Visiting State Parks

Summer is not over yet, but now is the time to think about campground and harbor reservations for next year. The Michigan DNR allows reservations 6 months in advance for campgrounds and harbors. The campgrounds that are on or near one of the Great Lakes fill up extremely fast.

As an avid camper, I love visiting our State Parks. I am currently planning next year’s camping dates and locations. I know that at the 6 month mark – I need to be ready and waiting at the computer to make my reservations or I will not be getting into the park I wish to visit.

Here is a list of the parks I have visited:

Tawas Point State Park
Tahquamenon State Park
Lakeport State Park
Hoffmaster State Park
Sleeper State Park
Van Buren State Park
Newaygo State Park
Holly Recreation Area
Bay City State Recreation Area
Brighton Recreation Area
Straits State Park

They are all great parks, but my two favorites are Tawas Point State Park and Lakeport State Park.

Tell me, where you have camped and what are your favorite parks.

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad

I recently visited Fairview and stumbled upon this hidden gem – The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. This amazingly beautiful train ride sits on 40 acres of Jack pine forest and overlooks the Comins Creek Valley.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the owners, Howard and Joanne Schrader about the property. The idea of this railroad came from Howard’s love of trains and ground was broken in 1994 with the construction of the engine house. Over the next 5 years the Schraders built two wooden trestles (one is over 220 feet long), a tunnel (115 feet long), the depot and gift shop, and many more buildings to make this a complete experience for the rider.

There is a 1/4 scale steam locomotive as well as two F-7 diesel hydraulic locomotives. There are 7 passenger coaches each with a unique name.

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays from Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day Weekend. The steam locomotive runs on select Sundays and Holidays – you can call ahead for the steam schedule.

For more information and directions, please visit: www.michiganausablevalleyrailroad.com

Stop by for a great ride and have some popcorn too!