half of the normal campsites until the middle of the summer. “Due to a planned enhancement project to replace the bathroom and shower buildings, the upper campground (sites in the top half of the park) is closed through at least June.” We hope you booked early if you plan on staying here, because when we last looked there is not much left in the way of summer campsites.
Tawas Point Lighthouse – As we had previously highlighted, the lighthouse has received grant money for repairs and will not be open for tours in 2023. It is expected to re-open for tours and the volunteer keeper program in 2024.
Twin Lakes State Park – “Due to a planned park enhancement project to construct a new toilet building and upgrade utilities, the park’s modern campground will close Aug. 1, 2023. The project is scheduled for completion prior to July 4, 2024.” Visitors have a small window to enjoy summer here, but we promise that camping at this beautiful park just southwest of the Keweenaw Peninsula is a memorable experience.
Young State Park – We have reached the end of this (non-comprehensive) list. “Due to a planned park enhancement project to fix drainage issues, replace both toilet and shower buildings, pave roads and install a new sewage pumping system, Young State Park’s Spruce campground will close Sept. 17 for the 2023 season.” This project is expected to last into next year’s camping season, so look at other options in the Charlevoix/Torch Lake area.