Have you ever heard of Cheboygan State Park? We like to pride ourselves at being familiar with many of Michigan’s State Parks, however, in spite of being frequent visitors of the Mackinaw City area, and having been in Cheboygan several times, we had no idea they had a state park campground.
We recently spent my birthday weekend camping at this state park and this park pleasantly surprised us. Even though there aren’t a lot of touristy things to do in Cheboygan, we enjoyed our stay and we think this park deserves your consideration as well.
If you’re looking for a spot in northern Michigan which is close to Mackinaw City, you may want to consider Cheboygan State Park.
Here are 5 Things We Appreciated About Cheboygan State Park:
1 – Quiet Campground
One of our favorite things about the campground is that it’s quiet and that there is privacy and solitude between most of the sites. The power poles are shared between the sites on either side, so be sure to bring along enough extension cords to be able to set up your site however you would like.
But we definitely enjoyed having trees on three sides and the separation from our neighbors.
Be advised that the vast majority of the sites were shallow, so travelers with bigger rigs will need to be careful about choosing a site where they’ll fit. Also, there is only 20 amp service and no full hookups, so keep that in mind as well.
2 – Hiking Trails
The park has over 6 miles of hiking trails which lead hikers past a lighthouse ruin as well as along the Lake Huron shoreline. You can even spot the Mackinac Bridge from a distance!
The wooded trails are shady and flat, which makes them comfortable to traverse.
Depending on the time of year, there are a few places where the trail gets muddy but other than that, they are quite enjoyable.
3 – Lots of Services in Cheboygan
Cheboygan State Park is in an excellent location. Cheboygan isn’t touristy, but it has a lot of services and is one of the larger towns in the area and it has all of the services that you might need while on a trip.
Need car repairs? Groceries? Gas? A quick bite to eat?
You’ll find a lot of options for all of your needs here. And the state park is just outside of town, so it isn’t too long of a drive.
4 – Close to Mackinaw City
The park is also close to Mackinaw City, which is a popular tourist destination. There have been plenty of times when we wanted to do a fall color tour or spend time in the area during the height of summer and have had a hard time getting a reservation at nearby Wilderness State Park, St. Ignace State Park, or any of the various hotels in town.
If you find yourself in that situation, do yourself a favor and see if you can get a spot in Cheboygan. It’s only 30 minutes and an easy drive away making it an excellent home base for your northern adventures.
We visited Mackinac Island while camping in Cheboygan and that worked well for us.
5 – Boating
Cheboygan is the town where visitors catch a ferry to take them over to Bois Blanc Island. And it’s also on the inland waterway which goes from Cheboygan all the way through Michigan to Petoskey!
There are also plenty of places to kayak in Cheboygan. One great paddling destination within the park is to kayak over the Leviathan ruins in Duncan Bay.
3 Things We Didn’t Love About Cheboygan State Park:
1 – Dirt Roads
The park is almost 2 miles off of the main highway, which is part of what makes the campground so quiet. But shortly after turning into the park, the roads go from paved to gravel. And the roads inside of the campground are also gravel.
We experienced a lot of dust at our site because of this. Other campers don’t always drive as slowly as they should so campground with gravel roads make for a lot more grime on all of your gear.
To be fair, there are lots of state parks with gravel roads but these seemed extra dusty to us for some reason.
2 – Bugs
We aren’t sure if this is normal or not but the mosquitos were really bad when we were camping here in early June. We have heard that at least part of this park is located on swampier ground which might be part of the issue.
However, it was also very buggy in Mackinaw City while we were there and we know that isn’t always the case. You’d probably better bring along the bug spray just in case!
3 – Bathrooms were Old
Cheboygan State Park does have one modern bathhouse which services the entire park. It did have flush toilets and showers but the buildings were quite old.
They also weren’t cleaned as often as we would have liked. And the floors were very muddy from campers walking inside with grimy shoes, which is to be expected with the gravel roads.
We have since stayed at other state parks with gravel roads and the bathroom floors were much cleaner, though, so we know this doesn’t have to be the case.
Over all, we really enjoyed our stay in Cheboygan State Park and we think you will, too. If you’re looking for a quiet campground in northern Michigan, and you’re camping with a tent or a smaller rig, it’s a secluded campground where you should have a quiet, peaceful visit.