These Four Michigan State Parks Turn 100 Years Old in 2023
The first Michigan state park dates back to 1919, and more than 100 have joined it since then. Four of our Michigan state parks will celebrate 100 years in 2023, which means it will be a perfect time to visit if you never have. Aloha State Park in Northern Michigan, Bay City State Park, Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in the Keweenaw Peninsula, and Muskegon State Park on Lake Michigan will all celebrate their centennials this year and today we will share a little bit about why we love each one.
Aloha State Park (4347 3rd St, Cheboygan) – A short trip on Michigan’s shortest highway (M-212) leads to Aloha State Park, home to a campground and outdoor recreation opportunities on Mullett Lake. The campground has 285 modern campsites and two swimming beaches. The swimming beaches have sandy bottoms and have easy incline from the shore. There are three play areas with a softball field, horseshoe pits, basketball and volleyball courts, boat launch and basin that provides a protected harbor for boats of various sizes. Fish in Mullett Lake include walleye, smallmouth bass, pike, bluegill, yellow perch, and lake trout. The North Eastern State Trail, a 71 mile mixed-use trail that runs from Alpena to Cheboygan, can be accessed from Aloha State Park.
Bay City State Park (3582 State Park Dr, Bay City) – There will be plenty of events at Bay City State Park to celebrate this year’ centennial. Bay City State Park overlooks more than 5,000 feet of Saginaw Bay and features seven miles of trails, overlook towers, the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center, and the 2,200-acre Tobico Marsh. We loved seeing all the different kinds of birds while hiking the trails. There are several picnic areas and shelters and a playground and splash pad that the kids will love. Anglers can enjoy success in Saginaw Bay and at Tobico Lagoon. Typical catches include northern pike, perch, sunfish and bass. The modern campground has more than 190 sites. This a great park for families, birdwatchers, fishing and boating, and hiking!
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park (15223 US Hwy 41, Copper Harbor) – Our preferred base camp for Keweenaw Peninsula exploration is Fort Wilkins Historic State Park in Copper Harbor. This amazing park has two campgrounds, trails, a historic fort, a lighthouse, and access to both Lake Superior and Lake Fanny Hooe. The fort dates back to the 1880s and has been restored, with many of the buildings open for tours. During the summer months you will find costumed interpreters sharing stories of what life was like at the fort. Fishing on Lake Fanny Hooe can result in walleye or splake. The Copper Harbor Lighthouse can be seen from Astor Shipwreck Park across from the fort or if you have your own boat or kayak you can make a trip out to see it up close. The east campground by the fort has around 80 sites, while the west campground has close to 80 more sites and a mini-cabin. Outdoor recreation opportunities in the area include waterfalls, abandoned mine sites, mountain bike trails, the Estivant Pines nature sanctuary, Horseshoe Harbor, Hunter’s Point Park, plus shopping and dining in Copper Harbor.
Muskegon State Park (3560 Memorial Dr, North Muskegon) – Muskegon State Park is one of the closest state parks from where we live, so we have spent a lot of time there in all seasons. There’s a lot to love at this beautiful park: a couple miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and another mile on Muskegon Lake, great views of Muskegon’s two lighthouses and the USS Silversides submarine museum from the channel walkway, multiple picnic areas, beaches and swimming areas, more than 10 miles of trails, dunes, and a CCC blockhouse that sits on the highest point in the county. There are two campgrounds, with one on the channel (more than 140 sites) and another on Lake Michigan (close to 90 sites). The Snug Harbor day use area is popular for boating and picnicking and the Muskegon Luge Adventure Sports Park has a zip line, archery area, and a summer luge track, In the winter it offers cross country skiing, a sledding hill, and an Olympian-designed luge track.